Tuesday, December 27, 2005

BLOOM'S: AN UPDATE. Today I heard that Bloom's hopes to reopen by around mid-March. It has been closed due to a fire.
GLUTEN-FREE FOOD: HOT FOR 2006! Natural Foods Merchandiser (Volume 26, Number 12) identifies "Gluten-free foods" as something to stock in the New Year.
We identified allergen-free foods as a primary trend for 2005, but within that, the gluten-free subcategory has soared, and will continue to do so, especially once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s allergen-labeling rule goes into effect next month.
The attention is good news for celiacs, but there are signs of potential confusion among natural food consumers and merchandisers.
Initially created as a solution for the approximately 2.2 million Americans with celiac disease, gluten-free foods have found an audience with those who also avoid lactose, including vegans and consumers of kosher food. (Lactose, a milk protein, is often poorly tolerated by celiacs and is commonly eliminated from GF foods.) Many mothers of autistic children are also eliminating gluten from their kids’ diets, as research mounts demonstrating a potential link between the protein and the childhood disorder.
I hope that people understand that, among celiacs, lactose intolerance often subsides with adherence to a gluten-free diet. I also hope that parents seriously consider testing "autistic" children for celiac disease as part of their diagnoses. Testing typically involves a set of blood tests and, possibly, a biopsy of the small intestine. (Genetic tests are of limited value.)

Congrats to Foods by George, The Gluten-Free Pantry, and the Gluten-Free Certification Organization for getting nods in the article!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

LATIN LOVER. Pictured is Latin Lover, a confection served at GFRAP restaurant Asia de Cuba, (237 Madison Ave. near 37th Street; 212-726-7755). The dessert is sculpted as a bifurcated Valentine's heart (one side is a flourless chocolate mousse cake; the other is a coffee anglaise) pierced by a shard of white chocolate, bleeding an intense strawberry sauce. The spiraling curlicue (which contains the coffee anglaise) is a chocolate sauce. I'm assured it's gluten-free.

Asia de Cuba serves festive, family-style Asian-Latino cuisine. GF and vegetarian menus are available. Prepare to share...and make use of your credit card, too, as it's not cheap. (There may be a $25 minimum per patron.)
NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE WITH RECIPES. A few sources have let me know about Catherine Saint Louis's December 14, 2005 New York Times article "For Wheat Watchers, a Chance to Indulge."

Saint Louis calls The Gluten-Free Pantry and Pamela's Products "standouts with the wheat-free crowd for years."

She calls the "light, crisp sugar cookies" from Cherrybrook Kitchen "perfect as holiday gifts or to dip in hot chocolate."

Chocolate chunk brownies from 1-2-3 Gluten Free are "moist but not too gooey."

Heron's Organic Bread and Cake mix "made delicious cakes that reliably rose and also browned well."

Saint Louis also found that Bob's Red Mill's garfava flour "makes delicious cakes, if a bit hearty."

She praises Bette Hagman's book The Gluten-Free Gourmet Makes Dessert for the gluten-free cooking novice.

I've learned that many recipes in The New York Times are delicious and gluten-free (or easily converted to gluten-free). But yesterday's Times came with three specifically gluten-free recipes: Chiffon Cake, Spiced Coffeecake, and Fresh Ginger Cake.

Friday, December 09, 2005

WALL STREET JOURNAL ARTICLE Today's Wall Street Journal (December 9, 2005) gives front-page treatment to an overview of celiac disease. The article, by David P. Hamilton, says that "The assumption that celiac disease rarely occurred in the U.S. became a self-fulling prophecy, as fewer doctors considered it as an explanation for illnesses." It says that "A 2000 survey by Peter Green and colleagues at Columbia University found that U.S. celiacs experience symptoms for 11 years on average before diagnosis" and refers to recent findings such as the 2004 NIH estimate that "as many as one in 100 Americans has the condition." The article also mentions how Sue Goldstein of White Plains received a diagnosis and played key roles in establishing a local support group in Westchester and raising funds for the celiac research center at Columbia.

ADDENDUM In the same issue (page W8), there is also a short item about airlines cutting "gluten-free" meals out of their menus. Included is this passage:
The cutbacks will likely anger some travelers, says Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. People with celiac disease -- who can't eat wheat, rye or barley, which contain the protein gluten -- would find a menu without a gluten-free option "to be pretty unpalatable," especially passengers paying extra, he says. "If you're in the back [of the plane] and you get the chips and pretzels, you've always had to deal with the problem," he adds. "But if you're in the front, it's pretty inconsiderate."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

BLOOM'S: CLOSED DUE TO FIRE! In another setback for GFRAP, Bloom's Restaurant is closed due to a fire. Yet GFRAP bravely carries on. Here's the current list of GFRAP restaurants.
GOODBYE, COAST! The GFRAP restaurant Coast has shut down.