In my quest to find gluten-free food that is at least vaguely tasty, I’ve come to a rather startling realization.
It would seem that a lot of manufacturers feel the need to make these items trendy, if not tasty, as I fear they think in their little corporate marketing heads that those who profess such an intolerance can somehow be linked to the hippy movement of the 70s – you know, peace, love, beads, and possibly mind-altering drugs.
Well I’m here to tell you that a lot of their goods are teeth-altering in their likeness to sharp chunks of concrete. Take gluten-free cereal. Oh, there’s loads of good stuff in them, but the powers that be insist on putting trendy seeds and grains in there that frankly have no intention of being digested.
I refer you to flax seed. Approximately the size of a very small grain of rice, it comes complete with husk, and I can absolutely guarantee you I have never swallowed one of them. How do I know, I hear you ask? Well, I shall tell you.
If you look very carefully at the offending seed under a microscope you will discover the husk is actually made up of teeny, tiny suction cups, which once placed in a solid container and doused in liquid of any variety, it goes into siege mentality and attaches itself limpet-like to the bowl. When it comes time to clean up, you dutifully take the bowl to the sink and run it under hot water and attack vigorously with a brush, and yet still the flax seed stubbornly remains.
Poppy seeds have similar attributes, but rather than hang about in the bowl, they prefer lodging themselves between your teeth that your friends are too polite to point out, and so you go through your day with ever so attractive black bits marring your otherwise sunny smile.
Another breed of a trendy, ever-so-healthy, gluten-free offering comes in the form of odd vegetables. Kale when cooked isn’t too bad, but it, like its latter-day partner red cabbage, when eaten raw has the consistency of very young trees without much else going for them – flavor certainly being on the missing side of the ledger.
I discovered some gluten-embarrassed English muffins, and my first run at them wasn’t bad at all. They vaguely toasted, and apart from the odd cornmeal grit, came almost up to scratch.
I tried a different brand, the muffins looking much more like their wheaty relatives, to find that this particular one had the density and weight of a hockey puck, and I then discovered the difference – this one was made with brown rice flour.
Do you remember the brown rice trend in the long-dim past? Brown rice, like a freshly podded pea, never, ever gets soft.
I must confess a bit of a yearning from some good Italian bread, but I shall be good and go and “enjoy” my bowl of flax, poppy seed, shards of concrete breakfast, followed up by a hearty sapling lunch.
And I shall write my first poem – Ode to a Glutinous Grain.
Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.