It would be easy this year to focus on the worst. Even as I am setting here typing this I am looking out at the path of destruction the latest snow storm left in my backyard. It would be so easy to wallow in news of the bad economy, the burdens of eating gluten free during the holidays, the deceit of some food manufacturers labeling things gluten free when they are not - well you get the picture.
So it seems like the perfect time to think about the best of 2008- gluten free living has definitely hit main stream, or at least some kind of side tributary. "Gluten free" has gone from some obscure diet to a new household world. Now it is commented on in TV series. Gluten free sections are popping up in grocery stores across the US. And all of the new products!
Of course more is not always better but our obsessive compulsive nature drives us to try every new gluten free product that we can find (and afford). After trying lots (and lots) of new gluten free items in 2008, we have boiled down our best of the best list to the following. No, not terribly long but longer than last year and we are still sampling:
Best Donut: Celiac Specialties donuts. The GFK loves the mini-powdered donuts and I was so happy to have some in the freezer when a last minute donut party was thrown at school.
Best Pre-made Cake: Shabtai Gourmet Devils Food Seven Layer cake. As a special treat, my Mom ordered one of these for Christmas day. The GFK was in heaven.
Best Pasta: Schar gluten free pasta. With the disappearance of Bi-Aglut from our gluten free world, we switched to Dr. Schar's. Order it from
Best Sandwich Bread for a Lunch Box: Kinnikinnick White Sandwich bread. Note, not read the category carefully. It is not the best tasting most delicious sandwich bread (we are still looking for that) it is the kind of bread that you can toast, make a sandwich on in the morning, and it is still edible at lunch time.
For a list of some of our other favorite pantry items go to Getting Started Gluten Free on our website.
Best Gluten Free Restaurant: Risotteria restaurant in New York City. The all you can eat GF bread sticks, pizza, risotto, the setting on Bleeker street all combine to make this our over the top choice.
If you just happen to be in Athy Ireland, we highly recommend the Bay Tree Inn. We absolutely loved it!
Best Place toTravel Gluten Free: In the continental United States it would be New York City for us, but if do not live in Seattle, I'd have to place this gluten free friendly city high on places to visit in 2009. Feeling more adventurous, then Ireland with its huge celiac population is the place to go.
Best Free Newsletter: NFCA (National Foundation for Celiac Awareness) emails out a monthly free newsletter that is loaded with great tips.
Best New Found Cookbook: Not a new cookbook, but new to us in 2008 was Gluten-Free Baking: More Than 125 Recipes for Delectable Sweet and Savory Baked Goods, Including Cakes, Pies, Quick Breads, Muffins, Cookies, and Other Delights. Filled with great sweet treat recipes.
Best Bread Recipe: We tried many but have to leave this category blank as none were worthy of this list. Dare we say, a new challenge for the new year.
Best Quick Bread Recipe: This one was easy, Blueberry bread always makes us smile!
Best Blog Comment of the Year: Okay, maybe a little tacky but I still laugh out loud at the suggestion of adding laxatives to the food of those who just don't get the gluten free diet!
Most Touching Email: All of those received in 2008. I wish I could share them all so you'd all know that you are definitely not alone in this gluten free world. My heart really went out to the woman who worked, had a disabled husband and a daughter with celiac disease - that is a lot for one person to handle. But to all of you, keep writing, together we will make this a better gluten free world!!