I was really ahead of my time. Watch out, Betty Crocker!
Now, to be fair my Mom must have helped me out with this quite a bit - Betty Crocker should watch out for my mom, too! - but I was always the kind of kid who asked a lot of question. Why? How was that invented? Where does this come from?
|My mom and me after going gluten-free. The mother-daughter team from Joy of Cooking may now step aside!|
It's because of my inquisitive nature that I know where a lot of things come from. Oranges? The orient. Tomatoes? The new world (not old Italy).
When I turned gluten-free I was very surprised that lots of people don't know where flour comes from. It's not a surprise that people don't know the term "gluten." That term is something I had to learn as an adult too. But people - even people who cook regularly - often don't know that flour is typically made from wheat. They must have been significantly less annoying than I was as a child!
I find myself explaining flour to a lot of people when I tell them I can't eat wheat. Now I say, "I can't eat any wheat or flour." Then the conversation gets even weirder when I tell them that I sell gluten-free flour and bake my own bread. Well how do you make bread if you can't eat flour?
What is gluten-free flour exactly?
The place most people jump to is that gluten-free flour is flour that has been specially treated to remove the gluten - sort of like decaffeinated coffee. I try to dispel this thought as soon as it occurs! I realized that I needed a gluten-free flour definition.
Gluten-free flour is flour that is ground from grains other than wheat, barley, or rye.
Or, to be more all-encompassing, you could define gluten-free flour this way:
Gluten-free flour is flour that is ground from plants or grains that don't contain gluten. Potato flour is one example of gluten-free flour.
However, these short definitions aren't always enough to encompass the whole scope of what it means for a flour to be gluten-free. Here's a more comprehensive definition:
Gluten-free flour is flour that is ground from seeds, grains, or any other part of a plant that is not in the wheat family, and is processed in a separate facility than any gluten-containing plant such as wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, or triticale. Gluten-free flour often refers to a blend of different types of flour that can be used to bake with.
To be fair, I have to define wheat-free flour too:
Wheat-free flour is flour that is ground from plants or grains other than wheat. Gluten-free flour is always wheat free, but wheat-free flour is not always gluten-free - for instance, rye flour is wheat-free but not gluten-free.
How did you learn what flour was made of? Was it when you went gluten-free or when you started cooking? Do you have a good definition of gluten-free flour? Tell us in the comments!