Life Without Bread

Two weeks without bread - hardly a feat. For years I gave up on the staple altogether. In part because gluten-free bread was quite hard to find. When you did, it tasted AWFUL and frankly, I couldn't afford $5 a loaf when I moved out on my own over 20 years ago.

Today, the bread is greatly improved, and because of the insane market growth - you can find it everywhere, for little more than we paid in 1989. Over time it has crept back into my diet.

My two week bread break came as a result of a road trip through western Texas in our VW camper van. Dust and cowboy country. Some days we drove for hours without seeing anything but dirt hills and tumbleweeds. Our cooler was stocked with our regular road trip fare. I don't take gf bread, because it's fussy and usually dreadful without a toaster. You can read what we normally cart on the road HERE

While bread is a convenient base for any meal, these road trips remind me to look beyond the little beige squares as a starting point. Rice cakes, corn cakes, lettuce wraps all make fine replacements if a "sandwich" scenario is what you need. Otherwise check out the link above for simple ideas on how to bypass the sandwich mentality all together. Those sandwich bags are good for carting lot of other healthier, cheaper and convenient edibles!

Don't get me wrong. I couldn't be happier that we have excellent bread options to choose from these days. In fact I'd like to give a special shout out to a couple of excellent breads I've recently tried. Glutino Genius is surreal. You can certainly eat it straight from the bag (although it's delicate texture makes it prone to falling apart when you do). Udi's also makes a growing selection of satisfying breads. I think it's worth noting that what helps makes these breads mimic "regular" bread won't hurt you, but isn't that great for you either. I've grown accustomed to keeping my bread intake to a minimum. Mostly in the form of toast for breakfast when I'm in a rush. I still haven't packed a sandwich for lunch in over 30 years... actually, not since my Mum did what she could for me with gluten-free bread in the 1970's before we knew of ingredients like guar, xanthum or cellulose.

I'll save my calories for cookies :). For more on decent gluten-free breads click HERE.


Italian gluten-free pasta - good enough for Italians :)

I've written here about the time I spent living in Italy but I've never written about the gluten-free PASTA. We cooked a lot of it and it was constantly fed to house loads of Italian guests. 

If you've ever eaten with an Italian in Italy, then you know that there are lots of opinions about the pasta. You don't mess with it. Finding a gluten-free pasta that would satisfy these discerning palates was quite a feat.

The pasta that met approval was Le Veneziane. It's made in Italy and distributed widely, but not found in most large retail chains in Canada - when I come across it I snatch it up. My mom seems to find it more often and buys it too. 

This is a corn based pasta, which makes a nice change from our typical brown rice. It also comes in a variety of shapes that you don't often find - like nests of capellini or these tiny little anellini, shown below. 

Italians serve tiny pasta shapes to babies. I like integrating them into soup. Usually a broth, but I recently cooked some up and added it to my lentil soup - which really beefed it up. 
The pasta, which is made of corn flour looks very yellow in the box, but you can see that it cooks up to look exactly the same colour as wheat pasta.

You can contact Le Veneziane via their website HERE to learn where to find their products near you. As always, this is not a paid endorsement. Just sharing my favorite finds. 

You can read more about the small town where I spent a year in Italy HERE along with a post about making polenta :)