Compare a slice of gluteny Stroemann's wheat bread, a slice of Kinnikinnick's Multigrain sandwich bread, and a slice of Rudi's Original sandwich bread. Despite my expectations, the Kinnikinnick slice was about the same size as Rudi's, and it definitely had some structural integrity issues. But how would it taste?
I spotted the Kinnikinnick sandwich bread on a recent field trip to Martindale's Natural Market in Springfield, PA. I had heard a lot about this loaf but hadn't seen it in a store near me. I had very high expectations. Looking back at my blog post Kinnickinnick beats Udi's? I see now that the person was singing the praises of the hot dog bun, not the sandwich bread. Still, in my mind, I was expecting it to be like regular gluteny bread. I had my first slice untoasted with peanut butter on it. It held up okay and the texture seemed good, but I couldn't actually describe the taste because of the peanut butter. I decided that my next try should be a blind taste test comparing it to a slice of the Rudi's Original I had in the freezer. In the meantime, I shot this video of my kids giving it a try.
So with that inconclusive (but highly entertaining) review, I did my own blind taste test of the two breads, thawed but untoasted and unadorned so that I could have a straight up test for flavor and texture. Despite the "blind" portion, I pretty much know what the Rudi's bread tastes like -- a little sweet and more suited to PB&J or toasted with butter and jelly than hummus, lettuce and tomato -- so I figured it out pretty quick. Rudi's has a noticable aftertaste, and it was a little grainier in my mouth and required multiple sips of water to cleanse my palate before moving on to the Kinnikinnick sample.The Kinnikinnick is equally porous, a little squishier, not sweet, and in fact did have a generic bread flavor -- not too distinctive -- which I think is a plus in the gluten-free bread universe. There would be no mistaking either of these breads for glutenous breads, but Kinnikinnick certainly comes closer to its wheaty cousin than Rudi's. So, all in all, I will pick Kinnikinnick when I have a choice between the two, but I can't yet declare that I have found my one true love. Ah, I mean loaf.
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This video might be the most fun one so far. The kids are are very good sports about sampling gluten-free pizza, and really entertaining. I like the pizza at Carmen's, but more than that I love that it is a totally comfortable kid-friendly place. I also love it that even though it looks just like probably a million other neighborhood pizza places on the outside, the real difference is that they offer not only gluten-free pizza, but also vegan pizza (but not vegan AND gluten-free because their gluten-free crust has dairy and eggs, but you COULD get it with soy cheese if reducing the volume of dairy is desirable.) I also love it that they know what they are doing and take care to avoid cross contamination. This is what they say on the gluten-free page of their website:
Gluten Free Pizza: Carmen's now offers a 10" gluten free pizza, available in red, white, or tomatoe pie. Since we make our own dough fresh every morning, we coud never guarantee our equipment to be sufficiently flour free to make our own gluten free products. Therefore we purchase this dough from an outside vendor, and it contains both dairy and egg. We use separate and sterile smallwares for baking and slicing the gluten free pizzas. Please don't order meatballs as a topping, since we use our own breadcrumbs when we bake our meatballs and they are not gluten free. Do not order Vegan sausage either since it contains wheat.
You can see from the rest of their gluten-free page that they take the same care with their gluten-free sandwiches. This is EXACTLY what we with celiac need to see and hear from restaurants to have confidence that we will not get sick from eating their food. How cool are they?
And how does it taste? Check out the video here. Watch my kids try to scam me out of my gluten-free pizza, like their big ol' pie wasnt't enough food.
Corley is almost 11, so it is almost unusual that his first-ever trip to the emergency room was just this week. And it's not like he's not an active, let's climb on top of the treehouse, let's jump from great heights, let's do flips off the diving board kind of kid. I think he mostly lives a charmed life, which I think any parent would want for their son, even as they peek through their fingers during his feats of daring or have to look away all together when he pulls a stunt. His luck ran out at a recent end-of-school party with a weird accident on a trampoline. The conclusion from experts is that nothing is broken, but only time will tell how long it will continue to hurt. He did get a sling, which is not as cool as a cast, but it helps it not hurt so much. Plus he gets to show it off to his friends.
