As Gluten-Free becomes a fad I consider the benefits and draw backs
Going Gluten Free, has become a fad, celebrity diet. It’s the new philosopher’s stone for celebs and anyone desperate to emulate them. That isn’t what Gluten Free living is for me. In my house there’s nothing faddy about it, it's reality and truly the key to living a long and healthy life. My brother is a Coeliac.
What does this mean? Well, it means he has a Gluten intolerance that causes headaches, diarrhoea, stomach pains and lethargy should he consume gluten and could have more severe health implications should he consume gluten for a sustained period of time. When he was diagnosed age 14, having already been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes aged of 3 he took it in his stride and he doesn’t let it get to him, he's my hero really (don't tell him that). But it completely changed the way in which we cook at home and go out to eat. A simple pasta dinner isn’t so simple anymore and perhaps this is the reason why I had never cooked fresh pasta until just a couple of days before serving it up for Monica Galletti - we never eat normal pasta. Thankfully Gluten Free produce has seen massive advances in the six years that my brother was diagnosed and in part I guess this is thanks to the “faddiness” of it.
I remember on a family holiday in Spain last year this exact topic came up in conversation. The extent to which Coeliacs should be grateful for the boost the Gluten Free agenda has received from Hollywood (we often have these sorts of riveting dinner table conversations)? At the time I remember arguing with my brother, essentially saying that there is no down side for those with genuine intolerance. Hollywood will make it popular, make it easier for Coeliacs, give their agenda a platform and after it is accepted as commonplace things will only get better. I couldn’t comprehend any antipathy my brother felt towards the trendiness of a gluten Free lifestyle given that increased demand for the products had led not only to more and better Gluten-Free products being available but also greatly improved labelling and much better awareness of the issue in restaurants, something that when my brother was first diagnosed was quite rare. I say i didn;t understand by brother's perspective in the past tense because in October of last year I stumbled upon very disappointing quotes from Jennifer Lawrence. Jennifer, whom I had previously thought of as a goddess delivered to the world from heaven, for reasons I hoped were similar to Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost, namely being a bit naughty, was quoted as saying that gluten free was “new cool eating disorder”.What Hollywood does is raise the profile of something whilst simultaneously trivialising it and Ms Lawrence in her Hollywood rebel way knows this. But to label it an eating disorder and as such equating it with psychological conditions such as anorexia or bulimia is massively damaging to Coeliacs.
Is gluten hard on the system of the average person? Will everyone feel better if they follow a gluten free diet? Frankly these are questions I don’t care for. So far as I am concerned I live by one food principal, ‘whatever works for you’. Still to this day I swear my final meal would be a good hunk of well made artisan bread and great Guernsey butter (my Nan is from Guernsey and as such don't you dare give me that poor imitation of butter from Jersey). My point is I don’t care about gluten free for the average person, I can’t say I ever abide by it, but cooking is love and cooking for my brother is loving and embracing this diet. I’ve trekked half way across London to track down Masa Harina to make my own corn Tortillas for tacos (recipe coming soon) and I do it without hesitation because, well... they taste delicious.
So this I guess is an explanation of why all the recipes on the website, to the best of my ability, will take account of gluten intolerance. Starting with my recipe for my Flourless Chocolate and Peanut Butter Brownie served with Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Peanuts. It’s an important one for me because it would have been my dish if I had to cook Gregg's dessert brief, "make it thick, make it sticky, make it brown" during Knockout Week. I somewhat regret not getting an opportunity to do this dish actually, because like any good brownie should be it is thick, sticky and of course brown and the Salted Caramel Ice Cream is the perfect complement to it. But i really regret it because i missed an opportunity to highlight Coeliacs Disease.
You can find out more about Coeliacs Disease at: Coeliac UK