Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Letter

Dear Bob's Red Mill,

For the past 6 weeks my family has embarked upon the daunting and sometimes perilous journey of going Gluten-Free. My husband and possibly both of my children have Celiac disease. I am also a cook, and a baker. A pretty good one too. Especially the baking part. I was not raised or taught to use mixes in almost any scenario. We are from the make-it-from-scratch persuasion and this tradition has been passed down through several generations, as evidenced by my dog-eared and stained recipes from my grandmother. I'm sure you can imagine my dismay when faced with the task of continuing to bake good-for-you and more importantly good-tasting wheat-free cakes and cookies and the like for my family. Thus I have turned to mixes and relied heavily on them these past 6 weeks. As I learn to navigate the GF waters, buying specialty flours and ingredients to mix my own all-purpose flour, learning what ratio of xanthan gum to add to these flours and how to substitute these in my favorite recipes, mixes have become a crutch. A really good one to get us through these first few weeks. And for the most part, they have been surprisingly good. With 2 notable exceptions. Which brings me to my point:
First, it should be known- I am a bean lover. Across the board, I love beans. I even like lima beans! So it is not with an unfair bias against beans that I say to you, "Why in the name of all that is holy do you insist on making mixes, especially those meant for sweet treats like cake, with garbanzo bean flour?!?!? And fava beans?!" Now, I know you did not pioneer the use of these legume-derived flours, at least not to my knowledge. But when there are perfectly good, bland, and distinctly non-bean flours available, like rice, that you can easily slip in without notice, why would you rely on fava beans?! I made my favorite cookie recipe and they looked great. Held up wonderfully and could barely see a difference. Until I ate one and thought, "Hm. Beans." Have you ever had a bean cookie? No. And do you know why? Because they are disgusting. That is the reason you have not seen them featured behind the bakery glass or written up in Bon Appetit. People don't like beans in their cookies. Now, I used your all-purpose flour mix, so you could argue that maybe that particular flour would be best in a savory dish, in small quantities where it could go unnoticed. This is true. But then explain to me why you would create a chocolate cake mix, and then use the same garbanzo and fava beans flours?! It is specifically and obviously created to make a chocolate cake, and guess what? Not unlike the cookies, people don't like bean cake. And it's not subtle. I mixed it up, ignorantly, and it looked great. With anticipation, I licked the beater, as is a favorite pastime of mine. Immediately I shuddered and exclaimed "Beans!! Oh crap. Beans." And shuddered again.
Seriously, chocolate cake?
Garbanzo beans? 
They do not go together.
I implore you to use other milder flours such as rice, but until then I will be taking my business to Betty Crocker, who's mixes are decidedly unbeany. I can't believe that I have come to take a stance on mixes that is anything but opposition, but here we are.
At an impasse.
I finally mixed up my own blend, so I hope to leave your mixes on the shelf from now on. I will, however use your individual ingredients. One of which, by the way, is rice flour. 

Bothered by Beans,


michelle said...

Oh dear. This sounds like cause for cursing for sure.

I hope Bob's Red Mill takes note!

Anonymous said...

I hope you really sent this in! I can just imagine bean cookies...blerg.

Susan said...

Too funny. But, from the way Fiona inhaled them, they must have met with her approval!

Just be glad you won't be tempted.

Denise said...

"I can't believe that I have come to take a stance on mixes that is anything but opposition, but here we are."

This made my day.

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