Tag Archives: dating

Roses are red, gluten is blue (at least, that’s what it makes me, and probably you too)

Loyal readers will have noticed that I’ve been quieter than usual the last few weeks. There are a few reasons for that—some of which I’ll be talking about soon—but I do expect to get back to my twice-a-week schedule eventually.

In the meantime, it’s Valentine’s Week, and in case you’re worrying I don’t love you, I thought I’d reassure you with a poem. Then—because you deserve it, and “less is more” is a lie—I decided to reassure you with a bunch of poems.

This is a gift that keeps on giving, because it means this year you don’t have to confine yourself to blowing a kiss (air kisses are guaranteed gluten-free, even if hubby’s been cheating on you with cookies) or making one of those heart-shaped chocolatey things everyone’s been posting about since January. You can do your boo one better and make your card gluten-free, too!

Jot one of these puppies down in a lopsided heart for guaranteed romance:

Roses are red, violets are blue,
If I could eat gluten, I’d share it with you.

or

Roses are red, violets are blue,
I quit eating bread, but I’ll never quit you.

Or if you, like me, will instead be observing SAD (Singles Awareness Day), or if your taste in chocolate tends more to the bittersweet, I’ve still got you covered. Try this:

Roses are red, violets are blue,
I’d rather get glutened than make out with you.

or

Roses are red, violets are blue,
I’d go on a date, but I’m sick with the sprue.

violets are blue

. . . violets are blue . . .
Photo © M | Flickr

Then, for the descriptivist, there’s:

Roses are red, violets are blue,
Quinoa is white, and sorghum is too.

And, for dear old gluten:

Roses are red, violets are blue,
You hate my guts, and they sure hate you.

Normal small intestines mucosa

. . . and normal small intestine mucosa are pinkish-purple.
Photo © Ed Uthman | Flickr

If you enjoyed, spread the love! It is almost Valentine’s Day, after all.

Share your own gluten-free riffs on the classic in the comments (bonus points for using any rhyme other than “you”—it’s tricky!), and have a happy SAD week.

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Dear gluten (it’s me again),

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Almost a year. And I’ve been thinking. That letter I wrote . . . maybe it was a bit hasty. Oh, I’m not taking anything back. I still hate you. I walk by cafes where you sit and avert my eyes; I see you on the subway and change cars; I tell my friends I won’t show if you do.

In truth, all that avoiding you has taken a toll on my social life. But mostly, things have been better. I smile wider, I laugh louder, and I can’t recall the last time I pulled a Myrtle. But I can’t say I’ve been quite as happy as I’d hoped. I thought you were the only thing holding me back—now I fear there’s more.

Still, everyone says I’m better off: my friends, my sister (once your pal, she too has given you up), and even my doctors, not that my love life is any of their business. Certainly, my parents have been happy enough to see you replaced at family gatherings.

Replaced? Yes, I admit, there have been a few new sweethearts. The Whipped Pastry brownies, the King Arthur Flour vanilla cakes, the flourless peanut butter cookies, the Everybody Eats baguettes, the Food Should Taste Good and PopChips . . . It’s been a whirlwind. You may call it promiscuous, but I prefer “keeping busy.” And, by the way: not to brag, but they’ve been good. Almost as good as . . .

Do you know, gluten, that you cause me physical pain to this day? I dropped all that tissue transglutaminase on your doorstep, but instead of a whole new life I found a donut-hole in my heart. You haunt me; you obsess me.

Kindly do not misunderstand. I don’t want you back (several systems in my body wouldn’t stand for it). But here we are, in the thick of the holiday season, and you’re cropping up at all the parties, grinning in that rye old way of yours, trying to get a rise out of me. I hope this isn’t too bold—I can be honest with you, right? We’ve known each other a long time—but just the smell of you makes my mouth water.

I started 2013 with no resolutions, dear gluten, but by the end of January, you’d given me one: stay away—far away—from you. And I’ve been good. I’ve stuck to my guns. It hasn’t even been so hard: it’s in my DNA to hate you.

Still, you and I both know your very purpose is to form bonds, and Stockholmy though it may be, I feel your pull. I’ve scanned too many appealing pictures of you online, eyed you regretfully from across too many crowded rooms. I think I’ve gotten away, then snap! I’m back in the cereal aisle making doe eyes at the Cheerios. Something about you is . . . elastic.

