Spice purge and the joy of 3D food

Although spices are supposed to be pretty likely to be gluten free, I don’t want to take any chances. Hidden gluten is sneaky! And it only takes one employee in a factory that doesn’t really care to cross-contaminate.

I went through my spice cabinet to do a purge. There was stuff in there that was definately old and needed to go! Thyme from 2006? Ugh, no thank you! I also pulled anything that I had gotten in bulk (since bulk is so easily cross-contaminated), and anything no McCormick’s. Now, I’m not usually into labels, but Gluten Free Girl did a great post about McCormick’s, and a google search lead to much of the same information – McCormick’s goes the extra mile to ensure high quality spices that are gluten free and protected against cross-contamination.

I set aside some spices that I really liked, like my beloved Japanese curry powder!, and tried contacting the manufacturers. Most did not get back to me. The one that did used a lot of confusing language which basically boiled down to they don’t totally protect against cross-contamination.

At first I was super bummed about the curry powder, but I figure this will be the next great challenge – to make it from scratch!

I have always been a pretty good cook. My mom always let my brother and I in the kitchen, so we grew up seeing how to cook and not being afraid of trying. I taught myself a lot of Japanese cooking when I was figuring out my identity in high school and college. And my family has always been foodies – we love going out for a great meal.

But in the last few weeks something has shifted for me. I no longer gravitate to the center of the grocery store – when I look at all the boxed and prepackaged items I no longer see food. It all looks like paper cut outs. Instead, I am drawn to all the bright colors and three-dimensional tactile reality of actual food. The smooth taut deep purple skin of eggplant. The bouncy crunch and sharp smell of green onions. The rugged almost-black soft-yet-firm creamy-treasure-within that is an avocado.

Its not like I didn’t eat vegetables before – I’ve been a vegetarian for 6 years! (and not a french-fries and milkshake vegetarian, although I did that too for awhile) But I didn’t have the relationship to food that I am developing now. From selecting to cooking to eating, I am interacting with food on a much deeper level.

Part of this is probably because I am waking up from the brain fog that comes with being exposed to gluten. It is strange – I am having moments when I spontaneously dance or sing. This has not happened in a long time. But there are also moments of exhaustion. I still get tired easily.

But I am on the mend. I can feel it.


Have you ever been glutenized by spices (or suspect you have)? Do you try to buy gluten free in spices too? Why or why not? Other thoughts?

5 thoughts on “Spice purge and the joy of 3D food

  1. Hi Alysa! Different people have different opinions, but I’ve been glutenized my cross contamination so many times (and many bloggers I respect suggest it) so I figure better safe than sorry! 🙂 Good luck!

  2. Oooo, Japanese curry is wonderful!!! I could eat it for days. Its got a lot of flavor savory and salty, and just a touch of heat and sweet. I will definitely work on a safe version! ^.^

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