Friday, January 14, 2011

This is a vegan breakfast sandwich on gluten-free bread. I picked it up at The Garden this morning. (They now open at 6 a.m. on weekdays and have grab-and-go breakfast options -- thought I'd check it out.)

Yes, today turned out to be the day of sampling gluten-free alternatives, which is something I hadn't done yet since deciding to experiment with a diet sans wheat. I'd been simply leaving out the wheat during the past few days, instead of trying to replace it with other types of flour. My theory is that gluten-free alternatives are like vegetarian alternatives: No matter what kind of veggie burger or fake hot dog you create, it will never be meat, and I will always know the difference.

I started off with the sandwich. The bread wasn't at all like the English muffin it was trying to replace. It didn't even look remotely like an English muffin. Maybe this was due to what was in the sandwich (fake egg, fake cheese, fake meat and some kind of seasoned spread), but the bread was almost a yellowish color. And the texture was entirely different -- much lighter and slightly more crumbly -- none of the density and chewiness of a real English muffin. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't an English muffin.

The cookies, however, were another story. The chefs at work have been experimenting a lot with gluten-free baking lately. They were looking for feedback on their gluten-free peanut butter and oatmeal-raisin cookies, so they left a basketful in the breakroom.

As you can see, the peanut butter cookie looked just like a regular peanut butter cookie.

But the oatmeal cookie was, well, purpley-grey -- and therefore slightly scary-looking. In fact, I almost didn't try the oatmeal cookie because it looked so odd.

Here they are next to each other, so you can really see the difference in color.

Taste-wise, though, both cookies were actually pretty good replacements for the real thing. Both were moist and flavorful. The peanut butter tasted like peanut butter -- and even left the greasy marks on the napkin like a real peanut butter cookie. And the oatmeal -- other than its strange shade of lilac -- was actually pretty awesome.

So I guess we're 1-1 today. And I've learned not to judge a cookie by its color.

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