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The Daily Bitch…. Celiac. It’s a Good Thing. Six Reasons for Gluten-Free Rejoicing.

1 Feb

Ever since I was diagnosed with celiac, everyone has been telling me how great it is that I’m going gluten-free.  They bring me gluten-free muffins and send me links to new recipes for cornbread and piecrust.  They’re waiting for me to embrace my new reality, and I want to be grateful, really I do.  But try as I might, I still haven’t discovered the upside of giving up gluten.  Maybe I’ll get there, but right now I’m working on making it through my errands without having a mini-breakdown.

For example, today I really felt like making angel food cake with chocolate frosting.  It’s a favorite of mine.  But angel food cake is all about fluffy, airy stretchiness and, as we all know, if you want a cake like that, you need gluten.  So when I walked down the aisle with the angel food cake mixes (okay, I don’t bake this from scratch – shoot me), I had to put on my dark glasses so all the other shoppers wouldn’t think I was going through a bad divorce.  Yesterday was similar, except yesterday I was fantasizing about chicken pot pie with a buttermilk biscuit crust.  Different aisle, same sunglasses.

Angel food cake.

You think I’m exaggerating, and I wish I were.  I’m not proud of my obsessive focus on food, or my inability to recognize – no matter how often I’m told – how fortunate I am to be eating the same diet as Gwyneth Paltrow.  I’ve been working on a little list of reasons I should be grateful I’m gluten-free, a list I can pull out every time I start to feel pissed off about never, ever again taking bite of sourdough bread without feeling guilty.

In case you ever start feeling sad about having celiac disease, I will share my list with you.  I’ll give you a sneak peek right now, of just the first reason.  Tomorrow and the next day, I’ll tell you the rest.  Then you, too, will be able to look on the bright side of gluten-free. In a world without angel food cake, you need a nice list every now and again.

How lucky am I to have celiac? Let me count the ways…

  1. I’ve been diagnosed!  A lot of people with celiac go to doctor after doctor trying to figure out why they feel so lousy, only to be misdiagnosed or told it’s all in their head.  So, and this is what my doctor says, how wonderful that I know for sure I have celiac.  But here’s the thing: I got my diagnosis out of the blue, when I felt just fine.  What would you rather do: feel fine and eat whatever you want, or feel fine and order “grilled chicken, no sauce,” when you go out for Thai food? I know it’s wrong, but in this case I would definitely go for blissful, glutinous ignorance.

Tune in tomorrow for more reasons to be glad you’ve got celiac.   Woo hoo.  Really.

Today’s Treat:  Black Salt Caramel Bar, by Vosges.  It is ridiculously expensive, so expensive I am too ashamed to tell you how much it costs.  I hide the bar in my desk and my daughters find it.  Then we have a little fight about how to divide it up.  Then I go back to the store the next day and buy another one.  It’s better than Oxycontin (not that I would know). www.vosgeschocolate.com, but I buy them at Whole Foods and New Leaf in Santa Cruz.  BTW – Vosges sells gluten-free truffles, too.  And yet they don’t identify my favorite candy bar as “gluten-free.”  Which makes me wonder….  But not enough to do anything about it.

Black Salt Caramel Bar, hiding with the flashcards.

Bye-bye for now,

Enid

The Daily Bitch… Goodbye to all that.

27 Jan

Here are two things I’ve been meaning to do: 

Learn to make a perfect, killer, fluffy, rich chocolate cake, and become the kind of woman who is always pulling a loaf of gorgeously rustic, crusty-yet-tender homemade bread out of her oven.

I was waiting to learn both of those skills until I had a little bit more time, until my children were in college, until I found the right friend, or book, or teacher.  Sometimes I would fantasize about learning to bake these things, and I would see myself  (a thinner, wiser, more beautiful and evolved version of me, wearing a cute apron) standing in my kitchen admiring the perfect cake or bread I had just produced.

Yep. Look at that beautiful, crusty bread.

I have aunts and cousins and friends who bake cake and bread frequently and well. Just as I have friends and relations who run marathons, keep immaculate homes, and curl their eyelashes.  I would like to be a tidy, wide-eyed long distance runner too, but what I really focused on during my fantasies was the cake and the bread.  Tall, fluffy, toothsome cakes and breads.  Yum.

But now it’s too late. 

While I was busy in my dream state, planning all those delicacies, cutting out all those recipes, creating files for them, reading New York Times articles about the new, fool-proof bread-making method, so easy that even a child could make it, my body was busy screwing me over.  Silently.  I was trying to decide whether I wanted to begin with a francese or a sourdough, and wondering if Cousin Wendy would give me some of her twenty-year-old starter, while unbeknownst to me the cilia in my intestines were lying down and playing dead.

I guess that’s what they mean by Carpe Diem.  All the time I was supposed to be seizing, all I was doing was dreaming.  Now I am a celiac person (I really don’t like that whole “patient” thing), and my reality is gluten-free.

At least there are cocktails.

Today’s Treat:  Lillet blanc on the rocks, with a tangerine twist.  Dark chocolate-covered almonds for dessert.  www.lillet.com (I buy it at Whole Foods); http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/products/954 (almonds available online, at Whole Foods near you, or at Trader Joes).

Bye-bye for now,

Enid

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