Going Gluten-FreeFebruary 16, 2010

A Very Gluten-Free Pleasant Surprise

Comments (7)

Posted by Oksana and Tom Charla

Not long ago, a friend told my wife and me about a gluten-free food show in a nearby town. Without knowing anything about it, other than the address, we packed up the kids and headed off.

In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t know anything about this ‘food show’ beforehand, or I probably wouldn’t have gone. I work in marketing for a Fortune 500 company and things called ‘shows’ conjure up, for me, images of expansive convention halls featuring colorful and interactive product displays from hundreds of vendors.

This ‘food show,' on the other hand, was impossible to find (our GPS didn't help), occupied a single room in the basement of a church, and had less than 20 vendors set up on folding tables. This did not fit my vision of what a ‘food show’ should be. Yet it was one of the best ‘shows’ I have ever attended.

Of course, we were there for my son Mike, who has celiac disease. But you'd have thought we were there for me. Mike and I, with me leading, started on the left-hand side of the room and crisscrossed our way to the back, stopping at every table and sampling every offering.

Chili came first, followed by fresh French bread, and chicken noodle soup. We then each had a  slice of pizza and chased it down with a waffle smothered in maple syrup. Whoever planned the layout of the room was a genius, because when we got to the back and were ready for dessert, there it was: tables filled with cookies and cakes and other treats. Chocolate chip, sugar, and black and white cookies to our right. Layer cakes and cupcakes to our left. When we had our fill and identified our favorites, we returned to the front for another walk through the room.

On our second pass, we took our time and we chatted with the vendors. We found out where they were from and purchased their breads and pizzas and desserts. We were not surprised to find many vendors and bakers were long established, family-owned businesses, owned by entrepreneurs who had started with gluten-free products as a necessity that turned into a passion.

And it wasn’t just the vendors and their delicious food that made this ‘show’ one for the record books. It was the other people who attended, just like us, who came and discovered that bigger isn’t always better.

Comments (7)

I am so glad to have found your blog - thanks to the Diva website. You mentionede trying cookies, etc. - being a diabetic do you find it easier to also go sugar-free and use Splenda and such or do you use sugar? Thanks for the infor you share. Margaret Lee

Posted by: Unknown | November 1, 2011 6:38 PM    Report this comment

Have you tried coconut milk? It works great in a lot of recipes and the coconut yogurt I've tried (not always easy to find) is absolutely delicious!

Posted by: LW Moderator | March 14, 2010 10:12 AM    Report this comment

It is great that you have a lot of choices for GF foods. I do not. I am also sensitive to casein products which is a greater problem for me than the GF products. I have tried every imaginable form of milk and can only tolerate Almond Milk. My friend even purchased a goat for me to drink that milk and as luck would have it, he is left with a lot of goat milk!!!!!! Our supermarket chain does have more and more products that are GF but very few milk products free of casein. I do read labels very very very thoroughly these days.

Posted by: Maryjane l | February 28, 2010 10:31 AM    Report this comment

I am also lactose intolerant. I used Lactaid in place of the milk called for in recipes and it seems to work just fine. Bev

Posted by: Beverly J | February 25, 2010 5:52 PM    Report this comment

I have just started adapting recipes that I find in cook books ranging from Julia Childs to who knows what to ones I have purchased at our local vendors using alternative products. Luckily we in Missoula, Montana have a couple of great places where we can purchase plenty of ingredients including several flours, from rice, sorghum, guava, to mention a few plus tons of prepackaged breads. Usually I just purchase the prepackaged breads and throw in the machines and bake my own bread, some are better than others, most are better than 'store bought' bread. The ones that aren't are due to operator error. We have a couple of local producers of gluten free prepackaged products. And I use their pie crusts for quiche etc. Since I am also lactose intolerant, have had more difficulty finding ways to deal with that aspect, but now finding ways to get around that. Every time I find a good recipe, I type it up and keep it in my computer for easy access so that I can find them easily. I always bookmark the sights I find that I find that I find online which sell ingredients or products on line, and there are many of them. Most if not all are great. I get a great kick out of cooking, can't believe it, my wife thinks I've lost my mind, but she doesn't mind one bit since she has only cooked about 1 meal a month for a few months now.


Posted by: Cheryl P | February 25, 2010 1:54 PM    Report this comment

Hi Brandy
Thanks for your comment. It would be my pleasure to pass along info regarding the products we liked best:

The bread was from Joan's GF Great Bakes in Bellmore, NY. The pasta we liked was from DePuma's Gluten Free Pasta, New Haven CT. Some of the cakes we tried and liked were from GFN Foods, LLC in Cranford, NJ. Finally the cookies and snack cakes we had for 'dessert' were from Shabtai Gourmet from NY. You can check each of their websites for more information on other allergens. Each website also allows you to shop online, and a couple of them list any upcoming 'food shows' that they'll be at.
Hope this helps. Thanks! Tom Charla

Posted by: Tom Charla | February 25, 2010 1:08 PM    Report this comment

Hey there,
Thanks for your blog post. Can you share some of the info on the products you liked best??
How was the French bread? How was the pizza? Were the ingredients just g/f or did they avoid other allergens as well?

Thanks again!

Posted by: Brandy G | February 25, 2010 11:04 AM    Report this comment

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