“One Grain More” (funny spoof of Les Mis, for people with food allergies)

For anyone who has food allergies or even lives with someone with one, this will be a familiar story.

After years of pain and uncomfortable eating, my wife Jojo finally was told that she had a food allergy. A bunch of them actually. The biggest of them all is an allergy to wheat, which is not easy when you live in France, where the bread is pretty tasty. Even a simple baguette is light years ahead of Wonder bread. (It’s always been a wonder that both are considered to be bread.)

We also have a few other friends with wheat allergies, so when we’re doing dinners with friends or vacationing with them, we need to make some adjustments. For starters, anything with typical wheat is out of the question, though for some, spelt can be eaten without problems. Spelt is an older wheat that is what the Roman Army ate.

A few summers ago, we did manage to find a loaf of bread made with spelt, though the consistency was similar to a brick. You could build houses with those things they’re so heavy. Eating “normal” wheat is still very much a yearning for everyone I know with a wheat allergy, but when they crumble and try it again, they often get sick soon after.  (NOTE FROM JOHN: I swear by this gluten-free brownie recipe from our friend David Lebovitz, for any gluten-free folks out there. I don’t have any gluten issues, I just loves the brownies – the best and easiest recipe I’ve ever tried.)

In my efforts to try and find something “bread like” for Jojo, I’ve experimented with other grains. I’m not a big quinoa fan, but it can have it’s moments. I’m much more of a polenta person myself, though it’s not something that thrills Jojo. (Though my polenta pizzas on the BBQ outside are pretty darned good, I must admit — I use polenta as the crust.)

For all of you food allergy sufferers out there, I think you will get a kick out of this. Jojo herself sent it to me after receiving it from a good friend, who also has a serious wheat allergy. Sung to the music from Les Misérables, “One More Grain.”

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • HeartlandLiberal

    Wonderful. A video I can send to my friends with food allergies and endear myself to them today. Isn’t the Internet wonderful in how it facilitates relationships?!

  • judybrowni

    Rice bread.

    However, the rice bread sold at Whole Foods and in most supermarkets is crap. And overpriced crap, at that.

    Trader Joe’s brand is pretty good — when toasted.

  • Uh, yes ;-)

  • I haven’t any problems with wheat myself–honestly I can’t imagine living without the stuff–and it’s hard to find reliable information on the topics of wheat allergy and coeliac disease (which isn’t an allergy, not that the distinction is always clear in everyone’s head.) Discussion and writing on these topics overflows with quackery, and other unpleasant things.

    In any case it seems that there is no one “wheat allergy” but rather allergy to one of a number of proteins, expressed to varying degrees depending on the grain variety. That would I suppose explain the ability of some sufferers to tolerate spelt. I wonder if triticale, despite being a wheat hybrid, might also be tolerated in some cases? At any rate, if my baking book is to be believed, you can make a loaf from triticale flour alone, but it will be dense and coarse. The same is true, probably more so, of breads made from rye flour alone.

    Wheat-free baking is a subject I’d like to experiment with, being both fond of baking and keen to challenge myself, but it requires much trickery with vegetable gums and mucilages that aren’t cheap ingredients. Neither for that matter are non-wheat flours that cheap.

  • Isn’t it “One Grain More” instead of “One More Grain”?

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