Apple Farm Blues

Looks innocent, doesn’t it?
flickr photo credit, erin & camera

After an utterly exhausting first week of pre-K, the smart thing to do would have been to stay close to home. Maybe hit a playground, or head to the carousel. Get some gluten free frozen yogurt. But what did we do? Pack up our two kids and head to northern New Jersey for some early season apple picking.

Did I mention everyone (with the exception of the baby who later refused to nap) was up at 5:30 that morning?

There was crying, whining, tantruming, apologizing, more whining, then a mad dash for the car with a cranky baby who thankfully fell asleep for the hour long ride. We BOOF-ed of course, but in a hurry, so it was cooler bag stuffed with Udi’s bread, turkey, cheese, carrots, leftover pizza for Bunky and a box of Enjoy Life cookies. Sounds grand, except it feels like that’s all we’ve been eating lately. More on that later.

Demarest Farms is close, which was key to our choosing it (no more long meandering drives upstate, not with a cranky preschooler and a wild card baby) but we had never been there before so didn’t really know what to expect.

The picturesque farm market turned out to be a crowded, overpriced grocery store (with more candy than seemed humanly necessary, even with Halloween looming), but there were some quaint touches, like a mini corn maze and picnic tables to lunch at before taking a tractor down the road to the orchard.

Bunky is enthralled by the tractor

It was a gorgeous day, sunny, clear skies, 70 degrees. Perfect for apple picking.

So, why the blues, you ask?

Food. Who was blue? Not Bunky, though she was a bit irritated that we made her eat lunch before going to the orchard. It was Bunky’s dad. I saw him eyeing the outdoor barbeque, watching people line up for hotdogs, burgers, and whatever other gluten-tastic food they were serving. There was an ice cream stand, but no ingredient list available. Ignorant morons, my husband growled when I asked him if it was gluten free. Uh oh. Later when we made the mistake of venturing inside the market to look for a treat Bunky could eat, the warm sugary scent of fresh baked apple cider donuts assaulted us immediately. Even my girl paused in her mad hunt for candy to ask in an awestruck voice, what is that smell?

Looks good, but none for us.
flickr photo credit, erin & camera

That made me a little sad. But ultimately it wasn’t me or Bunky feeling the effects of living the GF life. It was my man.

Food associations hold strong, and sometimes sadness about missing food isn’t just for your children, it’s for yourself.

We ate our lunch surrounded by people devouring goodies from the farm market. Smoke wafted over from the barbeque, prickling our noses. There was nothing wrong with our GF spread. Certainly, our daughter had no problem gobbling up her leftover Udi’s pizza and snacking on carrots. I inhaled my sandwich mindlessly while bouncing Little Guy on my lap. These days food is not about pleasure for me. It’s about how fast can I cram it into my mouth before having to feed or take care of a kid.

In the moment, I was too busy doing both those things to really understand the reason for my husband’s stony face, his short temper. I want a hot dog, he finally whispered to me.

I have to admit, in the moment I was less than sympathetic. Now I realize I should have been kinder. It wasn’t really about having a hot dog – my husband doesn’t even really like hot dogs – it was about not having any safe food choices. It was about losing the ability to be spontaneous and carefree when going on a day trip with your family. It was about being hungry. Which my husband does NOT handle well, and to be honest, neither do I.

There is an upside to being forced to forgo fast food. It’s healthier to BOOF, of course, and probably less expensive, if the $7 candy corn was any indication of the BBQ prices.

But still. It kind of sucks.

After lunch we walked over to the tractor. Bunky was thrilled. Enough with the eating, she was ready to get on with the day. The wheels are so big, she said, her eyes wide and sparkling blue, bright as the sky. As we bumped along the road, driving noisily past people’s back yards (they must love that), and farther away from the busy touristy farm market, I began to feel lighter, happier, and I think my husband did too. Apple picking is about apple picking, but sometimes the other stuff makes you forget that.

Soon the houses gave way to the soft rolling hills of the orchard, and we could see clusters of red apples in the nooks of the trees. We clambered off the tractor and got to it. Bunky and Little Guy nibbled on apples in the warm sun while my man made sure we got our nine-dollar bag’s worth.

Little Guy loves apples! Too bad he only has one tooth.

The next morning we did what we should have done the day before – relaxed at home. Bunky and I made these donuts. And she said, looking at them proudly, licking sugar off her fingers, these are awesome.

8 thoughts on “Apple Farm Blues

  1. This post came at such a funny time- I so understand your frustration (and your husband’s) with losing out on those spontaneous food choices! I sometimes long for the days when we could eat willy-nilly and it just plain didn’t matter.

    Ty (my celiac little boy) had a baseball game today and when the game was over- he was offered an after game treat… which despite the well meaning team mom- was not gluten free. Ty is pretty good natured about it- he took the treat and tossed it to his younger brother before running off to play with his friends- but it broke my heart! Maybe Ty is just smarter than I am… or maybe he just doesn’t understand what he’s missing- like Bunky and the apple donuts at the market… But I know what he’s missing and I think it’s hard.

    Undeniably- our kids will live lives that are healthier and free from tummy troubles- but sometimes it just seems like a lot to expect of them. Good thing they are so sweet!

    love jess

    PS- those donuts look yummy!! I haven’t tried donuts yet in our gluten free kitchen adventures- I may have to put them on our list for the weekend!

    • Hey Jess, that story about Ty tossing the gluten treat to his little brother and then running off to play is well, amazing. I would have been so sad for Bunky too, if that happened to her, but how wonderful and resilient that Ty took it in stride. I hope Bunky can do that. I see her face get very serious and a little sad when treats are being handed out that she can’t have, yet I’m also amazed at her matter of fact way of always asking, is this gluten free? before taking anyone else’s snacks. It is a lot to ask of our sweet kids, but kind of amazing how they rise to the challenge. Sometimes they do it more effortlessly than us!

      The donuts are super easy, by the way! I have a donut pan, so they bake just like cupcakes. Next I want to try Nicole Hunn’s chocolate donut recipe. Looks super good. Have a great weekend 🙂

  2. Hi! Saw your comment and just had to check out your corner of the interwebs. 🙂 I really liked reading this entry. I found myself nodding my head as I read your story about how hard it is to take part in social gatherings, festivals, the ability to travel freely without planning, etc. – “It was about losing the ability to be spontaneous and carefree when going on a day trip with your family. It was about being hungry.” That line really hit the nail on the head. Does your hubby not eat foods with gluten to help your daughter not be tempted? Has he gone completely GF? I’m curious, as my hubby is able to eat anything and still eats gluten, and I wonder if we’d become a completely GF family if one of our future kids were to get Celiacs from me.

    • Hi Draven, thanks for visiting my blog and for your comment. This post is important to me because I think it captures the loss we have when we, or our loved ones, need to go GF.

      The day our daughter was diagnosed my husband decided to go GF with her. He thought it would be too sad to eat foods she couldn’t eat, even when she wasn’t around. We also suspect he may have an intolerance, or celiac (even though his blood tests came out negative), so it’s also for his own health. But knowing him, I suspect he’d do it anyway. If/when you have a child, and if he or she has celiac, your husband may feel differently about eating gluten, or maybe not. No judgement here, everyone has to do what’s right for them.

      I’m GF too around my girl, but I’ve had gluten on occasion (and often feel weird/guilty). Your thoughtful comment has me brainstorming a new post about this.

      Looking forward to visiting your blog again soon,

  3. Pingback: To Be or Not to Be Gluten Free | celiac kiddo

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