by Anna Perina
Living with celiac disease
Ever since I was a child, I have been intimately involved with celiac disease.
I first met her in kindergarten, though I did not recognize her at the time. In adolescence, the disease and I grew closer when one of my best friends and my boyfriend both discovered they were celiac.
Having spent a good part of my life around it, I had the chance to understand the unique challenges faced by those who suffer from it- especially when, like most people, we are used to going out to eat with friends.
All too often, people are not familiar with this type of pathology and mistake it for a food preference such as being vegetarian or vegan, so it is not treated with the same caution and respect. They can be reluctant to accept going to a certain certified restaurant or fail to pay strict attention to contamination, which is a critical health concern. I think the most inconvenient side is how limited they are in such simple things as just eating out or going on vacation: who among us has never made a last-minute decision to hunt around for a sandwich or grab a pizza on the fly?
Certainly the problem of celiac disease makes the organization of one’s life more difficult and forces the person to be more responsible and mature.
At home, it is easier to adapt. Ever since kindergarten, I have noticed not only the increase in gluten-free products, once almost exclusively the domain of pharmacies’ health sections but now readily available in any supermarket, but also an improvement in their quality.
My unique close perspective on the struggles of celiac life coupled with my love of cooking has led me to experiment constantly over the years. The results: modified versions of various recipes, adapted to be gluten-free but still delicious, and along the way I have identified a series of small tricks in the kitchen that I would very much like to share with you.
– 500 gr RICE FLOUR
– 200 gr BUTTER
– 200 gr SUGAR
– 2 EGGS
– 1 BAG GLUTEN-FREE YEAST (for sweetening)
– LEMONS (rind, grated, and juice, untreated)
First, melt the butter.
Beat the butter with an electric mixer, mixing in the sugar and eggs.
Whip everything until you get a thick cream.
Add the lemon juice and the grated rind. Continue to whisk the mixture.
Slowly fold in the flour a little at a time, mixing continuously. The dough will be quite soft and sticky. Cover it and put it in the fridge for at least 1 hour to firm up the butter.
Once chilled, form the dough into balls the size of walnuts.
Coat them first in granulated white sugar.
Place the balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Finally, bake them at 180 degrees Celsius for 15/20 minutes. Cooking times will vary by oven, so adjust as needed to fit your particular setup; they should end up lightly browned.
Recipe photo by Anna Perina