Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Christmas List for the Newly Gluten-Free

It's now November, and if you you're like me, you're trying to get a leg up on holiday shopping.  Since I've had my girls on a gluten-free diet for just over a year now, I thought I'd share a list of things to consider if you know someone who has recently had to go gluten-free themselves.  It can be a little overwhelming at first, and here's a collection of things that are helpful in bringing order out of chaos.

1.  A good gluten-free cookbook.  Or three.  Take the general level of interest in cooking of your recipient in account when making your selections.  But here I some of my thoughts.  Start with an interesting, basic book that provides recipes that can be immediately put to use.  I like "Cooking for Isaiah," by Slivana Nardone.

Add in a general-purpose gluten-free book that can serve as a reference, such as "You Won't Believe it's Gluten-free!" or "1000 Gluten-free Recipes."  Also consider an additional book that focuses on something in particular, like "Gluten Free Christmas Cookies" or "Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free."  There are so many excellent books available, that choosing what will be the nucleus of a new gluten-free cooking library might take you a little time - it'll be an important first step in learning to cook gluten-free.

2.  Kitchen gadgets and utensils.  Even if your recipient has a kitchen full of doo-dads and gizmos, this is still on the list.  Why?  While a lot of things can be cleaned sufficiently to be used for both gluten-free cooking and "regular" cooking, there are things that cannot.  For instance, flour sifters,
wooden spoons, rolling pins, and anything similarly made of porous material.

3.  Canisters.  Gluten-free baking and cooking tends to utilize a much wider selection of flours and adjunct ingredients than most of us are familiar with.  Your recipient is going to need somewhere to keep them.  Many of these flours have a fairly short shelf-life, and need to be kept in an air-tight container.  Some of them are also best kept in the freezer.  I love the POP canisters by Oxo:

4.  A Magazine Subscription.  Especially useful for those new to a gluten-free lifestyle, there are now a number of magazines being published that are geared toward providing recipes, advice, and assistance.  My favorites include "Gluten Free Living," and "Living Without":


If your recipient is fond of online sources of information, give some serious thought to a gift-subscription to "Easy Eats," an online magazine with lots of high-quality content also published by Silvana Nardone.

5.  A Stand Mixer.  If you're feeling particularly generous, a stand mixer would be deeply appreciated by anybody who enjoys baking or cooking.  But it's especially helpful to have one if you're gluten-free.  Many baked goods, especially bread, require a stand mixer to get good results.   
I love my KitchenAid.  Now, I have the Heavy Duty model, which is no longer made (Her name is Geraldine).  And I currently lust after the 7-qt model available exclusively from Williams-Sonoma.  (Sorry, Geraldine).  But this artisan is SO pretty and would be a blessing to have in the kitchen for anybody making gluten-free bread.

6.  A Bread Machine.  If you REALLY want to make bread-making easy for someone new to gluten-free living, a bread machine is an excellent option.  Be sure to include a book on baking gluten-free bread in a bread machine (there are a number of them available on Amazon.com).  And read some reviews online before choosing a model.  
Buying one with a programmable option, where ingredients can be loaded in at night and bread ready first thing in the AM can make gluten-free breakfast on future Christmas mornings something to look forward to.

7.  A Selection of Mixes.  Especially for someone who might be less enthusiastic in the kitchen, a gift basket of gluten-free mixes can be an appreciated gift.  So far, my hands-down favorite are the King Arthur brand.  In particular, their muffin mix is exceptional:
I also like Pamelas, and 1-2-3 Gluten Free (which has the best biscuits and sugar cookies).

8.  "Flour of the Month"  If your recipient already has a favorite flour or mix, it's possible to set up an "autoship" at regular intervals via Amazon.com.  Overall, Amazon's selection and pricing on gluten-free products is pretty good, and they offer an even better deal on autoshipped items.

9.  A Kitchen Journal.  Nothing helps with the learning process of converting recipes for use in a gluten-free lifestyle like keeping notes on what has worked and what didn't.  Consider looking on Etsy.com for a handmade one, or even making one yourself!  
10.  A gift certificate to a local gluten-free bakery, market, or restautrant.  Sometimes it's nice to have someone ELSE do the gluten-free cooking, even when you like to cook.  Search Google, Urban Spoon, and local guides to find businesses in your area.

I hope this little list makes shopping for the gluten-free person on your list a little easier this season.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post! Great ideas... I need to get started shopping :) Found you on the list of Top 25 Food Allergy Mom Blogs...

    Lisa @ Allergy Free Vintage Cookery

    ReplyDelete