Agent 86 Alive and Well in KAOS
Feb. 9, 2010 6:42 pm
Updated: Feb. 21, 2010 3:06 pm
When I returned to the gluten-free food plan (a mere five weeks ago) I figured that, as long as I was armed with my newly purchased (and nearly bank-breaking) gluten-free arsenal of sweet white rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, real tapioca, potato flour, potato starch, and my lovely little Sourdough Starter, etc., ready for action, I would rule the world -- or at least my kitchen. ("Well, would you believe..." every recipe I tried?) ("Ma-a-ax!" "Sorry about that, Chief!")
Ten days ago, I was much bolder (just as Smart, but definitely no less challenged) than before. After all, with a couple of amazing (both gluten and gluten-free) successes under my belt, I thought my days of Multiple-Failures-in-a-Row were over. Nuh-unh!
A week ago Saturday started well. I tried my hand at Gluten-Free "Norwegian" pancakes -- a recipe that I, myself, adapted from the old Family Recipe. WOW! They were awesome! Even Hubby liked them (couldn't tell they were gluten-free). I was "Queen of the Lab"! (I now relate to Hodgins of "Bones".) My gluten-free bread with the Sourdough Starter (made according to the recipe with the exception of being adapted for the starter and the bread machine) was in the breadmaker. I Ruled the World (or at least my little corner of it)! Until the end of the baking cycle. It looked beautiful -- if you overlooked its 2" height. It was difficult to cut because of the globby, pasty uncooked mix inside. Failure #1 -- and the Fall had started. Much like being at the top of mountain, with your back to the descent -- taking a step back and ... (with a very similar result to the "Turkeys Can Fly, Can't They?" episode of "WKRP in Cinncinnati".)
I was not intimidated. It was, of course, only one failure. So I tried my maternal Grandmother's (my "Momma"'s) Potato Soup, but my potatos were bad -- so bad I couldn't use any of them, so I used up the last of the potato flakes. Same difference. Right? Of course, Right! Wrong! Failure #2.
That was Saturday. Hubby had sandwiches for lunch (I had salad), and for dinner, we polished off the last of the Norwegian pancakes and Hubby filled up on jam sandwiches.
Sunday was a total bust! Tried the bread again with yeast (as the recipe stated) instead of the starter ... Yet another bust! I tried three more recipes (which I forget now) and everything was horrible! We have no dogs (and I'm sure if they did even they wouldn't have touched any of the sludge I churned out and wasted good ingredients, money, time and energy on these endeavours!)
Both Hubby and I come from financially handicapped backgrounds where throwing food away just was NOT an option, but we had to admit that most of this stuff was worse than some of our worst childhood culinary nightmares. At the end of Sunday, when my final foray of "gourmet" cooking (recipe-followed meatloaf of all things!) ended up in the trash, I burst into deep, wracking, uncontrollable sobs. Yep, I have to admit, I became a messy, slobbering, sobbing, emotionally unstable female for one of the first times in my whole entire existence. The mother of my childhood was right. I was a failure. Everything I touch turns to dust. And, to top it off, I have no funny stories of dumping half a bag of bulk onion mix into the mixing bowl filled with ingredients, adding ketchup to Beef Stroganoff Hamburger Helper, or the top falling off the salt and/or pepper shaker that I could share with friends and family. No giggling recounting of misreading 2-1/2 cups of flour as two 1/2 cups of flour for me. No human error -- that I could trace back. I was a total and complete failure. With no redeeming qualities. I had not phhhhttt this badly for ages! ("Stalkah! We do not Phhhhhttt in Kaos")
So, I was back to where I was pre-AllRecipes end-November/early December -- at the bottom of the slippery slope we know as Culinary Expertise. I am culinarily cursed and back to being a firm believer in the "wing it" or "experimental" way of cooking. Aren't recipes supposed to turn out when you follow them to the letter?
Hubby lived on sandwiches and toast Monday and Tuesday, because he said that I needed a rest from cooking on the weekend -- but he giggled when I asked if he needed a rest from being Guinea Pig. (He is so easy to read *lol*)
Oh, and then I "whoopsied" off the gluten-free wagon. Wednesday, I made Hubby spaghetti. We both figured, surprisingly correctly, that I was up to that. I usually make regular noodles for him and gluten-free for me, but I was so tired and hungry after work that I just dumped the noodles onto a plate and dug in. Also, being the day before payday, we were at the end of the pantry/fridge offerings and the gluten-free ingredients had been used up on the weekend fiascos. There were lots of noodles leftover and I brought them for lunch on Thursday and Friday, and Hubby had a break from sanwiches and toast for dinner. Never has spaghetti tasted so good!
I have been feeling so-o-o-o much better since going gluten-free. With only one Grilled Cheese Sandwich on Rye Bread three days into this venture (when I forgot my lunch), the head was almost free of that "cottonball" feel. Thoughts were clearer and more rational. Constant cramps, nausea, diarrhea, with occasional vomiting had ceased. Life was good (healthwise) until Wednesday night, when the nausea returned, and I started running in the middle of the night. (No, I don't mean jogging!) I was sick again! And did not clue in until Friday afternoon when a co-worker said, "What have you eaten? You've gone gluten again, haven't you?"
"No. I have been really, really goo ... oh, !@#$!"
"I've had regular spaghetti three days in a row!"
She crowed, "I knew it! You've been looking good for the last few weeks and since yesterday, you look 90 again. You were funny again. Since yesterday, you've been stressed. You were more energetic, and since yesterday you've fallen asleep at least four times. The only thing that brings you down like that is gluten." And this from a young, self-absorbed co-worker I thought had less observation skills than a gnat! (Thanks, Monica!)
So, again, a New Beginning. I went for groceries on Saturday and bought enough to last (I hope) for a month (but the cynic in me doubts it)! It's always interesting starting the long trudge back up the mountain, but oddly stimulating. I spent the rest of Saturday sleeping. Sunday, I made the worst pancakes EVER! But, my bread rose, but tasted "meh! Not so bad". I proceeded to cook up the pork, hamburger, chicken, linguine, and rice, package them all, label them, and toss them in the freezer so I can just take them out, toss whatever together, and heat and eat when I get home.
Most of the "over-the-budget", unnecessary stuff was chocolate and goodies. Valentine's Day is on Sunday and I have at least 15 Knock 'Em Dead "Nothing Says I Love You Like Chocolate" recipes I want to try on Hubby. I'll be lucky if I get five of them done and edible ... "Well, would you believe a" ... store-bought chocolate bar and a home-made computer card? ("Ma-a-ax!" "Sorry about that!")
Do you have any culinary, and/or dietary challenges? What do you find most difficult when cooking or menu-planning?
I'll keep you posted.