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Surprise! What’s in the Mail Today?

I receive quite a few emails each day.  In fact, one of my biggest internal debates is how to read everything (I’ve given up on responding) and still maintain life outside computerland.

You see, I don’t think computers are necessarily the best thing for my health.  And yet.  They are so much fun.  And so very efficient.  It is an ambivalent love affair that I have with the lovely little laptop that sits upon my desk.  So, I make it a priority to live real (in 3-D) and not invest any more energy than necessary in life online.  Still, I spend an inordinate amount of time in the virtual world and have practically made my peace with it.

Along those lines, in order to give you a teeny tiny glimpse into my wild cyber world, I would like to share a couple of messages from readers.  And keep in mind, the only constant in messages from readers is that nothing is constant; this online life is full of the unexpected –one of the many things I love about it.

Here is one message that was sent to me via email by way of my contact form:

Please contact me at 303-555-5555.

I would like to know where you are buying your almond flour?  After checking into it myself I have found that the price of the flour is off the charts!!!!! The most expensive flour I have ever heard of.  Whole foods does not carry it in bulk and neither does the Vitamin Cottage aka, Natural Grocers.  You can buy it pre-packed in either store for a whopping $7.00 per cup which is 16 oz.  Not very cost effective.
-Linda

When I receive something such as the above, I wonder what I am doing wrong and how I could better help.  Although I do have a list of several vendors that sell more cost effective brands of almond flour on my site (see the ingredients page), I question what I need to do differently to get information to people.  If you have any ideas, feel free to leave them in a comment below!

Then there are ones such as this:

I’m interested in using coconut flour, but if the taste is very coconutty I’m worried I wouldn’t like it, your thoughts?
-Elizabeth

I’m at a bit of a loss when I receive this type of question because I think taste is such a subjective thing.  I don’t think that the items I make with coconut flour taste like coconut, however, I could be wrong.  Again, I would love to hear from readers what your thoughts are on the taste of coconut flour.

Then there is this one that I received yesterday in the form of a comment from a reader about my vegan eggnog post:

…I think it should be called “vegnog” :-)
-ML

Now that’s fabulous!  I read the above and the only thing that comes to mind is  –why didn’t I think of that!

And finally, there is this totally outrageous card that I received from another reader:

thank you card for elana's pantry
thank you card for elana's pantry
thank you card for elana's pantry


This is one of the nicest things I have ever received. Some absolutely amazing person (Cindi!), took photos of her child eating one of my recipes at his birthday and went out of her way to send me a card.  In the mail!

This made my day, no make that month.

Thank you Cindi, you are incredible and I totally appreciate your hunting down my snail mail address and sending me this gorgeous card with your adorable child.  What could be better?!

So there you have it.  An ever so small glimpse into the missives I receive on a daily basis.

Never a dull moment; loving every minute of it,

Elana


posted on November 17, 2009

  1. Maeve

    If it were me, I’d remove the contact phone number from the first message… :)

  2. Katie

    @ Maeve If you look, she used a “555” number, which is what most TV programs, etc. use because they’re not real numbers. I think she’s already taken care of your concern. :)

  3. Christie @ Honoring Health @ honormyhealth.com

    I agree about the phone number :)

    As far as how to respond to such emails, I’m not quite sure. I have found that with blogging, and life in general, you can’t please all the people all the time.

  4. I found the info on the blog easy to navigate so its just a matter of time. Some folks just don’t want to take the time to explore a website for info.

    Also, I find that recipes using coconut flour do have a subtle coconut taste. But that’s just me. :)

    Keep inventing and re-inventing great recipes!

  5. GK

    I can’t think of what more you could possibly do, with regard to the first type of question, other than maybe moving the ‘purchase’ section further up the side bar…

    Personally, I don’t think that coconut flour tastes coconutty when it is baked or mixed in something. If you were to eat it straight, I think you would get a hint of coconut flavor =).

