Most large supermarkets and, particularly, specialist health food stores carry a variety of gluten free foods. Visit your local store or go on the web. Talk to friends or support groups who have had experience with coeliac disease or food allergies. Find out all the different flours you can use, and maximize the resources at your fingertips.
To put together a gluten free store cupboard, make sure you have four kinds of flour. I recommend rice, maize, chestnut (for desserts) and Quinoa (for protein.) You’ll need an electric blender, a mixer and a food processor, items that any cook would find useful but that are essential for the preparation of gluten free food. Stock up on plenty of fresh vegetables, lots of good meats, and high quality seafood. Avoid preseasoned foods, as flour may have been added to the seasoning mix.
FACT: The EU allergen labeling directive, which came into effect in 2005, provides consumers with valuable information about what goes into the preparation of foods they buy. All ingredients, including additives, flavorings and processing aids, have to be listed, and known allergens are shown in a separate box on the label.
- When in a supermarket or grocery store, make sure you read the labels.
- Open your mouth and ask questions everywhere you go.
- Once you’ve gone gluten free, don’t hesitate to share your new lifestyle.
Cook for friends and family. Don’t feel deprived – gluten free food is as delicious as any other. For example, food fried in deep fat in the style of the american south has no wheat flour – its made with maize flour/or cornmeal. Dip meat, chicken, vegetables and prawns in maize flour and egg, then in cornmeal, and you’ve got a crunchy, delicious deep fried meal.
A trip to an ethnic grocery store may open up new sources of delicious meals. Maize flour (masa harina), made from ground corn and used to make corn tortillas, works well. Risotto, a staple in Italian cooking, is a delicious alternative to pasta. Try flour substitutes in traditional recipes.
We found that despite owning a good pasta-making machine, commercial gluten free pasta is much more sensible than homemade. So try one of the excellent gluten free pastas available from your health or specialist food store and online retailers.
Remember experimentation is part of the process, so don’t get discouraged. When you start cooking, you may not get it right the first time. Keep trying until you do get it right.
Be creative. Vary ingredients and quantities and follow my recipes in my Facebook page for success. Bon appetit!