Going Gluten-FreeSeptember 8, 2010

Journey into Books

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Posted by Wendy Mondello

Oompa Loompas are spreading their precocious magic throughout our house this month. My 7-year-old son Joseph happily jumped on Willy Wonka’s fantastical sugary yacht and journeyed through his magical chocolate factory for a wonderful ride of reading.

After eating up Wonka’s world in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Joseph found more adventure in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. He’s thrilled to be reading these and several other Roald Dahl stories in school during September, the month honoring the author.

To have a kid with multiple food allergies (peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg and soy) read about the trip through a candy factory might seem to some a bit misguided--or even cruel. After all, Joseph can’t sample treats at a candy factory or visit a candy store to try out the latest candy craze.

But Joseph doesn’t see it that way. He understands that books are wonderful because they engage him in a story in a way that real life can’t. He can join in the fantasy and maybe even learn a few things along the way. For example, he says all the talk of cheese in his favorite book series, Geronimo Stilton, helps him stay safe from a food he must avoid. He’s learning about all different types of cheeses while being entertained by the quirky mouse.

The whole time Joseph is on these literary adventures, he is safe. That candy bar  with the golden ticket in Dahl’s book might spell danger in a real candy store, but it is pure entertainment for my son.

In real life, we whipped up our own yummy chocolate treats instead of hitting the candy store. To celebrate Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we made “Oh Fudge!”, a recipe in The Divvies Bakery Cookbook. I substituted brands of ingredients that are safe for Joseph. Here are the substitutes I used:

  • For dairy-free margarine, I used Earth's Balance dairy-free, soy-free Natural Buttery Spread, earthbalancenatural.com.
  • For creamer, I used the dairy-free milk I use for everything--Vance's DariFree milk alternative, vancesfoods.com. Made from potatoes, it's pretty creamy so it works well.
  • For the chocolate chips, I used Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips, enjoylifefoods.com

The fudge was a hit! The whole family enjoyed sinking their teeth into this confectionary treat as we imagined little Oompa Loompas dancing throughout the house.


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