Suzi Mitchell: It’s yum, scrum and gluten free!
Steamboat Springs — This weekend at a nine year old’s birthday party I died and went to heaven. About 15 others had the same experience ranging in age from six to 60. We had all bitten into our own slice of the most incredible cake I have ever tasted, which is remarkable coming from the land where afternoon tea is a daily event. The crazy thing about this out-of-body-vanilla-sponge-and-strawberry-cream incident is that the cake was gluten free. All I can say to the chef and grandma extraordinaire, Sue Nachtweih, is that gluten free food has come a long way.
About 15 years ago my sister gave up gluten which at the time was not that common. She had dietary issues that were quickly resolved on her new diet. We all supported her, even chowing through gloopy tasting meals involving pasta substitutions and unusual sauces. When it came to birthdays candles were placed on flourless tortes, desserts were pretty much fruit based but cake was never an option.
Today it seems the gluten free diet has morphed into a foodie fad recently becoming a topic of ridicule. This morning the Washington Post ran a story on the backlash against dieters, even talk show host Jimmy Kimmel sent his film crew on to the street to see if people really know what gluten actually is.
My own take on the current furor is all down to lack of understanding. Gluten free was once an answer to alleviating chronic pain suffered by coeliacs. Those individuals are far from fad followers, but now subject to ridicule in the current gluten sensitivity wave washing over the western world.
Unlike many other diets that rise and fall like the sun, the gluten debate is attracting global attention. Individuals from athletes to toddlers are adapting diets in response to physical symptoms caused by changes in food production including grain hybridization. Locally, Todd Lodwick and Taylor Fletcher both attribute gluten free to their fitness success, they are not alone.
This weekend caused me to delve deeper into why this is such a hot topic. I have a long way to go on my research but I know one thing for sure. When Sue Nachtweih launches her new baking venture this Fall at In Celebration of Kid’s on Lincoln, I will be there waving my gluten free flag sampling everything in sight.
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