Root of gluten-free diet accommodation

I’ve been sleeping easier since I began relying on arrowroot.

Truly. Coping with food allergies and camp’s history of accommodating  them has been one of the more mind-racking parts of this job. Our guests with a wheat intolerance in particular understand we may not serve rice-flour bread, but they wouldn’t tolerate being shut out of the main dish, too, because we used flour to thicken it.

I’m proud to say they also don’t have to. Arrowroot is swell stuff.

In tonight’s Valentine’s dinner at Sacandaga Bible Conference, just a third-cup of arrowroot dissolved in water a few minutes before serving added a velvety thickness to a chicken entree that included bell peppers, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes and dried apricot in a base of chicken broth (made from trimmings from boneless skinless chicken thighs).

We’ve also used it to thicken beef stew, sauces and purees, and it has the added bonus of thickening at a lower temperature than flour or cornstarch. It dissolves rapidly in cold water and stands up to acidic ingredients.

Like potato starch and tapioca starch, it comes from a tuber, in a cornstarch-like powder (Kudzu apparently is a type of arrowroot, and the name also can refer to other starches like tapioca starch).

We buy ours from U.S. Foodservice because we like the consistency of the Monarch-label products (although I don’t think the other guys like walking into the back kitchen door to find a line of Monarch labels staring them down.

So instead of lying awake worrying about food allergies tonight, I’ll think back the grease fire, electrical [almost] fire and loss of water pressure 45 minutes before dinner. Because the chicken was a smashing success for the worry-free eaters and the gluten-free ones.

More on that to come after some sleep. Up at 5 to begin breakfast.

Photo credit


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