February 24th, 2009
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. 1 in 133 people in the US has a gluten intolerance.
Recently, I was invited to a potluck where one of the guests was gluten sensitive. Immediately, all I wanted to make for dessert was my cakes and pies that require flour. The hostess offered to make a flourless chocolate cake. DUH! Now why didn’t I think of that? What is it about dietary restrictions that have a freezing effect on the creative brain cells of an omnivore?
This is an interesting time for people with Celiac’s Disease. It is indeed a very serious condition for people with a true intolerence to gluten. Unfortunately, it is hard to diagnose and it is usually when someone becomes extremely malnourished that doctors figure it out. Some people just feel better if they do not consume gluten, claiming they are not bloated and have more energy.
As a result, products that are gluten-free are quickly entering into grocery stores. In fact, it’s the one sector of the food industry that is showing incredible growth. While I am not a person with Celiac’s disease, I do appreciate the creativity that is coming from the search for grains that do not contain gluten. The desire to bring prepared foods to grocery store shelves are bringing amazing grains into the spotlight. Amaranth, millet, chia, flax, hemp are all getting some well deserved attention. Some of the the products are great, like Mary’s Gone Crackers, while others just don’t deliver in the taste or texture department.
There are a few wonderful websites and food blogs out there as well. Elena’s Pantry has an impressive 4,000 subscribers. Her site makes anyone want to cook her food. She is very creative and the site is easy to use. One of her cake recipes features coconut "flour". I haven’t been able to find it in my local grocer yet, but look forward to playing with it.