Friday, January 6, 2012

Good Food Friday: The Ups and Downs of Gluten Free

No actual recipe today friends.  Just a story about food... 

I love a challenge, in the kitchen that is.  There is such a feeling of accomplishment when I can convert a conventional recipe to a healthier version.  It started with changing simple ingredients like sour cream to homemade yogurt or butter for applesauce.  Then I ventured into adding some extra things like nuts or seeds.  I was feeling good, making things from scratch with almost 100% success, cutting out all the fillers and extra processed components of recipes.

About 4 years ago our family physician suggested we try our second son on a gluten free diet.   My first thought was I am totally up for this; he will miss out on nothing.  I read and studied and experimented and tested, learning the properties of the various flours and the ratio of butter to eggs.  I was really proud of my accomplishments.  I even found a decent recipe for bread.  (The store bought stuff while gluten free had a TON of extra processed garbage in them!)  So basically the entire family went gluten free.  It was not a difficult decision to make, it was simply easier than making two different meals. Minus the bread.  There will always be two kinds of bread in my fridge, both homemade, one spelt the other gluten free.

A year ago, in another challenging attempt to save a few bucks, I bought a pasta machine.  Not one of those you can see in the late night infomercials that blend and extrude but the shiny old fashioned metal kind with the clamp and the crank.  Oh it is beautiful.  Once a week, usually Thursdays, I bring the machine down from the top shelf in the pantry, pour myself a glass of red wine (what is a good pasta dinner without one!) and crank out the good stuff.

Honestly, it's  okay.  This is the one thing that is killing me about gluten free.  I have done so much reading and testing that I feel by now I should have struck gold, but I'm still not happy.  So much of pasta making is in the ingredients.  I have used only farm eggs and fresh ground rice flour.  But the one thing I absolutely do not want in my pasta are the very ingredients that determine its success... fillers.   Starches.  Empty calories.  Corn based binders.  Really?  I have come all the way to run into this.

Yesterday all I could think about was making ravioli.  At two, I assembled the fillings.  At three I had finished researching a new pasta recipe.  By four, I was making a second batch of dough, with my standard and somewhat disappointing recipe.  Big sigh.  Huge sigh.  Here is what the four hour project/finished ravioli looked like...

and you can see by my kids plates they had no complaints.

Neither did my husband...

But by my fourth square, I was done.  It did not taste like I wanted it to.  Like I dreamed about all afternoon.  Like I remember before going gluten free.

So why?  Why keep on trying?  Keep falling short...

Because the chance of success, a total complete success, is just so close. This entire post may see kind of negative but I promise you I never see it that way.  In my experience, all of the best things I have achieved were difficult.   Having kids young.  Getting through school.  Learning to cook and bake.  Being involved.  Having more kids.  Building a home.  Making time to be me.  Having one more kid.   Soon I will have this under my belt too.   I have learned so much.  I'm sure I take most of it for granted now, I know the kids do, in a good way.  They know that I can make anything and never doubt my experiments.  So I'll keep going and failing and succeeding because in the end I believe it is the journey that counts.

How about you? C'mon, share your success/failure stories...


Gluten Free Inspiration -- some sites I visit often for all their yummy recipes and super ideas!

Gluten Free Recipes - Elana's Pantry
Elena's Pantry :  A very clean and simple site with awesomely nutritious foods

Making Love in the Kitchen :  Meghan is an inspiration!  All her foods are insanely creative and yummy!

Know of any others???  Share the love... We gluten free people need to stick together!


Also, don't forget to let us know you are out there and reading!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the VERY kind compliment. Doing all I can to make gluten-free a walk in the sun by the beach.. with a calm sea.


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