Maxine Hancock » 2011 » June

Going Gluten-Free

Following a lead that our son Mitch recently got from a nutritionist who linked allergies and general throat-and-nose inflamation with gluten, we are trying a gluten-reduced, if not quite gluten-free diet. Oh my…picture me studying old recipes to see if I can adapt them to a rice-blend flour, and reading Betty Hagman’s, The Gluten-Free Gourmet, as though I were studying for an exam. (Having never been a gourmet of any kind, I am dubious about being a Gluten-Free one!) The test will be–can I bake gluten-free things my grandkids will actually be able to eat, or will I have to cook two separate batches of cookies, two separate meals?

So far, I have this from nearly-seven Spencer–“I like your chocolate chip cookies, Gram, but they make me thirsty.” Me, too.

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The Special Rewards of Teaching

What good days these are. I am reading the recently-published books of several of my former students. Right now, I am doing a “slow reading” of Sharon Jebb Smith, _Writing God and the Self_ (Distiguished Dissertations in Christian Theology, Pickwick Publications [imprint of Wipf & Stock], 2011). Sharon was one of my first Teaching Assistants at Regent College, and she went on to complete her Ph.D. at St. Andrew’s, Scotland. For any of you who have found C. S. Lewis’ _Till We Have Faces_ intriguing but mystifying, this book will be one to turn to, then return to. It has also piqued my interest in finally settling down to Samuel Beckett’s fiction–maybe for some long winter evenings here at Windhover Place.

As a side-bar to this reading of this very significant sholarly work: Sharon and I both taught at Regent College Spring School this May, and were able to time our visits to Vancouver to overlap for a couple of days so we could catch up with each other’s lives. One of the pleasures of our time together was going, together with our mutual friend and writerly colleague, Julie Lane Gay, to an adaptation by Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre of C. S. Lewis’ _The Great Divorce._ This, and Sharon’s book, have whetted my appetite to re-read both _Till We Have Faces_ and _The Great Divorce_. More fall and winter reading to add to the pile beside my chair.

Earlier this year, I received a copy of Kurt Armstrong, _Why Love will Always be a Poor Investment: marriage and Consumer Culrure (Wipf & Stock, 2011). This a group of very strong essays which began in Kurt’s Integrative Project in Arts and Theology at Regent College. Kurt was in my Creative Non-Fiction Writing class at Regent College, and has gone on to make a life in wordsmithing.

Yet ahead, I have Russell Hillier’s _Milton’s Messiah_ (Oxford UP, 2011). I have just glimpsed that on the Oxford website, but look forward to seeing what Russell has found. Russell Hillier went on from Regent College to complete his Ph.D. at Cambridge; he now is a tenure-track professor at Providence College, Rhode Island.

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