Friday, August 19, 2016

Exploding tea bags and Aldi's gluten free bread

It's been an intense couple of weeks.  We had an unwilling house guest.  He is gone now, leaving a bare refrigerator and a sense of empty quiet, contiguous peace, and impending dread.  Not quite relief, but I suppose I can try to see it that way.  Schubert stands bewildered in the upstairs hall, lonely.

I'm taking the day off.

To that end, I stayed in bed until nearly noon, reading and journaling and reading old journals.  Also praying, if that redeems the fact in any way.  At one point I went to the kitchen and ate a bowl of sliced peaches in yogurt (plain yogurt made from whole milk).

Eventually I took a long bath, dumping in a double portion of Epsom salt and sprinkling the surface of water with many droplets of lavender essential oil.  It's a fairly hot day, so I ran the bath just on the warmer side of lukewarm.  At lower temperatures, I can stay in longer without getting woozy.  I soaked for a very long time, even after my timer signaled that twenty minutes had passed.

In the spirit of taking the day off, I will write a vapid blog post about food, because food is a surprisingly neutral subject, at least when it is primarily tea and toast.

I've been meaning to make a public service announcement about gluten-free bread for quite awhile.  I'd all but given up gluten-free bread, because it is nearly always profoundly disappointing.   

My Aunt Marilyn once hosted us in her home and provided a most delicious gluten-free brown bread, which she toasted for me for breakfast.  This was by far the best gluten free bread I have ever eaten.  She said it was from Costco, and we do not have a Costco.

Outside of Aunt Marilyn's delicious gluten-free bread, Udi's is supposed to be good.  Everybody says Udi's is the best.  People I meet proclaim its praises, and reviews I read analyze its virtues.  Not me.  I don't care for the stuff.  Once, I will grant you, I had the stomach flu, and after the major purging was past, and I just wanted a plain old piece of white toast, nothing else, I remembered an ancient, rejected loaf of Udi's in the back of the freezer.  I asked someone to toast and butter a slice for me.  At that point in time, in that circumstance, I was grateful for Udi's.  However, I cannot say that it is good.

As I mentioned, I had all but given up on gluten-free bread.  Still, a person needs a slice of toast, or even a sandwich, once in awhile.  So I'd taken to buying Aldi's bread now and then, not because it was good, but because it is fairly inexpensive, and it serves a purpose in a pinch.

Aldi's "whole grain" gluten-free bread is a pale brown color, and quite brittle and gritty with black specks in it.  The main ingredient is brown rice flour (I believe).  It's pretty horrible.

One day I was shopping late past the noon hour, becoming pathologically hungry.  I realized that it would behoove me to pick up fixings for a quick sandwich upon my arrival at home.  Aldi's was, however, out of "whole grain" gluten-free bread.  The only gluten-free bread available was the white bread.  Desperate, I grabbed the tiny loaf.

Upon arriving at home, I quickly made a sandwich to assuage my hunger and can I say... can I just say... the Aldi's white gluten-free bread is totally different from the "whole grain" gluten-free bread.  For one thing, it is quite elastic.  It bends without breaking, like a normal piece of bread.  It has a pleasant texture and even a fairly nice flavor.  The slices are very small, yes, but they are good.  Absolutely palatable and very decent.  A grilled cheese sandwich made with Aldi's gluten-free white bread and Aldi's sliced Gouda cheese is literally delicious.  I think even a person who was not forced to eat gluten-free would find this sandwich to be delicious.  The bread also makes very good toast; I prefer it with almond butter.

Here is another brand of gluten free bread.  It was more expensive and from a fancier store.  The loaf was larger than Aldi's loaf.  I thought I'd try it.  I was sorry.  It tastes like lightly sweetened play-doh.  Do you know why I bought it?  Because Aldi was out of gluten-free white bread when I last went there.  Apparently other shoppers have discovered what I discovered. 

I've also discovered something about tea bags.

We'd been having a great deal of trouble with our tea bags exploding when we made our tea.  It's disconcerting to near the end of your mug of tea, and inadvertently suck in a mouthful of floating tea leaves.  On a number of occasions, I've had to catch myself to prevent reflexively spewing the contents of my mouth.  Even our premium tea bags were bursting routinely, much to my chagrin.

We finally figured out what everybody else probably already knew.  You have to add the tea bag to the hot water after you've poured the water into the mug or teapot.  You should never pour the hot water over the teabag.  Pouring the hot water over the teabag makes the teabag burst.  I'm sure you already knew that.  It took me a long time to learn, but I'm grateful to know it now.

So, I'm off to continue enjoying my day off, with a large mug of lemon ginger tea, in which the teabag is blissfully unexploded.


Shannon said...

Well, I have not had trouble with exploding teabags, but just the same, I didn't know that you are supposed to add the teabags after pouring the water. I always pour hot water directly onto a teabag!

Maybe your teabags were not very structurally-sound to begin with, but it sounds like you have solved your problem. :)

Ruthie said...

It probably isn't surprising that you didn't know that, as your mama was clearly not informed enough to teach it to you during your childhood.

When this first started happening, I thought it was specific to that particular box of tea bags, and that they were defective. But it continued to happen across both boxes and brands. Perhaps the tea bag making factories in the USA are lowering their quality standards across the board.

Anonymous said...

Try Pamela's gluten free bread mix. It bakes beautifully in a bread maker or loaf pan.

Priscilla said...

I always pour the hot water over the tea bag and I have never had one burst.