My stomach pain prompted this gluten free life. I would not willingly choose to forgo biscuits, birthday cakes, wedding goodies, donuts, and just about every other processed food under the sun. The grocery store and convenience store now present a veritable mine field of unhealthy choices.
I miss biscuits more often than anything else. Bacon or sausage filled biscuits for breakfast. Biscuits bring back memories for me. On Saturdays, Daddy would retrieve biscuits from the local fastfood joint. Later when we moved to the greater metropolitan area of a small town, we would get biscuits from the gas station down the road which purveyed the most wonderful meat biscuits.* Then, when I began to drive, I would have a biscuit and coke each morning on the ride to school somehow managing biscuit and drink while driving a stickshift.
As I realized gluten might be the source of these debilitating stomach pains, my diet changed. For the first month, I did well forgoing a morning biscuit. Stress, however, intervened following a jury trial. Spent and exhausted, I just really wanted comfort food, a biscuit.
Biscuits were comfort, part of my routine. Somehow this bread and meat could make my world feel normal when my body just could not rebound in the manner sleep provides most days. Satisfying this craving for “normal” created stomach pain that inhibited my ability to function properly.
My gluten free baking started with sausage balls to sate the cravings. Last week, I made gluten free biscuits. Understand, I did not make biscuits before these dietary adventures started. No one could match moma’s biscuits and I did not wish to try. Gluten free however would never measure up so I created no unreasonable expectations for myself.
Baking gluten free biscuits, I have found, incorporates another of my endeavors, mindfulness. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Biscuit Flour** contains very good instructions for making their quite tasty biscuits. At one point, the instructions say to mix the butter with the biscuit mix until it looks like cornmeal. How does this include mindfulness? When you begin, the flour feels very soft and light. As the butter combines, the flour develops a heavier, grainier feel. Ignoring the instructions, I mixed the butter and flour by hand. The unbuttered soft flour is easier to find by touch. The whole process requires focus and attention.
After adding the milk, I create drop biscuits, deviating from the instructions of cutting biscuits from rolled out dough. Again, attention to the cohesiveness of the dough dictates whether the biscuits will crumble upon contact with a knife or cut with ease to provide the optimal biscuit experience. I roll the ball of dough in my hands until its smooth. Then, I press on the dough, forming the biscuit. Adding or subtracting dough to find the perfect size. Rerolling when necessary. Watching as the biscuits bake and perhaps rise and expand ever so slightly. Tasting the fruits of my labor.
Perhaps, I should have been making my own biscuits all along. Comfort cooking in addition to comfort food.
*Moma’s biscuits always beat these others.
** Others have suggested Pamela’s Gluten Free Pancake Mix or Bisquick Gluten Free. I have not tried these but the suggestions come from experienced gluten free bakers whose advice I trust.