Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Inspiration

Some great inspirational holiday ideas for the gluten-intolerant on Gluten-Free Girl, one of my favorite foodie blogs. A permanent link to this and other inspirational food blogs is at left.

So much of coping with food intolerances is about attitude. Think of all the things you can eat, rather than focusing on the ones you can't. Enjoy what you can, and learn ways to adapt your old favorites to your new lifestyle.

For example, we won't be attempting the luscious chocolate cupcakes shown on Gluten-Free Girl since chocolate is a severe allergen for James--technically it's a nerve poison. We get our chocolate fix from the Barley Brownies on Bob's Red Mill website. They're quick, easy, and yummy. The cupcakes call for many ingredients on his allergy list -- dairy, lemon, chocolate -- and baking is a precise art. We are better off looking at other flavors.

Tomorrow I'll be trying two new recipes to transport to a group Thanksgiving: a eggplant-pepper Caponata from Dr. Andrew Weil that's completely safe for James as written, and a sweet potato-pecan pie adapted from John Thorne's Outlaw Cook. For the pie, the only substitution will be using non-dairy milk. I'm going to try cocoanut. And either making a gluten-free crust, or simply baking the pie as a pudding. More on Friday about how these turn out!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Labels: A Good Thing

One considerate hostess we know -- with food sensitives among her family and friends -- goes all out for ingredient listing. These small, elegant signs accompanied each item on her buffet.
From BAERS Russian Tea

A special plate with its own ingredient label, was set aside for James. (There is sometimes a problem when the special food is TOO yummy and gets eaten by the normals before the allergic ones get to the buffet.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holiday Cheer: Dealing with Parties

Parties can be torment for the food-group challenged. Fortunately so many people now have dietary restrictions that few hosts insist on everyone consuming what is set before them. (If you do encounter someone who is old school on this subject, use all your assertiveness training.)

You can help by checking in advance with your host. If food is a major part of the evening, explain the food allergies involved and offer to bring something for the buffet. Since most desserts are toxic to James, and I welcome the chance to make something new, I generally volunteer for sweets.

From Clafouti &c

Here are some photos of our fall favorites at some parties. Learning as I go, I now cut the cakes into bite size pieces and arrange them on a plate I won't miss if it's left behind. I'm stocking up on classy paper plates for the winter gatherings.

From Clafouti &c

I'm also looking into appetizers. There's a caponata that's safe for James as is in the latest newsletter from Dr. Andrew Weil. It is so going to Thanksgiving.

Holiday Cheer: Inventing A New Drink

The weather was cold and damp, it was late at night, and James wanted an eggnog-like drink. Since he's allergic to cow dairy, he thought of almond milk and brandy. We had some Korbel spiced brandy on hand for cooking, and a jigger of that in 3/4 cup warm almond milk, with some grated nutmeg on top, was celebratory enough for us.