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Monday, November 28, 2011

Have a Happy Gluten Free Holiday by Stacy

Several years ago, my husband’s whole family was transformed when it found out that a significant number of them are sickened by gluten.  Kids had been crying out in pain in the middle of the night, some were the tiniest ones in their class, and adults were perpetually sick with all sorts of baffling symptoms. 

Luckily, much of that is now under control.  Everyone has had to learn a whole new way of living (I love watching the little ones who can barely read furrow their brows in concentration to go over every ingredient on a snack they’re given).  And though one mistake in a dish can take down the entire family, most meals are as good if not better than before.

This year, we’re having Thanksgiving with MY family which scares me just a little because, as I said, one mistake can have my husband out of commission for weeks.  As I went through the menu with my sister-in-law, I was so grateful that they offered to go out of their way to make many dishes my husband could share. 

If you have a gluten intolerant friend or family member sharing your holidays, cooking a few gluten free dishes (ones without wheat, barley, rye and innumerable other items you’d never believe) isn’t so hard.  The library has many books on the subject to accommodate these needs.  Just a few include:

·             250 Gluten-Free Favorites” by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt-see the recipes for their pumpkin dessert and the pie crust recipes.

·             Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook” by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt- has great sides like mushroom &sweet potato casserole and potato salad.

·             Wheat-Free, Gluten Free” by Michelle Berriedale-Johnson- great turkey stuffing.

·             The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Kitchen” by Donna Klein- some favorites include kasha tabbouleh salad and out of this world pancakes.

Be sure to keep food packages and recipes, so the gluten intolerant guest can double check ingredients.  Even better, consult with the guest ahead of time.  Check the internet to find out which food brands are gluten free (especially on things like turkey and ham).  Never assume!  The most innocuous seeming ingredients can end up being the worst (hello vanilla extract and sour cream—you know I’m talking about you!).  And definitely use different utensils and dishes for the gluten-free items—cross contamination can make people sick.  Just a little prep work and investigation can help make you the perfect, beloved host—so let us help!

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