Perhaps you have noticed that things have been a bit quiet here at No Whey Baby. Truth be told, it is because I have been slowly re-introducing dairy into my diet, and after about 6 weeks with no negative reactions on Warren's part, my dairy-free diet is officially over. I thought this would feel different, that I would be headed straight to Trader Joe's to load up on all my favorite ice creams and cheeses. On the contrary, I am taking it a step at a time. The thought of drinking a glass of milk is completely unappealing and I am sticking to almond or coconut milk for my lattes; we went out for pizza to celebrate the other night and while I did enjoy it, the flavor seemed a bit dull - so many of the foods I have come to rely on over the past few months are so much cleaner, brighter, and more flavorful than mozzarella cheese. Our eating habits have changed for the better, and I hope to keep some of those changes for the long term.
By far the biggest relief has been eating away from home. About a six weeks ago, for my first big experiment, we went to Cafe Delle Stelle, my favorite little Italian place in Walnut Creek. I chose something non-cheesy, but for the first time in seven months I didn't cross-examine the waiter before placing my order. After rapturously eating my linguine with shrimp and savoring a glass of Montepulciano, our waiter asked if we would like to see the dessert menu. Justin's eyes met mine across the table, and not wanting our carefree dining experience to end, we said yes. Although I hadn't been planning on testing the waters quite so much, the biscotti with zabaglione sounded too good to pass up. We were having too much fun to stop now, so I also ordered a coffee with - gulp - cream! Dreamily, I let each bite melt on my tongue. As good as we ate on our dairy-free diet, there is still nothing that compares to a rich pudding made with real cream. I felt just a twinge of guilt when we got back to my mom's to pick up the kids, but Warren was fine the next day, and the day after. I avoided dairy for the most part until Thanksgiving, trying bits here and there, and then officially ended the diet on a very thankful Thanksgiving Day. Mashed potatoes and buttery dinner rolls were never appreciated so much.
While I am so glad that this trial didn't last long (I was expecting at least a year), I am thankful for all that the experience has taught me. I have gained so much compassion for families that have to deal with food allergies, and I hope that I will be able to use my knowledge to help other parents facing this challenge.
Thank you to everyone who has read my stories and encouraged my writing. At the moment I am thinking about starting another cooking blog, but that will probably wait until after the holidays. Until then, I hope you continue to find these recipes useful and inspiring.