I Spy Gluten With My Little Eye
When I tried to cook for my gluten intolerant friends, I found myself questioning what gluten hides in. I did a little handy dandy research and was shocked how many things gluten hides in!
Big disappointment: Soya sauce has gluten in it! This means obviously that everything like fried rice and sushi is a gluten-free no-no if it has soya sauce in it. Luckily Kikkoman, an authentic soya sauce brand has great gluten free soya sauce that is sold at mainstream grocery stores. It’s also starting to be carried by Asian restaurants. But be careful when you choose your other sushi and other Asian food! Crab is a no-no unless it’s real crab, not imitation crab (surimi)! The other major issue in Asian food is tempura. Everything that is deep-fried in batter is covered in gluten! Wasabi can also have gluten so always ask! Gluten hides in so many things!
The issue with battered things is pretty easy to learn – no fish & chips, no chicken fingers, nothing breaded! The harder lesson for people with severe allergies is cross contamination. Even though something like fries are just potatoes put in a deep fryer, they are often cooked in the same oil as food that contains gluten.
ALSO, if fries have spices on them there’s a large chance that they contain gluten! Don’t ask me how, but a lot of seasonings have gluten! It’s not the individual spices like good old rosemary and thyme that have gluten, it’s the seasonings that are put on food that are blended with an anti-caking agent added. Yuck!
Ok to make your heart even more broken, gravy typically has gluten, because it’s used as a thickener. Sucks, eh? If you make gravy home-made you can use corn starch as a thickener instead but stay clear of the classic Canadian poutine joints!
A lot of candy has gluten, but a lot also doesn’t! So, don’t fret! You just need to know what you have to avoid, and what to look for on the labels. Look for wheat, barley, rye, malt, spelt, brewer’s yeast, oats. A quick trick also is to look at the bolded print – a lot of the time it lists the top allergens. But not always! And yes, for you beer drinkers, brewer’s yeast means no more beer…
Don’t worry life won’t be bland though, there are lots of specialty restaurants and bakeries that cater to these short fallings and give you allergy friendly food!