Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live


Enjoying Vegan, Gluten-free and Sugar-free Foods

Baking Vegan, Gluten-free and Sugar-free Foods
Today's markets, restaurants and bakeries offer a wide array of food choices for people with special dietary needs or personal preferences. In this month's Food Hour, we'll talk about baking and buying delicious vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free foods.

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Well, just try bringing in some cupcakes to work and you'll find out that tastes are more complicated than they used to be. Many people will ask you what's your in cupcakes and then sadly say, they just can't eat that. Whether food allergies are actually increasing or the awareness of food allergies is on the rise, more people are steering away from wheat and milk products, because they post serious host problems. In addition, more people now identify themselves as vegans, they're choosing not just to avoid meat and fish but eggs and dairy. So another's good to know that this increase in food challenged has not gone unnoticed by food producers. There is now a whole sub sperp ooe of glut den free, dairy free proutsdz, where to ee ou out and how to hoyk ma this tasty treats at home.


thots are the topics of our monthlyly food discussion.

And I'd like to welcome my guests, Caron golden, she's a local writer whose blog, San Diego Food Stuff is about food shopping, dining and cooking in the San Diego region. She's the co-host of sign on radio.Com, San Diego gourmet. We come back. Care care thanks for having me.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Erin McKenna, and an owner of Baby Cakes NYC, the author of the new cook book. Baby Cakes. Vegan, gluten free and most, New York's most talked about bakery.

ERIN MCKENNA: Thank you so much.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We are opening up the phone lines for your questions about how to cook and live, and wheat free and lactose, for the lactose intolerant and for vegans and for really, any of your health concerns about food. 1888-895-5727 is our number.


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Erin, tell me why you decided to write a cook book that features veeing gran gluten free, sugar free recipes.

ERIN MCKENNA: Well, the cook book, actually I was asked to write one, from, I think it was one week after I opened the bakery. And I knew at that time I had about six recipes. I told the guy, I don't think it's a good idea that I write a cook book right now.

And you know, slowly over the years, I bultd quite a recipe book of all these different things that I came up with, and the thing that really tugd me to do it, was that we were just inundated with e-mails from p mom's who didn't know what to give their toddlers, they had things out there, that you know, there were recipes that they can make but their kids wouldn't eat them, because you know, kids even if they have food allergies, they're still going to be picky eaters and they bring them to the bakery and they gobble up everything, you know.

And they, you know, it was, it was basically the power of all a of those requests really led me to do the cook book.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And you know, in my introduction, Caron, I said that you know we don't know whether or not food allergies are actually increasing, or whether just the awareness of them is increasing, but, from your experience in talking with people about food, would it be fair to say that there are more people who have these things that they have to avoid, than perhaps ever before?

CARON GOLDEN: Yes. I think for one thing, the science is better and so people are being diagnosed with for instance, celiac disease. And celiac disease now apparently, some two million people in the U.S. Or one in 133 people are being diagnosed with celiac disease. Some people think that a lot of those same people might have been 20 years diagnosed with things like Epstein-Barr are on some of those, you know, fatigue, you know, diseases, syndromes, that nobody could really pinpoint what the problem was.

But now, obviously, testing is so much better, science is better and so far more people are actually getting a diagnosis, and learning that they simply cannot tolerate, for instance, gluten, some have sa rear wheat allergies, other kinds of things that make it very difficult for them.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And since this is a food show and not a medical show, we won't go too deeply into these things, but what is celiac disease? Why do people have to avoid gluten and I'm going to open it up to both of you Aaron, maybe you want to star.

ERIN MCKENNA: Well, people who can't have gluten, their body treats it, you know, when they eat it, like poison. And they'll get sick. Like the first time that I ever really experienced it was later on in life. And it puzzled me because I had gone through life eating pizza and all these things and I was fine with it. But I had built up over the years an intolerance. And it was explained to me before as if, you know, and this is only in my case. Some people are born with the celiac disease and it is, you know, from Day 1.

But --

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Sorry. Excuse me. Yes, go ahead.

