Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Over 7 million Irish people emigrated to the US during really hard times , especially during the famine. We brought all sorts of talents, gifts and a strong work ethic. Removing my rose coloured glasses for a moment, I have to admit that along with the good came some of the not so good, including celiac disease. Yes, we Europeans have a really high intolerance for gluten. This disease is very common in countries such as Ireland,Italy,Sweeden and Austria. 1 in every 300 in Ireland are said to suffer from this and it is estimated that 1 in every 250 are intolerant in Itlay.

It is estimated that almost 3 million people in the United States have celiac disease but only approx 100,000 have been properly diagnosed. It is often confused with IBS and other gastric problems. Celiac disease is hereditary. Plain and simple. We have our ancestors to thank !!!

As a baker, I am extremely particular about the flour I use. Personally,I am a HUGE KING ARTHUR fan. My reasons for using these products are many and will blog about that at a later time. Freshly milled wheat flour DOES NOT actually contain gluten. It contains 2 proteins. Glutenin & Gliadin, which turn into gluten when mixed with water. It is this protein that celiacs just cannot tolerate. That being said, a celiac has to be ever so vigilant with their diet, including breads,pastas,cereals,grains and processed foods. Thats a lot. Which brings me to my title.

Looking through the aisles over the weekend in the stores, I have noticed that the section given to Celiacs is pitiful !! Whilst admirable, vogue and politically correct, you would think that celiacs were a cult. A group of voodoo eaters !! A space on the shelf donated to these special people! Come on. I purchased some products and brought them home. The packaging was not what I would have called enticing or alluring. The taste.... YUCH! In essence, if you are celiac, most of the foods I tested are quite simply devoid of flavor. We cater to people who eat too much rather than people,who cant eat too much!!!

I happened upon a wonderful guy by the name of Wes in Whole Foods, Park & Preston,Plano,Tx.
During our conversation, I learned that he too was indeed Celiac. I was there to purchase gluten free flour to experiment in my own kitchen for 2 of my friends Cindy, in Dallas and Sean in San Diego. I baked Traditional Irish Butter Shortbread using gluten free flour. It was a hit.
You see, just because your body develops an intolerance for a certain protein DOES NOT ALSO MEAN YOUR TASTE BUDS DIE !!

I intend on pursuing this further. Any comments, suggestions are welcome. Please email me at Rachel@RachelGaffneys.com.