I follow Home Ec 101 in my google reader. Her most recent post is written as a letter to someone who will be hosting someone with gluten intolerance/sensitivities in their house. I like the easy to read nature of the article as well as the excellent suggestions of what to cook. I’ve already had one friend, (ahem- Lori), that has asked me what they would need to do for when we come eat over there again. At the time, I was feeling VERY overwhelmed myself and so I didn’t know what to say. I think I might have said something like, “I will let you know when I figure it out.” Well, I am still figuring it out- I do GREAT at home, out w/o Internet connectivity is another issue. Regardless, Lori- this is me “getting back to you.” HA HA! Also, if you REMOTELY think there is a chance that I will eat at your house sometime before Christ comes back, or I die- whichever comes first, then please read the following informative post.

Here are a few excerpts:

“Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, barley, and rye. It’s what gives bread products their bouncy, chewy texture, and pastries their tenderness. Its elasticity is what gives products that rise… the stretchiness to rise. And more and more these days, people are cutting it out of their diet because it makes them sick.

What kinds of foods should I avoid serving?

Anything that has wheat, rye, or barley in it. Your all-purpose flour is ground wheat. As is your baking flour. Most likely, any flour in your house is going to be made of wheat. This means no “normal” breads, pastas, roux, cupcakes, pizza.

But there are sneaky sources of gluten, too. Processed foods manufacturers sometimes use the many properties of gluten to help with consistency or for filler. Sometimes, gluten is in products you would never expect it to be in. So processed foods can be a minefield. Sneaky sources of gluten include soy sauce, salad dressings, marinades, some cold cuts/deli meats, canned/tinned chili and soups… The list goes on. I always am sure to read the labels—even for products I’ve bought before, in case they’ve changed the recipe.

And just to be even more complicated, there are common ingredients which also equal gluten which don’t sound like they do. “Wheat flour,” sure. Sounds like it has gluten. But remember that barley has gluten, too, and malt comes from barley, so that “malt” that’s in Rice Krispies makes them no longer gluten free. Also, “modified food starch” may or may not come from wheat flour, so some avoid that as well.”

This has been the big kicker for me… the hardest thing to avoid when I am out and about… CROSS CONTAMINATION!

“Crumbs get in the butter or are lying in wait on the counter. Or are lurking in your toaster. Croutons were tossed into the salad in a bowl, leaving contamination. Gluten has gotten trapped in the grain or the cuts in your cutting board, or in the joints in your pastry knife, or in your colander when you drained pasta. Gluten gets everywhere!”

Here are a few easy menu items…
“‘Naturally’ gluten-free meals are ones which don’t require any special products, and little-to-no substitution or alteration. For example, steak and corn on the cob and baked potatoes are all gluten-free. Just make sure the steak marinade is gluten-free (Better yet? Please don’t marinade that steak. Salt and pepper are gluten-free, and all you need to do a good steak justice), and use a new stick of butter for the corn and potatoes so it doesn’t have crumbs in it, and you’re all set. On the other hand, pasta suppers require gluten-free pastas and gluten-free garlic bread, and while tomato sauces are generally gluten free you always have to make sure.”

To read the entire article (it is lengthy and GOOD!) go to…
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (And Has to Eat Gluten Free!)