As I get older I’m finding that some foods that I once loved no longer love me back. Heck, not only do they not love me, they don’t even LIKE me anymore. It’s kinda sad and yet relieving in a way because the foods that don’t like me anymore are the same ones that everyone says we shouldn’t be eating anyway (hm,… is it psychosomatic? Note to self to check into that later). Bread happens to be at the top of that list. I haven’t quite pinned down whether it’s the wheat or the gluten or both, so I started eating Gluten Free bread just to cover both bases.
About a week ago I reached in and pulled out two slices of gluten free bread to make a sandwich. I placed the bread on a piece of aluminum foil and as my hand came away I felt something very sticky on my fingers. When I looked down I saw what appeared to be a booger…on my fingers…that were just on the bread…and nobody had sneezed!
Both alarmed and grossed out, my mind immediately went to an irrational place. Did my husband flick a booger on the aluminum foil? Did he have one stuck to his finger the last time he made a sandwich?! Eeewwww, gross!
Yeah, because that’s what he does, my husband picks his nose and flicks boogers all over the place while making lunch…please note the sarcasm in those comments, my husband doesn’t really flick boogers all over the place (at least not that I’ve noticed, I think I would notice).
I had to show him. “Honey, what does that look like?!” him: “what, what is that? Ew, gross!” me: “looks like a booger doesn’t it? I think it was on my bread!” I proceed to wipe off my fingers and then stick them in the center of a slice. “Eeeewwww!!!! It feels like snot!!! The bread feels like it’s got boogers in it!!!” And then, I remembered how much it cost. I pulled out the loaf, put my hand inside and felt my way thru slice after slice of booger-like stickiness. Disgust slowly turned to irritation as I realized that I had paid about $6 for this tiny loaf of booger bread. I called the company.
“Thank you for calling blah, blah, bakery, how can I help you?” me: “Well, I just pulled out a couple of slices of your bread to make a sandwich and in the middle of the slices is this sticky stuff…and I don’t mean to be gross…but it looks like snot. Please tell me that somebody didn’t blow their nose in my bread!” I heard, “oh my God, no!” and then laughter on the other end of the line.
Apparently, this is something that happens every so often when the xanthan gum (that happens to be dry when put first put into a batch) isn’t mixed properly. Xanthan gum is a plant based thickening and stabilizing powder that replaces the gluten in gluten free products...and apparently turns to snot when not mixed properly. The amused customer service rep apologized, asked me for the batch number, and took my information to send me some free coupons to replace my $6 bread.
So fear not, that sticky stuff in your gluten free products probably isn't what you think it is…or is it?