I am not strictly gluten-free – much too hard in the heart of what was once the flour milling capital of the world. But I have found that I have more energy when I stay clear of it.
I was at a conference last weekend, and while they had asked ahead for conferees to let them know of any special dietary needs, I didn’t bother to mention my desire to steer clear of gluten, because I am not technically allergic to it and I do not have celiac disease. One meal of gluten wasn’t going to make that much difference for me.
Imagine my pleasant surprise when the lunch meal consisted of make-your-own-salad and stuff-your-own-baked potato. How clever! One meal to suit everyone. There were even several large pans of gluten-free bars made out of rice chex. Very yummy.
The next day my daughter and I were baking some gluten-free brownies. The last time I baked these they were enjoyed just as much as the regular brownies. She was having fun tasting all of the ingredients – a favorite past time of hers when she was tiny.
As all of you gluten-free cooks out there know, xanthan gum is an important addition to many gluten-free baked goods to keep them stuck together properly. My daughter stuck her finger into some, and tasted it.
“It doesn’t have much taste, Mom, but it sure is sticking to my finger and feels kind of slimy.”
“Yup, that’s because it is dried out bug spit. You are eating bug spit!”
“Yuck, Mom!” And then she proceeded to wipe the rest of the xanthan gum from her finger to my cheek. I guess I asked for that.
“Don’t say anything else that makes me want to throw up, Mom!”
And we think eating fish eyes is gross! I won’t give up my xanthan gum, I just try not to think of where it came from, just like when I eat moldy cheese.