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A Seattle 8th grader catches the gluten free baking bug

Dominick Cura was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in the 4th grade. (Dominick Cura)

Seattle Hamilton International Middle School 8th grader Dominick Cura never had the desire to bake. But in 4th grade he was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and a life without cookies and cakes just wasn’t working for him.

“It was really hard at first, especially at birthday parties they’d have cakes and I couldn’t have any of it. I’d have to just sit down and watch everyone indulge themselves in the cake.”

So he decided to take on the oven himself.

“I only started cooking last summer when I found a gluten-free cookbook. Being gluten-free encouraged me to start baking and then I wrote a cookbook.”

Yeah, he wrote a whole cookbook called Eternally Gluten-Free, the same name as his blog, and it contains 30 recipes – all for sweets.

“They’re all my own recipes and it took me about a year. I baked every other day, pretty much, and my mom would get a little annoyed because I’d always make a big mess, kind of, and I didn’t always clean it up.”

Dominick self-published the book, and it’s for sale on Amazon and at many local bookstores. The recipes inside range from pancakes and gingerbread cookies, to desserts that call out to his Italian heritage.

“My favorite recipe right now is Struffoli. It’s an Italian dessert made around Christmas time. It’s little balls of dough, the size of marbles, fried, covered in honey, formed into a dome and then covered with colorful sprinkles.”

Dominick’s proud dad, Hector, gives an honest assessment of his son’s skills.

“Sometimes it tastes okay and sometimes it tastes fabulous,” Hector says. “Like, the carrot cake in the book is just awesome.”

Publishing a cookbook at 13 years old is pretty impressive, but Dominick wants to do more. When he was diagnosed with Celiac Disease he received a gluten-free care package that really helped him cope, so now he wants to make sure other kids get the same.

“Every year University of Chicago sends out gluten-free care packages to kids newly diagnosed with Celiac disease. About 400 to 500 kids are diagnosed every year and ask for a care package. I thought it would be a good idea to put my book into the care package and show the kids how it’s not the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new world. So the problem was, I can’t get the books for free, I have to buy them, and that’s lots of money so I have to have a fundraiser.”

So he’s organized a fundraiser at Chuck’s Hop Shop in Ballard complete with a gluten free food truck and micro-brew tastings for the adults.
To be clear, Dominick’s passion for baking is only a hobby. He has other plans for his future.

“When I’m older I want to be a movie director. To make sure people know what I want to be I’m going to try and make a documentary about Celiac Disease.”

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Rachel Belle

Rachel Belle is a feature contributor and personality on The Ron & Don Show on KIRO Radio (weekdays 3-7pm), and host of Ring My Belle Weekends (Sundays at 3pm).

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