Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pamela's Products: A Guest Post by
Pamela Giusto-Sorrells

This post comes courtesy of Pamela's Products owner, Pamela Giusto-Sorrells. Pamela's Products makes delicious baked goods and mixes for those who are restricted from ingesting gluten. Even if you are a bride-to-be, you can now have your wedding cake made with Pamela's mixes. Here is a little bit about Pamela and her company:

I'm a third generation in natural foods whose family has always made gluten-free products starting back in 1940 when my grandparents owned a Health Food Store on Polk Street in San Francisco. We made soy-potato, lima bean and rice breads, also rice and soy cookies. In the 1960s, my dad and uncle bought the company and transitioned it to a wholesale bakery, and continued on making those products. And when I worked as a cookie packer in the late 70s, we were still baking the same wheat-free items. The problem was that they tasted horrible! No one had looked at the recipes, tasted or tweaked them in almost 40 years. I used to ask my dad "who eats this stuff?" He told me there were only a couple of people with allergies and let them be happy there was something on the market for them.

When I was finally allowed to work in the office, I would have the occasion to talk to these customers. They WERE so happy there was something for them and their kids- but all I could think was how unfair it was that the kids had to eat the stuff my dad made! Being the dessert maker at home, I began playing with recipes and wheat-free baking. I wondered if I could make something that could fool my father who was a baker?

By 1988, I left the family business and started Pamela's Products with 5 items. Today we have an extensive line of cookies, biscotti and baking mixes that are all wheat-free and gluten- free. Last year I met many brides who had Celiac Disease and we would discuss the dilemma of their Wedding Cake. There is such a stigma attached to gluten-free foods " that they must taste bad and look weird ". I encouraged the brides to try my vanilla or chocolate cake mix, to prove to them that they could serve a Pamela's gluten-free cake and no one would know. This year at the recent Natural Products Expo, I decided to show the world just that. I invited Jill Branch and Ann Sakai of Branching Out Cakes (a local high end wedding cake bakery ) make, build, frost and decorate a 5 tier wedding cake that we cut and served to the attendees. I wanted to show the crowd as they watched the cake in progress throughout the day, that this was a real cake, a beautiful cake, that was delicious but happened to be gluten-free. The cake was devoured in 15 minutes!

I would like to thank Pamela Giusto-Sorrells for her guest post here on cakegrrl.com, and for all the samples from the Pamela's Products line she sent for me to try. The cupcakes I made for the Sacramento Institute of Fun's Massage & Chocolate night were gluten-free thanks to a mix (the chocolate cake mix) made by Pamela's Products, so if you were there, you know they are just as delicious as cupcakes made with flour! I also want to recommend her gingersnaps. A lowfat and spicy treat, and sooo good to use to make other things. I crushed them and rolled some of the chocolate truffles (also served at Massage & Chocolate night) in the crumbs to give a ginger kick. Good stuff indeed... Thanks, Pamela. :)

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