21 March 2011

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Let them eat cake - LA Times.com Her grandfather was a pastry chef at Ferrara Bakery and Cafe in New York City's Little Italy. When he came home from work, she would cuddle on his lap. "I would sniff his clothes," Pohl says. "He always smelled like powdered sugar and I loved the smell." A lifelong baker and cook, she baked whatever she wanted until 10 years ago, when her husband, Joseph, was diagnosed with celiac disease. Symptoms can range fromabdominal pain, bloating and gas to osteoporosis, vitamin deficiencies and weight loss. While it can't be cured, following a gluten-free dieterases the symptoms for the estimated 3 million Americans who have celiac disease. Gluten is a protein found in wheat. Rather than give up baking, the former mathematics teacher and lawyer taught herself how to bake gluten-free. Her new cookbook, "Favorite Desserts Made Gluten Free" (Eagle Publishing, EaglePublishing.com, $18.95), is the result of a decade of recipe testing. It joins another new gluten-free baking book, "The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free" (Workman, $14.95), from best-selling author Anne Byrn. Pohl's book, which often requires the baker to mix ingredients such as rice flour with potato starch, tapioca starch and zantham gum, is not for the faint-hearted. The results are good, but many of the recipes are time-consuming and require shopping in health food stores for ingredients. But they can pay off, especially for those who crave all-time favorites, such as her versions of Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes. While Pohl doesn't have celiac disease, she believes the gluten-free diet has helped with digestive problems she had suffered with all her life. Others believe gluten-free diets benefit such conditions as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporis. "I feel for people who have this problem [with gluten]," says Pohl. "I love to cook and bake. I have done it all my life. When I am in the kitchen, I am happy. It's like performance art."

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