gluten free french onion soup
Oksana Charla

Everyone gets a birthday once a year. Some people like to make a big deal about it; others prefer to quietly let the day pass, happy to sneak another year by the world and to perhaps perpetually stay in the decade they are (were) in.  I’m a little bit of the latter, but I must admit, I do like the attention of my husband. And this birthday was no different. I felt quite special.

Let me first rewind a bit. For the past couple of years my husband, Tom, has taken on Sunday night dinner. He takes great pleasure in searching the internet for ‘the recipe,’ and then goes off shopping specifically for that very meal. He can be out for hours as he traverses from store to store, finding exactly what the recipe calls for. Me, I usually constrain my cooking to recipes for which I already have most of the ingredients on hand.

Earlier in the week I had joined my husband in NYC for a business trip. We had a lovely dinner, but since we didn’t pick our restaurant exclusively based on their gluten-free capabilities, I had to make due with what was available to me. Yup!… you guessed it, a menu full of tasty delights and only two that I could safely indulge in.  I opted for the quinoa salad with red beets that really was delicious, but I couldn’t help eyeing the delights available to everyone else there, including my husband.  Prior to being gluten-free, whenever dining out, I used to love to start my meal with an appetizer or soup…always something that I didn’t regularly make at home.

I think that’s what I miss most…appetizers.

So when my husband asked me the other night what I wanted him to make for my birthday dinner I first responded with my usual, “It doesn’t really matter, just not having to cook is a treat enough for me.” But having just been out to dinner earlier in the week, I remembered what it was that I had really wanted on that menu—but could not have—French onion soup. Yes, a good hearty crock of French onion soup. The kind with the onions perfectly caramelized, topped with hearty bread, and “yes!” cheese, lots of it—ooey, gooey cheese. You know, the kind that when you lift your spoon, has that endless string of heaven not wanting to let go of the bread that it is so happily nestled on. That’s what I craved.

gluten free french onion soup
Oksana Charla

“I want French onion soup.  You don’t have to make anything else, …just a big crock of gluten-free French onion soup,” I told my husband.

“Hmmm, okay”, he said, “I think I can do that.”  And that was that.

My birthday came. It was a Thursday. My husband came home early, having already stopped at the store to pick up everything he needed. He put on some music from his “cooking” playlist and happily danced around the kitchen chopping onions and then sautéing them. He was amazed as to how long it actually took for them to properly caramelize as he impatiently waited for them to hit perfection before moving on. I was happy just watching him take such pleasure in doing this for me.

gluten free baguette slices
Oksana Charla

The soup was fantastic, just as delicious as I had remembered a good crock of French onion soup to be. Honestly, though, it would not have mattered much how the soup came out. It was the act of him making me my favorite dish that truly warmed my heart.

Here’s a great Gluten-Free French Onion soup recipe.

Toasted Schar baguettes work well for the bread. That’s what my husband used, but if you want to make your own bread, one of my favorite bread recipes that I’ve used with French onion soup in the past is Gluten-Free Grain Bread by Sue Spector.