See how full this grocery shelf is? Ok, now imagine this spanning the entire back wall of this grocery store. I almost collapsed and cried tears of joy when I saw this. I'm green with envy at how good the gluten-free Irish have it. And all of the products I've bought and tasted so far have been delicious. I had a similar discovery last summer in Scotland as well. They are just light-years ahead of the States when it comes to their offerings in gluten-free products. I'm talking varieties of bread that have equal texture and taste to real breads, cookies that melt in your mouth, naan bread equal to the real thing the list goes on and on as you can see in the above picture.
I'm sure this probably stems from the fact that Celiac Disease was first actually discovered in the UK years ago. So they are technically years ahead of us in their awareness and acceptance of the disease. But in a time where TV shows, music, and trade all travel overseas in a millisecond, why hold back on decent food products that would greatly enhance life? Or why not at least pass on some of the secrets that stop gluten-free foods from tasting like cardboard?
Seeing that these good tasting gluten-free foods are in fact out there fills me with a mixture of hope and frustration. The States might not have caught up yet. And for some reason the UK feels like holding out on us. But this just means that the potential is there. And we have come a long way in even our offerings in the States in recent years. All I can say is I'll soak it up when I'm here, fill up my suitcase till I meet weight requirements for the way back, and continue sharing my finds so you can at least live it vicariously along with me.
I'm over in Cork, Ireland for the next month for my MFA residency. I was really nervous braving the airport again after past experiences with the availability of gluten-free food. However, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found at JFK.
Having some time to kill I wandered into an Irish pub to get in the mood for my upcoming trip. They had both a gluten-free beer and a cider on their menu. They also were extremely helpful in answering my questions about gluten-free ingredients in their food. I got a wedge salad and the Redbridge gluten-free beer made by Anheuser Busch.
For my flight with American Airlines I had requested a gluten-free meal about two weeks ago. I was nervous because on their website they say that special requests can be made, but they will not guarantee they will be met. Upon check in though I was happy to find that they said my meal was on-board. Once everyone was loaded and seated I had a flight attendant come around and confirm my order. The nice thing about ordering a special request meal is that you're served first :) My meal consisted of a salmon filet and brown rice along with string beans. Then I also had multi-grain crackers, a lemon shortbread cookie (That was delicious. I purposefully saved the wrapper so I can hopefully find the maker back home. It was from the Sun Flour Baking Company in Sacramento, CA.) A slice of canteloupe, and a small salad. They also provided another gluten-free meal for the breakfast snack. It was a fruit salad and yogurt.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how well I was able to eat while traveling. I'd packed a bunch of Larabars and other snacks myself just in case and I ended up not having to break into my stash at all. Yay airline industry for making yourself so accommodating for my trip! Now just keep it up for my trip back ;)
Do you like wine? How about some gluten-free friendly food trucks? Then check out my latest article. Here's the link: http://www.dcfud.com/2013/06/08/vintage-virginia-wine-festival/.