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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Adventures in Gluten Free Living

Now that I need to eat gluten free, I'm cleaning out my cupboards.  I love my kitchen with its beautiful spacious pantry.  But oh the gluten lurking there!  I filled five large grocery bags of noodles, oatmeal, cereals, canned soups, gravies, salad dressings, bouillon cubes, seasoning blends, instant this and that.  These were given to friends.  I gave another bag of bread flour, wheat gluten, cornbread and muffin mixes, etc. to a freind who bakes bread regularly.  And still more will go to a food bank.

Yesterday I went through spices and sauces.  Have to give away soy sauce (Kikkoman is made with wheat, La Choy is not), worchestershire sauce, spaghetti sauce, teriyaki, etc. These either contained wheat or non-specified "spices" or "natural or artificial flavors."  

Thankfully, all my McCormick and Wildtree spices were free of non-specified ingredients. Now my spices are gluten free and in alphabetical order.  (Eat your heart out Martha Stewart.)

Food labeling laws require identification of the top 8 allergens, but there's still room for improvement.  Don't Hunts and Heinz know that by listing "spices" in their catsup any one with food sensitivities can't consume their product?   Likewise, Hungry Jack and Aunt Jemima syrups contain "natural and artificial flavors."  Wouldn't it be in their best interest to have the widest possible customer base (including me)? 

And so the search for "safe" everyday foods continues.  Van's has a great frozen waffle.  Which I either top with pure maple syrup (expensive) or today I topped them as I would a potato pancake - with applesauce and plain Greek yogurt in lieu of sour cream.  That was very tasty.  Kinnikinnick makes delicious gluten free gingersnaps.  I'll be using those in place of graham cracker crumbs for a cheesecake crust on Thanksgiving. 

Meanwhile, my mom talked to her butcher about which turkey products are gluten free.  He gave her the 800 number for Jenni-O.  All their turkeys are gluten free, but the gravy packet is not.  My mom returned to the store and told the manager that the butcher deserved an "Atta-boy."  What a great experience!

One funny thing occured when I visited Perkins Restaurant. I asked the waiter if they had any gluten free information (some places do). The waiter asked me to repeat myself, then politely told me, "No, we don't have any free food here."  He asked the manager to stop and talk with me. The manager was quite helpful, and I ordered two fried eggs over hash browns. To his credit, the waiter came back and asked me to explain my question to him so he would understand for future reference.  Another great experience!

I know this transition will take time.  But how reassuring to encounter food industry professionals committed to customer service, consumer safety and education.  :)


Barb said...

Looks like you are getting and giving quite the education.

Stephanie said...

Such a tough job and it sounds like you are trying very hard to learn all the ropes! Good for you. Steph