  6. Hänni @ hannihaus.com

    What fun fan mail! I just want to say, I also really love your cookbook–I am taking one of your pumpkin pies to Thanksgiving dinner this week. Tonight I’m having your chicken strips. For Christmas, I am ordering a copy of your book for my mom. Seriously, keep up the great work!

  7. julie

    I’ve wanted to send you emails with questions and have not becuase you make a comment on your site that says that you do not have the time to return all emails. So, maybe these people are like children and think the world revolves around them. Many of these questions can be put in your forum section, like what does coconut flour taste like? Also your sight says where to buy almond flour and why it is better to buy via mail order.

    Good Luck and Keep writing!!

  8. Lydia

    This is an interesting article about how being too-clean may actually be the cause of gluten intolerance? http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/10/22/2721267.htm

  9. With the coconut flour I think it really depends on the ratios. If that’s the only flour in the recipe, then yes, it will probably taste at least a little coconut-y. But if it is just one of a few flours (less likely in your recipes than others where I’ve used CF) then you don’t really taste. The times I really notice coconut flavor is when I use coconut OIL.

    As for almond flour…I’ve been known to make my own almond meal and it seems to work just fine (even though I am aware of your disclaimers–maybe it is just practice over the past year or so).

  10. ML

    Wow–I’m so flattered that my “vegnog” comment was featured front and center! Thanks! I’m glad you liked it!

  11. Kathryn

    I don’t think coconut flour tastes like coconut. I use it to make pancakes and they are light and fabulous.

  12. gfe-gluten free easily @ glutenfreeeasily.com

    Communications like that last one make food blogging with a mission soooo worthwhile! Loved the vegnog comment, too. :-) In regard to the other comment, folks get busy, distracted, whatever, and don’t take the time to look around. We all do it from time to time. Even if there was a big flashing sign that says, “INEXPENSIVE ALMOND FLOUR” it would probably still happen. I’ll never forget The Far Side cartoon of The School for the Gifted and the child pushing fervently on the Pull door. The joke there re: lack of common sense, but my point is ignoring the obvious happens. One can’t keep a clean, simple looking site and yet meet the needs of all one’s readers.

    Hugs,
    Shirley

  13. What a fun idea for a post this week!

    Elana, you do so much for so many people – I don’t think you can possibly be expected to do more! If people can take a little time to look at your site, all the information is there…

    We tried the new salmon recipe tonight – it was incredible!

    And Cindi’s card is wonderful….blessings to you and your family. And many thanks from many of us…

  14. Cook 4 Seasons @ cook4seasons.com

    Now this is something to be Thankful for! And for your capacity to see it:)

  15. Leslie

    Hi Elana,
    I just wanted to let you know I made my first recipe…the Cranberry Walnut Bread with coconut flour and it was absolutely scrumptious. My non gluten free friends loved it no one including myself thought it the tasted like coconut.
    Thanks so much!
    Leslie

  16. Megan

    I grind my own almond flour. I buy almonds in the bulk section and grind them in my food processor when I need some almond flour. I measure out the whole nuts, place in my food processor, and grind away. I like the flavor of the fresh ground nuts better than the package stuff. It is much cheaper this way too.

  17. Dena

    Elana, Twice in the past 3 weeks I’ve meant to write and forgot with life being busy. So let me now add to your pile of posts.
    First, we made the salmon for Shabbat last week, and oh, my, was it a hit! Having no access to specialty foods, we replaced apple cider for plum cider, honey for agave nectar, soya oil in place of grapeseed. Still, it was delicious! None left to give the cats!
    Second, my father sent me an article from Philadelphia Inquirer about GF becoming easier and it featured you and some of your recipes. Great to see your fame spread to non-bloggers country-wide!

