Other people celebrate their maturing relationships with evermore valuable baubles, starting as humble as paper, with aspirations of gold, silver, and even diamonds. We have no such goals.

Let’s just say we got a late start. But we have just celebrated our Crumbs Anniversary, and oddly, simultaneously achieved a long term objective in that very department.

We moved in together ten years ago. Both scarred by failed marriages, it was a dicey start. There’s always that fear that the person you’ve been hanging with will turn into Frankenstein, once the furniture is rearranged and the additional keys are cut. For just a instant there, Rick thought he’d fallen into exactly that horror scenario.

It was the evening of our second day. I walked into the dim kitchen to make myself a snack. Initially I didn’t bother to turn on a light, but then, couldn’t find the utensil I needed in the dark drawer. I flipped the switch and was taken aback at what I saw on the countertop.


I called him into the kitchen to point out his crime. “Rick, we need to talk.” He looked at me as though I’d grown horns! Really, I didn’t think I was asking so much–yet everything about him changed in that moment. His posture became defensive and he beat a quick retreat, slinking back to his office. In light of the situation, I didn’t understand what I perceived as an over-reaction to my comment.

A few moments later, snack in hand, I realized that we might not be communicating. I followed him in his retreat.

“You know it’s about gluten, right?”

He looked up. “What?”

“The crumbs issue. It’s only an issue because it can make me sick.”

His relief was palpable–he exhaled and tipped his head back, and then nodded. “Thank God! I thought you’d suddenly turned into some kind of maniac neat freak–and here I’d just moved in!”

“No, no. It’s just we need to discuss the blended house thing. Of course you can eat wheat, but we also need to create patterns that are safe.”

And he has been a marvelous partner since. He’s actually more careful than I am. After all, there have been some mistakes made along the way, and he’s seen the price I pay. Crumb patrol is serious stuff in this house.

We laugh about it. And we’ve fully adjusted. It turns out you can share a house and a kitchen with a Wheatie, without being endangered.

I am a bit of a foodie. And it has always been my objective to create healthy food that tastes great. Gluten-free threw a bit of a wrench into that goal, but I make the effort.

So, as if to bring it full circle, one thing that the pandemic wrought was my return to bread baking. Pre-wheat intolerance, I’d been an awesome baker. For decades I not only baked all our bread, but I ground and blended the flour…always in search of the perfect loaf. Suddenly not being able to eat wheat was like landing on a foreign planet. I gave up. Gluten-free breads were generally brick-like and inedible.

The pandemic sour-dough revolution was contagious. My sister gave me a gluten-free sour dough starter and the gauntlet was thrown down. After decades, I returned to the world of bread. In short order I was able to make a loaf that was “not bad for gluten free.” But that was never the objective. The challenge was to make healthy bread that even Rick could enjoy, without noticing that it was gluten-free.

Yesterday I baked the first “cross-over” loaf of bread. After six months of tinkering and experimentation…bread. This might not sound like much to the regular world, but…it has a warm and golden color, it rose to an acceptable level of loft, the crumb is even, moist, and elastic, and it tastes like real bread. Coincidentally, it happened to be our anniversary, our Crumbs Anniversary. It took ten years, and a pandemic, to bring us to this.

Now, if I can only get my hands on some amaranth flour…