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Celiac, Gluten, And This Blog

January 17, 2012

When I started writing this blog, I didn’t know how it would develop…what it was going to be.  I still don’t.  But I think I know what I don’t want it to be.  I don’t want it to be the typical Celiac, gluten-free diet and cooking blog.  To be totally honest, I’m really not into all that.

I don’t mean to take away from the work that people do to allow Celiacs to eat like everybody else.  I know that is important to some people, especially for kids.  But I don’t view it that way.  I don’t want to eat like everybody else.  I want to eat better than everybody else.  I don’t want this to be a blog about gluten-free food, I want it to be a blog about good food.  The best.  We eat gluten-free here and we have for two years.  And in those two years I’ve eaten the best I have in my life.  Not only have I, but it would go for my wife and sons too.  My boys wouldn’t tell you that, but that’s just because they’re 16 and can’t stand to say anything good about their egotistical old man.

This disease has forced me to cook.  Almost everything that I eat I make from scratch in my kitchen.  Because of that, and a natural inclination and interest, I have eaten the best food of my life.  I know that for many people that’s not the case.  They live with a family that doesn’t need to eat gluten-free and they either eat separate foods or their family “puts up with” the g-free stuff.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Cooking is a lost art, and I’m interested in letting everyone, not just the gluten-free community (though they might benefit the most) know that you can eat great food at home with a little planning and effort.  And whether it has gluten or not is immaterial.

It’s not so much having the techniques and skills and knowledge as it is a philosophy.  I mean, I could go down to the local health-food store and buy a frozen g-free pizza crust and make homemade pizza and be fine.  Actually, I take that back…that ain’t gonna work for me.  But most people could, can, and do.  Or, you can take an idea The Wife brought me from a Wal-Mart brochure that had nothing to do with gluten-free and discover how awesome a roasted Portobello with pizza toppings is as a personal pan pizza.  I can go down and get some frozen gluten-free buns and make the pastrami and swiss sandwiches I miss so much…and miss them even more as I eat my poor approximation to what I used to have.  Or I can pile some grilled pastrami, swiss and caramelized onions on an omelette and drizzle it with spicy mustard.

Is the Portobello and omelette a pizza and sub sandwich?  No.  Is it as good as those things?  I don’t know.  But that’s not the point.  The point is they don’t have to be, because they’re not competing with, what is now, probably an over-idealized version of said pizza and sandwich that exists only in my mind.  Why torture myself?  And beyond that…these things may not be better than any pizza or hot pastrami sandwich I ever had, but I guarantee you they are better than many of them.  Further, since I’m going somewhere new with the food, and since I know I’m trying to replace something I have set up on a pedestal in my mind, I go the extra mile….I use more cheese, or I use more onions, or I caramelize them a bit longer than I would have.  Or I buy a really good artisan mustard.  I treat myself.

That is another reason why I say it’s a shame that, along with foregoing gluten, so many people give up so much else along the way.  If I can’t have gluten, then I’m going to have a little extra something to make up.  If I can’t use wheat flour for my breading, then I’ll add a few more seasonings to round out the flavor.  If I can’t have beer, then I’ll buy a little better bottle of wine.  It doesn’t have to be a cross to bear.  It can be an opening to a whole other world of food and flavor.  It has been for me.

And I realize that it’s not as easy as it sounds.  I know everyone works, people have young children, it’s a busy time full of convenience food.  But I would challenge anyone to find another aspect of their life that is so woven into every day.  Food.  It is a huge part of everything we do.  It has social, emotional, physical, perhaps even spiritual implications.  Take a little time to enjoy it and think of it as something other than simply fuel.  Or, worse, something that’s trying to kill you.  That is a message for everyone, not just celiacs.  Just check out the fear-mongering vegetarians I posted earlier.

Eat.  Drink.  Be merry.  Maybe that’s cliché, trite, colloquial.  But it’s also classic.  My kind of philosophy.


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One Comment
  1. judy k permalink

    I’ll drink to that!

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