Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance, is a genetic disorder that affects at least 1 in 133 Americans. The disease mostly affects people of European (especially Northern European) descent, but recent studies show that it also affects Hispanic, Black and Asian populations as well. Gluten is mostly associated with wheat and wheat products but gluten can be found in many products that most of us would not associate with wheat such as Soy Sauce and Beer. Awareness about this condition has been growing rapidly since the 90’s and you can find large sections of Gluten Free products in most grocery stores today.
My cousin Lee was diagnosed several years ago. She is a fantastic cook and really loves to eat. We have traveled together and choosing the restaurant was always her favorite part. In Cape Cod a few years ago, she ate lobster EVERY DAY for a week! So when she discovered her gluten intolerance she was quite capable of adapting her cooking at home and still turns out phenomenal meals with exotic ingredients and interesting techniques. Eating out, however is a challenge.
Last year my friend Bill and his daughter Emily were diagnosed and their whole family has changed the way they eat. When eating at friends houses, Bill has to ask the host about the exact ingredient and preparation and sometimes just has to go hungry until he gets home. Anne (wife and mom) has found websites and adapted recipes from the Food Network but has commented on the difficulty Emily has experienced as a young person trying to eat out with her friends. She works in a popular restaurant, BJ’s Brewery, that has just added a gluten-free section to the menu.
So in their honor and those other 1 in 133 Americans I made a Gluten-Free Blintz with Bueberry Topping this week. It was delicious and very beautiful, something you could serve company. I made a rice flour mixture from a variety of products but if you want you can just buy a premixed Gluten Free Flour Mix at the grocery store. Anne tells me they are pretty good!