With the recent announcement of the merger between American Airlines and US Airways, it seemed a good time to discuss how to be gluten free while traveling. Based on my customer service experience, it honestly might be preferable if US Airways didn’t save American from their financial crisis. Being gluten free is challenging even with the many dining options we have on land. If one restaurant doesn’t work, you can always hop in your car and try another. Take us up 30,000 feet into the air and we may be in for what will feel like a very long trip with very few options, if any at all.
Does being gluten free change the way I travel? Absolutely. There are some things you should take into consideration before hopping on your next 757 to make sure you are prepared. The lesson I learned from traveling with American Airlines? Pack some snacks or starve.
I found that the flight attendants were ill-equipped to deal with gluten free needs. Here was my experience with American Airlines on a flight from LAX to DCA on December 29, 2012:
I really thought it was a joke when I heard about Luce's Gluten-Free Artisan Bread mixes. I mean how could a bread mix that doesn't require you to activate yeast, or let it proof really work? To produce an artisan loaf of bread, all you add is water, then stir, and bake, which sounds way too simple to actually work. I don't know how they did it, but this mix produces gluten-free bread with a crispy crust and a soft, moist middle that is quite easy to make.
Italian and Sourdough mixes from Luce's. Just add water, stir, and bake an artisan-quality loaf of bread every time! Credit: Luce's Gluten-Free Artisan Bread
I’m lucky. I got to ask Aida this question up close and personal. If you don’t know her name, you should. Aida Mollenkamp is California-based food expert, TV host, writer, and culinary curator. She studied at the Cornell Hotel School (like me!) and Le Cordon Bleu Paris before joining CHOW.com where she worked behind the scenes as Food Editor. Eventually, she moved to television where she hosted her Food Network show Ask Aida (you get the pun now) and later the Cooking Channel show, foodCrafters.
My husband has been watching The Colbert Report ever since its inception. Stephen Colbert plays a 'right-wing journalist' with his own flair for reporting the weekly news. Imagine my surprise when The Colbert Report came up in a Google search because of a Thought for Food bit they did on Wheat Addiction.
Wheat is parodied as 'a substance we are all addicted to' based on a CBS news report where Dr. William Davis said
Heading back to school means one thing when you are on a restricted diet: stock up on all your favorites which you can’t find at school. This break I didn’t do much shopping or searching for new products, instead I ate less process foods and stayed away from sandwiches. This resulted in me feeling much better.
Wanna hear something funny? When I first started my blog, I intended it to be an even mix of meals, breads, soups, desserts, etc. that mirrored how we eat. When I re-did my recipe index, I realized that notion bit the dust a few years back, and surprise, surprise, it seems like my blog is brought to you by the letter C and the word chocolate. Not that I don’t love chocolate, but I’d kinda like to balance things a little more. Just cause.
Then again, as I look at my very un-photogenic, super-yumtastic stew, maybe part of my decision is because dessert photographs better?
Sorry, that sounded like a good idea at the time. Like a chorizo party.
I can’t say that I’ve had Mexican Chorizo often, I just know that when I do have it, it’s quite a tasty treat.
Also, it’s a fun word to say (noted, above). It just sounds so zesty and authentic.
Truth be told, normally I cheat and go for the Soy Chorizo at TJ’s. It tastes the same as chorizo, but without all the pork fat.
Since soy isn’t the greatest for our bodies, and you can’t make it mass quantities for a low cost, this recipe is my new option.
When you are looking for an elegant dish that you can serve to both adults and kids, try this one. The recipe is courtesy of Aida Mollenkamp from her book "Keys to the Kitchen" (see the interview and blog post here). I made it for Christmas Dinner this past holiday and everyone raved.
Now, if you notice, the recipe is far from dairy-free so it was off-limits for my daughter (however, there are dairy substitutes below). I didn't really think it was going to be her thing, so after sauteing the chicken, I put some aside for her and proceeded with the recipe. If you know me, I'm not one to make two meals but I do accommodate her special diet by being just a little creative. I promise, it's possible.
After reviewing Aida's book, this one really stuck out. However, being The Family Chef, I had to put my own spin on it and make it a bit more family friendly. It's naturally gluten-free and absolutely delicious. If you need some of your own keys in the kitchen, check out Aida's book.