It is an understatement to say that I have always loved bread. The one thing I can remember most about growing up, especially in my maternal grandparents house, was that bread and butter were to be served at every meal…not to mention snacktime as well. (I can hear Karagöz saying “damn straight!” which means he’s picked up the somewhat sarcastic Yankee-ism meaning “that’s right!”).
As a child, I can remember cutting thick slices of Italian bread with the red painted serated knife, and using the same knife to slather that bread with wavy coverings of ricotta cheese that I then adorned with green olives pushed into the slushy cheese. I would devour my odd creations right there on the cool gray marble top of the pantry in the afternoon when all were napping as hot July wins blew around Granny’s house.
This was my favorite secret snack – WAY better than just bread and butter. I always left my grandmother wondering where those grocery items had vanished to and usually made my mother crazy as she was the one who cooked manicotti shells with ricotta filling. But, somehow this food stealing usually fell under the Granny radar as she usually had a second loaf and many more jars of olives to fill in for the missing items.
Bread was such a key part of our life that my father often did an impression of my Grandfather’s Scots’ brogue that involved a very guttural commentary on “bread and butter.” Given all of this, marrying a Turkish person was no problem when it came to the need for ekmek (bread) at every meal – although no butter need apply as far as he is concerned (all the better for our heart health, falan filan). As our courtship
dragged on ambled on, I remember my mother making extra sure to have bread on the dinner table as a way to welcome M. into the family, with something familiar on the table, even if we were eating potatoes or rice or some other kind of starchy food that would usually negate the offering of bread.
And, of course, in thinking of Turkey, I cannot think of a Turkish table that does not include bread. It seems to me and has likely been written that there is a slightly different bread in every village in Turkey. And they each take pride in their particular version of bread.
So, of course, given all of the above the worship of bread continued in my Turkish American relationship. But as I have experienced worsening medical problems over the last year, I have now been advised by three different doctors to make the move to a gluten-free diet. In shorthand, this is referred to as “G – free.” And it makes me shiver down deep into my bread-filled bones.
Today, when I send a message out on my Facebook account asking for advice on how to start going G – free, the puppets really began to protest. One by one, they worked themselves up into such a whirling dervish frenzy that they passed out cold on the floor.
“Life without bread,” the dizzy little chorus of dancing lady puppets murmured from their swooning woozy horizontal state, “well, it’s just NOT ok!!” Forget Kenne, the Queen of Manners and the Maintenance of Ladylike Behavior puppet, she had already fainted upon her stalwart statement that the idea of NO bread, well, “it’s just NOT done.”
I let them engage in their groaning, moaning and rolling around on the floor. I had already engaged in the same behavior at the thought of no bread or pasta and everything else that being G-free implies (no Bulgar, no couscous, no miso soup, no soy sauce). I just hadn’t let the moaning and groaning manifest in rolling around the floor writing in the emotional bread trauma pain in quite the same way as the puppets who live in my brain.
And then Mercan Bey, who you will recall is the Arabian spice trader puppet, walked into the apartment and started to set things straight. Clapping his hands together, he called on the puppets to get their act together:
“Puppets! All is not lost. I have traveled far and wide and have found many alternatives to wheat, rye and Barley…and here are some delicious options for you to try, M’lady, see, for example, these lovely photos posted throughout this blog entry showing DELICIOUS BAKED ITEMS and note, for example, that Saveur Magazine has luscious-looking gluten-free dessert recipes!”
He promises to return with more information. As for me, I’m about to join the puppets on the floor, kicking and screaming and moaning and groaning – even if it will make me feel better. It just looks like too much fun. 🙂
- Whole Foods Gluten Free Products You Will Not Want to Miss (glutenfree.answers.com)
- How to Make Gluten-Free Bread for Sandwiches (glutenfree.answers.com)
- Gluten Free Tea Time courtesy of Dan Lepard (halobakingemporiumandchocolaterie.wordpress.com)
- Coral Reef at Epcot, gluten free (glutenfreeva.wordpress.com)