The Uncomplicated and Delicious Way to a Gluten-Free Life
By Chef Dean Bauer
After the last article, I was amazed by the response of the many people who have an overwhelming want and desire for a gluten free life. Gluten-free labeled foods have been growing in numbers and
will continue to grow by the demand of those who need it and also those who want it. I do stand by my claim that a gluten free lifestyle does not need to be difficult, over thought, and/or “store bought.” To truly have a gluten free lifestyle and to live by it, I ask the question: What are our choices? What can we choose, from dining out or at the supermarket, that will give us that “treat,” that pizza, pasta, bread, and dessert, (recognized in the article featured in the November 2012 Issue; Wild Berry Crepe with a Crème Frache), that can be beyond the veggie, bean, and
uncontaminated meat meal?
One problem we have faced was the “Modified Food Starch” label. In my research, this can mean anything: wheat (the main perpetrator), corn, potato, soy, and others. It is one sneaky substance, filler; nonetheless, giving the producing company whatever it needs to clear its budgeted quota. Let me be very clear, corporate and individual businesses are, and always will be, protected by our constitution. They (small business and free enterprise) have always been a founding principle of our forefathers that we are, as a country, FREE. Let me summarize, we choose how we shall live. It is our responsibility and duty to do the best we can, make wholesome choices, and live the lives we dream about, aka, the American Dream.
Our dietary lifestyle will never be the responsibility of anyone but ourselves. My dietary issues are not as severe as my beautiful daughter and wife’s. I can eat what and when I please, and I will suffer consequences, as they will. My immediate consequences will be fatigue, obesity, and a general decline in health if I overdo the “pizza nights” in life. My daughter’s and wife’s consequences could be much more serious, as they suffer from the auto-immune disease, Celiac Sprue.
Let me give an example. One night, to celebrate a new career for myself, we ordered pizza, such a regular thing in many households every night. Only one problem: wheat flour is the main ingredient in every pizza shop across America. As a life-long chef and kitchen specialist myself, I know contamination is near. A simple way to gluten free Italian food and pizza is a commodity amongst people with gluten intolerance or with Celiac Sprue.
Here are some local pizza places I recommend. One place to order delivery will be Dominoes. Who would have thought? This is one of the first franchises and mainstream pizza restaurants serving gluten free delivery. The only issue is that they are unable to guarantee the absence of crosscontamination. A chance to be taken for the average person to order gluten free pizza, but not recommended for Celiac Sprue.
Two places of interest are Uncle Vinny’s of Carolina Beach and Mellow Mushroom on Oleander Drive in Wilmington. Both places are a favorite and preferred by my wife, mother-in-law and myself because of their commitment to the cause. They both have a separation of ingredients, ovens, and stations of preparations. Mr. Vinny Doria commits to gluten free, opening a restaurant with a personal acquaintance who has Celiac Sprue. This foundation has given him a restaurant with gluten free pizza, gluten free breaded calamari, and gluten free pasta, all with gluten free flour imported directly from Italy. This restaurant is making a local name as a leader in gluten free living and is my first choice. I am a lifelong customer.
Mellow Mushroom supports people who are gluten free. Jennifer Underwood, Manager of Mellow Mushroom, states: “We have separate ovens, stations, and equipment for our gluten free pizza.” She also added some gluten free beer, a first for me. Something not often found is “Raspberry Wheat &
Pale Ale” offered by “New Planet.”
Cooking at home has always been, and will continue to be, a mainstay in our family. Yet, there is an excitement shared by all when “Pizza Night” comes around. I can cook at home, as I always do for my family. My little girl looks forward to pizza each and every time. There’s time for veggies, meat, and rice, and then there’s time for PIZZA!
As a chef, sometimes I go all out and create from scratch. There are gluten free pizza dough mixes, cheeses, and sauces available to create at home. This article is not about mainstream recipes and cooking. Its purpose is to address “the uncomplicated and delicious way to a gluten free life.” I find it easy to live gluten free and strive to relate it to you. Many people who need the gluten free diet miss “Pizza Night,” but we can all create gluten free “Pizza Night” memories. Don’t forget to spread the love—and Break Bread! Dean Bauer has worked professionally as an Executive Chef
for 10 years. He has been a chef at private country clubs and high-end restaurants. His background is in Contemporary American-Italian fare, but he has decided to move into classical island cuisine.