On Feb. 25th, Nickie Aldridge, Innkeeper at Tree Streets Inn in Waynesboro, Va received honorable mention for her Gluten Free Coconut Pancakes at the Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia’s Annual Conference Cooking Contest.
Gluten allergies occur when a person is unable to digest the gluten flours made from certain grains (wheat, rye) normally, though the choice for a gluten free diet may occur for multiple reasons or lifestyle choices.
A large number of breakfast foods are naturally gluten free, (fruits, eggs, meats) but to stray beyond the norm can prove challenging. Aldridge’s recipe has taken a gluten-heavy breakfast favorite and altered it to accommodate those with intolerance. This isn’t an easy task, which she has impressive mastered.
Gluten free products tend to have a dry consistency, which can prove problematic in the attempt to make fluffy pancakes. As gluten free foods can be easily burned or overdone, the key is to monitor the cooking process. Be aware that these special foods will need lesser time on the stove or in the oven.
Aldridge has highlighted a few key cooking and preparation points to ensure that the meal you prepare will be safe for your gluten-free guests:
1. Prepare the food well apart from the area in which other foods are being prepared. This will avoid cross contamination.
2. Use on metal or glass utensils (including cutting boards). Do not use plastic or wood since these can never be cleaned well enough to remove all contaminants from them.
3. Do not heat any food in a toaster that has been used to make regular toast. You may need to invest in a second toaster. When heating in an oven, set the foods on aluminum foil.
Accommodating gluten allergies can be a timely and costly investment. Keep in mind that gluten free foods are free of preservatives subjecting them to quicker spoilage rate. To alleviate frustrations, be sure to only buy these special foods when you know guests with gluten allergies will be staying.
Finally, don’t feel as if your special efforts in the kitchen need to go without incentive. Most gluten free guest will be more than willing to pay an additional fee for their meal accommodation. The Tree Streets Inn has a five-dollar charge.