CARON GOLDEN: Well, celiac disease is genetic and you can be tested for you. If you don't carry the gene, you don't need to be gluten free, you're not going to come down with it. A lot of people do have the gene and it erupts later in life, maybe, you know, there was some other kind of illness and it triggerd that gene to start acting up.

But, it's not something that you you you sort of develop an intolerance. There is a genetic cause for some of these things to be happening.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay. So, Erin, if you just ate a piece of pizza like you used to. What would happen.

ERIN MCKENNA: I got a severe headache. I felt like dizzy and I was in bed, like I never called in sick to work before. What I had done was sat myself down to a nice big dinner of say tan which is wheat gluten, because I was newly vegan and I was like, oh, this is great. It's high protein, and I ate a large portion of it. And I got dizzy. Sick, it was beyond food poisoninging. It was just complete shut down. So that's it.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yes, that's terrible.

ERIN MCKENNA: Little message of what happened.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I wonder, Caron, do we know what the gluten does to actually bring about those --

CARON GOLDEN: Well, it's just a digestive intolerance. Gluten is a protein that's found in wheat and rye and barley. And for those people who have that gene or have an allergy, their small intestine can't tolerate it. It's just a horrible irritation to it and it can cause things like gastrointestinal distress in all its horrible forms, and fatigue and muscle aches, and it's a very challenging things, because it can mask itself as other kinds of problems and you you think maybe you've got the flu, maybe you've got food poisoning. trr there are a lotd of things, and for people who don't pay attention, it becomes chronic, that's why we had a lot of diagnoses chronic fatigue syndrome. You're just ill. So you have to wipe all of that out of your diet.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Just to touch on it, a vegan diet, of course is a diet of choice.


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And you said you found out you had seeing yal disease or wheat allergy, when you decided to be a vegan. And what is it, what do vegans --

CARON GOLDEN: What's left.

ERIN MCKENNA: I'm no longer vegan, but, are you asking what's a vegan diet


ERIN MCKENNA: It's basically, not only is it no meat and dairy and eggs, but you also look for sources of you know, hidden animal products, like we don't use white sugar in, and you know, there's a few recipes where we use unrefined sugar, because back in the day, apparently it's made with bone ash and some vegans are split on, you know, if it's okay or not okay. And you know, it goes, it gets a little political, when you're looking into being a devout vegan, because there's a lot of, you know, issues that people are split on.


ERIN MCKENNA: So, anyway, the general population of vegan just steer clear of the meat and dairy and eggs and you know, general byproducts of animals.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Just really fast before we get to the food. Just so everybody knows what we're talking about. A lot of people have to avoid milk because they can't digest it.


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And there are lots of products out there for them these days.

CARON GOLDEN: Right. soy products, gentlemen, that kind of things.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So now we know where we are. So what in the world can people do, especially when it comes to foods that are traditionally heavy in dairy and in wheat, what are the substitutes? I'm going to start with you, Erin, because you came up with this cook book that has a lot of substitutes.

ERIN MCKENNA: Right. Well, it's, you know not as hard as it sounds. For dairy, it's easily replaceable with soy milk, rice milk almond milk. There are so many options out there now. You can find something, everybody is going to find something that they'll feel good about substituting milk with. For eggs, it's totally a little bit different. Because you know, as you know, eggs add, they bind, they add moisture, they give rise to baked goods chts so I found fruit purchase Rays with, in combination with baking soda or baking powder, you know, to replace eggs, fine.

And you know, then I don't do sugar in most of the, most of the products. So I use a gav vai neck tar which comes from cactus and it's not processed.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, you use the a gav vai neck tar and you steer clear from refined sugar because of the vegan sensitivity or --

ERIN MCKENNA: No. I mean, for me, I'm also pretty health mindd and I don't like to eat a lot of sugar and I just kind of fell in love with a gav vee. It's low glycemic, it's not processed. It's not a chemical suite ner. Your body knows what to do with it. It enters your bloodstream at a slower rate.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We are talking about people who find themselves without gluten, without milk, and without a lot of things in their die ets, because of choice or because of they just can't digest it anymore. We're talking with Caron golden, who is a local food writer and Erin McKenna who is a bakery owner in New York City and just wrote the new cook book, Baby Cakes and we're taking your calls about what you can and can't eat and where you can go find food.

