Welcome to Mama Laura’s Kitchen!
I’m here to help people cook delicious, gluten-free food.
My hope for my blog is to help people bake and cook delicious gluten-free food and also share some fun ideas for inviting friends and family in your home to enjoy it with. There are those of us that need to eat strictly gluten-free for allergy reasons, others that may benefit from a gluten free diet, and some who may just want some gluten-free dinner menus to pull out when serving those with allergies. From all of us that need it, thank you!
When I was first diagnosed with IBS so many years ago, I knew there had to be something more to my issues. It wasn’t until many years later, and much sickness, I discovered that I had a severe gluten intolerance as well. I took all gluten out of my diet; I had to adjust to the lack of tasty food options. Many of the gluten-free substitutes were honestly not so good, especially way back then. Too often, the best that restaurants could offer to accommodate my gluten allergy (if anything) were the meager gluten-free items on the menu: a plain salad or a fifty-dollar steak. This issue is what spurred me to start creating my own gluten-free recipes.
For the past 20 years, I’ve come up with my own recipes to try to fill that need for quality, flavorful, gluten-free food. Food that’s just as tasty as normal gluten-filled food. Food that people can eat and not even realize they’re eating gluten-free food. “Restaurant quality” food that just happens to be gluten-free also.
About Mama Laura
As I start this blog, I thought I’d tell you a bit about myself. I didn’t always love cooking.
Growing up I was the official “baker” in the family. By the time I got married at age 21, I really knew very little about cooking. I could follow a recipe, just like any good baker could. My husband began to show me in that the kitchen it was about trying new things, moving away from the exactness that baking required, and being adventuresome (something that didn’t come easily for me). Soon I found that I liked trying new recipes and making up different twists on dishes.
Much of my inspiration comes from trips we have been on or from my heritage: my Italian grandparents and my grandmother (Rosina ~ we liked to call her Rose) showing me how to cook many Italian dishes, pasta sauces, soups, and desserts.
Every Sunday, my family would head to my grandparents for our pasta supper at twelve noon exactly. Delicious red sauce and pasta at nearly every meal at their house as was opera to entertain us after dinner. At the time I could have probably done without the opera, but looking back I know it was adding culture and love of music into my heart.
I was fascinated with the old books that lined my Grandpa Joe’s shelves. One by one I would read their titles and see which one I wanted to borrow. The books had journeyed with him from his days of teaching English as a second language to Italians.
Now, many are featured on my bookshelves, memories of so many times in that house. And although there was a fair amount of arguing and yelling at times (we Italians do have tempers at times), I really mostly remember the good times, good food, family, walks through the garden and to the ocean, and shelves of books to be read. I remember fondly my grandmother showing me the ways of the Italian kitchen and beginning my love for food and particularly delicious food.
I am hoping to share a little of what I’ve learned with you ~ I will also be sharing many of my own gluten-free recipes, as I, for the past 20 years I have been eating completely gluten-free after suffering many years with an undiagnosed severe gluten intolerance. My recipes stem from the need to enjoy gluten free food that is delicious. Many of the original gluten free substitutes were honestly not very good, and I was determined to make food that was just as tasty as normal gluten filled food. I wanted to make food and treats so tasty that people would never know that they were eating gluten free food! I wanted “restaurant quality” food that just happened to be gluten free also. When eating out, the need too often to accommodate my gluten allergy (if they could accommodate at all) was filled by the restaurant offering me the only gluten free item on the menu, a plain salad or a fifty dollar steak.
~Laura Sampson (updated March 2022)
Some Things I love
Spending time with my family
Walks on the beach or cliffs of Santa Cruz, CA
Chocolate…in the form of chocolate mousse or truffles
Traveling to foreign countries
Did I say dark chocolate?
Making meals and treats for others
Books, especially cookbooks
Bookstores, browsing for many hours and coffee, coffee, coffee
Creating new recipes or making some old favorites
Making and sharing gluten free treats and food