(Inhale.) You’ll get this - I consistently need to calm the f-ck down. I need to relax, man. I get uptight and anxious and high strung about writing. Writing. The one constant in my life. The thing I think I have a whisp of talent doing. And that worries the sh-t outta me. (A snake eating it’s own tail just rolled its eyes at me.)
Someone once created a fridge magnet that became gospel truth, something along the lines of “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I write everyday and the process and build up is so far from what I’d call love, that it might even be safer to call it relief. I need the words out of my head, and when they go tumbling out onto the page and into the void of the Internet the itch is scratched and I can go on and obsess about the next thing I need to fling off my chest.
What does that sweaty rant have to do with that beautiful slice of gluten free bliss sitting up there? A lot. My step-sister Tara and her cool-as-sh-t daughter Mya have started something wonderful. Something organic both in taste and energy. A business sprung from their hearts and heads and kitchen.
And in my haste to expose their goodness to the world I got tongue-tied and frazzled about how to best showcase their amazing venture. It’s undoubtedly cornball, but if I had just listened to the interview I recorded on my phone (God, how EARNEST is that?), I would have taken my cue from Tara’s sage and wonderful words. Do what you like, what makes your chest swell and corners of your mouth twitch. If you’re just watching your hands fall into their natural patterns, the end results will effortlessly define who you are and what your role here is on this big blue rock.
This is not a column for the NYT or McSweeney’s. This is a blog; my treasure chest of all things good and honest and gluten free. Food and people and endeavors that make my celiac heart sing. In the month of May, deemed Celiac Awareness Month, I pledged to be grateful. The clever and delicately nuanced flavours and shapes of Li’l Bird Sweet Treats make me very grateful. (I just needed to write that down and everything would have been okay. Duh.)
There are no short cuts here. There are locally sourced ingredients chosen with firm hands from Commercial Drive grocers, hand-made nut butters, giant gallons of delicate oils and batches of trial recipes exploding out of the freezer. There is a mother and daughter poking and prodding and tasting and testing and inspiring each other to make food that is decadent but also nutrient conscious. It’s good for you, right down to your toes, but doesn’t taste like it. It’s raw, but not in a weird forced way that leaves you unsatisfied. There is a weight to it. There is a heft to it. There is a lightness though - your belly will love you. There is a manifesto too - we should be allowed to eat dessert for breakfast. (Do you love these two as much as I do already?)
Like that slab of sunshine sitting up there. They call it Mango bliss-shine. I called it so crazy delicious I savored each mouthful like a tiny bite of gold. Forking into a generous slice, I chewed slowly with my eyes closed. The velvety slither of a bite, subtle at first with the low earthy pop of mango, was then supported by a mischievous flash of bright citrus, sitting on top of a subtly nutty and chewy raw crust. I was done. But I wasn’t.
A tall skinny spoon was slid across the table to take a long slow bite of an orange-infused chocolate mousse (hiding a clever secret ingredient - avocado!), topped with tart berries. Petite “cheesecake” bites, composed of raw almond butter and other secret very good for you ingredients, were dunked quickly in dark chocolate, an ingredient I typically can’t handle the bitterness of, but it worked so well as a dark envelope for the cold sweet creaminess hiding inside.
This little business needs to be big. Thoughtful flavours and ingredients that are married together to provide a dessert you would not feel guilty eating for breakfast, that just happen to be gluten free? Let’s make this happen.
As Tara tinkers with the recipes and perfects the flavours that define Li’l Bird Sweet Treats, you can still sample these really beautiful bites. Find her on Facebook here for all details regarding purchasing and the next batch of edible genius.
Come August there will be a tasting party so everybody can come fete this awesome local business. (The wonder of East Van is the support system that runs deep and true.) I’ll remind you when we get closer. You’re going to want to mark your calendar and not eat for a week. (Exhale.)