The Joy Of (gluten-free) Cooking

It has been an adjustment, to say the least. The flours feel gritty and dry, not soft and well, flour-y, like wheat flour does. The concept of bread that you mix, not knead, has been difficult to wrap my brain around. Matthew, on finding out that his pizza crusts would be spread, and not twirled and laid down neatly on a piping hot pizza stone, was sniffly about the lack of the Maillard reaction.

The glazed ham that I made last Friday had gluten in the glaze. I hadn’t even thought to check. Everything in a box or a bag or a wrapper has to be scrutinized and Google’d and deemed safe or unsafe. My kitchen is full of Ziplock bags labeled with their contamination status. “GF MUFFIN MIX.” “GF PIZZA MIX.” “GLUTEN – DO NOT EAT.”

My pantry is stuffed to the gills with flours and chemicals. Tapioca flour. White rice flour. Brown rice flour. Sweet rice flour. Sorghum flour. Garfava flour. Potato flour. Potato starch. Potato flakes. Teff flour. Egg replacer, because Bette Hagman favors that instead of cracking a damned egg and I’m not substituting eggs back into a recipe that is already finicky about the liquid ratio. Almond meal. Corn starch, enough to thicken the gravy of a nation, because it’s not just a thickener anymore, nope, it’s a flour. Dough enhancer. Gelatin. Xanthan gum and, because recipe writers can’t decide which is better, guar gum.

That said…

The cookies that I made got rave reviews from everyone, but most vocally from the kids. “I can’t even tell it is gluten-free, Mom.” That would be the raspberry jam topping speaking. The chocolate pound cake was eagerly inhaled. “Needs more chocolate chips!” The pizza crust could have used another ten minutes in the oven, but it was definitely pizza. I have plans for a cherry pie for Matthew’s upcoming birthday.

It’s food.

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