At this point, you might be wondering why I am recommending for my blog readers to try a specific brand’s gluten-free bread mix. In fact, you might be wondering why I’m asking for you to support it at all.
Let me tell you a story.
Before deciding as photography as my career choice I was a music major. I went to Berklee College of Music for one semester. I loved the school but realized how much I hated music theory. So I moved home, continuing music education at a local college.
A year and a half into my music major, I could not stand music theory anymore and with encouragement from friends and family, I switched majors.
Fortunately the college I was attending, County College of Morris, was known for having one of the best photography programs in the state. Even with the program being a two year Associates, it had the quality you would want in such a program.
I switched majors and started my journey into becoming a professional photographer. At this point in my life, I had a camera but did not fully understand photography.
Until I met Professor Charles Luce.
Professor Luce was one of the multiple photography professors I had which brought me up to speed from everything I had missed in the past. I learned the darkroom, medium format, large format, color theory, black and white and so much more. Some of which I learned in high school, but didn’t stick in my brain.
The best part is, Professor Luce made it exciting and enjoyable. He made loving photography, even more, fun.
We, the students, all knew Professor Luce as a photographer who photographed mushrooms. We knew he was a vegan, and we knew he photographed other things but mushrooms. But he loved talking about and showing his mushroom photographs. So that’s the gist of why that was a reference point for us.
Never Stop Learning
I have learned from many photographers over the years. In fact, I wrote about much of my education a few years back in my book, Absorbing Light.
Professor Luce is one of the amazing photographers I had the honor, and pleasure, of learning from. As I said, he made it enjoyable. But he also did not go easy on myself, or other students. He was strict and precise. He made sure we listened to what he had to say and put it into action.
But he had laughs with us. He made us be creative and think outside the box.
Years after college I remained in touch with Professor Luce, but not on a regular basis or even with many conversations even. I learned that he went on a sabbatical and then eventually retired. He, and other photography professor joined Facebook, and I friended them both.
I came to learn that during his retirement, Professor Luce had started a bread company called Luce’s Gluten-Free Artisan Bread.
Turns out that Professor Luce was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2002, and one thing that should be cut out from a diet is gluten.
I loved seeing what Professor Luce was sharing on Facebook. As a person who loves bread, it was a pleasure to see the beautiful photographs of such lovely looking bread.
As it turns out, Charles has been baking bread since he was 4.
Over the years, I have had fiends and family who began cutting out gluten from their diets. For multiple reasons, like celiacs and allergies and intolerances and so on. And I kept telling them to “check out what my photography professor is doing with his gluten-free bread.”
I don’t know if anyone did.
But I did, and this is why…
A couple of weeks ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It’s an autoimmune disease where you body is fighting your thyroid, and, in turn, making it not work.
It was caught super early, so I’m not experiencing any major side effects of the disease. However, in addition to going on medication for it, I have decided to cut out gluten from my diet.
I have read that it can be helpful and have heard from other people with the same disease the same thing. Melissa and I have a bunch of food to eat and giveaway before I can go 100% gluten free, but we are getting there. By the New Year (2016) I hope to have the conversion completely done.
Melissa plans on doing this with me, at least in our house. When we go out, she might eat things with gluten. Or if we go to parties, she might as well. But in our house, we will be gluten free. The same goes for Layla wherever and whenever possible.
Before I continue I want to say, please don’t feel bad for me. It’s not a life-threatening disease as long as it’s managed. And it’s extremely common. There are people with far worse things that they have to deal with.
I Love Bread
I mentioned earlier that I love bread. In fact, there’s a garlic bread from Wegmans that is my all time favorite. It’s going to stink not having that bread in my life.
But I remember that Professor Luce makes bread now. So I looked at the website and read just how easy his bread is to make. It’s a bread mix that only needs water and an oven. It is that simple!
With the holidays coming up, and New Years, I decided to order a variety pack that he calls The Tasting. Included are one package of:
- Classic Sourdough
- New Italian
- Bold Buckwheat Premium
- REALLY “Rye”
- OMG Flatbread
- Mile High Pancake Mix
The box came in, and I immediately started making a loaf of New Italian because I knew Melissa would enjoy that style bread the most.
The process does take a bit of time, which is ok. This bread, in particular, is 60 minutes of rising time (outside the oven) and then 90 minutes inside the oven. Other bread take less time, depending.
When the timer went off, I took the bread out, and it was so pretty. It looked like I baked my artisan bread, and yet I didn’t. All I did was do some prep and throw in a pre-mixed dough into the oven.
Let me tell you. This bread is so delicious, and you would have no clue that it is gluten free.
This article has been quite personal. In some ways, more personal than other articles. In fact, it might be my second most personal article, next to this one.
I know there are a lot of photographers, and their family members, who are gluten free.
And I know there are a lot of photographers who share a similar story to mine, where they have so much respect for educators.
So I want to encourage you to please order yourself a box of The Tasting. Or just pick up one bread mix, if you don’t believe me.
Give it a try. Eat bread, healthier. Support a small business. Support someone who spent so much of his life educating photographers like me.
Do good. Eat healthier.
And don’t forget to follow Charles on Instagram for some beautiful bread photographs.
Photos made on my iPhone.