Happy Celiac Disease Awareness Month!
Incidentally, as I was pondering how to commemorate this month on this blog, an interesting thing happened.
Okay, it wasn’t earth-shatteringly interesting, but it really sums up how I am feeling about my status as a gluten-free person at the moment.
See, this past Saturday, I was really procrastinating about deciding what to make for lunch, when suddenly lunch time was right around the corner, and I had 2 kids who were already whining about being hungry. (Point of information: Lunch is my gig, as my husband is usually in charge of breakfast on the weekends.) So, I browsed through our pantry and freezer and AHA! I found a frozen pizza crust that I had made a couple of months ago.
I should preface this by adding that I am a halfsy-sort of cook. I make stuff, but not usually 100% from scratch. In this instance, I used a Pamela’s bread crust mix to make pizza crust in my breadmaker. We usually add cheese and seasonings, but I can’t really claim that I did it from scratch. Anyway, one batch can make a LOT of pizza crusts. I roll them out between 2 sheets of parchment paper, stack them on a cookie sheet, and toss them in the freezer. Then I can just grab a frozen disc-o-crust at my leisure, peel off the top piece of parchment paper, and viola! Ready to pile toppings on and bake.
But, back to last Saturday:
So, I get all clever and think, “Hey! What if I pre-bake the crust a little, see if I can make it a little more crispy?” So I toss it in the oven while I start getting toppings ready. I peek in after the buzzer goes off, still not done, so I add 4 more minutes. Why 4? I don’t know. What I DO KNOW now is that it was probably 3 minutes too many.
When the buzzer went off, I realized that I had, um….almost burned it. It wasn’t black or even dark brown, but it was pretty crisp….to crisp to put toppings on and then shove back into the oven, that’s for sure. So, I quickly switched gears and hauled out some bread I recently ordered from Happy Campers Bakery (a GF bakery in Oregon – they ship to Minnesota!). I quickly coated the slices in sauce and cheese, arranged some mini-pepperonis into smiley-faces, and shoved a half-dozen of them into the oven (which was already pre-heated due to my crust debacle.)
My kids ate lunch and were none the wiser. Thankfully they enjoyed the smiley-face mini-pizzas…. And I was THIS CLOSE (imagine my thumb and finger pinching about 1/16th of an inch apart) to chucking my “crispy crust” to the squirrels in the backyard when it occurred to me that I should wait.
So I did. I looked at it, and then (warning: stroke of genius ahead!), I broke the mega-crust into small pieces and put them in a tupperware container. When we had a friend over for dinner that night, I decided to haul out that container-o-pieces and some cheese dip and give it a whirl as crackers. And you know what??? That made pretty darn good crackers. Even our friend (who does not have to eat gluten free food) liked them.
Okay, back to the whole point of this post: So, in the midst of congratulating myself for cleverly salvaging my crust and somehow stumbling on a pretty good cracker recipe, it occurred to me: I would NEVER have come up with that had I not had celiac disease.
Seriously. I never even USED my bread maker before we went GF. I certainly never used it to make pizza crust. And it never would have even been a thought to try out the crispy crust of a failed pizza as a cracker alternative.
Now, I’m not saying that homemade crackers are worth getting celiac disease or anything, but I am aware that I am experiencing new things that I never would have even thought of before. It was kind of fun to discover new things that I KNOW I wouldn’t have even bothered to do before. So, in that respect I have to say that going gluten free has actually added a new dimension to my life experience.
So, this month, I have decided to honor Celiac Disease Awareness Month by being positive and grateful for some of the oddities that I have encountered through my gluten-free existence.
Because you know…celiac disease bites, but when life gives you lemons, sometimes you’ve just got to make crackers…!