Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What's in a Name?

About 18 months ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease (I actually had been diagnosed years and years earlier and declared cured, but that's another story). For those who don't know, people with celiac disease cannot properly digest gluten -- which is found in wheat, rye and barley and anything made with those items (which is like 90% of shit you find in the regular supermarket). If we eat those things, we generally get really sick. We won't die, but puking after eating is no fun for anyone. Plus, we have increased risks of all kinds of shitty cancers and other diseases. So, how do you treat celiac disease? You don't. The only thing you can do is change your for the last 18 months I've gone without decent bread (except the breadsticks at Risotteria in NYC) and haven't even bothered to step inside a deli (I see no point in going to a deli if I can't order a fucking sub -- or even most soups for that matter because most of those have fucking gluten too; oh - and Chinese food! Yeah, Chinese food -- because of the soy sauce, but don't get me started). Anyway -- you can only imagine the hell I live in -- I'm fucking Italian and haven't been able to eat bread or have a a fucking sub. And then today...a ray of fucking light.

And this light came in the shape of an email...earlier today a friend of mine sent me a link to an article about this new gluten free "deli" about 30 minutes from my house. The place is called The Mighty Panini or some shit like that but was touted by the owner as a "deli." So, call me fucking crazy, but I assumed the place would have paninis, or at the very least, deli-like sandwiches. I mean that's pretty much a "well duh" statement, right? So -- hearing about a gluten free deli, I was totally pumped and didn't care if the place was an hour away -- I was gonna fucking drive there and get a fucking panini for dinner.

So... after work I get in my car, I drive 30 minutes (on the fucking toll ridden parkway no less) and figure myself lucky as-all-get-out when I find a parking spot right in front of the place. I go in...anticipation nearly dripping from my smile...hell, my smile was so wide the guy probably thought I was a freak. I look up at the menu on the wall, get ready to order, and BAM!

"Sorry, miss, we don't have that menu anymore."

They don't have that menu anymore? Whatthefuck? Didn't this place just open? But then I remember the article saying something about the place having been changed to a gluten free deli from a regular deli, so I figure they just hadn't gotten around to taking down the old menu and I say, "OK, what do you have?"

And so the kindly deli worker points to the first deli case -- "here's the meats and cheeses we have" and then, pointing to the next deli case, he says "And here's the bread we use."

Well - that's when the smile disappeared. Because sitting in that refrigerated deli case was a package of the very same crappy excuse-for-bread gluten-free bread that I have in my fucking fridge at home. No sub rolls. No paninis. No hard rolls. Just a pathetic excuse for white bread and an even more pathetic excuse for wheat bread. I wanted to cry. Or scream. Or, I don't even know what. And all I could think was "deli?" Fuck. That.

Of course, I still ordered a sandwich, and grabbed some frozen lasagna. What can I say, I was fucking starving. And the lasagna they don't carry at Whole Foods.

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