The return of brownies and pasta
Heavenly Fodder offers gluten-free options of favorite foods
By Linda A. Odum email@example.com
Gina White has a condition — celiac disease — that causes her to get sick whenever she eats foods that contain gluten.
Since gluten is found in items made with wheat, rye and barley, that meant she had to avoid baked goods, pasta and even things such as some salad dressings and soups, since they are often hidden gluten sources. She turned to her friend Shannon McCarthy and asked her to use her culinary degree to create some gluten-free alternatives. After a year of trial and error, the pair now sells their food creations in their Manchester shop, Heavenly Fodder.
“I thought about opening a little bakery,” White said. “But when I told Shannon, she said, ‘I want in and I want to make it bigger.’”
McCarthy and White moved beyond just gluten-free baked goods to also sell soups, salads, and entrees ready to take home. Not only is every item gluten-free, but they are also free of MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial additives, and hydrogenated oils. White said, “Besides gluten free, we decided to take out all of the other junk, too. We serve a healthier, cleaner product. We researched for a year to find the right recipes, distributors and farmers.”
“It’s good, real food,” McCarthy said. “The stuff our mothers made for us. We make traditional favorites with a healthier twist and a gourmet flare.”
The menu features a different pasta, pork, chicken, beef and vegetarian dish each day, as well as side dishes, soups and salads. This includes items such as mac-n-cheese, lasagna, chicken cacciatore, shepherds pie, and pork roast with apples. Each dish has its ingredients on display, and everything is hot and ready to take home either in individual or family portions. The baked treats vary each day and feature things like brownies, carrot cake, and ginger cookies. (The menu can be found on the Web site.)
The pair developed the recipes with one goal in mind—no one should be able to tell anything is gluten free. White said, “It was time consuming, painstaking cooking. There were a lot of things that were thrown away before we got them right, and we mastered every dessert.”
White started down the gluten-free path almost two years ago. “My symptoms were primarily debilitating joint pain,” she said. “I was run down, tired, and I dropped 20 pounds in three weeks. At first they thought I had rheumatoid arthritis, and then multiple sclerosis. A friend’s niece had celiac disease and when I researched it, I knew it was what was wrong with me. I had to beg to get the blood work necessary for the diagnosis.”
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is triggered by gluten: when gluten is consumed, the small intestine is damaged. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation (www.celiac.org), one in every 133 Americans has celiac disease, and some studies suggest that many people with the disease don’t know they have it.
White and McCarthy have known each other for about 15 years. White worked as a freelance writer while McCarthy worked as a hair dresser, real estate agent, and night club owner. She also got her culinary degree from Southern New Hampshire University.
After losing touch for a while, the two got back in contact and White told McCarthy about her condition. Since McCarthy also hadn’t been feeling well, she decided to give a gluten-free diet a try.
“I can’t believe how much better I feel now than I did then,” she said. Her husband, who had numerous heart problems, also follows the diet. “His cholesterol dropped so much his doctor said, ‘I don’t know what changed, but keep doing it.’”