Not Another Food Blog - A Texan in Italy Blog at - 322119

A Texan in Italy

Not another food blog 
Feb. 17, 2014 7:31 am 
Updated: Mar. 27, 2014 6:09 am

I was recently asked to participate in a survey to evaluate the All Recipes site.  I gave it low marks in some aspects because I would like to see recipes that I can use.  I was looking for a gluten free pizza dough recipe.  It seems simple.  Try it.  Go on.  Look for one.

If you surf the net you'll get lots of GF blogs and websites.  What you don't get is normal.  I wrote on the survey that I am not a hippy, not a health food nut, I'm not a new age guru nor am I a person whose life is centred around my dietary needs.  I have celiac disease.  That's it.  That is my handicap.  My diet is not who I am but simply just a fact about me.

I reflected upon what I wrote.  I guess the real thing is that I am tired of having to read through the lives of people who have deiced to make a living off their diets.  Maybe my real beef is with the GF marketing people thinking that my disease is cute or quaint or God forbid:  a fad.  

If you read one of those GF blogs they are annoying.  To get to the recipe you have to stroll through an entire page of how their adorable husband and cute kids wanted some trail mix for their 2000 mile hike through Big Sur.  I just need a recipe, not your life story.

I've got a husband who travels for business 20 days out of every month.  I've got three kids who go to school, study, go to the pool and watch tv.  I work in-between fevers, parent teacher meetings, cleaning the house, cooking the meals, doing the laundry, grocery shopping and a whole bunch of other things that you don't care about.  I need to nourish my family so they can keep doing what they do and would like to have a variety to keep them at least happy with what they eat.

I don't need to know that hand grinding chia seeds can give that extra something to my pizza crust.  What the hell is a chia seed anyway? I'm not kitsch.  I want normal food for normal people it just needs to be gluten and seafood free.  Is that asking too much?

So, why am I writing a blog?  Easy, I'm not really.  I will add some recipes or some ideas every once in a while for those of you who are forced to eat gluten free and seafood free and help you find decent alternatives for gluten and seafood if needed.

I live in Italy.  No I don't live in the rolling Tuscan hills. I live in a small city far from civilisation even though the city is well populated.  No, I don't see the romantic side of Italy that George Clooney does.  I see corrupt politics, a dying society, a doomed future for the youth, an economy where I as a taxpayer must make up for thieves in every sector, mismanaged everything, schools falling apart, hospitals falling apart, banks falling apart, no discernible traffic system, a population that refuses to follow any rule whatsoever...Shall I go on?  Italy, the real Italy, is not the happy-go-lucky, Carpe diem place that everyone thinks it is.  The people who act like that make Italy fail-they are called gran far null!  Big fat do nothingers. 

Living in Italy also means that I can't eat in any restaurants because they don't care if I have an allergy, they think my requests are "capricci" or just being picky.  They gave me food cooked in the same oil as salmon once and caused my lips and tongue to swell.  Then they said, "yes, but it was just the juice of the fish, not the fish".  I must cook at home if I want to live.

We don't get alternative flours and if we do they are not GF.  The government actually gives money (by way of monthly allowances in coupons) to those who are certified celiac sufferers so they can purchase food from Pharmacies where GF food is sold.  Yes, I do my grocery shopping in a pharmacy.  Spaghetti, bread, flour etc.  The problem is the prices are so high that when you need to buy more than what the State gives you I must pay approx. 7 US dollars for 3 ounces of cookies.  So, I make all my food at home from scratch.  Which is why easy recipes are what I am looking for.

I can't find chia seeds, teff flour and all those other alternatives to flour that are certified GF so easily.  I need real recipes for real people.

That is what I propose here.  Simple, easy to find ingredients for normal food.

Stick around if you want.  Thanks. :-)

