Saturday, January 26, 2013

Wheat Free - the absence of wheat or the presence of something different?

After a week of not eating wheat, Olivia is now waking up every three hours, rather than every one to two hours. So that's a huge improvement. I've been exploring the world of gluten-free knock-offs of wheaty foodstuffs. It's not a completely new world to me. Twice I've had a cousin with celiacs stay with us, and a friend of mine has had to go wheat free recently. Last week I tried a gluten-free pasta (Italian-made, no less) and Friday we ordered a gluten-free pizza. The problem I am having is that I enjoy the taste of wheat. The texture of the pasta and the pizza crust were pretty spot on, but the flavor wasn't right, and I didn't really enjoy them. I've had gluten-free cookies that are pretty good, but most cookies don't taste of wheat anyway. The wheat is a vehicle for butter, sugar, chocolate chips, cinnamon, whatever. I've also tried brown rice pasta that I enjoyed, although admittedly, so far I have only used it to make Chinese-style dishes. This weekend I am going to try it with tomato sauce.

I think the problem I am having is that I have an avversion to anything "faux." The site of vegan sour cream turns my stomach, and I find fake fur almost as offensive as real fur. So the pastas and the pizzas that are trying to taste like wheat bother me, because they are trying really hard to be something they aren't, and will never be. A pasta that wants to taste like wheat, but doesn't, lacks an honest flavor of it's own. I prefer the brown rice pasta that isn't trying to be something it isn't and is instead unabashedly what it is. I'm going to try some gluten-free baking. I'd like to have muffins as an alternative to oatmeal for breakfast, pancakes for weekend breakfasts, and some quick breads or cookies for snacks. Rather than try to replicate the blueberry muffins made of wheat flour though, I want to make buckwheat muffins that taste of buckwheat and oat muffins that taste of oats. I've been finding recipes online for gluten-free baked goods that focus on the flavor of the gluten-free flours, rather than trying to replicate the taste of wheat flours. I hope to learn something about baking, and maybe even find some recipes that I will enjoy making even after I can go back to eating wheat.

In the meantime, here is another cute picture of Olivia, the reason for this new pain-in-the-butt-yet-somehow-fascinating turn of events in my eating and cooking.



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