Tag Archives: celiac disease prevalence

Pride and Prejudice and Gluten

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a celiac man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

However little known the appetite or baking ability of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

Someone, after all, must take on the hard but fulfilling task of baking her way through that fortune, one bag of superfine rice flour at a time.

So begins PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND GLUTEN, the classic novel reimagined to include something scarier than ballroom dancing and zombies alike. 

prideprej

When Mr. Bingley moves into the neighborhood, he doesn’t know quite what he’s getting himself into. He quickly learns he has entered a zone of intensely elevated celiac prevalence, brought on no doubt by many years of marrying one’s cousin and so forth.

Just as quickly, the news spreads that a likely young bachelor has let Netherfield Park. The gritty gifted cupcakes begin pouring in, as do the invitations with postscripts appended in the beautiful script that comes naturally to those women who have spent years practicing, all to the effect of, The buffet will have hummus.

Bingley good-naturedly agrees to attend, and brings along his friend, Darcy, with whom he pleads, hovering by the refreshments table in the grand tradition of non-dancers at balls, “Come, Darcy, I must have you try a bite of this.”

“I certainly shall not. You know how I detest anything gluten-free, unless I am particularly acquainted with the brand. With such a spread as this it would be insupportable. If there were any traditional baked goods, I might consider it, but alas, there is not a cracker or pudding in the room it would not be a punishment to eat.”

Having overheard all, Elizabeth Bennet—snarky before her time and with a measured but abiding pride in her own talent for recipe development, which though passable is widely understood, even by Elizabeth herself, to be inferior to her sister Jane’s—writes Darcy off as the worst kind of gluten-eating boor: too proud of his own lack of immune response to gluten, too prejudiced to try the teacakes at which Elizabeth has slaved away, combining four different recipes and throwing out three batches before she got them just right.

“I could easily forgive his pride,” Elizabeth sniffs, “if he had not mortified mine.”

You may think this story over before it has even begun, but there are twists and turns to come as Jane Bennet and Bingley fall in love over millet scones and buckwheat biscuits, then are driven apart by Darcy’s cynical remarks about their future children’s double genetic risk and the Bennet family’s inappropriate dinnertime discussion of matters gastrointestinal. After a suitable amount of mutual anguish, the two come together again as the beautiful and gluten-free always do.

In between, there’s a spot of trouble for Lydia, the youngest Bennet daughter, involving one Mr. Wickham, a roguish character who never truly intended to keep his kitchen cross-contamination-free. Darcy, it seems, has known all along that Wickham’s promises were as thin as the paper towels he wouldn’t actually use to wipe up his own crumbs. It is Darcy who alerts the family, though sadly not before a glutening catastrophe to which he refers in only the most euphemistic of terms; this is, after all, a novel of manners.

Darcy’s aid in this matter, and then in reuniting Jane with Bingley, endears him somewhat to Elizabeth, but what seals the deal is a letter he sends her with, enclosed, his recent positive biopsy results. It is revealed that his excessive pride was born of his fear that he himself may all too soon be forced to sup on sandwiches insupportable by their fragile bread, and piecrusts made of grains his family would scorn as peasants’ fare. Furthermore, it was persistent gluten exposure that caused his irritability and dour physiognomy.

The twin barriers of Darcy’s gluten eating and terrible personality now removed, there is nothing to stop Elizabeth from wedding him immediately, which she so does. As in the original, they all live happily ever after, except for Lydia.

*

So what do you think? Will Keira Knightley agree to take the lead?

Text adapted from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, now in the public domain. Wheat image from jayneandd at the Flickr Creative Commons. Book cover image stolen shamelessly from Penguin—they can afford it.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Gluten-Free Astrology: Aries (born March 21 – April 19)

Photo © Jason Hill | Flickr

Photo © Jason Hill | Flickr

Yesterday was the first day of spring, and I totally missed out on marking it. Whoops! To demonstrate my awareness of the passing seasons, particularly at this time of new beginnings, I’m introducing a new monthly feature. That’s right, I’ve decided I’ve been at this Blogging Thing long enough to start having Features. I hope that you’ll find this only as presumptuous as unnecessary capital letters, and not more.

