Good, Not Just Good For Gluten-Free!

Other than because my children demand that I get out of bed to make them breakfast (how are they always hungry?), I get up in the morning with the sole purpose of removing one phrase from the lexicon:

Good For Gluten-Free

Oh my word.

How is it that, with gluten-free coming out of our ears these days, we still hear that phrase? I even heard it just a few months ago on a beloved public radio program. It was segment about gluten-free, and the host interviewed two guests. One was a chef whose wife has celiac disease. When the host asked this chef about gluten-free pizza, and if it was “really good,” what do you think the chef said?

“Well, sure it’s good. For gluten-free.” And then they all had a good chuckle. But I didn’t get the joke, sister. For the love of Mike, if it’s not plain good, it’s not good enough.

Here are a few rules of thumb to follow:

What To Expect From Gluten-Free Baked Goods

There are plenty of poor man’s gluten-free baked goods for sale today. Except that they’re for rich men, since most of them still cost, like, a million dollars for each cookie. Paying too much for too little is not okay.

When it comes to prepared gluten-free baked goods, it should be as good as you remember. And if you have no memory of it, it should just taste good. It should have good mouth feel, and smell appetizing. It shouldn’t turn to dust. You shouldn’t need a glass of water to choke it down, whatever it is. And it should look good enough … to eat.

Or don’t eat it. Don’t buy it. Vote with your wallet. Make manufacturers up the ante. By not buying anything that costs too much for too little, you send a message, loud and clear.

Get What You Pay For

When you’re comparing, say, a loaf of gluten-free bread to a loaf of conventional bread, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Although that loaf of gluten-free bread may seem like a relative bargain at $5 a loaf, look closer. It’s most likely half the weight of a conventional loaf of bread. Which means that that loaf of gluten-free bread actually costs $10.

Sometimes, you have to buy that loaf of bread. But I try to keep in mind that it’s not appropriately priced.

What To Bake At Home

Certain gluten-free baked goods are so easy and so inexpensive to make at home that it’s kind of a no-brainer. Bake them at home.

Take drop cookies, for example. They are so easy to make, and they last forever in the freezer. Do yourself a favor and keep a freezer stash for emergencies. And for Tuesdays.

Breakfast bars are great make-ahead treats that you’ll save tons of money if you make yourself. Gluten-free granola tends to be super expensive. So make a whole bunch. It’s very shelf stable, and it’s way better than anything commercial I’ve ever tried – gluten-free or not.

Gluten-free cakes and cupcakes are another easier-and-better-to-make-yourself category. And when you’re feeling adventuresome, maybe try your hand at some gluten-free bread.

Keep Your Standards High

Most of all, have high expectations. Your voice as a consumer can be powerful. Never lose sight of that.



About Nicole

Nicole Hunn is the personality behind the popular blog, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, and is the author of Gluten-Free On A Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap (Da Capo / Feb 2011) and the forthcoming Gluten-Free On a Shoestring Quick & Easy: 100 Recipes for the Food You Love—Fast! (Da Capo / November 2012). She’s been featured in the New York Times,, the Dr. Steve Show and the San Francisco Chronicle. She lives with her family in Westchester County, New York.

2 Responses to Good, Not Just Good For Gluten-Free!

Inthewoods says: September 14, 2012 at 10:37 am

Thank you for talking about the horribly dry baked goods out there. I am new to Gluten Free and decided to buy some bread and rolls…… millionaire prices…….which is out of my budget, but I missed the breads. Oh my……I guess I will make bread crumbs out of them to use in cooking. I now have your book and will bake from your recipes. it’s a great book and very amusing. Thank you for helping all of us to have better choices. Sandy, from the woods of the Black Hills of South Dakota