At 1-888-895-5727.

And I'm wondering, Caron, where can people go if they have sensitivities and they want to find gluten free and dairy free foods, they want to find vegan foods? How easy is it to find these foods.

CARON GOLDEN: It is becoming remarkably easy and being in California, we're very lucky, because people in other parts of the country don't have a lot of the options that we do. If we're talking about going to the market for instance, I did a lot of scout ago round in preparation for today. And found Henry's market for instance, has a wealth of different products, all over the place. Throughout the store. You can buy bread, you can buy prepared meals. You can buy baked goods and baking ingredients. You can buy salad addressings, and I mean, just, it goes on and on.

And the nice things about Henry's, is that they do very clearly mark on the shelves, not just the products themselves but the shelves will have arrows pointing to gluten free products. Trader Joe's is very similar. Look for a blue tag on the shelves and it will identify things ranging from a mayor nair ra saws to, they have a brown rise, bread, on the shelves, to, what else, pasta. You can find a lot of these things.

Ralphs, I went to, thinking, what do you find what you're going to be in a major supermarket. It is a lot more difficult. You can find baking products like, Bob's red mil makes a lot of gluten free flours and baking mixes. Arrowhead Mills does the same. And you can find some of the ingredients that you need to create, to make up for what you lack in gluten products like xanthum gum, which is an ingredient that you you need to sort of create the texture.

In terms of the restaurants, it turns out that there are a lot of restaurants, mainstream restaurants that offer gluten free menus. I was at Terra for dinner the other night in Hillcrest, and their regular menu was marked with G F on different items that were perfectly, you know, items any of us would order, but they made a point of pointing out that these are gluten free. And you can find oo a lot of this on my web site, www.San

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I want to talk a lot more about where you can find prepared foods around San Diego in restaurants and so forth. That are gluten free and meet the needs of the lactose intolerant and people who are avoiding dairy and eggs, but I have to take a break.

So, when we come back, we will continue to talk about eating vegan gluten free, sugar free, lactose free and also, we will start taking your calls. The number is 1-888-895-5727. These Days continues in a moment.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: These Days will feature a discussion on both the California Supreme Court decision that came down this morning, upholding Proposition 8, and president Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, for the U.S. Supreme Court. That's coming up tomorrow morning on These Days. And of course we'll be opening up the phones for your comments on both of these issues. And These Days starts at 9. Join us then and we're happy that you join, are joining us right now. Because my guests are Caron Golden, who is a local food writer, and Erin McKenna. We're talking about gluten free, dairy free products on the market, and how to make your own. Our number is 1-888-895-5727.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Before we start taking these calls. Erin, I just want to ask, it must be kind of devastating to realize that you have to change entirely the way you eat.

ERIN MCKENNA: Yes. It's, it's, I remember my first shopping trip. It was about 9 years ago and I was in Trader Joe's and I was like, oh, just kind of so confused. I was like, spelts, what is that? Gluten free, or spelts, I didn't even know the difference between the two. And I didn't know which I could eat, and you know, we were just talking about, you know, hidden sources of gluten in products, it's, you really have to read your labels, because you know, I was just at the grocery store yesterday and I saw some wraps, and it was like, rice wraps and they were, it looked like little flat breads, like tortillas and I was going to buy some, because I was like, oh, good, I can make something like that later. It was rice flour, wheat flour.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So most amazing things

CARON GOLDEN: The most amazing, soy sauce, for instance.



CARON GOLDEN: So you really need to both read the labels and if you're not sure, call the customer service line that is printed on the label, and ask. Because really, you don't, if you've got a severe problem with either wheat allergies or with celiac disease, a friend of mine who has it and has long time writer, her name is ka rin na all rich and she's got a a wonderful web site. Gluten free goddess and she told me the equivalent of the one-tenth of a grain of rice could set off a really terrible chain of events for someone if they ingest gluten, so you want to make sure, especially if you're doing this for children too.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let's start to take some calls. Dalia is in Clairemont. Good morning. Dalia.

DALIA: Hi. This is serious.