So I wonder if, maybe, I should let you back in. Just a little. A taste. How’s this: At one of those parties, we can both get a little tipsy, and one thing can lead to another, and then for many days to come I can thoroughly regret it as my friends berate me for my lack of will, and I lie in bed, clutch my stomach, and cry for what shall never be. You’re happy, I’m unhappy, and we both get a nice little reminder of my 2014 resolution. Good, right?

I guess what I’m asking is, gluten, what are you doing New Year’s Eve? Because I’ve got a sloppy midnight kiss with your name all over it. All you have to do is show up dressed as a cake pop.

Yours wafflingly,
Molly

P.S. Gotcha, sucker.

Dear reader: If you’re looking for more that’s-kinda-weirdness about love and gluten, try this song, about 48 seconds in. And if you liked my letter, please share. You, I truly do ❤.

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300 Sandwiches: The Gluten-Free Edition

Here’s a story for you. It’s the best kind: a love story.

[Note: This post won’t make any sense unless you’re already familiar with this article about the blog 300 Sandwiches—so check it out if you’re not.]

Once upon a time, I managed to secure a gluten-free boyfriend. This boyfriend—let’s call him D—missed sandwiches more than anything. To D, a sandwich was like a kiss or a hug (whatever that means).

One day, after months of cajoling, I made him a sandwich. D bolted it down and exclaimed, “Babesicle, this is delicious! You’re 300 gluten-free sandwiches away from an engagement ring!”

I paused.

How likely was I to find another man who fulfilled all of my criteria? D was gluten-free, male, and even vegetarian. Wouldn’t it be prudent to hold onto him? Three hundred sandwiches…that’s not so much to pay for lifelong companionship.

I accepted the challenge.

Gluten-Free Sandwich #1

The Beginner’s Luck

I tied on my apron and started off strong, with fried tofu and home-pickled cucumbers on “rye” bread. D smacked his lips. I smiled. 299 sandwiches more and this domestic bliss could be mine forever.

Gluten-Free Sandwich #2

The Sophomore Slump

On half of an Everybody Eats baguette, this Vietnamese tofu bánh mì was a thing of beauty.

“But,” said D, polishing off the last morsel, “I’m getting a bit sick of tofu.”

Hearing this, I was disappointed, but also relieved. Pressing, freezing, thawing, re-pressing, marinating, searing, baking, and basting tofu to get that meaty taste and texture was thrilling and all, but doing it every day could get tiring. And I wouldn’t want to lose steam so early in the race.

Gluten-Free Sandwich #3

The Just-Okaynini

Low on inspiration, after a late day at work, I kept it simple: grilled cheese on Rudi’s multigrain. I threw in some spinach and a handful of potato chips in an attempt to add interest, but I knew the result was flat.

“It’s…okay,” D concurred.

I vowed to prioritize my work and social life less in the future.

Gluten-Free Sandwich #4

The Breakfast in Bed

Having calculated how long it would take me to meet my 300-sandwich goal and feeling my biological clock ticking, I decided to kick it into overdrive. If there’s one thing a man loves more than a sandwich for dinner, it’s a sandwich for dinner and a sandwich for brunch.

Although a single gluten-free bagel costs roughly the same amount as a whole pack of regular, and doesn’t even taste like a bagel without the barley malt, I took a stab at a breakfast sammie anyway.

“Not bad,” D said appreciatively. “Try an English muffin next time.”

Gluten-Free Sandwich #5

The Structurally Unsoundwich

This elaborate roasted-veggie sandwich looked great on the plate, but as gluten-free sandwiches are wont to do, it fell apart under the weight of its toppings.

“What kind of sandwich is this?” he grumbled.

“We don’t have to count this one,” I replied. After all, it wasn’t D’s fault celiac disease causes grumpiness.

Gluten-Free Sandwich #6 (or #5a)

The One You Eat with a Fork

Not to be defeated by a floppy piece of bread, I tried a compromise: the open-faced ‘wich. Someday, I reasoned, when we had a country house where we’d entertain guests, I’d be glad to have a few open-faced sandwich recipes in my back pocket (or should I say pocketbook—no lady wears clothing with pockets).