  18. Amanda

    I don’t find coconut flour to taste like coconut really, even when it’s the only flour there (maybe because there are other strong flavors, like in your Cranberry Walnut bread or Lemon Rosemary Mini Muffins). I do find it a pretty temperamental flour, though, and doesn’t always bake up like I hope. If there is any overwhelming flavor in recipes with coconut flour, I’d say sometimes they are egg-y because of all of the eggs needed for leavening.

    I think that you have your ingredients hotlinked directly to online sources is the best way I’ve ever seen anywhere, although less tech-savvy people or those who use the internet, but not for buying things may not find it as helpful.

    Personally, I’ve not used almond flour because I’m sensitive to it, but have found that a mixture of brown rice flour and arrowroot generally work out just as well. I’ve not looked around much. Are there substitutions for commonly used ingredients listed somewhere?

    I agree with Cindi, though. Your website is fabulous! I was able to enjoy birthday cake for the first time in 2 yrs thanks to your carrot cake and coconut frosting recipes. Thank you so much!

  19. Ruth J. Hirsch

    Thank you for sharing Happy Birthboy David’s picture and Cindy’s note. It’ll stay with me, the image.

    And many thanks for the Vegnog. another Elana Yum!

    oh do I resonate with your pre-computer/virtual time quandary. I am amazed at how much I am pulled into spending time on my laptop. When we had TV, never strayed into TV life the way I do this.

    I did set my laptop up so that I stand when I use it at desk. Helps some. Stand with views of the Esopus River rushing below, squirrels scurrying…. when I focus away from the screen.
    I really am amazed at how compelling this screen is.
    thanks for the articulation, blog and book!

    Ruth

  20. Sandy Gillett @ Aunt-Sandy.blogspot.com

    Recipes made with coconut flour do not taste like coconut, and they are incredibly moist! The card is a treasure! I am blessed by your cookbook also. The pumpkin pie is out of this world good! Thank you!

  21. C

    Reading this made me chuckle…I recently made the coconut flour zucchini muffins, which were out of this world, and did not taste like coconut. I gave my husband one to try, and asked him what he thought. He replied, “They were really good, except for the zucchini.” I laughed until I cried!

  22. johanna

    Re the Honeyville Almond Flour cost… yes I gasped initially at the cost but… I consider what I make with the almond flour not just a baked good but almost a meal! All the fibre, vitamins, and protein all packed into my food now. No more white, devoid of anything, gluten-filled flour filler! I feel good eating baked goods now…how can you put a cost on that?!

    ps LOVE LOVE LOVE the cookbook Elana, GREAT job!!! and Thank you!!!

  23. judy dembrow

    I find that there are 3 sites to buy almond flour at a reasonable price. One is amazon.com which sells in bulk. Another is the glutenfreemall.com They often have specials and you get points for what you buy which can accumulate to money on future orders. The third place is Bob’s red mill. It is fine for baking, though it may not be the best almond flour around. They do sell it in bulk. Judy

  24. Lillian Mara

    Elana,

    (In response to Linda, the person upset about the price of almond flour.)

    Hopefully you can buy it in bulk from Honeyville. They just had a sale and everything was 15% off. Making each lb of flour around $4.50. Do some searching and you can find things much cheaper. I also bought agave nectar in bulk from Amazon. The shipping was free and it worked out to 5$ a bottle. Which saved me about 3$ a bottle. Besides porn, this is what the internet is for.

    Elana, you are doing nothing wrong. You are providing clear, thorough information which is a great service. I am healthier and happier since discovering your recipes. Paying a little more for food is a sacrifice I am willing to make for good health. (And it is cheaper than buying those gluten free baked goods at whole foods…) I feel healthier than I have in ten years. I love your cookbook. So, thank you for all that you do.

  25. jennifer

    I purchase my almond flour and coconut flour from the Gluten Free Mama at http://www.glutenfreemama.com . Thanks for all you’re doing Elana! I love your blog and your cookbook! Thanks again from Idaho!

