Lest I fall into the same pattern as the shops around town, I made sure to make my mother a gluten-free dinner that didn’t have to be made with exceptions or substitutions. It’s not hard to find a cake or cookie suitable for a gluten-free lifestyle in Tesco or M&S; this is not to say that they are all tasty! However, it’s much harder to find a decent loaf of bread. Considering all the foods that have “hidden” gluten — meaning, not just bread — it’s more important that we can eat dinner than dessert!
As I watch my mother struggle with her new lifestyle, I realise how lucky I was to have supportive folks around me as I worked my way through the changes. I did it very much alone in the sense that I didn’t know anyone who could give me advice or show me the ropes, but I did have my husband (while he was still on the way to being my husband) and our families for moral support.
All these thoughts were piqued today when I read this article: Blue Bloods’ Jennifer Esposito Departs Show, Slams CBS For Its ‘Shameful Behavior’. I don’t know this actress (I mean, I’ve seen her in things) or anyone else on the show or in the network, so I can’t speak to what truly happened. However, her words “[…] CBS implied that I was nottruly ill […]” struck such a chord with me. I know most Celiacs don’t like to actually say “Celiac Disease” because it sounds so terrible like that. However, it IS a disease, and it is something that requires actual treatment and consideration. Some people think that, just because the most-known treatment is not eating particular food that it’s not as bad as other diseases. You don’t hear people saying the same about Diabetes, which also involves a specific diet as a major form of treatment. While, like I said, I don’t know for a fact that CBS acted terribly, her phrasing makes it sounds real. It is something that happens, and it shouldn’t.
Anyway, so, in an effort to support my mother through the process and show her that real food is within reach, I made tacos. Tacos have long been one of her favourite meals, but removing both beef and gluten from her diet have made the concept of making them unappealing for her. What follows isn’t really a recipe for tacos as much as it is just a chronicle of the meal.
I made tortillas with masa harina (OH! That is what was in the mystery jar! Mystery solved!), water, and sea salt in my tortilla press. I fried them without oil in a cast iron skillet and kept them warm until everything else was prepared. I battered the chicken lightly in a seasoned corn meal and pan fried. It was served with lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and salsa (I decided against the salsa because of my recent surgery). It was a great send-off for my mother’s last meal in Belfast (this time!).