Now, for the preamble: there’s a hypothesis that celiac disease may be more common in those with spring and summer birthdays—especially spring. Yup, April baby showers bring May rice flour. The increased prevalence, so the hypothesis goes, has to do with the time of weaning (and, therefore, first gluten exposure) coinciding with the season of viral infections, which play a role in the development of some autoimmune diseases. For me, this brings a whole new meaning to family planning. If I’m ever in a position to conceive a child, I’ll be sure to do it in the spring. Or raise my child in a bubble, which just might be possible by the time I’m in a position to conceive a child.

But I digress. My point is, date of birth is a important piece of the celiac puzzle. And since we don’t know much of anything at all about non-celiac gluten-sensitivity, I’m happy enough to lump everyone in to the hypothesis and my New Feature. It’s called Gluten-Free Astrology and it will explain what else your date of birth means for your gluten-free status.

Photo © Manuel M. Almeida | Flickr

Aries’s symbol is the ram
Photo © Manuel M. Almeida | Flickr

Aries begins today, March 21st, and extends through April 19th. If your birthday falls in that span, here are my thoughts on what you can expect from the month ahead. (And by “my thoughts,” I of course mean “eternal and incontrovertible message from the stars.”)

The Gluten-Free Aries is ruled by the planet Mars, named for the god of war, aggression, and conflict. As a GF Aries, you likely have a conflicting relationship with your gluten-free diet and often argue with your doctors or yourself and lash out against others who question it.

You are a “me-first” type who should follow your natural impulse this month to put your gluten-free needs front and center in every encounter, whether it be at a friend’s home or at a restaurant, thereby increasing awareness for the rest of us. We will hope that a GF Libra, your polar opposite, comes along shortly thereafter to soothe any hurt feelings you may have caused, thereby increasing good will toward the rest of us.

However, this month you should also strive to overcome your innate tendency to be self-centered. One good way to do this, I’ve heard, is to comment on other people’s blogs, such as mine.

GF Aries stands for new beginningsoptimism, and change. This month, be open to new activities, friends, and channels for your boundless energy. You may find your life takes an unexpected direction (or you may not—this is astrology, after all). Perhaps your inborn desire to take the reins will encourage you to finally open your own business, and if so, I hope that it will be a gluten-free restaurant around the corner from my apartment.

Because of your extravagance, you may find yourself in debt this month of tax-paying, particularly if you’ve been pouring your extra money into that gluten-free restaurant. You’re a creative type who will always find your way out of such a bind, though, so please don’t let that stand in the way of your dreams. (Thai would be nice, or Mexican—hold the flour tortillas.)

The body part ruled by GF Aries is the head, so this month watch for migraines and facial injuries that may signal the start of a renewed battle with gluten.

And, if you’re interested in such things:

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

A fellow celebrity with the sun in Aries is Maya Angelou. Though she has no trouble at all with gluten, so far as I’m aware, she’s still a great lady (and I turned up this great post about her from last year on Celiac and Allergy Adventures).

Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe is another celeb who apparently does fancy himself a GF Aries—though I think he did it to lose weight, and we all know that man does not lose by gluten-free bread alone. (Plus, the paparazzi caught him carrying a pizza—no, Russ, “thin crust” does not mean gluten-free.) Hey, no one ever said celebrities have to be good role models. (On that note, Hugh Hefner is also an Aries.)

As a GF Aries, you lack patience and therefore have probably not bothered to read to the end of this post. That’s okay, as long as you hit the part about the new restaurant you’re opening for me this month. Just let me know when you’re open—I may be a flighty GF Gemini, but I am committed to bringing my spring-birthday-and-therefore-celiac-having self in once you’ve got it together.

The “information,” such as it is, in this post has been largely ripped off from The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need, by Joanna Martine Woolfolk, which is in fact the only astrology book you’ll ever need (need here being a relative term).

Let me know what you think of my New Feature, and what your sign is so I can get started consulting the stars about your destiny. 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: