Fads are a popularized thing or way of thinking that is popular usually for a short time. But what if I told you that food fads can be helpful to people with severe food allergies. “Flour-less Brownies” I thought to myself after hearing my mother say the words only moments before. As my eleven year old brain tried to wrap itself around the idea of a baked good being made without its main ingredient. I also wondered why in the world my mother would try to create such a concoction. My mother always love to bake and cook when we have company over and she always tries to make sure she is conscious of people’s food allergies and medical conditions. Flour-less brownies ended up being just the beginning to my family’s foray into flour-less foods. Later that night I found out my brother’s new best friend Mike had a wheat allergy. To be fair to the people I am writing about and I am going to use different names as to keep their stories private.
I did not understand that many people in America have conditions that cause them to negatively react to one of the most commonly used ingredients when cooking; flour. Ten years later, I am now left thinking about how America’s latest food craze of keeping things gluten free has helped people with wheat allergies and other issues like “gluten” intolerance and Celiac disease.
There are several conditions that affect a person when they consume wheat products; the two major ones are wheat allergies and Celiac disease. A wheat allergy is a basic allergy where the symptoms occur when said person consumes wheat product. Consuming any form of wheat will cause an allergic reaction that can vary person to person. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes extreme discomfort in the intestines when a person with the disease eats any food that contains gluten (which is a protein that is contained in wheat and other grains). Both conditions cause big problems for regular people who may not even know they have the condition. While there is a possibility that wheat allergy may go away after time, Celiac disease is genetic and there is no known cure for it.
My brother’s friend Mike only had a simple wheat allergy and my mom always accommodated her cooking for him when he was over by making things that he could eat in a time when the word gluten wasn’t even a passing thought in anyone’s mind. My mother had tried pretty much everything when coming up with ideas to cook things without flour. If you can think of a baked good, she has probably tried making it without flour. From cookies to cupcakes there are a surprising amount of recipes that don’t include flour and still taste good. Cooking gluten free was difficult because there weren’t as many resources back then as we now have today. Now when you go into a grocery store you can find aisles of gluten free foods.
Several semesters ago I found out my old roommate Brad has a younger sister with Celiac disease. After a frantic call from his mother my roommate Brad ended up on the phone for several hours trying to calm her down after his sister had a bad Celiac attack when she was down at the shore with her friends almost three hours away. Although it didn’t directly affect me I could tell the effects that Celiac disease has on people and their families, as my roommate tries to keep his mother from freaking out over the phone and his father goes to pick his daughter up in a three hour drive to go get her.
Becoming “gluten free” has become popular in America over the last couple years and in effect has helped people feel better about themselves, but at the same time increases the options for people with actual issues like my brothers friend all those years ago. Now he has more options because of something a lot of people see as a fad. This fad has helped many people affected by these conditions by creating more options and a positive atmosphere for people who can’t eat gluten products. Fads usually end quickly but I hope this is one that can last.
People who have these allergies can sometimes feel like outcasts because they have to avoid certain kinds of food. I think that when people go out to their way to try and help these people by being aware of what allergies they have is a great thing. I don’t think that people should go completely out of their way because that can alienate them even more.
My Mom always loves to cook and tries to accommodate for other people when cooking. Accommodating for peoples food allergies can be difficult as there are so many allergies people can have and that’s even after you take into account their food preferences. She’s always accommodated for my aunt who’s a vegan and tries to find creative ways to make food for people who can’t or don’t eat certain things. I’ve only known several people with very serious food allergies I myself am allergic to scallops but it’s not that serious.
When writing this essay initially I had no idea what I wanted to write about but I kept coming back to this idea of how food fads can be helpful to people who have food allergies. At first I could not think of any examples in my life where I knew people that had serious food allergies. I thought of people that would be affected by a fad that creates more products that benefit them and then I remembered my brother’s friend. I thought about how it is really important to be able to make people feel comfortable when they come over and how it is hard for people with food allergies to feel comfortable when people have to go out of their way to accommodate them. I remembered that my mother is always down to try new things and because she’s a nurse she’s always wanted to help people stay healthy.
- 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.)NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks)butter, cut into pieces
- 2 tablespoonswater
- 1/4 cupNESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
- 4large eggs
- 1/3 cupgranulated sugar
- 1 teaspoonvanilla extract
- 1 cuppecans, finely ground (optional)
- 1/4 cupheavy whipping cream
PREHEAT oven to 300º F. Line 9-inch-square baking pan with foil. Grease bottom and sides.
HEAT 1 1/2 cups morsels, butter and water in medium, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until morsels and butter are melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in cocoa until smooth. Remove from heat.
BEAT eggs and sugar in medium mixer bowl until thick, about 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract. Fold 1/3 of egg mixture into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining egg mixture, one half at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
BAKE for 35 to 40 minutes or until risen in center and edges start to get firm and shiny (center may still move and appear under baked). Cool completely in pan on wire rack (center may sink slightly). Cover; refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
PLACE cream in small, uncovered, microwave-safe dish. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 25 to 30 seconds. Add remaining 1/2 cup morsels. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes; stir until chocolate is melted.
SPREAD ganache over chilled brownie. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Using two opposite sides of foil, carefully lift the entire brownie out of the pan and place on cutting board. Carefully peel away foil from brownie. Cut into bars. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.