Feb. 18, 2014 4:01 pm
So, I looked at the recipe for Pizza Crust from Mrs. J. Are "gluten free all purpose flour", "garbanzo bean flour" and "xanthan gum" ingredients you have affordable access to? I live in Indiana and have never purchased these items and wouldn't know where to find them.
Feb. 19, 2014 5:17 am
Thanks for your help everyone. Unfortunately, in my city health food stores don't exist. There are some in the bigger cities, but I don't get to them often. Even then, the stores don't carry gluten free versions of alternative flours. I can't get peanut butter unless it costs around 6 dollars for a tiny jar. I can't get brown sugar. I have ordered some flours online and if they come from out of the country they get confiscated or taxed. A couple of mills send flours by mail. Much to my chagrin I find that they are not certified gluten free. I am also intolerant to chestnuts so that flour is out for me. But thanks for your help.
Feb. 19, 2014 5:28 am ....I thought this might interest you. Might not, but the ingredients for the cauliflower crust 'seem' like they'd be readily available and the member really enjoyed it.
Feb. 19, 2014 6:50 pm
Wow, I had no idea that living in Italy is so difficult for the average person. Are you able to order items from Amazon, or would they be confiscated too? Amazon carries a lot of difficult to find ingredients, at good prices, which might make ordering what you need feasible, even if you are taxed on the items. Good luck .
Feb. 21, 2014 12:28 pm
I have a gluten free pasta recipe posted. It uses chestnut flour and it's delicious. I feel for you. We love to visit Italy as tourists but I can imagine it's difficult to actually live travel is at your own risk. Here's the chestnut pasta recipe:
Feb. 21, 2014 12:30 pm
shoot - just saw your second post about chestnuts. Maybe others will like it. Best wishes.
Feb. 22, 2014 4:03 am
Thanks for all the recipes. I can't use chestnut flour but can garbanzo and almond flour. Getting edible items from Amazon is not an option. It gets either delayed and goes bad or gets taxed incessantly. I can get masa harina which I use. Rice flour is readily available. Any other flours are simply not certified gluten free. Paid around 70 euros recently to find out that the website claimed all flours were gluten free then it arrived with "may contain traces of" so I'm learning to make due. Making a chocolate puns cake now. Will describe soon. Thanks again.
Feb. 26, 2014 3:25 pm
Weird I didn't know italians used emoticons
Mar. 15, 2014 3:11 am
I love your blog and I love that you talk about all the facets of your life. If I blogged I would be going on about our government here too. It is just as corrupt, but with the media complicit, very few people know or care. They don't want to know and they don't want to fix it, although more people seem to be getting dissatisfied, and are talking about it. I also share your frustration with people running gluten free blogs that say what a great recipe they have, and then want you to pay for it. I am frustrated with cute stories about their kids and family, and even their dogs and cats. Blah! You are a breath of fresh air. I have Celiac Disease, and what I have done after several years, is basically moved on from traditional gluten free flours to nut flours. Hideously expensive in general, but you can grind your own, carefully. I usually buy the almond flour and the hazelnut, but in future, I may try and grind some nut flours. I hang out at a lot of low carb and Paleo sites. If you can find and tolerate flax seed or flax meal, there are tons of recipes out there that use them, and some are quite tasty. Let's face it, most things don't taste like wheat except wheat, but after nearly twenty years of not eating it, I don't remember or care what it tastes like, so I don't really think about it. I am fortunate to be able to buy things locally or online. I don't think I would be anything less than frustrated and annoyed if I didn't. So much for all those gluten free travelers that extol the wonders of Europe, and the easy availability of gluten free products. Makes me wonder if they know what they are talking about.
Mar. 27, 2014 6:09 am
Thanks MacGuffin. Yes, there was a site once that talked about a fresh handmade pasta recipe. The site said that before the cookbook went public (where one would naturally be required to pay for) the publisher had a question about the recipe. She retried it at home and said it was terrible. So these recipes that one pays for aren't actually tested? Hmmm. They take nice pictures but is it good? So, I have been testing in my own kitchen. Still can't get a pizza crust like I like it but think it is like you say: stop expecting the pizza to taste like wheat pizza then see how it goes. Bummer. I did make up a recipe for fresh orecchiette pasta and it was fantastic. So maybe pizza isn't far behind. Best, Melanie
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About Me
American living in Italy. I'm married to an Italian and I am a mom to three Italian/American girls - all teenagers with bottomless pits for stomachs. My real love for cooking came while living in Italy. I spent a lot of time with people from Sicily and even stayed there for a spell. I was introduced to a Mediterranean diet and still prefer it to any other. Over the last 18 years I have lived in and travelled through Italy for my non-food profession, but have always tried to learn the local cuisine that makes each region in Italy so unique. I'm also a celiac sufferer and allergic to seafood, which is a huge bummer. I don't know which I like more, airplanes or food, but can say I don't care for airplane food!
My favorite things to cook
I get in a rut, even in Italy. My family likes specific flavours and over the years I have stuck to them. I am trying to branch out but my favourites are still soups and pasta.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Burning bread. My mom started it. I am doing my best to continue the tradition. o_0 My dad used to make one of us stand in front of the oven to watch the bread, if you moved from your assigned position, he yelled at you to get back! :-) Dad runs a tight ship (ex-Navy) and doesn't like burnt bread!
My cooking triumphs
If I can keep my three teenagers full and still have enough money to pay the light bill, it's a triumph!!
My cooking tragedies
When I was about 15, I made a pumpkin pie using the recipe off the can of condensed milk. I forgot to add the milk in the can. :-( I got a puddle in a pie crust and have been ribbed by my siblings every Thanksgiving since.
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