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Building Community Through Food

This week, I stumbled into two great examples of how food brings people together. First, we scored some local grains (for free!) from a poster on a Yahoo listserve for local parents. Super! After a short trip and a nice conversation, we are the proud owners of two quarts of local oats and some helpful info on CSAs in the area. Not quite sure what we’re going to do with the oats, but I’m excited to experiment and look into a couple of new sources for local food.

The second happened through a fantastic Facebook group of the most supportive, humble, self-deprecating, other-cheering, hilarious, and generous community of women. For the last couple of months, I have been talking to some women about breastfeeding and our little ones’ reactions to food we eat. Finley seems to have had mild reactions to dairy and soy in my diet, so I’ve cut those out for the time being. One of the other women, however, has had to eliminate practically everything delicious and convenient. Boo! But hurray to her for soldiering on! She had a particularly tough week, so I offered to bake a treat that she could actually eat. No easy task, but fun for this food nerd. No eggs or dairy – not a big deal, since there’s a lot of info out there on modifying existing recipes for vegans. The biggest issue was avoiding corn. “Whatever, just don’t make corn bread,” you say. Ha! Did you know there’s corn in baking powder?? I didn’t. Luckily, the internet exists. Baking soda + cream of tartar = corn-free baking powder.

We had a lovely chat when I dropped off the bread and agreed to get together for a walking date later on. Yay for new friends!

I didn’t have any of the bread (which is based on another Joy the Baker recipe), because wheat and I aren’t getting along at the moment, but my mommy friend says it was delicious. It makes two loaves, so wrap one well and freeze it or give it away and make a new friend yourself.

Allergy-Sensitive Butternut Squash Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Amount Ingredient Preparation Notes
3-3/4 cups All purpose flour Bulk
2 cups Sugar Bulk
2-1/4 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Cream of tartar
1 tsp Sea salt
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground cloves
1 pint Butternut squash puree Substitute 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree Homemade from Red Fire Farm CSA
1 cup Canola oil
1/3 cup Maple syrup Hollis Hills Farm
2 TBsp Molasses Blackstrap or regular


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare two loaf pans (8 x 4 x 3 inches) by lining with parchment paper – cut two strips of parchment paper about 8 inches wide and long enough to hang over the edges of the pans; crease into the corners of each pan to create a sling to lift out the baked bread. If you’re not concerned about allergens, you could grease and flour the pans instead (making sure to knock out the extra flour).
  3. Whisk together the dry ingredients (including sugar, which is usually considered wet).
  4. Whisk together the wet ingredients (add about 1/4 cup of water if you use commercial canned pumpkin).
  5. Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry and mix just until combined. If you mix like crazy, you’ll develop the gluten in the flour and end up with tough bread.
  6. Divide the batter equally between the prepared loaf pans and bake for about 1 hour (until a toothpick inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean).
  7. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes (20 if you didn’t use parchment paper). Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

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