Plus, a Pittsburgh blogger cooks up allergy-friendly food.
The Incline

⏰ Should we still “spring forward” and “fall back?”

Plus, a Pittsburgh blogger cooks up allergy-friendly food.

Welcome to Wednesday, Pittsburgh.

Those sunny skies and warmer temps sure feel good, right? Pennsylvania lawmakers are actually hoping to make our days lighter, longer. On Monday, the House passed legislation urging Congress to retire the semi-annual clock changing ritual and make Daylight Saving Time permanent, joining 15 other states asking for this change.

What do you think about forgetting to “spring forward” and “fall back”? Whatever way your clock ticks, there’s a reason this change isn’t currently allowed under federal law. The Incline archives explain in an article about Robert Garland, a Pittsburgh Councilman and the “father of daylight saving time.” Chaos unfolded when states determined their own time standard in 1945:

According to LiveScience, one 35-mile bus ride from Moundsville, W.Va., to Steubenville, Ohio, took riders through no less than seven different time changes, and at one point, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul were on different clocks, “creating confusion for workers who lived in one city and commuted to the other.”

Now, it’s time for the rest of today’s news: Pittsburgh Public School students are phasing back into the classrooms, the Pirates will batter up with safety measures at PNC Park, a city farm is growing with its community, and you can soon see “Starry Night” in the Steel City.

What Pittsburgh is talking about

Yellow looks good on you, Cathy. | Tag #theinclinepgh to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @ktk7895)

3 things to know today

✏️ Nearly 5,000 Pittsburgh Public School students returned to the classroom yesterday while COVID-19 cases steadily increase in Allegheny County. The group consists of preschoolers, kindergarteners, and other students who have struggled with remote instruction. The remaining students are expected to return on May 3. (90.5 WESA)

🏫  Hear from the Pittsburgh school board candidates tonight during a virtual forum from 5 to 8 p.m. Register at this link to receive a Zoom invitation. (OnePA)

PNC Park will host the Chicago Cubs at 25% capacity tomorrow for the season home opener. To increase safety, the ballpark has created a “touchless experience” for fans, including mobile ticketing, individually packaged food, and cashless transactions. And if you’re looking to party, sorry, Bucco fans — there’s no tailgating allowed. (TribLIVE)

3 things to make you smile

🌱 Sowing seeds of hope, Freeman Family Farms and Greenhouse is expanding on Juniata Street in the North Side to give back to struggling families in the community and educate children at Manchester Elementary School. (KDKA-TV)

🌟 Starry Night is coming to the Steel City, but the location is yet to be revealed. The Immersive Van Gogh exhibition, which projects Gogh’s paintings on walls and floors, will debut in September and has already sold more than 34K tickets. (NEXTPittsburgh)

🍰 Pittsburgh’s famous burnt almond torte cake will find a home in Squirrel Hill with a new Prantl’s Bakery location on Forbes Avenue. An opening date is yet to be announced. (TribLIVE)

Jeet Yet?

Five Questions with Liz Fetchin of Octofree

Photo courtesy of Liz Fetchin (📸: @octofree)

When she’s not strategizing creative marketing for Pittsburgh businesses, North Hills native Liz Fetchin has her hands in the kitchen, cooking up allergy friendly food for her family. Recently, Liz launched Octofree, a blog where she shares recipes for everyday meals and comfort food free of the top eight food allergens; product reviews for her favorite ingredients, snacks and kitchen tools; and how-to guides for navigating life with food allergies and intolerances. Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

What made you want to start your allergy-friendly food blog, Octofree?

I come from a family with lots of food allergies and intolerances. If there’s an allergy or intolerance out there, chances are we’ve got it covered. I’ve been cooking meals without the top eight food allergens (dairy, gluten, peanuts, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, soy and eggs), for 15+ years, and for a lot of that time, I thought our family was unique. 

After I had my son and started talking with other moms, though, I realized that many other families are navigating life with food allergies or intolerances. In fact, in the U.S. alone, more than 32 million people, including 5.6 million children, have food allergies. There are so many of us dealing with the same challenges. It can be exhausting to find quick, convenient foods, and we are often made to feel like our allergies – which can be life-threatening – are burdensome or a nuisance to others. I realized that the recipes and tricks I’d learned from my own experience living with food allergies could help other people. 

My mission with Octofree is to normalize and celebrate food allergies and intolerances by providing beautiful, calming resources that empower people to create safe, easy and delicious meals, tackle the challenges that food allergies present with ease and connect with one another in a positive and supportive environment.

Do you have any lessons for our readers about dramatically changing your eating habits?