  26. mandy

    Elana,

    I would just like to say that I’m glad you’ve placed a value on your time, and boundaries for yourself. I think it’s so hard to learn to say no (although I’m sure it gets easier once you start getting as many emails as you get)!

    I agree with what some people have said, it takes time for a reader to become familiar with your site. They find your page, get excited that someone out in internet-land is an “expert,” and email immediately…not taking the time to go through the links on your site or read the informative parts of the blog. i think people are looking for a human connection sometimes too.
    Keep up all that you’re doing and to all the Brooklyn peeps – Sahadi’s on Atlantic Ave. sells blanched almond flour in bulk :)

  27. Marsha

    To Linda,
    About the almond flour issue. Yes, it is expensive. I make my own almond flour. It is very easy and the recipes usually come out the same. I haven’t had a problem yet. Buying whole almonds in bulk will cost less or about the same depending where you live. And you can get many recipes out of two or three pounds of almonds. I use a coffe grinder to make the flour. Some pieces do remain, but I usually sift the flour and re-grind the chunks. You don’t want to grind too long or it will stick too much together. I hope this helps.
    Marsha

  28. Emily

    Funny timing! I sent something off by snail-mail to you yesterday!!! :-)
    I think you have made a smart choice to try and balance your time to what fits with your enjoyment but also health. I can only imagine all the crazy messages you receive. Unfortunately I do not have any tips for helping people to locate the helpful ingredients/info you have provided. I guess you just have to remember that some people are on the computer/blogs a lot more than others and some may not understand fully how they work or how to locate different pages? I don’t know! Giving them the benefit of the doubt! …. Just know you are helping so many people!
    p.s. How sweet is that letter and photo? Thanks for sharing their delightful story!
    xo Emily

  29. Diana@Spain in Iowa @ spaininiowa.blogspot.com

    Hi Elana, Just wanted to share and encourage your readers to take a loot at azurestandard.com. They are an organic/natural food coop. Their prices are great and you just need to join a group in your area, order and pickup once a month. Saves me TONS of money! I think your site is great and your recipes have not yet failed me! Thank you!!

  30. Very interesting. Nice to know I’m not the only one who gets e-mails and I’m stumped on how to respond. That last one is great though! Makes it all worthwhile, huh?

  31. Ania Aguero

    Elana,
    I have cooked with coconut flour for years and I don’t find any coconut taste in the muffins, breads, and cakes I make with it. So, rest assure that when you say that, it is a true statement. I just want to tell you that I think you are incredible and dream of the day I could meet you in person. I have made many of the recipes from your book and even though each one has been incredible,the one that I keep going back to again and again (which I can’t remember if I got it out of your book or your website)is the sandwich bread recipe. This week I visited some friends in Ohio and brought a loaf. They made it disappear in one sitting and want the recipe. I now enjoy good sandwiches which are so healthy and taste wonderful. Thank you again for all the work you do. I can’t wait to try the Matzah balls when I make my soup. Have a wonderful day,
    Ania

  32. Debbie

    Elana,
    Here’s one more idea regarding purchasing almond flour for less money. I live in central California where almond growers are plentiful. At our local farmer’s market, one of the growers sells almond flour for about $4 per pound: good for me, good for local agriculture. Since the grower processes only almonds, there is no risk of gluten contamination. As you say, it is good to pop out of the virtual bubble from time to time and check out what’s available in the real world–although I am quite thankful for Elana’s virtual Pantry, too! :)

  33. jyoti

    I literally teared up reading your homemade card. So sweet and I can understand the joy of finding you and your recipes. I have two more weeks of school this term and am so looking forward to going home and baking up a storm for the holidays.
    I found it easy to find the almond flour through your site, so I have no suggestions there. And like you said, taste is suggestive. I have a friend that can identify anything that has coconut in it because she despises it. But like some of the comments posted, its really too hard to tell when the flours are combined and she ate the passover torte without a wince!

    Thanks for all you do Elana!

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