Here’s the 20 things you’d only understand if you were gluten-free during/after a global pandemic. Needless to say, this wasn’t how I expected the first half of 2020 to be at all.
I’ve always wanted my blog and recipes to be a complete distraction from the outside world and the doom and gloom that can come with it. But today, I really wanted to create a post that sums up this crazy period whilst hopefully making you laugh/smile, even just for 5-10 minutes. So here’s the 20 things you’d only understand if you were gluten-free during/after a global pandemic…
Before you read this post…
First of all, I just wanted to take the chance to say thank you to all the NHS staff and key-workers who kept the world spinning when everything else ground to a halt. I don’t think a simple ‘thank you’ (or 10 minutes of clapping once a week) will ever be enough, but I genuinely don’t know else to express how grateful I am!
The aim of this post certainly isn’t to make light of a situation where many people lost their lives and others risked their lives trying to save/care for them.
Instead, I just wanted to create a post that simply acknowledged the reality of being gluten-free during/after that situation, as well as the new challenges it presented for us. After all, being gluten-free doesn’t just go away because there’s a global pandemic happening, unfortunately.
And hopefully this post does that in a way that makes you smile or laugh out loud – because we could all certainly do with a little more of that after 7 weeks of lockdown and uncertain times ahead. So here’s the 20 things you’d only understand if you were gluten-free during/after a global pandemic…
1. Braving the supermarkets just to find food you can actually eat.
Remember to stay 2m apart guys… hello? Can we follow the one-way system, please? I just want a Warburtons gluten-free Tiger loaf without endangering my life.
2. Only to find that muggles bought all the gluten-free pasta because ‘it was all that was left’.
Step away from the gluten-free pasta and nobody spaghett-s hurt.
3. The utter outrage when muggles also started buying up all the gluten-free flour too.
Guys, please – there’s already so little in the supermarket that I can actually eat to begin with.
I’ll trade toilet rolls for gluten-free flour, if that helps.
4. And then, the elaborate treasure hunt of trying to locate gluten-free flour online instead.
Ok, so I’ve just ordered 16kg of Dove’s rice flour, 2 bags of Glebe Farm’s gluten-free plain flour and a bag of Schar Mix It Universal.
What was I going to use this all for, again?
5. And the sheer sense of joy as your gluten-free flour finally arrived on your doorstep.
My flour has arrived! The next hurdle I need to overcome is that I can’t bake to save my life.
No big deal, right?
6. The rage when you realise that morons had been buying all the gluten-free flour, just to sell it for 5 times the price on eBay.
Is my health some kind of joke to you? You’re not selling it, you’re basically holding it hostage for a ransom.
Thankfully, it’s in ‘new condition’, so that must justify the price.
7. But when you were finally reunited with gluten-free flour, your creations were well worth the effort.
Who knew that lockdown would result in so many great gluten-free bakes? And I know you guys have been busy, because you’ve been constantly sharing them in my Facebook group!
I’ll never forget that week where everybody collectively made my gluten-free banana bread. I called it ‘banana-geddon’ or ‘banana breaddon’ – feel free to use whichever you prefer.
I think I’ve eaten enough banana bread to last me until 2021.
8. Apart from when the end result absolutely wasn’t worth the trouble. At all.
Don’t worry when things go wrong and you end up wasting ingredients.
It’s not like gluten-free flour is incredibly hard to come by, or sometimes 5 times the price or anything…
9. And then supermarkets suddenly ran out of caster sugar and eggs, meaning that when you finally had gluten-free flour, you couldn’t even use it.
Here’s a gif of Alan Sugar to compensate for the lack of sugar in supermarkets. You’re welcome.
10. But either way, at least baking helped you to forget about the rest of the world for about an hour or so.
For a moment there, I thought I was on Bake Off, not stuck at home during a global pandemic.
I think the term ‘worry baking’ should definitely be a new phrase to come out of this whole situation – agreed?
11. Heading to the free from aisle after queueing outside in the rain, 2 metres apart for 30 minutes, only to find all the shelves are empty.
Is it called the free from aisle because it’s free from actual products? If so, they’re doing a great job.
12. Or instead, booking a grocery delivery 3 weeks in advance, only to find all your gluten-free products had been substituted or were missing entirely.
‘We replaced your gluten-free pizza with a regular pizza and your gluten-free bread with absolutely nothing. Enjoy!’
At least my non-existent gluten-free bread won’t be full of holes, I guess.
13. But I’d rather live without gluten-free bread than face another round of dodging people in the supermarket who have zero care for social distancing.
I haven’t been this stressed in the supermarket since I first started being gluten-free.
The amount of people who carelessly leaned right over me to grab something off the shelf was enough to make me avoid supermarkets for a couple of months.
Not even new gluten-free products would be enough to get me to go back!
14. Of course, you probably had very little sympathy for the muggles when McDonald’s closed for 2 and a half months.
I haven’t been able to eat a burger in there for 12 years. I think you can survive 2 months, guys.
Also, KFC basically doesn’t exist to me anymore and that won’t change until the end of time.
15. But when restaurants finally re-opened, they opened with a vague-sounding ‘limited menu’.
Oh great, I wonder what I can eat? To be honest, I don’t even care what it is – if it’s gluten-free and I can eat it, I’ll eat it!
16. A ‘limited menu’ loosely translated to: ‘gluten-free people can now only eat napkins until further notice’.
‘Oh sorry, actually the napkins are made in an environment where gluten may be present. Can I interest you in a paper cup instead? It comes in three different flavours: small, medium or large.’
17. But at least we can all take a welcome break from being presented with ‘the allergy binder’ when asking for the gluten-free menu.
Me: Upon my 2 hour reading session of the allergy binder, all I’ve learned is that none of your food is gluten-free.
Waiter: Yes, that is correct.
Me: Couldn’t you have told me that before I read it?
Waiter: I didn’t want to spoil the ending.
18. And fortunately, we could breathe a huge sigh of relief as gluten-free flour, gluten-free pasta and other essentials gradually returned to supermarkets.
This is the best come-back since the Spice Girls reunion.
Who fancies eating gluten-free pasta bake every day for the next decade? I certainly do!
19. Along with a new-found sense of gratitude for free from products, after a blunt reminder of how much we truly rely on them.
Ok, they can be expensive, the bread sometimes has huge holes and the pasta often sticks together. But what would we do without them?!
20. But most importantly of all, you managed to successfully dodge gluten, whilst (hopefully) staying healthy and safe during a global pandemic. And I think that makes you pretty awesome.
And hopefully your gluten-free baking/cooking skills improved out of necessity – I know mine did!
Thank you for all the support during lockdown and beyond!
I just wanted to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who supported me and my blog during this weird and crazy period.
Knowing there were so many of you on the blog and creating my recipes inspired me to keep creating/posting, which 100% took my mind off of other scary things. You’re all awesome.
Also, thanks so much for reading this post! I hope you and your family stay happy and healthy throughout the rest of 2020 and beyond. Stay safe, wear a mask and please look after yourselves and others.
This post was inspired by a bunch of my observations that I tweeted over the last few months, so hopefully you’ll enjoy my future ones too!
Thanks for reading,