DALIA: Because I have I B S.


DALIA: Do you have any advice for people with I B S?

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That's irritable bowel syndrome?

NEW SPEAKER: Yes. I don't like to spell it out.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay. Well, we have to because it's radio. But we'll see if anybody has any suggestions.

CARON GOLDEN: This isn't a medical show. This is food and I really don't want to be in a position of telling you what to eat. What I can say is talk to your doctor and find out what the suggestions are in terms of how you limit your diet. And then you can then take a look at the markets and look at different web sites for restaurants and see if you can find both menus and products that you know, have things that you can eat.

There are a number of web sites, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Henry's, all have on their web sites, a list of their gluten free products, if that's an issue for you. If that's not an issue, but something else is, you just need to start making a list and carrying it with you when you go to the market of both things that you can have and ingredients that you need to avoid and look for those on the labels.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Because that's more a medical condition than it is an actual sensitivity to food. Let's take another call. la? Encinitas. wa tone na.

NEW SPEAKER: It's it's wa tan na.


NEW SPEAKER: Happy to be on the show. My 7 year old son was diagnosed as a celiac two years ago, and we have, very much like your guests, you know, the first shopping experience was, we came away with absolutely nothing in our bag.

It's overwhelming at first, but it is definitely something that once you get used to it, you can deal with pretty easily, especially where we live.

There are many many many options. I also wanted to caution though, those people who do have celiac or gluten sensitivity, to not take the labels that the Henry's Jimbo's, Trader Joe's use, to label those as non gluten or gluten free. There's a difference between gluten free, and no gluten in agreed yenlts used. My son for instance, can't eat some of the chips that say no gluten ingredients used.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The cross contamination is a huge issue.

NEW SPEAKER: When you're at a restaurant, it may be labeled gluten free, but they're cooking it on things that have been used to cook gluten ingredients. ERIN MCKENNA: That's a good point, because when I do see restaurants where it labels gluten free options, you do have to wonder if the people in the kitchen are trained to be sponks I believe with their utensils that they're using or or the pans, because, you know, you can say something is gluten free, in theory, but oyts just when it comes down to how it was prepared, it's one of the sad things about the disease.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: In your cook book, you actually talk about how you have tried to avoid cross contamination in your bakery.

ERIN MCKENNA: Yes, because we use spelt flour for about ten to 20 percent of our products. And we had to buy, in order to do that, we bought pans, whisks, spoons, sinks, sponges, you know, like anything they're stored in different places, they don't touch each other. The pans don't touch each other, they're made at different times and everything is scourd and we get things tested. We send, we get our oven tested for gluten, you know, just because it's what we have to do.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And since you brought it up, there is a controversy over spelt. In that some


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: In that some people who have wheat allergist can seat speet. Butter err cannot. No way. And you know, it's, I chose to create recipes with it, because I'm fine with it. And, there is a large majority of people who don't have celiac who digest spelt perfectly fine. And you know, I just wanted to make some things that I haven't masterd in the gluten freeway yet. Like biscuits and scones. But it is not gluten free, and it's an, actually, a distant ancestor to wheat, spelt flour is.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I want to talk about some of the problems in actually trying to cook gluten free in just a moment. But let's take another phone call. Robert is in Santee. Good morning, Robert.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yes. How can we help you you. What's your question, Robert.

NEW SPEAKER: Well, I just wanted to add a comment. You know, a lot of people do this for, I found out I have a problem with sugar wheat and flour, and I've been away from it for are quite sometime now, probably almost three years, this time around. One of the problems for me is not so much a physical reaction towards these types of foods, but I get very large. And the only way I've been able to maintain a normal body way, thinking that you know, I had some other problems, maybe I was just a glut ten, is the fact that these foods were giving me the tendency to eat more food.

And I always wanted it. And so because I've cut the sugar, the wheat and flour out of motorcycle diet, it's really really helped me a lot, to maintain a normal body size and I've got to tell you, that's a benefit that I've been searching for for years.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Robert, thank you, so much for the call. I Caron, I want to ask though, because this is really rather controversial. In your writing about food, is there any health benefit to be gotten the from having a non gluten diet, if you you don't have any kind of sensitivity tease to wheat?

