Friday, July 25, 2008

Current Currant and Gluten Watch Outs

This morning, we opened one of last year's batch of white currant jelly and I realized that it was much paler in color. Maybe it was because I made it with no stems or due to a ripeness variation in the currants. This years crop was picked less ripe as I wasn't going to be in Vermont for two weeks and we figured that it was better to have them less ripe than to have the birds get them. This meant that I had to cook them longer to get them really soft, or it may just be one of those kitchen mysteries.

I thought I might give a few tips on things to watch out for if eating gluten-free in restaurants. Don't eat deep fried foods including potatoes unless you really know the restaurant and they are willing to answer questions. Often more than one kind of food goes into the same deep fat fryer even if at different times. Many of them are battered or crumb coated. Both will leave gluten in the fat. Often potatoes bought by restaurants for frying are pre-prepared and dusted with flour to keep them from sticking.

Soy sauce is one of the most insidious problems in kitchens such as Japanese that otherwise might be a god send. Most soy sauces today have a proportion of wheat rather than being 100% soy. One can but--and I do-- wheat-free soy. I sometimes will take it with me to Japanese restaurants which permits eating all sashimi and most sushi but not most of the prepared dishes. I know of only one very fancy and expensive restaurant that regularly has gluten-free soy sauce.

The best restaurants normally will not use commercial sauces; but even they may use Worcestershire sauce or other condiments that may be thickened with wheat flour.

One can and I do eat wonderfully; but a little precaution may avoid unpleasantness.

Als, I may kill the next wait person who cheerily chirps: "but you can have one of our wonderful sorbets." The only restaurant where I have found it worthwhile to eat yet another sorbet is Anthos in New York. I had a grapefruit and ouzo one there the other night and it was worth the trip.

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