Gluten Intolerance is Real, Just Rare
The sky-scraping giant came crashing down with one unfortunate trend: gluten-free. A few people started showing intolerance for digesting gluten which led to the need of a special diet. When health nuts caught wind of gluten intolerance, this became a trend. The issue grew to the grand scale of “man was never intended to eat/digest gluten.” The gluten-free label has procreated throughout our grocery stores, restaurants and cookbooks unnecessarily.
Please do not mistake my synopsis; I fully understand that gluten intolerance is real, same as lactose intolerance. The illness comes in varying forms: Celiac Disease, Wheat Allergy, or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. There are a variety of symptoms which makes it difficult to diagnose, but it is real although uncommon. An issue of Practical Gastroenterology from June 2015 shows a variety of results from testing that basically shows anywhere from 1% to 6% of the population suffers this autoimmune disease. The problem is that the symptoms are so similar to other illnesses as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the testing is extensive (i.e. expensive) so it is difficult to know for sure. All we know is the issue is real but not common.
Trends Can Hurt
As stated, this is an autoimmune disease. There is no scientific proof to show that the human digestive tract is not equipped to handle this little protein. Man is an omnivore and designed to digest meat and plant alike. So, if you avoid something purely for the sake of avoiding it or because others avoid it, you have now created a trend. The legitimate gluten intolerant health concerns have now been grouped with pompous trendiness.
It frustrates me that real issues such as lactose and gluten intolerances have birthed trends. The trendiness leads skeptics to disregard the legitimate health issues. That is unfair and hurtful to many people suffering ailments.
Furthermore, these trends creep into my recipe searches in the form of flour-less cookies. Here lies the sore spot that directly affects me: “flour-less cookie” is an oxymoron.
No Flour... What Holds It Up??
To say “flour-less cookie” is just a fanciful way to say “lace cookie.” Despite what pictures people may post with their trendy gluten-free recipe, the end result is basically a lace cookie for me every time. I have considered that perhaps it is my oven, my elevation, over-mixed or over spooned onto the cookie sheet. More attempts are made with the same results. Then my brain reminds me how recipes work.
You see, the structural formula is pretty basic. First, you need ingredients that create air pockets and cause the batter to rise when heated. Common examples would be milk, butter and eggs. After the rise, you need ingredients that hold and support the structure created by the rise. Sugar is part of both processes but flour is the main frame of our delicious dessert. The protein gluten we find in flour becomes activated during the heating/air release process known as the rise. When gluten is activated, the strains bind together to build the structure. Thus, our cookie won’t fall flat on its face when removed from the oven.
Don’t believe me? Go check out The Kitchn’s post about how gluten works.
My Kingdom for a Cookie!
How does a recipe of egg whites, powdered sugar, and cocoa support the skyscraper? Simple: it doesn’t. No protein, no structural strains; the result is a flat cookie. A lace cookie.
On the other hand, it may be a macaron. A cookie basing its world around egg whites? Sounds like a meringue or macaron to me. In either case, I need to be aware ahead of time that my cookie should be tiny and and piped, not “a spoonful dropped on the cookie sheet.”
Let’s face facts and call a cookie what it is. Leave the trends to the fashion world.
All [creativity] is not lost...
Corissa has been an artist her entire life and attended the Art Institute for design after completing a Bachelor’s in Accounting from National American University. She validates the contradicting combination with “I love my art but I don’t have to starve for it.”
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