Since I was diagnosed with grain intolerance in October of 2012, Thanksgiving was my first holiday without grains. The Girl Scout in me said that preparation would make the difference between a successful grain free holiday and starvation. My mother hosts the holiday every year and had no intention of changing her menu. This was totally understandable, none of us knew a single grain free recipe and I was still making bread with gluten free flour that contained sorghum, a little known grain. Yeah, I had a lot to learn!
I tried my best to bring food that I could eat. I brought the bread that I had been making, a stuffing I had made from the bread, I brought my usual potato skin casserole, and some grain free chocolate chip cookies (I later learned that mix contained sorghum as well). Because the flour I was using at the time contained garbanzo bean flour, the bread, cookies, and stuffing all tasted way to much like beans. I’ve put a lot of time into perfecting my bread recipe since then and I have to say, it doesn’t taste at all like beans anymore. It tastes like a homemade sweet bread made from white flour!
As we ate, I got lots of questions. Why wasn’t I eating the appetizers? Weren’t the stuffed mushrooms delicious? To each of these I explained that I’m unable to eat grains due to an allergy. The question was always followed by a gasp and then this question, “You can’t eat grains, does that mean you’re gluten free?” I tried to be polite and explain that gluten is the protein found in wheat. I am gluten free but not just gluten free, I have an allergy or sensitivity to the proteins in all grains including rice, oats, corn, barley, quinoa, etc. This was followed by the question, “You can’t eat wheat, you can’t eat rice, what can you eat?” I gave my standard response: “meat, fruit, vegetables, chocolate, and wine.”
It wasn’t the greatest holiday for me. I kind of felt like a freak, between not being able to eat all the foods that I had been accustomed to eating and the ridiculous questions that folks were asking about my diet, and the unbearable pain from the endometriosis, I just wanted to hide! Needless to say, I drank a lot and made my way through the holiday as best I could.
Needless to say, this Thanksgiving is going to be a lot different than last year’s. No, my host isn’t being any more accommodating-that’s a topic for another blog post. The difference is that I’ve done my research and created recipes that are grain free but don’t taste different from grain based recipes. I’ve learned to cook many more grain free recipes over the past year. This year our menu will feature Italian Peasant Soup, potato skin casserole, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, roasted candied carrots, creamed spinach, homemade cranberry sauce, chocolate chip bars, and bread pudding