NORWAY – When Sonja and Michael Tardif heard that a young woman in West Paris would be celebrating her 25th birthday without a birthday cake, they knew what they had to do.
Bake a cake.
The Tardif’s, owners of Taste of Eden Cafe on Main Street in Norway, have been teaching vegan cooking and its benefits for more than 10 years. When they read in the newspaper that Beth Coffin of West Paris would have a birthday on Saturday with no cake because she can not have food with gluten in it, they got to baking.
“We’re all into healthy cooking here. I myself have had trouble with gluten so I’ve been trying to create different things for myself to eat,” Sonja said as she prepared the ingredients that would go into the cake such as whole wheat, gluten-free flour.
“She was excited,” said Sonja, who contacted Beth’s mother, Bonnie, to ask if she could prepare and present the cake to her daughter.
Doctors told Bonnie nearly 25 years ago that Beth wouldn’t live past 2 years old. Beth suffers from spinal muscular atrophy type II, two blood diseases and scoliosis that require her to use a wheelchair. With her medical problems, Beth also has to be careful what she eats.
“I know what it’s like,” said Sonja, who is allergic to gluten and began to experiment with gluten-free food as a way to help herself and others. “You don’t have to be stuck with nothing.”
The cake is made of whole wheat, gluten-free flour. It is a carob cake with a buttery-type frosting. It’s described as a “healthy, nonchocolate chocolate” because of the carob bean that makes the cake taste like chocolate.
“That’s why we’re here — to help people,” Michael said.