Monthly Archives: October 2010

A Question of Etiquette: Gluten-free Guests

My friend just got engaged. I am, of course, thrilled for her. We spent some time the other week looking at photos of venues and talking about the merits of round tables versus square and all that fun stuff. It’s good times, but it got me thinking:

What are the rules when you’re a gluten-free guest?

There’s no easy way to fit this into one post, so for now let’s just think about being a guest at a catered party, one that you’re at for social reasons. We’ll get to the other topics – business events, house parties, being the host, etc. – another time.

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Nix the Tricks with Gluten-Free Candy

Celiac Jack loves gluten-free candy!

Celiac Jack loves gluten-free candy!

A safe Halloween is always a happy Halloween.

For most parents, this means carefully combing through each child’s candy haul to ensure each treat is trick-free. But while other parents watch out for dangers like poisons or sharps, the parents of Celiac children must also beware the presence of hidden gluten.

Some candies obviously contain gluten, like Kit Kats, Twix, and other cookie-based treats.

But there are others you might never expect.

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Naturally Gluten-free, Risotto Recipes for all Seasons

Risotto. Say the first half quick, then draw out the “t” – riz-ot-to. Now say, “yum, yes please.” I can’t think of a better food for those in-between seasons days, where it’s just a little cool outside but there’s still plenty of good fresh produce.

Or for those downright cold or rainy days, where just the act of leaving the house requires supernatural motivation.

Or for any day, really. Risotto, I could eat it with a fox, in a box, here or there, anywhere.

Shrimp Risotto

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How To Make Gluten-Free Quiche

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Quiche is an egg-sellent (sorry, but I had to say it!) way to use up any of the old vegetables, cheese, or meat languishing in your fridge. This hearty anytime meal is also super easy to serve to large groups of people. I like that you can make it the night before; for breakfast, all you have to do is pop the quiche in the oven rather than frying eggs and bacon over a hot griddle. Of course, since quiche is a pie, it is supposed to have a crust, which can be tricky for those on a gluten-free diet. However, a lot of creative cooks have come up with some great ideas for replacing the pie crust with gluten-free alternatives!

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Happy Memories of Halloween, Gluten-Free or Not

What are your childhood Halloween memories?

Mine, in no specific order –

  • Some long-since forgotten girl’s Halloween birthday party, where we bobbed for apples in the backyard
  • Dressing as Wednesday Addams and cutting the head off one of my dolls to complete the costume
  • The neighborhood dentist, who gave out sugar-free candy (lame! And, probably, full of aspartame)
  • Convincing myself that it was OK to be the Farmer’s Wife when four of us wanted to go as the Three Blind Mice
  • Being scared witless by “Jason” on a haunted hay ride

Generally, I guess my memories have less to do with candy than with all the accoutrements – but I wonder how they would have changed, had I been experiencing a gluten-free Halloween.

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The Celiac Tax? Capitalizing on the Gluten-free Community

In the spirit of Laura’s most recent post, I’d like to ask a semi-related question:

Do you ever feel like you’re being taken advantage of because of celiac disease?

Because sometimes, I do. I know that we’re a bit more “difficult” to take care of than a typical restaurant guest. Gluten-free pasta means boiling a separate pot of water. Gluten-free flours cost more. Keeping a dedicated fryer and a clean prep surface takes resources. And on and on and on.

And yet – there are times when I am totally jazzed about going to a restaurant that promises to cater to gluten-free diners, until I find out that there’s a 30% surcharge on my sandwich. Or that for the price of the markup on my single serving of gluten-free pasta, I could buy a pound of the stuff in the supermarket. Somehow, it just doesn’t taste as good anymore.

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Opinion Poll: Is Mainstream Media Coverage of Gluten-Free Good or Bad?

Yesterday at 7am, CNN’s food blog, Eatocracy, published an article about gluten (and gluten-free!) on its front page. On the same morning, 1.3 million readers extracted a gluten-free special interest report from the folds of their Chicago Tribunes.

A few weeks ago, Michelle wrote a post on the recent trendiness of the gluten-free diet (check it out to see a video of the Old Spice Guy admitting his tribulations with the gluten-free diet), and Emily covered The Wall Street Journal’s well-intentioned attempt to set the gluten-free record straight.

Here at Triumph, we’re torn about whether all of this coverage is good or bad, and we’ve been bickering about it for weeks. We know that all the hype is giving us more gluten-free options (even the Today show featured gluten-free cupcakes!), but what is it doing to our potential for being glutened? Will we be able to convince restaurants to be extra fastidious in preparing our gluten-free meals, when someone at the next table just claimed to be gluten-free and then asked for soy sauce? Or, will that soy sauce automatically be gluten-free, because it was requested so many times?

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Anything Gluten Can Do, We Can Do Better?

Some gluten-free food doesn’t taste so good. It’s true. Some of it tastes fine, and that’s about all you can say about it.

But. But! Some things, we do really well. And some things, we do even better than the wheat-eaters. I’m feeling fairly triumphant these days, and thought we could all use a couple of minutes to self-congratulate.

Here’s one example of a food that is improved when the wheat is knocked out: roux. This flour-and-fat thickening agent, pillar of French cuisine, often ruins cream-based soups and sauces for the gluten-free community.

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Gluten-Free Carrot Cake: A Recipe and A Review

carrotcakeCarrot cake is a treat that most children avidly avoid, because what kid wants vegetables in their dessert? I say we grown-ups keep the deception up, because that means there are extra slices for those of us who know that the carrots are the secret to this cake’s moisture and flavor! And it is easily turned gluten-free because the added density and moisture of gluten-free cakes works to carrot cake’s advantage. Here’s a few recipes if you want to try your hand at making gluten-free carrot cake from scratch (also see Sarah’s roundup of gluten-free carrot cake recipes):

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Wacky, Wonderful, Gluten-free Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki noodles. They’re gluten-free, generally carb- and calorie-free, and made of the konjac plant, otherwise known as devil’s tongue, voodoo lily, snake palm or elephant yam.

With a list of names like that, it should come as no surprise that these are some funky noodles. It’s tough to give a good description — they don’t have much of a taste at all, and the texture is similar to a glass noodle or rice noodle. Have you ever had them?

Shirataki Noodles, take 2

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