Gluten-Free Sandwich #7

The Poor Man’swich

I did some more calculations and realized how expensive it would be to make 300 sandwiches on store-bought gluten-free bread. And it would be nearly as costly to buy the seven different flours plus xanthan gum needed to bake bread myself—to say nothing of my somewhat valuable time. Going for home-economical, I made a tempeh lettuce wrap instead. Though I served it triumphantly, D was not convinced this counted, either.

Gluten-Free Sandwich #8

The Sandwich That Wasn’t

First thing after rolling out of bed at 1 pm, my faithful D made his usual polite request: “Make me a sandwich.”

But while getting out the cutting board and knife, I realized something: I was tired of sandwiches.

Reaching for the mustard, I realized something else: I don’t even like sandwiches.

And when my brand-new loaf of Udi’s turned out to contain an air hole nearly equal to the volume of the loaf, I realized one more thing: It was the twenty-first century. I didn’t have to make that sandwich.

I turned to D. “Would you marry me even if I didn’t make you 300 sandwiches?”

“What?” he returned, puzzled. “Are you talking? Shouldn’t you be slicing something?”

And that’s when I came to my final realization: no man is worth 300 sandwiches, gluten-free or otherwise, if you’re making them because he demands it. A relationship in which either party feels compelled to jump through hoops to win the other’s affections is as empty as the inside of a quality-non-assured loaf of bread. And life’s too short to spend it making someone else’s sandwiches.

“You know what, D?” I said—and by now I hope you know what that stands for—”Make your own damn sandwich.”

After all, I had more important things to do…like look for a new boyfriend.


The 300 Sandwiches blogger now claims that the whole thing was a joke—though her blog itself makes no such claim. What do you think? Is it funny? Sad? Infuriating? Should we be past caring about stuff like this? And which sandwich idea sounds best to you?

I must admit, she’s posted some stellar-looking sandwiches that I’d love to make GF, including these blondie ice cream sandwiches, featured in—from a feminist perspective—one of her most cringe-worthy posts, and—from a hungry perspective—one of my favorites.

Note, Oct. 4, 2013: A reader helpfully noted that none of the photos are of truly gluten-free sandwiches. I have strict policies for photo sourcing and mostly use Flickr’s Creative Commons to find shareable photos. As with anywhere, I found few GF options there. If you’re a food blogger who wants to grant me rights to post a photo of your fabulous GF bánh mì here, get at me.

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I’m gluten-free. I’m single. Do I need Gluten Free Singles?

Gluten Free Singles dating site

I am a gluten-free single. I have celiac disease, so I’ll never eat gluten again. I do still want to date…but what does that have to do with gluten?

Judging from the response to the newly launched dating site Gluten Free Singles (hereafter GFS), the majority opinion is “nothing.” Reactions to the site from the non-gluten-free have ranged from bemused to dismissive to downright derisive.

But the premise isn’t really all that crazy. Here’s why:

1) Eating gluten-free (really, truly, not-continuing-to-damage-your-body-through-lax-adherence gluten-free) is hard. Lots of packaged foods are off the table, and it’s recommended not to eat out at allanywhere, until your symptoms have resolved, which can take six months to two years. Even then, most places boasting “gluten-free” menu items aren’t actually trustworthy. One bread crumb or a few drops of soy sauce cause harm, and most restaurant kitchens are too cramped and frenetic to prevent such contamination. Eating at someone else’s house? Forget about it.

2) Dating someone who isn’t gluten-free, if you’re gluten-free, is really hard. Not only because the person might not fully get it or even believe you. And not only because our dating culture is so intertwined with food—think dinner dates, ice cream cones on the beach, romantic home-cooked meals in. It’s also because you, as a gluten-free person, might not want to hold hands with someone who was just holding a sandwich, in case you forget and touch your own food afterwards. Or you may not want to tongue-kiss someone who drinks beer, because research suggests that food particles linger in saliva for hours in high enough quantities to trigger reactions. And, eventually, if you start thinking about moving in together, you won’t want your squeeze to move a bunch of gluten into your kitchen. Cross-contamination city.

