Saturday, September 13, 2014

A French Experience with French Wheat

Family Connection, French Connection

My family and I just returned from the most fabulous trip. This was a two and a half week excursion through Switzerland and France, with a quick dash through Italy, to reconnect with and meet extended family and attend a family reunion. 

It was fantastic!

We stayed only two or three nights in each place we visited, moving along like gypsies. But this gave us the opportunity to visit several different branches of the family in such a short amount of time.

Many of the family we visited were not able to attend the reunion we were headed for. This made our time with them all the more precious. 

We loved every minute of it. Every. minute.

We learned a word of German, a bit of Italian, and definitely some French. It was quite interesting to see how English, Italian, French, and some Spanish came together to create conversations!

Before leaving on the trip, I warned my cousins that I needed to be gluten free. This message was passed around and everyone was ready for me! They went out of their way to be sure I had bread and pasta I could eat. 

And let me tell you, I so very much appreciated it!

I ate safely. Period. 

But only a few days into our French experience, I was prompted, or encouraged, or gently nagged, to try some wheat. 

Try some wheat?!!  Yes, try some. 

Why? You might ask. Go ahead. Ask.

Well, because in recent years I have come across several mentions of people being able to tolerate European wheat. That's right. European wheat. 

And... I have never had any indication that I have celiac disease. My blood work has never shown the celiac autoimmune antibodies. If I thought I had celiac, the rest of this post would not exist. I don't, so it does. 

I've never seen an explanation of why some people can tolerate European wheat. Maybe they just don't know. It sure would be nice to know.

I certainly don't know, but I clearly had the opportunity to find out if European wheat had a bad effect on me or not.

So, with a little proding and a lot of curiosity, I tried some full-gluten bread. 

This bread, to be exact. 

French bread. Made in France. 

And I did not have a problem. Not. one. hint. of. a. problem. 


I could eat French wheat! Or so I thought. One piece of French bread is hardly a scientific study. 

So... I had to do more testing. I am a scientist, after all. Definitely a scientist at heart.  

So, the next day, I tested myself again on this magnificent piece of French quiche. 

Oh. My. Goodness.

I make quiche and we all love it, but - oh - my - goodness. This was beyond outstandingly good!

And it had a wheat crust. And I did not have a problem.

Can you imagine how downright thrilled I was to be in France and (apparently) able to eat all the stupendous French food?!

Let me tell you. I was thrilled out of my taste buds! My family was almost as thrilled. No joke.

The rest of the trip was filled with great food and great family and not a hint of worry about a problem!

Maybe thrilled just doesn't cover it. Where else in the world would I want to be and be able to eat all the food?!

But, alas, we ultimately returned home. I cannot believe or trust that I am "cured." No, I have to go back to being gluten free here at home, because I know from years of experience that it is not safe for me to eat wheat here. 

This makes me sad. But at the same time, I have hope. I have a new hope that I might be able to figure out what my real problem is. 

Now, now… I wasn't talking about my personality. I meant my food problem. 

This is the beginning of a new journey.  A new journey that requires a frequent retracing of my previous path.  My previous gluten-free path.  

Not quite as throughly as before though, because now I can have 100% French wheat in my home. 

Or, so I think. I brought home with me two kilos of French wheat flour. 

Imagine the customs guy looking at me dubiously when I declared these! Actually, I didn't declare these. I declared the cheese. That brought the skeptical look! He clearly did not appreciate French cheeses.

But I haven't had the chance to bake with this flour yet! I'm eager to do so, but things have been busy. 

Soon. Very soon. 

But a new journey it is. And it is exciting!

I can't wait to see what I discover!

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