CARON GOLDEN: What I have been told by people with celiac disease and who write about it a lot, is that if you do not have it, do not go gluten free. There is no benefit to you in doing that.

And in fact, there could be some issues, things that you you lose, because most of the flours that we get, the wheat flours that are processed, are, they have additives, different can vitamins and minerals are added, in production.

And so, when you you go gluten free and you start using other alternatives, you're also giving up a lot of these, you know, vitamins and minerals in there. There is no, I'm not a doctor, so if somebody wants to call in and say I'm wrong, I'd love to hear it. But from what I understand is, unless you have celiac disease, unless you have strong allergies, there's no reason to go gluten free. Now, there may be other benefits in being a vegan in terms of, you know, certain kinds of fats from cheeses and from dairy, that you know, you you don't have any more. On the other hand, some of the substitutes, if you're talking marriage rinse or other things, also have a lot of calories. So, you know, the best thing to do is eat a well balanced diet, no matter what, you know, you choose to do, what kind of diet you're following.

But, these things are not necessarily going to get you to lose weight or on have any other kind of necessarily magic properties.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That's interesting though. Because, in your book, and I'm sure, Caron is absolutely right. I've heard that too, if you don't need to avoid gluten products, there's really no reason to. But a lot of the substitutes sound particularly, to wheat, sound particularly healthy. Tell us what ind kind of substitutes you use.

ERIN MCKENNA: I'm a big fan of garbanzo or fava bean flour. That's higher in protein and again, it's, all the flour that I call for are less hybridized than wheat.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What does that mean?

ERIN MCKENNA: Processed. Like over the years, wheat has changed because it's been so mass produced and back in the day, there was a million in every town, like that's where you got your wheat and everything was more, it was organic before organic existed. And I think that, I'm, I'm, I always believe that, you know, the less something is processed, the more your body knows what to do with it. And so, you know, a lot ever, you know, not just -- when I create a recipe, I like to add extra points, you know, like if you're going to do gluten free, why not use like the really great been flours, and you know, you know, you can get a lolt more benefits from it.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And what other, what other substitute flours do you use, if that's even the right term.

ERIN MCKENNA: I use rice flour for some and I also believe for those who can tolerate spelt, spelt is just, it's higher in protein, it is less processed. It's, you know, it isn't as common as wheat now. So it is processed less, and you know, it isn't as far along as wheat has been.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Got it. And there are a

CARON GOLDEN: And there are a lot of great things oult there, that you don't have to be gluten free to enjoy these things. Like the garbanzo flour. One of my favorite memories of being in south of France, pancakes that are made out of garbanzo bean flour. They're delicious. You can eat buck wheat, corn, so you can have grits, polenta, you can have a lot. There are a lot of options out there. It's just the one thing that if you're in that range, in terms of gluten or wheat, you can't have that.

But, I mean, there's a vast amount of stuff that you can eat vrkts nks when you're at a market, one of the things we do is shop the perimeter. We haven't even talked about fruits and vegetables and you know all the other wonderful things that exist out there in the food world that you can happily enjoy, it's just that maybe the wheat is the issue, on or the dairy products are the issue.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Or the occasional cup cake is the issue.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We're taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: David in Encinitas.

DAVID: Thanks for taking my call. My wife was diagnosed with celiac about 5 years ago and then we found out my son and daughter had wheat allergies, and then in addition to that, my son was also allergic to nuts and eggs and dairy. So obviously, it was very difficult for us to find food for the family.

And even though there's more and more gluten free food choices out there, it didn't necessarily means that those choices were all healthy.


DAVID: We were finding there were still a lot of preservatives and white rice flour and refined sugar and things that we normally would try and avoid with our diet. So we actually set out and made our own products that were all organic, using buck wheat, whole grain flours and no processing, no preservatives and also, you know, wheat free gluten free dairy fruit, soy free, nut free. That type of thing.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That is just an amazing thing to have to avoid. It sounds like just about everything that goes into you know, a cake or some bread or anything. It's just devastating.

