Saturday, September 20, 2008

small victories

1. fruity pebbles and cocoa pebbles are gluten free. i think. don't take my word for this! Rice chex certainly are, though.

2. i made pasta. the recipe in the betty hagman book is fantastic.

3. i have breadsticks rising on the stove.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

chocolate muffins

chocolate muffins:

4 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1+7/8 cups rice flour (or flour blend)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup soymilk (or less)

preheat oven to 350
cream butter and sugar
beat in eggs
mix all other ingredients in until blended. i just used a wire whisk
bake for 18-20 minutes

makes 12 muffins

and so it begins...

it all started when i was in san francisco, at a thai restaurant with my parents. i remember the pumpkin curry well: not too rich, but delicious despite the shrimp. the shrimp didn't seem right. but what's more significant is the conversation. my then fiance, now husband (the thinker), was having unpleasant symptoms, generally not appropriate for dinner conversation, but troubling and the medical professionals in my parents were curious. i asked about whether gluten could be the problem. my father said try it, and lo and behold, the results were immediate. the thinker was cured of the symptoms. at first we were both so excited it worked that i think we didn't even notice at first what we were getting ourselves into.

the first big challenge: we went out for the day and found ourselves hungry at 1pm outside a chineese restaurant. deciding that as long as he didn't get something breaded we would be fine, we went in. rookie mistake. this was before we knew that nearly all soy sauce is laced with wheat. after nibbling at rice and some soup (which probably had gluten in it as well), we wondered whether we'd ever be able to eat in a restaurant again. lesson learned. subsequent trips to restaurants sometimes lead to sleepless nights for the thinker, but there were a few successful attempts. learning to question the waiter about everything has taken time.

skip forward a few weeks, cutting out gluten has been amazing, though not without some stumbles.

we arrive in california for the wedding. discussing various health issues, the thinker calls his doctor, who says that he was tested for the antibodies that are produced in people who are allergic to gluten and he didn't have them! i knew it wasn't in his head, but we decided a scientific, blind test would convince him. my mom made meat loaf. full of bread crumbs. poor thinker didn't know at all, but a couple of hours after dinner it became clear that he was reacting badly to the gluten. my mom felt horrible for poisoning him. finally i think we're all convinced that this is not in the thinker's head.

the reactions of people have been so different, from seeming complete inability to understand, unwillingness to try to understand, to one of my favorite responses: "oh! you're a glutard!" not the most politically correct name, possibly, but a reaction that made me (and the thinker as well, i hope) feel immediately at ease. some people have seen it as a new and interesting challenge, and for that i am grateful. though it is so very exciting to finally have a solution, it has been a hard adjustment in some ways. seeing this restriction as an excuse to cook more and learn more about food has enabled me to keep a positive attitude. i am so much more aware of what we are eating, and thankful that it could have been something so much worse.

and so, i must say, that i will buy french bread sometimes and eat it warm with delicious butter melting on it. all the wheat flour and butter with all of the gluten and lactose. but most of the food we eat at home does not have any gluten or lactose, and that's how it'll probably be forever. i have found a lack of information provided by people who CAN eat gluten and lactose but who are the primary cook in a family where someone cannot. though the meals are really the same, somehow it seems different.

so here i go.