Monthly Archives: April 2011

“Polly Want a (Gluten-Free) Cracker?”

If only I had time to make homemade crackers, like Teri Gruss at Yum!

When I want a salty crunchy snack, I grab a box of crackers and munch away. Whether you eat them on-the-go as a portable snack and enjoy them paired with dips, cheeses, and meats as an appetizer, crackers are fun and versatile. Even better, there is a wide array of gluten-free cracker brands to be enjoyed, made out of a variety of ingredients, such as almonds, rice, potato starch, or corn starch.

So which are the best gluten-free cracker brands to reach for when you crave a salty snack?

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Easter Sunday Means an Eggy, Gluten-free Week

Phil41dean, your children are adorable.

Sunday is Easter! I don’t know about you, but by me the supermarkets were jammed with weekend shoppers prepping for the festivities.

For today, I just want to focus on one universal part of Easter: the egg. We’ll get to the rest later.

I have fond childhood memories of dying eggs. What we did with them once they were dyed, I couldn’t say – presumably we admired them for a while and then they were turned into egg salad. Or they were drained before we got near them, and the eggs went into some matzah brei. Really, I don’t know.

The salient point is that this is an eggy time of year. Eggs are gluten-free, and they’re also one of my favorite foods.
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Gluten-free Pet Food: Clever or Crazy?

I never paid much attention to the thought of gluten intolerance for dogs. Even my family acquired its first pup – and struggled with getting him to take his daily Benadryl – I dismissed the idea.

People who purchase gluten-free pet food, I assumed, do so because they worry about cross-contamination and about compromising their own systems (both valid concerns) – not because the gluten might make their dogs sick.

Finally, I decided to do a little more research. I’m coming to the party a little late, but what I found out surprised me.

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Gluten-free Justice and a Trip to Amish Country

First, a quick update from the justice desk:

Remember that North Carolina man on trial for selling falsely labeled “gluten-free” bread?

He’s going to jail, according to The News and Observer. Good. I know some of you wanted to destroy his villi one by one, but…hey, a jail sentence isn’t a bad compromise, right?

The man claimed to get a lot of his products from the Amish, which got me thinking: what do the Amish eat? And how many of them have celiac disease?
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Celiac Disease in Iran More Common Than Previously Thought

A few weeks ago Caty wrote about celiac disease in India, where rates of gluten intolerance are historically low but seemingly on the rise.

Today, we take another trip to a lesser-traveled corner of the gluten-free world: Iran.

Serova's mosaic of food in Tehran...looks tasty

A new study, completed in tandem by researchers in Iran and the UK, sought to answer questions about the prevalence of celiac disease in Iran. Up until now, it’s been thought that celiac disease was fairly rare there – however this in not the case.
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Fresh Herbs Add Pizzazz To Every Gluten-Free Dish

You know it’s spring when your herbs start sprouting.

That’s our parsley you see there, aching to be transitioned to the window box. And the basil, suffering from some colic but certain to grow more now that it’s at least outside.

I look forward to growing fresh herbs for lots of reasons. Mostly because they taste so good. And because it’s fun. And also because it’s so silly to go to the store for a bundle that’s been trucked in from who-knows-where but that you could have grown yourself, and then race to use it before it spoils (although I still do this with cilantro. Can never get that stuff to grow, but I love me some guacamole).

The last reason for going out and getting yourself some seeds? You can be gosh-darn-sure that your herbs are cross-contamination free.

OK, ok, fresh herbs aren’t really a source of cross-contamination. But they are gluten-free and delicious, and that’s worth talking about.
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Gluten-free Passover: the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Passover is a special time of year for those of us with celiac disease.

Whether or not you’ve got a spiritual or familiar tie to Passover, the simple fact of the matter is that the dietary restrictions surrounding the holiday are largely gluten-free.

You don't have to go to Seder to enjoy GF Passover!

A quick recap: Passover, or Pesach, celebrates the Jewish people’s escape from slavery in Egypt. It’s when Moses earned his chops, parted the Red Sea, led the people to freedom.

Of course, they left their homes in such a hurry that their bread did not have time to rise – which is why today the Passover celebration includes eating matzah, unleavened bread, and abstaining from chametz.

What’s chametz? Anything that contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats is considered chametz and – if there’s a chance it came into contact with water for more than 18 minutes and had the chance to ferment – it’s not eaten during Passover.

A holiday dedicated to avoiding wheat, barley, rye and oats? Indeed.
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How Sweet! Honey’s a Hit With Gluten-Free Bakers

Here’s an interesting idea put forth by the National Honey Board:

Honey is good for gluten-free baking because it increases the moisture content of your dough.

In theory this sounds pretty reasonable. Honey cakes are usually pretty moist, and the main problem with many gluten-free baked goods is that the dough is dry and crumbly.

Now, the board also claims that honey is especially suited for gluten-free baking because it adds, “exceptional sweetness.” I’m not sure that us gluten-free folks have a different-sized sweet tooth than others, but I won’t raise a fuss: the stuff is delicious and certainly better for you than processed sugar.

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NC Man Faces Felony Charges for Selling “Gluten-free” Bread full of Gluten

he may *look* harmless...

I wish this were an April Fools’, but…

There was a little blurb in my Google alerts yesterday about a North Carolina man who is on trial for selling gluten-containing bread that was labeled gluten-free.

At first I felt bad for the man; the blurb said he claimed his suppliers gave him false information and I imagined a singular cross-contamination issue gone horribly awry.

I was wrong. There is no reason to feel bad. This guy is – if 1/3 of the allegations are true – a wackadoo and a villain. If the trial goes as I imagine it will, he’ll also be a felon.

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