Chocolate Gingerbread, Gluten-Free Goddess Style.
In the deep midwinter, I cheer my fragile spirit by baking. I put on Yo Yo Ma and stir cocoa laced batter with a wooden spoon, imagining my fellow gluten-free bakers- all of you- out there- standing in your humble kitchens, beating strange flours and non-traditional ingredients with an odd blend of dread and hope. Crossing fingers and scooping tea bread, cake and muffin batter, rolling cookie dough between nervous palms, praying to the kitchen gods.
By Winter Solstice I will celebrate another gluten-free anniversary. December 19, 2001 was the day I decided to shun gluten forever. What timing. Right before Christmas. I could have waited until December 26th. Or even the New Year. But I didn’t. I couldn’t.
As soon as I connected the dots- from my plague of symptoms to their instigator gluten- I couldn’t wait to begin my new life. If I had eaten my very last buttery croissant, so be it. If I had unknowingly crunched my last iced sugar cookie, so what. I was done.
Few of us have to make such choices.
Millions of Americans can eat pizza and bagels and Fruit Loops till the cows come home. Donuts and Ding Dongs and frozen pie crusts? No problem. Gluten isn’t on their radar, never mind in their daily nomenclature. It’s a punch line in a TV sit com. Something chefs and foodies either kvetch about or flirt with, eyeing the growing gluten-free awareness trend as a dietary bandwagon. Or maybe an opportunity to garner a little extra revenue. They’re mildly interested, but non-committal. Privately? They’re amused. The fad aspect will fade. Eventually.
And those of us with particular celiac-prone genes, and blunted villi, and itchy wheat-induced rashes will still be here. Living gluten-free. Baking gluten-free. Wheat-free. Day after day. Wrestling with creative ingredients and conjuring kitchen magic for our kids, our families, or ourselves, or our newly diagnosed best friend.
Keeping the faith, one recipe at a time.
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