…because you just might get it!
It used to be that I had a pretty easy time telling gluten-free foods apart from their traditional, gluten-containing versions. This was especially true when it came to breads. Regular bread was soft and moist and chewy and had good flavor. Gluten-free bread was typically dry, crumbly, somewhat flavorless, and to me, at least, most palatable only when toasted.
But as gluten-free breads have gotten better and better (largely thanks to the superb gluten-free bakeries popping up around the country), it has gotten harder and harder for me to distinguish gluten-free bread from “evil” bread. Normally, this would be a wonderful development. Tasty gluten-free bread is a welcome addition to the GF cornucopia. I’ve discovered, though, that there are also times when good or great GF bread is a double-edged sword.
During my recent trip to Quebec, and in particular, during my time in the Parc National du Gaspesie (where I stayed at the Gite du Mont-Albert), I spent my days in the backcountry. Each day, the kitchen staff at the Gite prepared a bag lunch that I could take with me in my backpack. Then, later in the day – usually sometime around noon or one o’clock – I’d open the bag and see what they’d packed for me. Often, there was a sandwich – maybe ham, or turkey, or tuna salad.
I knew that the kitchen staff were aware of my gluten-free dietary needs. But as I held the sandwich in my hands, staring at those two slices of bread, I began to second-guess the meal. Had they remembered to use GF bread? You see, the GF bread from their local bakery in Saint Anne des Monts was so close to the “real thing” that I had a hard time telling the difference. It was only seeing a Glutino-brand snack bar also packed in my lunch that gave me the confidence to chow down on the sandwich.
And there’s the rub. Normally, I’d praise such good GF bread (and I’m still praising it, even if it doesn’t sound like it right now). But there have been times when it’s a mixed blessing. Those times are typically when someone else has made the meal for me. Because whereas in the past I could easily tell if they’d used GF bread or not, now the distinction was getting harder to pinpoint. I’m now having to take it on faith that they did the right thing, and that I won’t get sick. By and large, this is a good problem to have, but in some twisted way, I miss the nasty old GF breads…if only because I confidently knew that they were, in fact, gluten-free.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever found yourself second-guessing whether or not a food was gluten-free, because it looked and tasted so much like the traditional, gluten version? If so, do tell!