I was thrilled by Kim Severson’s piece on the gluten-free trend because it points a light, yet again, on … but god, aren’t there enough klieg lights on American’s stupidity, gullibility, and laziness already? And yet even Severson herself quotes a chef, thereby giving the piece its own kind of reporter’s credibility, saying that the gluten-free fad is here to stay.
This, despite noting that only 1% of the population is actually badly affected by gluten, and that there is scant evidence that there’s anything wrong with this wonderful protein combination.
A grocer I know said he didn't know if it was a good or a bad thing, the gluten-free fad, but he was loving the hell out of it.
If Americans’ lack of self-awareness, or even awareness generally, weren’t already on painful display almost everywhere, and especially in the most important places on earth, Jimmy Kimmel found it on the street when he asked people advocating and adhering to a gluten-free diet, what in fact gluten is. They had no idea.
They had no idea.
Again, they had no idea what gluten was, why exactly they were avoiding it, and why it even might be bad for them.
Really? You’re hired!
I’ll say this again: Don’t listen to me. Think for yourself. My thinking and reading lead me to believe that the root of America’s chronic food diseases has to do with refined sugar, refined wheat, highly refined processed food, Wheat Thins, Coca-Cola, Snackwell’s, etc. But I don’t know. Really—maybe it is the genetically modified shit in the Snackwell’s, or in the Lay's potato chips, that is doing the damage, and not the sugar. No one knows. Think for yourself. (Case in point: I like Lay's potato chips—potatoes, oil, and salt. But the baked Lay's? They put sugar in them. Pay attention.)
One thing we do seem to know is that if you eat whole foods, unrefined foods, in good proportion and balance, food you have to actually cook, it’s not going to hurt you. It might very well be good for you, if only by making you happy and comfortable and nourished.
If you really want to, or must, go gluten-free, have a look at this excellent post by the excellent Gluten-Free Girl. Or listen to Carol Blymire: "For those of us with celiac, it's not a fad. That said, the attention-seeking, me-me-me-ness of people (with celiac and not) has gotten way out of hand when it comes to wanting/needing gluten-free food in restaurants."
You really want to go gluten-free? Here's what Carol says you can't eat: "No bread, pasta, Chinese food, pizza, beer, Twizzlers, couscous, French fries that have been fried in the same oil as something battered, cake, pie, many commercial ice creams, some deli meats and cheeses, bottled salad dressings, canned soups, some mustards .... I mean, it's an almost endless list."
For those not afraid of gluten, try this multigrain bread, a little bit of refined flour, but mostly whole grains. So tasty my 15-year-old son devours it.
Why? Because you can actually feel the nourishment in every bite. And after you're done with a slice, slathered heavily with butter, maybe some kosher salt on top, you feel good. No, you don’t need another one. You feel good.
(James Brown, you’re on!)
- 250 grams all-purpose flour
- 125 grams whole-wheat flour
- 250 grams other flour or grain (I use a mix of rye, spelt, buckwheat, and rolled oats, but sometimes include things like quinoa and grits, soaked in some of the water.)
- 375 grams water
- 12 grams salt
- 3 grams yeast
- Combine all ingredients in a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Cover and let it ferment for 3 hours.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface and form into a boule.
- Coat a banneton (or a bowl lined with a cloth napkin) with flour and toss some pumpkin seeds and oats in the bottom. Put the boule bottom side up in this proofing basket, cover it with a towel, and let it sit for 60 to 90 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 500˚F/260˚C with a Dutch oven inside.
- When the dough has proofed, upend the dough into the Dutch oven and cover, turn the oven down to 350˚F/175˚C, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the top of the Dutch oven to finish cooking, another 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove it from the Dutch oven and let it cool for at least an hour.
If you liked this post, check out these other links:
- What I Didn't Know About Celiac: an interview with Carol Blymire about living with celiac disease.
- See my Bread Baking Basics post or my Bread Baking Basics app for iPad for more info and details on baking bread.
- Learn more about celiac disease at the Celiac Disease Foundation.
© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.