So it's been several months since I gave up the gluten (among other things). It's actually been a less painful process than I imagined, mainly because now I only eat ice cream.
HAHAHAAA! Just kidding. I'm down to one ice cream meal per day.
I've made adjustments - switched to gluten free cereal, making my tuna melts in a bowl instead of on toast, crying more. I really only find it problematic when I'm out and need a quick snack. On a recent trip, I had a rice krispie treat for breakfast, because that's the only gluten-free thing they had (and I was happy to have it).
But the biggest adjustment I've had to make is letting go of hope that I would be able to fill the donut gap with reasonable facsimiles of same.
I like to bake. I was on the protein diet for years and have stomached many a pseudo-carb meal. But after six months of barfingly disappointing gluten-free home baking, I've come to understand that unless certain items are in the hands of master bakers (i.e. NOT ME) they will not taste good.
Simply put, when you replace wheat flour with gluten free flour, there is...A TASTE. I do not like The Taste. And it's made worse because I have real problems managing my expectations about what things will taste like.
For example, if I make pancakes out of eggs, milk and almond meal (a protein-diet staple), I expect them to taste like almond-meal pancakes. If I make pancakes from a gluten-free pancake mix, I expect them to taste like regular pancakes, even though I know the mix is gluten-free. And then, when the pancakes taste like 10 kinds of ass with syrup on top, it's like getting kicked in the mouth AND the nuts.
So I'm officially giving up trying to bake with gluten substitutes. That way lies heartache. Instead, I'm going to focus my baking efforts on items that don't call for flour in the first place. Like cheesecake. Sweet, sweet cheesecake.
But there are some gluten-free products that I actually enjoy and I thought I'd compile a list for the afflicted among you - or if you have gluten-free friends and you don't know how to feed them breakfast or dessert. You're welcome.
Mi-del gingersnaps: They actually taste pretty great - we used to get them before the gluten curtain fell - and they're not too bad as cheesecake crust, particularly when you mix them with almond or some other nut meal (but not hazelnuts for me, because apparently I can't have those).
Nature's Path gluten-free cereals. They're crunchy, corn/rice/amaranth-based goodness. And the Crunchy Maple Sunrise in particular is delightful.
Nature's Path wildberry gluten-free waffles. We actually used to get these before the gluten got me. They are very light but don't taste weird. But DON'T GET THE MESA SUNRISE WAFFLES. Or the Flax ones. Those ones taste like warm cardboard.
KinnickKinnick personal pizza crust. These are supposed to be "thin and crispy". I find they're actually little doughy for my taste but overall I enjoy them, because they mean I get to eat pizza.
KinnickKinnick graham cracker crumbs. These are effing great as cheesecake crust. Great texture, very firm and unless you eat a big mouthful of crust without cheesecake attached, you wouldn't be able to tell it's gluten-free. High praise indeed.
Red Mill cornbread mix. ONLY OKAY IF YOU ADD EXTRA CORN AND YOU TOAST IT WELL BEFORE EATING and slather it with margarine and dip it in your chili. Otherwise, you get "the taste".
Red Mill shortbread cookie mix. These taste only a little weird. But they are also very buttery. Consume with restraint if you don't want to end up in the ladies' shitter all ding dong night.
I have a Red Mill cinnamon raisin bread mix and brownie mix in my cupboard right now but am afraid to try them because I made some gluten-free Mercer lemon and ginger cookies last week with Red Mill gluten free flour and OH MY GOD THE TASTE! THE TASTE! Blarg.
In completely unrelated news, Katr and I were in the Vancouver Sun today - and not because we got arrested at a Justin Bieber concert. It's a serious news story about the big telcom companies in Canada trying to screw us over internet bandwith caps. Which is why we look so serious. Sign the petition! Fight the man!