Gluten-Free at Lammastide

Gleaners, by Jean-Francois Millet
It was upon a Lammas night,
When corn rigs are bonie,
Beneath the moon’s unclouded light,
I held awa to Annie;
The time flew by, wi’ tentless heed,
Till, ‘tween the late and early,
Wi’ sma’ persuasion she agreed
To see me thro’ the barley.

— excerpt, Rigs o’Barley
by Robert Burns

Lugnasad, Calan Awst, Lammas, Gathering Day, whatever you choose to call it, the start of the harvest brings us images that echo in our bones: the reaping of the grain, stacks of bundled sheaves, “… for amber waves of grain…” The history of agriculture is the history of human civilisation for over eleven millenia. It is no wonder that grain and its life cycle resonate for humans so deeply.

Real estate professionals will even tell you, if you’re trying to sell a house, bake fresh bread before a showing. At the very least, says one website, “The fresh bread smell is achieved by buying a large white loaf and opening up its belly and pouring a bottle of vanilla essence into it and popping it into the oven at medium heat for half an hour before the inspection begins. … The result is a home that smells of freshly baked bread which, as you know, is the warmest, cleanest, most home-caring smell there is.”

Modern Pagans rarely have the opportunity to harvest grain themselves, much less thresh it or undertake the many other steps required to turn it into flour. Still, many Wiccan groups will celebrate the “first harvest” and recognize the ties of community by sharing bread with each other.

Current estimates are that 1 in 133 people suffering coeliac disease, and still more suffering from wheat allergy or gluten intolerance. Further, many people are choosing a gluten-free diet without being wheat or gluten intolerant. It can be hard to be part of a harvest celebration if you’re avoiding wheat and gluten.

The good news is, there are a number of grains that can safely be enjoyed by those who, for whatever reason, avoid gluten. Among them are amaranth, buckwheat, corn millet, quinoa, and sorghum. (click here for a list of gluten-free grains.)

Since starting my own exploration of wheat-free eating, I’ve been collecting recipes for the foods I love, determined that wheat-free doesn’t have to mean giving them up. In my house, one of our favourite lazy weekend morning breakfasts is pancakes. Below is my recipe for wheat- and gluten-free pancakes. We like them with a touch of hickory syrup we get from our local farmer’s market.

Recipe: Gluten-Free Buttermilk Pancakes

½ c buckwheat flour
½ c amaranth flour
¼ c almond meal
¼ c coconut flour
1 T sugar
½ t salt
2 t baking powder
1 ½ t baking soda
1 ½ c buttermilk
2 eggs
2 T unsalted butter, melted

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Separately combine buttermilk, eggs, butter. Slowly, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir. The resultant batter should not be completely smooth; allow for some lumps.

What is your favourite gluten-free recipe? What food do you refuse to give up, and need a wheat- or gluten-free recipe for? I’m still on a quest for a good, crusty loaf of wheat-free bread!


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