Monday, November 28, 2011

NYT Magazine article, and what's missing

This Sunday's New York Times Magazine included an interesting piece: Should We All Go Gluten Free?

You might be surprised to hear that I have some opinions about said article. Since this post does not come with photos, you might be tempted to ignore it, so I shall employ the power of the bulleted list to pull you back in. 
  • The article is mis-titled (Note that article writers almost never write article titles, its up to the editor. Here we have another stunning example why "snappy titles" that have nothing to do with the content irritate people who care about the article)
  • There is a complete omission of the large price difference between gluten filled and gluten-free replacement foods
  • The author ignores the many people, companies, support groups, and facilities that have and DO support people with Celiac Disease, you know, before General Mills thought it a profitable idea.
  • There is no mention of access to care. This directly relates to the 11 year average diagnosis rate for Celiac Disease in the U.S.
  • There is a glossing over of what other "changes" occurred with the reformulation. 
  • Its hard to pick, but possibly the saddest part, is the lack of General Mills using its Big Food money to support and lobby for labeling laws that define "gluten free" in the United States. This would be an amazing way to actually allow people to know what food is and isn't safe.  
I don't not think that every article can do every thing for further the knowledge, understanding, compassion, and access to basic socially and culturally appropriate foods and healthcare, but ignoring half the story makes General Mills sound like a hero, rather than an opportunist.

And it ignores that the products that General Mills produce, benefit SOME people. Those with money, access to care and information, and who speak and read English, and who see gluten-free Bisquick as "food". It also ignores that there are a lot of strings attached to this offer of gluten-free replacement foods.

The reformulation of Chex came along with the addition of the preservative BHT. Trying their product, I found myself wondering, like many did, about its gluten-free nature because it caused digestive unrest. This, yet another omission, by Mr. O'Brien, gives me a less-than-warm-and-fuzzy-feeling about his proximity to General Mills. Maybe he is just a fan, a person who is excited to have more "normal" gluten free options on store shelves. Call me Pollyanna-ish, but I except a lot more from journalists.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving recipe round-up

Yeeeeeeeeeeee hawwwwwwwww

Planning ahead tips
Brining a turkey
Cooking a turkey
Brining and cooking a duck

Stuffing
cranberry orange sauce
cranberry apple sauce
stuffed mushrooms
buttermilk brioche (you could turn them into rolls by doling them out into muffin tins)
brioche
vegan sweet potato cornbread
homemade crackers
chex mix
scones (remove the sugar and you have biscuits!)
apple pie
vegan pumpkin custard
pumpkin pie
English toffee

I am working on some new fun ideas for this year. More squash and greens and cheeses for sure!

FCA receives an FDA grant

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, NFCA, has received an FDA grant to study gluten in medications.

This sort of begs the question why OTC and Rx drugs are allowed to not fully disclose ingredients... but that aside, I will be interested to see the findings.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pumpkin breakfast muffins

Its moving from smoothie to decidedly not-smoothie-for-breakfast weather and I have started up my quest for more interesting breakfast options. I have been throwing beets and carrots into breakfast bars, breads, and loafs as a way of upping the fiber and adding a little sweetness - not to mention terrifyingly awesome hues to my morning snack.

This batch was a little hodge-podgey. The batter was looking rather dry, so I added some applesauce last minute. It helped with the flavor and texture, but the final muffins took a long time to bake - though their centers remained very moist.

Pumpkin breakfast muffins

The wet team
3/4 cup water
3 tbsp psyllium husk (you could use flax seed meal if you like)
3/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup dates chopped
1 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup maple syrup

The dry team
1 cup almond meal
1 cup millet flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp mace
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp coriander

The stir-ins
2 cups chopped fruits & veggies (beets, apples, oranges, cranberries)
1/2 nuts/seeds + 1/4 cup for topping the muffins (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)

1. Combine the wet ingredients and mix well.
2. Slowly add in the dry ingredient in batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
3. With the mixer off, stir in the fruit and nuts.
4. Dish into muffin tins and top with additional nuts.
5. Bake at 350F for 45-1 hour.
6. Enjoy your super high fiber muffins that don't taste like cardboard!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New favorite hard cider - Clos Normand

This is my hands-down new favorite beverage. (That's right, its trumping all other gluten-free alcoholic beverages!)

Clos Normand Brut is now at the tippity-top of my favorites list.

It is everything I want an alcoholic cider to taste like. Dry, dry as a bone. If you have peeped my thoughts on gf beer, you know that my biggest complaint is that they are too sweet. They taste more like wine than beer, and often the carbonation is small and not really at full capacity.

It smells a bit smoky and of apple juice, not like floral apple orchards. The taste is much milder, mellow, and almost light. There is no hint of smoke in the flavor and the finish is very clean.