May 22, 2013

April of Gluten is My Bitch + Giveaway

I know I am fortunate to not have celiac disease. So many people I know suffer from it and have to cut all gluten straight out of their lives in order to get better. So people handle the news by weeping in their kitchen while tossing all their favorite bread. Others, like April, take a more comedic approach. When April was diagnosed with celiac disease a few years ago she too shed a few tears. But then she started this cool blog, took the bull by the horns, and made gluten her bitch. Anyone and everyone will love this informative and hilarious book and I encourage you to enter to win it, even if just to give to your BFF with celiac. Trust me, they’ll be grateful!

Gluten is my Bitch

1) Now that you are gluten-free, what do you find yourself craving as your ultimate comfort food?
You know before I was gluten-free, I really didn’t give much thought to donuts. Now all I want is a donut. A good, gluten-filled donut. Yes there are people who have made gluten-free donuts, but gluten-free donuts are actually just round pieces of cake with a hole in the middle. I need some air up in there. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME.

2) How does living in LA influence your eating habits as opposed to Brooklyn? I am dying to visit LA because I hear all about the delicious cuisine!

It’s rare that I dine out in LA and my server or the chef does not get gluten-free. Luckily I wasn’t diagnosed with celiac until I moved to LA, so I’m not sure what would have happened in Brooklyn. I know there are great gluten-free options in NYC, but I doubt I could hit all of my old favorites and still eat safely. Not that I’m unwilling to try. Oh, I’ll try.

But to compare the two cities cuisine-wise, they’re both cutting edge and amazing food is around every corner. I’m guessing you can find more vegan options in LA, and of course produce is super fresh year ’round. But other than that, they’re both great cities in which to get your eat on.
3) What is your tip for someone recently diagnosed with celiac disease and who is bummed out about it?
Wallow in it for a minute, you deserve it. Don’t let anyone even attempt to cheer you up for at least two weeks. I’m not kidding. Once you’ve come out of your sad place, take comfort in the fact that if you strictly follow the gluten-free diet, in about a year your taste buds won’t know the difference. Then go back to your sad place when you realize that kind of sucks, and wallow again.
4) What is your favorite cooking trick for making foods gluten-free? Any special flour or additive we should all know about?
Yes. These people should be paying me but they are not, still. I love Cup4Cup and Better Batter all-purpose gluten-free flours. I’ve been able to make amazing cookies with these two all-purpose blends, which is one thing I struggled with in the very beginning. You don’t have to add xanthan gum when you’re baking with these and you can almost feel normal. Almost.
5) This book is simultaneously hilarious, informative, and mouth watering. How did you strike a balance between your comedic bent and serious topic?
Well, it’s my life. If I didn’t laugh at this, I’d cry. I mean, a disease where the only cure is to not eat one particular food group? If that’s not crazy pants I don’t know what is. I can take the health warnings seriously, while still thinking it’s all ridiculous. Which it is. Seriously, I can’t eat croissants anymore.
6) What are some of your favorite recipes in this book? Are any particularly special to you?
I was incredibly lucky to have a family cookbook to reinvent gluten-free. So in a sense, these are all very special recipes because I grew up eating them with my family. (Or most. No one in my family was making Super Tex Nachos. That one is all me.) But I have to say when I finally perfected the gluten-free cowboy crepe, and the gluten-free chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich; damn, those were two of my proudest moments.
7) My favorite gluten-free dinner menu is:
Tacos. The beauty of the taco is that it is not only g-free, but everyone in the family just freaking loves taco night. Sure I make my own refried beans now, and always make my own marinade for carne asada (or use a safe brand), but I actually think doing it all from scratch makes taco night a zillion times better than the previous incarnation. Which was, of course, grabbing the kit from the corner deli and trying to not think about all of the preservatives you’re putting in your body. Not that I’m knocking it if that’s your thing. You do that taco kit.
8) Clearly you have a background in acting and comedy. Might we see a one woman play next? If not, what is next for you? (I vote for the play!)
Ha! I do think a one-woman play about gluten would be a hard sell. I would definitely have to add some intrigue and madcap antics into this story to really sell it to the producers. Maybe create a musical? That would be awesome.
To win a copy of April’s book:
1) Leave a comment stating your favorite gluten-free food!
2) Subscribe to Kelsey Banfield on Facebook
3) Contest runs from May 22nd at 7am through May 29th at 7am. Good luck!