Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Gluten-Free Food Festival A Hit!

Last night was Price Chopper Supermarkets second Gluten-Free Food Festival at the Century House in Latham, New York and I was very pleased to attend. I was delighted to receive a reusable shopping bag filled with gluten-free products, coupons and nutritional literature and found out about another Capital District gluten-free group which has a newsletter, meetings, periodic gluten-free pot luck dinners and excellent links and information on its website. Check out the website or attend one of their meetings at St. Peter's Hospital in Albany if you are interested.

Elizabeth Barbone, author of "Easy Gluten-Free Baking", gave a cooking class on how to make white sandwich bread and a cinnamon-raisin variation, which was very informative for this (very) amateur baker. Surrounded by her beloved purple mixer and purple baking implements, she was a delightful and funny guide to the joys and hazards of gluten-free baking, so I would recommend that you check out her website or blog to learn more.

It was also a pleasure to meet my gluten-free blogger colleague, Suzanne Mangini, of Gluten-Free Saratoga. We swapped some ideas and gluten-free restaurant recommendations and then met up with Jeanne and Debbie from Saratoga Gluten-Free Goods, so Saratoga County was well-represented at this Festival. Here's a photo of Debbie, Jeanne and Suzanne, from left to right. Suzanne snapped my picture as well, but I am hoping that my humidity-frazzled hairdo will have temporarily blinded her camera before it shows up to scare people on her blog later on.

After the presentation, Price Chopper had several gluten-free vendors on hand to offer samples of their products. The big hit with me was the Shirataki Noodles, which was served in chicken broth with some sliced celery and carrots. Scrumptious! I liked the al dente texture of these noodles, as rice noodles often get too soft with the merest overcooking. These noodles are made of a vegetable called Konjac, which is grown in Japan and China and therefore safe for wheat-free diners. They are also more healthy for you than traditional ramen noodles, which are just a bunch of starch covered in salt and MSG. They are apparently now available at Price Chopper in the tofu section and come packed in water-filled plastic bags, rather unpleasantly resembling blood or IV bags. But I will be searching them out for various Asian noodle soups and stir-fries, as we enjoy these for dinner.

A big thank you to Price Chopper for hosting this event. I learned quite a bit and enjoyed meeting some of my gluten-free buddies in person.

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