The golden lining of the trip first to the pediatician and then to the emergency room for x-rays is that Corley and I had a nice outing. Because my car is kind of hard to get in and out of the back seat, he got to ride in the front seat, which he loved. We had a more peer-like interaction than usual, and it was very sweet. It was past lunchtime when we got done at the hospital, so of course we needed to find pizza -- his favorite food. And we were in a neighborhood we don't spend a lot of time in, so I employed the Find Me Gluten Free app on my iPhone and identified a number of options not too far from the Bryn Mawr hospital. Turns out that the two closest ones were bake-at-home operations, and not what we were looking for. We happened to spot and pull into a Peace a Pizza, but for whatever reason, it didn't have the right vibe for Corley, so we decided to venture on. Find Me Gluten Free listed Main Line Pizza in Wayne, so we headed there.
Have to say, definitely NOT a restaurant for a romantic date (unless maybe you are in middle school and it's a group thing.) Probably not even very good for a Gluten-free Delaware County Meet-up. Not a lot of ambiance. Not a lot of seating. Not a lot of air conditioning. But when you are with your kid who loves pizza, it was perfect. Corley has a big appetite, so I didn't think sharing a gluten-free pizza would be enough food. I think I was wrong! I got him a whole medium regular pie and a gluten-free pizza for me. Tons of cheesy goodness! We both had pizza to spare and bring home. Corley really enjoyed the gluteny pie, and I really enjoyed the gluten-free one. The crust comes from Still Riding Pizza. It was thick -- more like what I remember Pizza Hut's hand-tossed pizza was like, not Chicago deep-dish thick -- and delicious. It was bread-like enough to stand on its own merits, not just as a delivery vehicle for sauce and cheese. (The leftovers were even good cold, which I don't think I've ever said about a gluten-free pizza before!) The Main Line Pizza guys talked the gluten-free talk very well, and appeared to take careful measures to avoid cross-contamination with other flours and ingredients. At first I balked at the $16.75 pricetag on the gluten-free pizza, but man, for the amount of food and the real pizza taste, I will not complain. The real test was the kid-centric taste test. Would your 10-year-old with celiac like it? Here's the verdict from my typical (but not average) 10-year-old pizza connoisseur. (Just so you know, this is the best gluten-free pizza I've ever had).
In another head to head test with typical kids, this time there is a CLEAR winner. The boys enjoyed one just fine, but truly disliked the other. I managed to add more milk and frozen greens and have it for MY dinner, since I mostly never met a gluten-free mac and cheese I couldn't find a way to like. Well, okay, so these two are the only boxed gluten-free mac and cheese I've ever had. But still. You get the point. As you may have gathered from my ecookbooklet, I add greens to lots of things.
And as I promised my older son Corley, here is his website. He's 10. It has nothing to do with living gluten-free.
My boys (not average, I've been informed, but I think typical is accurate)
recently sampled two gluten free frozen pizzas. They were nearly identical in
size -- about 10 inches across -- despite Udi's larger box. Three Bakers claimed
that their pizza was 3 servings at 250 calories each, Udi's said their pizza was
2 servings at 320 each. Either way, this is no diet food. I read ingredients
more closely at the end and discovered that Three Bakers contains gelatin,
making it not a vegetarian food, and frankly, if I had realized that at the
outset, it wouldn't have been part of the taste test. But I didn't, and I did,
and so there you have it.
While I don't want to spoil the ending on the taste test, I will say that both pizzas were way better than Amy's gf vegan pizza, whose crust was a little too thin and easy to overcook, and with the vegan cheese just not very tasty. It's not really comparing apples to apples in that case, but I think my experience with Amy's helped me decide that I'd need to relax how strict I am with cheese. Any pretty much the only dairy I eat these days is cheese on pizza, and now and then some Greek yogurt on my
brother's recommendation as a possible solution to staving off my propencity for snacking in the evening.
But I digress. On with the taste-test!
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