Why Must The Vast Majority Of Gluten Free Food Taste Like Lightly Seasoned Kitchen Sponge?

gluten free
Contributor: Joss Peter

First of all, to the food industry: I say congrats. You’ve found yourself a pretty lucrative corner of the market. Food is fun, a prerequisite to living and hey, famously pretty tasty.

Secondly: fuck you.

Yes, I know that’s coming off pretty strong, but I have a bone to pick. How, in the year of our lord, 2021, is there only the grimmest of options for my fellow gluten intolerant hotties? How can we send billionaires to space for a giggle and I can’t get a decent fucking bagel? How the fuck am I supposed to live out my French Girl reveries when the only croissants I can eat have the texture of freeze-dried fingernails?

Sorry, I KNOW there’s bigger fish to fry. I know that we’re in the middle of the end. Which is exactly why I’m so mad. I can’t even eat my way through the apocalypse. I can’t even wrap myself up in a snuggly doughy blanket. Unsurprisingly, there’s not much comfort to be found in a $7.50 pepita and date bar. 

Yes, we’ve made progress. I get it. I can, in most cafes, request gluten free bread and pay $3 more for 50% less food. Thank you. Ordering pizza is an infinite joy. The most artisanal, fluffy, handmade pizza is transformed into a frozen aisle nightmare that costs $5 more than functional-tummied meals.

Dumplings, well there’s not even the option to pay more for a crapper meal at restaurants. If I want them, I’m just going to have to look like I’m 13 months pregnant for the next few days.

And don’t even get me started on the stigma. This is not some Bondi / PE Nation weight loss fantasy. I’m already a bisexual pescatarian — I’m not trying to add anymore wanky multi hyphenates to my repertoire. No thanks. I’m literally just trying to have my cake and eat it too.

One of the cruelest parts about gluten intolerance is its penchant to creep up later in life, a gatecrasher that just moves in. So one day you’re a cool girl, sinking a jug at the pub and the next day you’re rubbing your stomach like it’s a crystal ball after a run in with a choc chip muffin. Not fair.

It’s been like a particularly bad breakup. Come and tell me “it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all” when you have to watch your ex making your best friends groan with pleasure everyday. Come and tell me “it’s better to have loved and lost” when you have your ex wink at you from the window of every cafe. Come and tell me “it’s better to have loved and lost” when the entire nation of Italy cares not for your existence. Come and tell me.

So, food industry: do better. I don’t think I’m asking for much. I just want to go to a cafe, order my coffee, and think “fuck it, I’ll grab a scroll too”.

I just want to get myself a little treatie that doesn’t feel like I’m biting into the kitchen sponge. I don’t want to be special (well, at least not in that way). I just want to be like everyone else.

Joss Peter is a writer living in Sydney. You can find her giggling in the middle of a dance floor or at @foxymoron98 on Instagram.