Thursday, April 22, 2010

I need to thank the Item for something

On April 21st, The Daily Item of Lynn ran "Nahant family shares meals with Web"

http://www.thedailyitemoflynn.com/articles/2010/04/21/news/news09.txt

When it first ran, I skipped over it on Itemlive. I'm more of an improvisational kind of cook. I don't get excited by recipes.

I was siting in Tatiana's Restaurant enjoying my gluten-free Greek Salad and Spanish Rice when my friend Nigel pointed the story out in the print edition. Had I known it was for a gluten free (wiki) website,  you'd have seen this blog post a little sooner!

You'll notice the wiki mentions Celiac Disease. It's a major reason why so many people are forced to go on gluten free diets. Trust me, it's not some new kind of diet fad, nor should it be. The Item mentions gluten allergies and gluten intolerance, which are different. In any case, the diet that must be followed must not contain any traces of wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and for some, oats.

Your guess is as good or better than mine as to why there's an uptick in gluten intolerance and celiac. There's also been a major increase in food allergies. Maybe we should leave that sort of speculation to the supposed experts.

It's a life-changer, though. Like other Lynn bloggers, I try to promote and patronize area shops and restaurants. But now I can only frequent a few. And let me throw another wrench in that; I've been a vegetarian for almost twenty years - long enough that going back to meat is not an option.

Going into Cambridge, Somerville, Watertown and Boston opens up a wider possibility for restaurants. But I found in my travels beyond New England, more understanding and a wider variety of GF and veggie dining options. I can't begin to explain why, outside of the fact that New Englanders are more creatures of habit than people in other regions. We're a little slow to certain kinds of changes. If that's the way it always was, that's the way it should remain.

But another reason why I have a tough time in Lynn, specifically, is because our ethnic restaurants are more authentic. For most, that's a great thing! However, menu items that would be gluten free and vegetarian in a Jamaica Plain or Cambridge burrito joint actually contain pork or chicken stock and even lard here. And there's a clear lack of understanding, cultural or whatever it is, as to what is truly vegetarian. So, menu items are often mislabeled. I'll be disappointed if I accidentally ingest an animal product, but sick and in pain if I accidentally ingest gluten. It takes courage to try a new restaurant. And trust.

I need to thank the Item for helping to bring this issue to light and for the promotion of the good work Paul and Elaine Caira are doing with www.gfhomecooking.com.

I also want to publicly thank the following eateries in Lynn who have listened:

Turbine Wine Bar - Wine is gluten free by default, but they also have a gluten free beer, a flourless chocolate cake and gelato!

Tatiana's - For making an excellent Spanish Rice and Greek Salad

Capitol Diner - They take care to keep my eggs and potatoes away from bread and pancakes

Christopher's Cafe - For the Spanish Omelette sans-toast and a side of fruit

Fernando's - Juan makes a great breakfast at a great price. (I'm looking forward to the Culture Fest he's organizing)

A few special mentions for places just outside of Lynn:

Yan's China Bistro in Swampscott has a gluten-free section on their menu.

Salem Diner has gluten free bread. It's not on the menu, but ask for it as the "Pesky" bread. Yes, the sports guy.

Passage to India in Salem is a must, because unless you order nan, most Indian dishes are gluten free and many are vegetarian.


Artist: Galaxie 500
Song: Here She Comes Now (Velvet Underground cover)

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you found the Caira's website and have some options here on the northshore. Maybe we could get an Indian restaurant to come to downtown.

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