CARON GOLDEN: What's nice though is there are resources out there for people who are having to make these decisions and figure out what the do. And on the peb web, if you have celiac for instance, there's, the national foundation for celiac awareness, there is a magazine called living without, living without.Com. And that is filled with all sorts of information about you know, food choices to make.

In San Diego, there's a blog called gluten free in San Diego. That has all sorts of interesting recipes and resources.

And there are some three 50 or so blogs out there, that address a lot of these issues and have great recipes, really interesting things that even if you're not gluten free, you know, you you probably would enjoy. And so, I would suggest people go out and go on line, and see what's out there, because, there's so much awareness now, you can find good resources to help you.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let's take another call. And Terry is in Chula Vista. Good morning, Terry.

TERRY: Good morning. I'd like to share some places where they have vegan food, and people's organic food co-op in Ocean Beach, they have a deli, which is all totally vegan food and lots of things for people with, need gluten free diets. There's a new restaurant called loving hut restaurant that is 100 percent vegan on El Cajon Boulevard and it will open this Saturday at 1 p.m. And then in Hillcrest, there's a restaurant, Mandarin dynasty and they also serve vegan food along with their other stuff.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Terry, let me ask you a question. Are you a vegan?

TERRY: Yes, I've been vegan probably 17 years because I suffer from I B S and that was my solution.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And I'm wondering, do you find it easier as time goes on?

TERRY: Oh, absolutely.

Absolutely. And with more restaurants opening in the San Diego County area, it makes it easier.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Well, I want to thank you you so much for calling in and gives us those tips. We do have to take another break. When we continue, we'll be taking your calls and speaking why our guests and finding out how to bake if you cannot tolerate gluten and you you also want to stay away from dairy. We are These Days and we will return in just a moment.


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days in San Diego.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Guests are Caron Golden mwho is a local food writer. San Diego food stuff and she is co-host of sign on San Diego.Com's, show, the weekly gourmet.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Owner of Baby Cakes, N YC. It is a bakery, and she is the author of a new cook book, Baby Cakes, vegan and gluten free and mostly sugar free recipes from New York's most talked about bakery. We are taking your calls about eating, another eating free.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: But first, I really do want to taw to you Erin about this beautiful book that you have, Baby Cakes, and how in the world you bake all these things, without eggs or regular flour or milk or butter.

How do you do that?

ERIN MCKENNA: Well, I, I don't know. I was, I never went to cooking school or baking school. Because at the time when I was experiencing these sensitivities for the first time, there were, there was no where I could go that would teach me how to do this.

And so, I kind of just played around in my kitchen and, and came up with things after many many many really bad tries, you know, finally, developed an understanding of the ingredients and the roles that they play in your batch of cookies or cupcakes.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And this is still developing, because you said before, that even though some of these recipes are working really really well


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: There are still some that you want to develop like scones and biscuits.

ERIN MCKENNA: Yes. And you know, one of the good things and bad things is that we're very busy bake ceers. The bad thing about that is that it's kind of stopped my, you know, my ability to test things out, to such, like an intense degree that I used to be Abe to do. But I'm getting there. You know, like I try and master one thing a month that I hadn't been able to do before. And biscuits are on my list.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And, also, in reading your book, you not only do you have some staple alternative recipe items, ingredient items that you go to over and over again, but you you also, I and think this is very important for people, you also go into some of the very basics about baking,


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And I'm wondering if you you could tell us what are some of those basic baking mistakes that people tend to make.

ERIN MCKENNA: Oh, boy, I'd love to. You know, and I didn't really realize what they would be until the book came out and we were flooded with questions. One of them, that I found people aren't doing is measuring, you know, when they measure their liquids, they're not measuring it to the top, they're not getting everything out of the cup. And you know, it's so important, every drop counts.

You know, checking your bread before it comes out of the oven. If you're making banana bread or suk keen knee, just because the recipe says 22 minutes it's done, your oven might bake differently and you've got to really do the tooth pick test, check the center, make sure it comes out clean, or else it's going to fall and I've had people take it out when, when it's raw in the center and they're like, why is it raw in the center. I don't understand what happened. And I'm like, you didn't bake it long enough or they'll let it rest and let it fall, because it's not cooked all the way through, and then put it back in the oven once it's cooled, and then say, I even tried to put it back in the oven wouldn't cook. And I made those mistakes too when I was a new Baker. And so I know those things and I know what people tend to do that are wrong.