It gets easier once you learn how to master ingredient substitutions (sign up for my emails at, and I’ll send you a free substitutions chart for common ingredients such as butter, flour, nuts and eggs). It can definitely be overwhelming at first, though. After my husband realized that his eczema was the result of gluten and soy allergies, and I already was dairy intolerant, I remember standing in the grocery store thinking, “Okay, what CAN we eat?” 

But once you get used to cooking for allergies, things get a whole lot easier – and in many cases, just as delicious. There are now so many wonderful brands that make gluten-free, dairy-free staples like flour, cheese alternatives, bread alternatives, etc., that make it much easier to create an authentic-tasting meal without allergens than it was when I first started. It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. Most of the meals I make take 30 minutes or less, and many can be prepped ahead of time and frozen.

Call out some of your favorite recipes or upcoming features that we can look forward to on your blog.

The Four-Ingredient Sesame Chicken Tenders are so easy, and they’re real crowd pleasers for the whole family (kids included). And a delicious surprise was the Top-8-Free Scalloped Potatoes, which started as an Instagram challenge. Next week, I’m planning to post a roundup of top-eight-free recipes to stock your freezer for spring and summer. I’m especially excited about that one because I think it’ll really help people to have convenient, fresh, safe, homemade meals on hand.

Where do you like get allergy friendly food in Pittsburgh?

Interestingly, I don’t know of any restaurants around here that are officially top-eight-free, but there are lots of great options that will accommodate for allergies. With COVID-19 restrictions, we haven’t eaten in restaurants at all in the past year, but as restrictions lift, I can’t wait to try out Bar Botanico in Lawrenceville, which I’ve heard is very accommodating. 

More exciting news this month: Gluten Free Goat is relaunching as a wholesale/retail kitchen, and you’ll be able to get their pastries at Adda Coffee & Tea House, Mediterra Bakehouse, the Speckled Egg and other coffee shops and breweries around town. I love that they’re also offering a service where you can order pastries for pickup or delivery straight to your home, and add curated items by local artisan makers such as honey, tea, spices and specialty coffee. 

We couldn’t live without Naturally Soergel’s in the North Hills – they stock all the good stuff, including items I can’t find anywhere else. 

And Consider the Lilys is a top-eight-free bakery in New Castle that I’ve been ordering a lot of novelty desserts from lately, including pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving and adorable bunny and chick cookies for Easter. 

When you're not working in PR or plugging away at your blog, what else do you like to do around the 'Burgh?

The pandemic has helped me to realize how simple pleasures can be so rejuvenating – I’ve been walking and hiking in North Park with friends and spending time outside at McConnells Mills and Moraine State Park with my husband and son. There are so many wonderful attractions in Pittsburgh, like Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which also happens to have a very accommodating café; the Andy Warhol Museum; the National Aviary; and the Carnegie Museums. And I’m a major book worm – I like to end every day with a good read.

Read the full Q-and-A here to learn about sustainable practices Liz uses in her kitchen, ways she fights the restrictive mentality of food allergies, and projects you can expect from her next.

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🌳 Grab your boots and help clean up Lake Elizabeth in Allegheny Commons Park at day two of "What the Muck?!" with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (North Side)

➡️ Tune in for tips from Pittsburgh's Cancer Caring Center on caregiver education in this workshop designed for cancer survivors and their loved ones (Online)

🗣️ Engage in important dialogue with your neighbors at "Let’s Talk About…Public Safety and Police Reform," with CivicCLP and The Art of Democracy (Online)

🎙️ Kick off the Virtual Pittsburgh Humanities Festival with Jonnet Solomon, who will lead a conversation about the National Negro Opera House and current restoration efforts in Homewood (Online)


🌌 Get lost in the stars with The Frick Pittsburgh’s Dark Skies series highlighting the inspirational characteristics of the night sky via paintings, stories, and the history of Pittsburgh’s illumination in the 19th century (Online)


🐾 Help hundreds of local baby wildlife who are injured or abandoned this spring at a virtual baby shower with Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (Online)

🇿🇦 Explore traditional South African music with singer, music director, composer, and theatrical producer Bongani Magatyana (Online)

🎭 Watch a live streaming of "Miracle in Rwanda," presented by the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh and Prime Stage Theater in honor of Genocide Awareness Month (Online)

One more thing …

🍻 It’s National Beer Day! Crack open a cold one and cheers with us! Looking for a place to celebrate? Good Food Pittsburgh has a comprehensive list of beer gardens and outdoor breweries to bookmark.

See you back here tomorrow, folks.

— Francesca at The Incline

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