Last year my husband discovered that he was wheat-intolerant. He does not have full-blown celiacs disease, but throughout his life he’s been plagued by mysterious digestive woes and strange bouts of sore-throat, sluggishness and reduced immunity. A close relative of ours suggested that he might be displaying symptoms of wheat intolerance. He did the research and reduced and then finally eliminated the wheat from his diet and the symptoms all went away.
Finding out that you’re wheat-intolerant in America is almost like finding out that you can’t drink tap-water. Wheat is present in the majority of foodstuffs including pre-packaged and preserved foods that include modified foodstarch. Bread made from gluten flours is a big part of western culinary culture and recipes for the foodstuff in it’s gluten-free form are few and far between. This is undoubtedly because gluten grains lend themselves to bread-making more than the other grains.
But there are other favorite foods staples besides breads and pastries which are forbidden to a person on a GF diet:
- Pastas (semolina)
- Tasty sauces in many recipes like bechamel or any roux based sauces (say in Cajun) cooking
- Breading or batter on yummy fish and chips
- Soy sauce
- Phyllo dough (Baklava, Spanokopita, etc)
- Half the dumpling recipes in existence
- Some candies
One of the first things you discover when you must write-off gluten from your diet is that gluten-free (GF) alternatives are often rare and exotic, and being rare and exotic they are almost always costly. A package of GF brownie mix runs about $4 -5, while your average package of Duncan Hines is only $1.50.
I’m finding that there are some translations to wheat dependent recipes of breads, cookies, cakes, etc. which are less than palatable. Some having the texture of the sandbox cakes the mean kid at daycare made you eat. I would like the blog to be a place where I record what we learn and any of the recipes we develop on our own, including some replacements of the items above (excepting phyllo dough because I really don’t want kill myself with such an impossible task). I also want to include our shopping tips for eating GF affordably as well as share some tasty discoveries of packaged foods or GF guilty pleasures. Sometimes treasures are treasures because of their rarity.
Please note: many of the recipes we’ll be posting here are sort of experimental. I’ll share the ones that are successes: however, I will also share the failures and if possible even try to determine why they failed. Best to learn from one’s past mistakes, I always say.