The University of Maryland estimates that 1 in 150 people suffer from classic celiac disease where the ingestion of gluten in wheat, rye or barley (or products containing these) can produce severe, even life-threatening immune reactions. An even larger number of people may have less severe reactions to gluten that can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea, but which may fall short of the gut-damaging rampage of full blown celiac.
One of the biggest challenges for those who need to avoid gluten is finding substitutes for the many foods that contain it, especially bread products. Our family has enjoyed Rudi’s buns and breads for years, but had never tried their gluten free items. With more and more people suffering from gluten related ailments, I figured it was time we did. You only need to watch a friend give waiters the 3rd degree about food ingredients to realize this is a serious issue. And since I occasionally need to entertain “sans gluten” I am always looking for ways to increase my repertoire.
The first product we tried was the hamburger buns and I decided to give them a serious test—Sloppy Joes. If your buns aren’t up to the challenge, the wet filling can reduce them to damp fragments. Although these buns were drier than traditional hamburger buns, they held up beautifully and the kids gave them a “thumbs up” on flavor as well. (Then they gave my filling a “thumbs down”–thanks kids.)
Our second test was the Rudi’s hot dog buns. We first tried them with “bombers,” Italian sausage with pizza sauce. Unlike the Sloppy Joe meat, this challenge was more than the buns could handle and they crumbled—perhaps a thinner sausage or one that was skinless would have worked better. Rather than write the experiment off, I ran a second test—I used the remaining hot dog bun to try a homemade submarine sandwich. I grilled (nitrite free) ham with swiss cheese, and added arugula, onions and lite mayo for a delicious lunch that worked perfectly. Subs on hot dog buns—why haven’t Idone this before?
The final product was individual sized pizza crusts. The kids each got their own crust (with the promise that I get a piece from both) and set out to top according to their own tastes. The results were delicious and festive and they declared it “the most fun dinner ever.” We are definitely doing this again!
From a nutrition perspective, I was impressed that the buns contain 2 grams of fiber per serving. And like Rudi’s organic line, the gluten-free products are free of artificial ingredients, chemicals and preservatives.
While our family doesn’t need to restrict gluten, I am glad to be aware of more products that I can use to make entertaining without gluten transparently normal—including cookouts and picnic subs. If I suffered from celiac, I’d be overjoyed.
Disclaimer: products were provided free of charge; opinions are my own.
P.S. Rudi’s website currently has a $1 off coupon for their organic bread here.