There’s a lot to worry about in this old world of ours. Presidents without guts, race-to-the-bottom capitalism, technological advances rapidly overwriting our essential humanness, that the secretaries on Mad Men use typewriters that weren’t actually invented when the series is set—you know. Stuff.
If you’re vegan and/or some sort of health conscious eater (please note I am in no way saying the two go hand in hand), the following three concerns probably pass through your mind once in a while, and I really want to make it my mission that you do not concern yourself with them. Set your mind to worrying about something, anything, other than:
1) Wondering if you should stop eating wheat. My god, ENOUGH. I have no nutrition credentials apart from a few basic nutrition classes at my cooking school, but that’s not going to stop me from taking a stern, authoritative tone, because this is seriously out of control and is making me nuts (another thing you have no reason, apart from life-threatening allergy, to avoid): unless you have been diagnosed (and I’m not saying you can’t self-diagnose, but “self-diagnose” means “to do a lot of research and tests on yourself” not “I read this one article that said wheat is evil and thus I will heap guilt on myself for enjoying pasta for the rest of my life.”) with a wheat allergy or intolerance (and also? There is a difference, people, and when you’re running around saying you’re “allergic” to wheat and therefore can have only a bite of a cookie, you’re sort of really putting the lives of people who truly are allergic to wheat at risk by downplaying how serious it is.), and unless you have some freaky illness like candida where avoiding wheat for a period of time can be beneficial, there is no earthly reason why you should avoid this most delicious of grains. I mean, JESUS.
Speaking of the devil, my no-knead bread has been coming out AMAZING lately (though my 3 AM photo-taking skills still could use a little help). Peep this chocolate bread, yo! All marbled and swirly and roasty toasty. I added a half cup of sugar and handful of chopped choco to the dough before the second rise. (For the recipe, click that link in the top line).
It seems to me that wheat- and gluten-free products are increasingly combining with vegan products in some hellish one-size-fits-all approach to recipe development and marketing that is kiiiiiling me. Here’s the thing: being vegan is a POLITICAL choice. I know some people are vegan for their health, but us awesome vegans know it’s a political choice first and foremost. There is only one reason not to eat wheat: because you will die or get massively sick if you do. I really really really really resent that now when I go buy a POLITICAL vegan cookie it’s suddenly made with fucking oat flour or something just because some nutjob thinks that marketing a vegan cookie as “wheat-free!!” will sell twice as many. It implies that vegans are idiots who hop onto any trend, and that veganism is yet another marketing-driven faux trend.
That said, my heart of course goes out to those poor peeps who have true wheat intolerances and allergies and illnesses like candida, and I am happy that good companies can help them out with a cookie now and then. That’s peachy. However, the percentage of these people is so infinitesimal that I don’t really see why us POLITICAL eaters should have to suffer through dry-ass spelt cookies for the rest of time just so food manufacturers can profit off a (largely fake) wheat scare.
Kalamata olive bread and plain old NKB with a little sourdough added in for extra flavor. Ten minutes of work, this bread is, people. Ten minutes, at the most!
That said: we all eat too much wheat! It’s ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with wheat per se, but many mainstream eaters eat a shit ton of it and it’s fucking up their systems and so they go to a new agey nutritionist and she tells them that pasta is poison. This. Is. Irritating. Not because it’s untrue, exactly (a carrot will be poison if you eat 50 in a row), but because we all have to suffer because some people cannot make good choices and because 1% of the population cannot tolerate a food that humans have been eating for hundreds and hundreds of years.
So we should all be eating a wide spectrum of grains. That’s obvious and makes sense. I am the bestest BFF quinoa has ever had, but I don’t see why I should ever buy pasty quinoa pasta. Wheat is very, very, very, very good at what it does, and your corn pasta* and spelt cookies will just never be as good, let’s admit that. They can be differently wonderful, that’s the most I’ll give you (and don’t go crying to me about Babycakes [to which I shan’t link]. It’s perfectly fine…fine stuff, just fine. Perfectly fine. Fine fine fine, that Babycakes. Just…..fine. They use really high quality ingredients and…and well, it’s fine. Why everyone seems to think—nope, I’m going to stop while I’m ahead. Why rag on other small biz owners, you know?).
- Wheat is fucking amazing.
- Not being able to eat wheat is fucking tragic.
- Happily, very few people have this problem. Fuck yeah!
- I wish I knew (oh, but I do! Marketing! Money! The C word!) why all of the sudden half the smart people in the world think they need to stop eating wheat. It seriously bums me out. Because:
- See point #1.
And now! Bring on the crew of WF zealots with their pamphleteering! Their rhetoric against my favorite grain! Their passionate Babycakeing, their obsessive grain mixes, their “I have so much more energy since I gave up eating [FIVE POUNDS AT A SITTING] pasta!”ing.
In the meantime, keep enjoying your tagliatelle, peeps.
2) Eating gluten: see above, but with more annoyance, in keeping with how annoying it must be to not eat gluten even though there is literally not ONE reason why a non-celiac should avoid it.
3) Eating too much fat. I’m sure we’re all most likely over this, but lists of two are no fun. VEGANS NEED (good quality) FAT!
What should you worry about, then?
Well, I still think people should be more worried about overuse of (here we go! My bestest pet peeve!): ye olde EB. Or you could worry about the vegan world’s obsession with sticky sweet trashy desserts. Worry about the “tofu ice cream” I had yesterday at an unnamed NYC hipster hotspot. Worry about the fact that I ordered it even after my brain had processed what the words meant. Worry about how bizarrely stringy it was—worry about what would cause ice cream to be stringy.
We’ve got a ways to go, babies.
Can you spot the hot pink sauerkraut in the background? (And yes, I like my bread a little burnt!)
*Full disclosure: rice pasta is freaking DELICIOUS, both the Asian kind and the yuppie brown rice health food store kind, I am not above admitting that.