After a short hiatus, Shauna James Ahern is back with us for Gluten-Free Tuesday! She'll be alternating weeks with our new gluten-free baking columnist, Elizabeth Barbone. Please join us in welcoming Shauna back! —The Mgmt.
There are moments in my life when I long for tamari.
It's not just that I love the flicks of salty umami flavor on my tongue or the sight of its dark drops on white sushi rice as I raise a spicy tuna roll to my lips. Tamari has a complex taste, a smooth texture, and a far less abrasive nature than cheap soy sauce. Tamari should be in everyone's refrigerator, at the ready for barbecues and stir fries.
None of that is why I long for it, however.
Tamari has become one of my most essential foods—far more than a condiment—because 1/2 teaspoon of it could save me three days of pain.
Let me explain.
Five years ago I was diagnosed with celiac sprue, an auto-immune disorder that left me unhealthy and wondering where to find my energy. All my life I suffered from this. It was only after two years of intense pain and endless medical appointments that I found out: Stop eating gluten and save your life. Easy. I cut out the gluten.
In the past five years I have never once "cheated." (Who would I be cheating but myself?) I haven't sneaked a taste of a great baguette, a chocolate malt, or a stick of black licorice. I've learned how to make my own breads, pastas, and pizzas. (The gluten-free beer I buy from the store.) My afternoons are spent with my hands in flours made from grains I never heard of before 2005 -- sorghum, amaranth, millet. I have never been tempted to eat anything with gluten in it because the world is filled with foods that are naturally gluten-free. If it doesn't have gluten in it, I'm eating it. And boy, have I eaten well.