Thursday, January 6, 2011

C-what?! Disease and my last glutenous meal.

The Disease
I bet most people don't go to college and find out that they have a life-altering disease within their first semester. Yeah, I consider myself pretty accomplished already. It all started with the subject header of an e-mail (Student Health Services is sooo advanced) saying that I probably had celiac disease. I held my breath as I opened the e-mail, but I found myself no more enlightened after reading it than when my eyes had set sight on the subject header in my inbox. I panicked for a brief minute (what the heck was celiac disease? Was I gonna die?) before I remembered that Google existed. According to Google Health, "Celiac disease is an inherited, autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged from eating gluten and other proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats." A few months later my diagnosis was confirmed by a biopsy, and I became Wheatless Welch, eating what no Welch has eaten before *dun dun dun*

The Wheaty Goodness and Denial
Okay, I didn't particularly care for rye. Good riddance. Barley tasted good in stews, but when does a college kid ever eat stew anyway? But wheat, oh glorious carbohydrate that powered my nightly 2am study sessions and 4am weekend snacking sessions, how could I give it up? Oh Honey Nut Cheerios, oh pizza, oh Wasa crispbread, oh Triscuits, oh Ritz crackers, oh PASTA, oh PB&J sandwiches, could life go on without them? I would soon find out in a do or die experiment. At least I would have ice cream to cope. But first, to make a wonderful last meal commemorating wheaty goodness.

I decided on Monkey Bread, a favorite holiday breakfast of our family. I've been told it's called monkey bread because you have to pick it apart piece by piece to eat it, like a monkey supposedly eats. Great to keep kids occupied and make them forget about opening presents until you've finished cooking the rest of breakfast (goes well with quiche and fruit), as I've been told by my mom. It's insanely delicious! So for those glutenous folks who might read my blog, here's the recipe:

1. Cut 4 tubes of Pillsbury biscuit dough into quarters.
2. Mix cinnamon and white sugar in a ziploc bag or empty bread bag.
3. Toss several biscuit quarters at a time in the bag to coat with cinnamon and white sugar.
4. Melt 1 stick of butter and 1 cup brown sugar. Bring to boil. Add 1 tsp vanilla.
5. Put biscuits into greased bundt pan. Top with butter mixture.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes

It was so delicious this was all that was left!

The Project
Jesus once said "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,'" - Matthew 4:4. Yes, it's possible to live sans wheat bread! Just one problem - I don't know how to cook many glutenous meals, let alone gluten-free ones. Don't worry though, I'm not your normal college-kid-turned-celiac, I'm superhero Wheatless Welch! I'm going to attack this gluten-free life head on, and even get college credit for it. For my Oberlin College 2011 Winter Term project, I will cook my family a gluten-free dinner every night for a month. Gluten-free chef, here I come!


  1. Wow, Krissy, the monkey bread looks delicious!

    I look forward to see what you're going to cook! If any of the recipes are college-student friendly (i.e., pretty easy/simple), let me know! :)

    Also, my cousin is gluten-free and I'm sure she has lots of recipes, if you ever run out! You could definitely make a lot of dishes with rice; it would be fun to try those rice-noodle rolls they have in Vietnamese restaurants. You could also do those lettuce cups served in Chinese restaurants. Anyway, good luck with this project!

  2. Yum! I looks so delicious when you make this. I remember that the last time I made it myself, the dough didn't get cooked all the way through, but nonetheless it was still delicious. Now, we gotta think about things that we can make on the holidays that would be just as fun as making monkey bread; or maybe like a glutton-free version of it.

  3. Thanks Max! I will try to remember to highlight the college-friendly options. The rice and beans dish I'll make later tonight should be pretty simple. And I think I have some of those rice noodles. I will have to experiment. What lettuce cups are you talking about?

    Thanks also David! Good point, can't wait to experiment with holiday recipes next year.

  4. I think it's called "Mu Shu." It's diced vegetables mixed with a meat (usually pork but can be anything) and served in cups made out of lettuce leaves. Shoot, I forgot -- are you vegetarian?

  5. lol no I'm not. We must've had this conversation at dinner so many times, but you never know with an Obie.