Gluten can show up in the least expected dishes. Dinner guests
who are allergic, as well as their hosts, need to keep watch,
but there are alternatives.
on who sits at your Thanksgiving table, you may already have
figured out how to serve vegetarians or people allergic to
nuts. But gluten-free is another matter. Increasing numbers of
people are choosing to forgo gluten (or learning they must do
without it), and the holiday — with its pie crusts and
dinner rolls and stuffings — poses a challenge.
is generally gluten-free, but as many diners will tell you,
the turkey is mostly a delivery device for dishes like gravy
and stuffings that often have wheat — the primary source of
gluten in our diets.
can occur in just about any food, however. Kyra Bussanich, who
owns the gluten-free Kyra’s Bake Shop in Lake Oswego, Ore.,
was at a big Thanksgiving feast last year. "There was a
turkey. I jokingly asked, ‘This is gluten-free, right?’"
Turned out the cook had used beer in the brine — and beer
has gluten in it.
have to be really vigilant, ask questions. Let the host
know," Bussanich adds. A person who has celiac disease
can become very sick by ingesting the smallest amount of
gluten, even flour dust that spreads during a pie-baking binge
gluten, cooks should read every label. And seek out
alternatives. Rice or almond flours may work in pie crusts,
for example. Or make a crust with other ground nuts or with
ground gluten-free ginger snaps. For stuffing try wild rice
with mushrooms, and for gravy try cornstarch.
than dinner rolls, Bussanich suggests a traditional Brazilian
cheese bread called păo de queijo, which is made with tapioca
flour and is sold frozen at many stores.
Adler has a 5-year-old son with several food issues, gluten
among them, so she always goes to parties with a dessert that
he can eat. "There’s no judgment involved. It’s hard
to understand if you don’t live with it," says Adler,
who has an L.A.-based mail-order bakery, Sweet Debbie’s
book, "Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats," includes
several holiday-friendly gluten-free recipes, including
pumpkin spice doughnut holes, a pumpkin corn bread and acai
berry truffles. And Bussanich, whose new book is called
"Sweet Cravings," suggests a gluten-free apple crisp
with vanilla ice cream.
availability of gluten-free food has exploded, and many
companies — including Udi’s, Pamela’s, King Arthur and
Bob’s Red Mill — have all-purpose flour substitutes or
mixes for breads and rolls, as well as packaged baked goods.
In her shop, Bussanich makes stuffing mix with gluten-free
anyone avoiding anything on a holiday table, it might help to
remember that the food is not the only point. Bussanich says,
"It’s about family and traditions and being together