3) Convincing someone who doesn’t need to eat gluten-free to eat gluten-free just so you can be together is really really hard. Because, let’s face it, eating gluten-free kinda sucks.

Given all of this, when I was diagnosed in January, my usual priorities—from intellect to appearance to love of board games—shrank to nothing compared to the need for a significant other to be either gluten-free or super supportive. (Here’s a flowchart demonstration.)

Since GFS didn’t then exist, I set out to hack OkCupid into a gluten-free dating site of my own. Under “stats,” you can label your diet vegan or kosher, but not gluten-free (an unfortunate oversight), so I couldn’t search that way. Instead, I dropped my usual criteria (“single,” “needs photo,” “minimum height,” even “male”—because if I’m going to make this work, I’ll need to be flexible) and searched by keyword. Show me, I asked, anyone who has mentioned “gluten” or “celiac” in their profile. ANYONE.

At that point, I learned why dating, even with gluten-free boys, is still hard:

1) The options, even in a metro area, are scant. After weeding out the profiles that claimed, “I love anything with gluten” or, perhaps worse, “I’m gluten-light,” I was left with…not many.

2) Not every gluten-free boy likes me. Of the handful I messaged, only half responded. Huh, I thought. Don’t they know they need me?

3) I don’t like every gluten-free boy. I learned this after meeting up with two of them. They were nice enough, but it turns out there’s more to compatibility than gluten-free.

I decided to put the whole thing on ice and focus more on fixing my own intestines than on finding a matching set. I learned my way around the diet, hunted down new recipes, started a blog. As for dating? Let it be, I thought. It’ll happen.

Six months later, I’m still single. You see? Gluten-free dating is hard.

Enter GFS. The solution, right? Well…maybe. It levels the playing field, sort of. Everyone is gluten-free, so you can concentrate on things such as, say, your sexual orientation. If the site manages to amass a large enough pool of daters, it could make dating more convenient.

At first glance, such convenience is appealing. But on further examination, it’s less so. In the founders’ words, this is a network in which “you never have to feel alone, awkward, or a burden because you are gluten-free.” This implies that around “normal” people, you do feel this way—but that shouldn’t be the case.

Of course, shared qualities and logistics play a role in every relationship. Some long distance relationships fizzle, and some couples whose lifestyles don’t mesh call it quits. But, says the idealist in me, those aren’t the relationships I want. I want a relationship in which we do compromise—even in big ways—and do it well, without breeding resentment.

My family and close friends, for example, have gone above and beyond in accommodating my gluten-free diet. My parents bought new cutting boards, bowls, and cooking utensils when I visited, because those things can harbor gluten. A friend brought gluten-free groceries to my “safe” kitchen and cooked for me there. My sister agreed not to eat gluten at home when we moved in together (and then found out she had celiac disease herself—but that’s a different story).

I don’t take their consideration for granted, but if these loved ones can do it, can’t a lover do it, too?

To join GFS seems almost to answer that with “no”—to suggest that a guy wouldn’t find me worth compromising for. I don’t want to send that message to a potential date, and I don’t want to date someone who feels that way about himself, either.

My dad has always said that true love is waking up to make coffee every day even if you don’t drink it yourself. In an admittedly larger way, that’s what I want for myself. I wouldn’t say no to a gluten-free boy (or hell, who knows, a girl), but only if we also fit in other ways. Should that match not appear, I’m sure I can find love with a non-gluten-free boy, one who will look out for me as loving people do—that daily cuppa, if you will.

I’m not saying there’s nothing appealing in the idea of meeting someone who shares my lifestyle, and I don’t think a website for gluten-free singles is worthless. I’m just saying that having celiac disease doesn’t make me worthless, or worth something only to others who have it. I am not only a gluten-free single, you see; I am also an intelligent, attractive, talented, ambitious, (mostly) confident young woman well worth a compromise or two.

So…will I join GFS? I can’t say for sure I won’t (I’m curious). But if I do, I won’t give up on meeting folks offline, and I won’t abandon OkCupid, either. After all, with all those 93% matches to choose from, I’m bound to find the one sometime.

Note: I originally posted this on Kinja in response to a Jezebel post about Gluten Free Singles. I’ve now reposted it in full here.

Gluten-Free Singles online dating logo

What are your thoughts on dating gluten-free?

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