And also, you know, just being really really really particular about your measurements. That's like, that's the most common things.

And you know, if it says, p the recipe calls for potato starch, don't use potato flour. You've got to really follow the recipes to a tea and read the directions.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Is this even more. I know that's true in general, is it even more true when you're using these alternative ingredients.

ERIN MCKENNA: Yes. There's no substitution. Like, they're, the recipes are written perfectly so. And you can't, I mean, there are certain things you can mess around with, I encourage people to switch out ingredients, if they don't like gars bans flour choose another flour that you might feel more comfortable with and might like, and really have fun, because there is a little liberty you can take there. But, there's a certain things like the starches, you can't really mess with those.


CARON GOLDEN: Baking is chemistry and you can't mess with that unless you really know what you're doing.


ERIN MCKENNA: One thing that happened to me when I was a new baker is, I used old baking powder and it didn't rise. Like my cakes were coming out flat and I was in tears. Because I came home to San Diego to show my family what I had taught myself, and everything was coming out horrid, because the baking powder was old.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So, not old ingredients, the right ingredients and the right amount.


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay. Let's take another call. Caron is in University City. Good morning Caron.

NEW SPEAKER: Hi, thanks for doing this topic today.

I am allergic to dairy, and I have found a good milk substitute and a good butter substitute, but the problem is I absolutely love cheese and I cannot find, there just seems to be nothing like the real thing when it comes to cheese.

ERIN MCKENNA: I agree, there isn't really anything close to the real thing. But do you know one cheese that I really like, is by Follow Your Heart. And it's a cheddar cheese. It doesn't taste good when it's not melted. But when I melt it on things, it's really good.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, I know Caron, you've been compiling lists of products, soy based products, vegan products, and is there anything that you've found that could work as substitute for cheese?

CARON GOLDEN: Well, I have bt compiled all those products, I have resource ers where people can find all these things. Cheese is a a tough one. And I talked to a woman last night who is a cook book writer and a vee began, and she too was saying, there just, you can find things that are adequate, but, and I just someone sent me a recipe for macaroni and cheese using tofu, I'm sorry. It's just not going to happen. It's not macaroni and cheese.

I will say, that the products have improved enormously m the last 20 or so years, when someone gave me some dairy free cheese, and I literally was ill from it.


CARON GOLDEN: And it was a really uncomfortable evening. So I think you're just going to have to look on line for suggestions, and talk to people. A lot of the things that you may not find here, you can find sold on line.

And so, you should take a look and see what other people recommend.

Who have to do this. For people who don't have to give it up, it's really hard and I will admit, I am not a good judge of what would be a good, sort of, dairy free cheese, because, I don't need to do that.


ERIN MCKENNA: Why would you do that to yourself.

CARON GOLDEN: Yes, it could be really bad.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Ken is in North Park. Good morning, Ken.


I don't think Ken is there.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And let's go to Mike, if we can. Mike is in San Diego. Good morning, Mike.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning.


NEW SPEAKER: Hi, I was just quick comment or maybe it's a question. But I was told by an allergist is that one possibility to allergy is large amount of kem cast that are being, pesticides and hormones and that kind of stuff and I'm just wondering if you have heard anything of that, where switching to organics over a period of time may alleviate some of the allergies.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That you for that question. Again, we are not, we have nothing to do with the medical community here. But have either of you you ladies heard anything about that. Speculation.

CARON GOLDEN: Yes. You don't know unfortunately what's in these processed foods, and so some of thoos things may actually be a result of that. But you you you need, if you you're someone who has been diagnosed with allergy or celiac or one of these things, you should really work with your doctor to find out if, you know, maybe, you can try something that's organic, and doesn't have all of those other ingredients in there. But I wouldn't go off on and try it myself without working with the doctor, because you could get sick.

