Julia Child was my idol. I loved watching her on PBS, which was one of the few channels we received on our 9-inch black and white television. Julia entertained me as I was recovering from chronic strep throat and ear infections. I can still hear her lively voice as she whacked the rolling pin trying to flatten pastry dough. With genuine personality she raised the pitch in her delivery and confidently moved through an unexpected situation: “...and if the dough is too stiff, just bash it down with the rolling pin.”
Two points come to mind with that image. First, I was comforted by Julia’s shows. She made me forget how miserable I felt as a kid, sick with strep throat, ear infections, and congestion. I had a running prescription of penicillin at the local drug store. I bring this up because research is showing that many children who routinely suffer from sore throats, ear infections, and sinus problems are also battling gluten. My body was inflamed and so busy making antibodies to combat the gluten, it didn’t have enough energy to fight off normal illnesses.
The second point that comes to mind when I think of Julia Child pounding the pastry is just how dense classic pastry dough is. Yes, the butter makes it hard when cold. But, it’s the gluten that makes it tough. Once liquid is added to gluten and the two are mixed, the protein bond gets stronger and stronger. Have you ever thought about what that protein bond does in our bodies? Those strands are so solid and stretchy, some people can’t break them down. (Actually, I believe that it is impossible for anyone’s body to totally break it down). Ironically, in culinary school I had the hardest time preparing a tender pastry. I struggled with my flour mixture, overworked the dough, and made a tough crust. Years later I discovered that gluten makes me sick. Perhaps I instinctively knew wheat flour wasn’t for me.
I now giggle when I think of Julia pounding the pastry dough. There I was at age four watching her manage the beastly dough as I recovered from illnesses that might have been prevented if I weren’t eating gluten.
P.S. Three days after I stopped eating gluten, my lifelong battle with congestion disappeared. Just sayin’...