Gluten-Free…in New Orleans?

Okay, friends. Here is the big trip. We were deciding between Disney World, New York, and San Francisco–all of which are more outwardly gluten-free friendly than New Orleans. It is a place of fried things and roux-based cooking…a place that the gluten-intolerant  have been fearful of by-and-large over the years. We decided to visit because of the music, the art, the overall culture, and to support an economy long damaged by Hurricane Katrina many years ago. My (Non-Celiac) friend had been there twice and assured me I would love it. I was sure that I would; the customs and traditions fascinate me, and I love history–what a greater place for either of these things? So New Orleans it was.

First of all, these were simply my experiences. I am reasonably sensitive, and can have upset stomaches/G.I. problems if I accidentally ingest gluten. Some others may have had different experiences in these places. But this was my experience. Additionally, my traveling partner had no allergies or celiac, so this was me singularly concerned. She was, and is, very conscientious of my dietary needs, but there are always things that I think of that non-sensitive people understandably don’t.

Yes, there is a lot of seafood. And I ordered a lot of seafood because I enjoy it. However, I saw a number of gluten free, non-seafood options. Vegetarian options also seemed abundant. For me, who simply has celiac and a nut allergy, there were some pretty good options for the most part. Another thing that I found upon speaking to various chefs on the trip was that there wasn’t as much flour used as I thought. These chefs rely on spices, cream, and technique to achieve good texture and consistency in their dishes. I was okay to eat more than I thought I was going to. And those snacks that I packed in my suitcase to munch on if I got hungry? I hardly touched them.

The next several posts will be reviews of the food, fun, and musings from over the last several days in this wonderful city. Fear not, friends! You may find that, if you’re able, the Big Easy may not be as hard as you thought it would be.

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