ERIN MCKENNA: Yes, I have heard of some people with wheat sensitivities experimenting by eating sprouted wheat bread, and they, I haven't tried it, but they said that the way that it's processed, is in such a way that they are fine digesting the it. So I think, you know, it is a popular theory.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let's take another phone call. Mike is in Mira Mesa. Good morning Mike.

MIKE: Good morning. I just wanted to shift this conversation back towards the vegan side of things again.


MIKE: I appreciate the other caller from Chula Vista bringing in peoples from ocean abide rbeach. Just to get back to the fun desserts. There's a bakery in ocean bo beach called stev knees, who did our wedding cake back in 2001, and they took over a strud del shop down there, so they have vegan strud del, all the vegan desserts from cakes, and cinnamon rolls and cookies rk they do quite a bit of gluten free as well. And just something in general, to just to stress the point that most people's introduction to bad vegan food is the birthday cake at work where somebody will go to ravlts and cost co-and find something that's labeled vegan. But in my experience being vegan for 12 years, the best things that we've always found are ought small shops, small markets like people's, small rest rans like ritual tavern which is 30th Street in North Park, who, vegan beer as well.

And made from sore gum.

NEW SPEAKER: And side der.


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And they have vegan sheppards pie.

NEW SPEAKER: Delicious.

CARON GOLDEN: It's interesting. They're a great place to go.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Hey, Mike. Thank you, for the call.

NEW SPEAKER: Thank you for this topic today.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Ken in North Park, we didn't get to speak with him earlier but he's back on the line. Hi, Ken.

KEN: Hi. I was just, I told the screener, I own Ap per tea vo restaurant on 30th, and North Park. We've been open about 5 years, and I myself was a vegetarian. About three quarters of our menu is vegetarian or can be and about half is vegan or by omitting like the prosciutto or something. Pasta, I always tell people, substitute the pasta dishes for potato, or on if they bring in their own rice, we can warm it. ucht that doesn't seem to be the major issue. But our menu always has been, about because Italian food --

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That's the way a lot of restaurants are going, isn't it? I mean, they have a lot of money items that can be changed in a way, or can be offered to people who have either food sensitivities or are vegan.

CARON GOLDEN: Yes. And you can go to, there's a web site called urban spoon that has listings of restaurants with all these different options and those are really great. However, you need to either call in advance, or when you're there, ask, because, ask the servers or the the chef, what they use, as Erin said, she uses different equipment for different kinds of foods and washes them in different sinks. The big is problem that or risk that you have is cross contamination. Because, you just don't know if a server is train or people in the restaurant in the kitchen are trained to be able to really separate the stuff out.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now, as I said before, Caron, you have compiled some resource materials on your web site. Tell us about that, on your blog.

CARON GOLDEN: Yes. It's on San Diego food stuff, which is wcht W W San Diego food stuff.Com, and I have a list of restaurants that I've come across with glut den free menus, markets with gluten free products. I came up with web sites that were offering basic information on celiac disease and on being gluten free. Some of the blogs that are out there. And also, some vegan options as well, and resources in town and some basic tips that based on what people told me were things that people should take into account when they're doing their shopping or eating out.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And Erin, your bakery, Baby Cakes N Y C is I hear, wildly popular. You have the new cook book out, Baby Cakes, and I hear that you're opening a restaurant or bakery, that is, in Los Angeles. Tell us about that.

ERIN MCKENNA: We're opening on downtown Los Angeles in 6th and Main, it's in the historic district. It is so amazing down there, and I'm really proud to be opening a bakery in community where it's so rich with art. And I really am looking for to drawing people downtown to experience all the beautiful things that are happening downtown.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Well, I want to thank you both so much for coming in and talking to us about this subject today.

I've been speaking with Caron Golden and her blog, San Diego foodstuff, she is also co-host of sign on's weekly radio show, San Diego Gourmet. Thank you, Caron.

NEW SPEAKER: Thanks for having me.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Baby Cakes, N Y C, author of the new book, Baby Cakes vegan, gluten free and New York's most talked about bakery. And Erin will be signing copies of the cook book tomorrow night at Borders Books in Century City. You can always go on KPBS.Org, slash these days.