You've probably seen the television commercial in which people describe "Aha" moments in their lives. Usually they reveal a turning point discovery.
I had an "aha" moment of my own recently, though it was not exactly of the life-changing variety.
Instead, it was just one of those pleasant, exciting instances when you find something gluten-free that you never expected to find. In this case, it was completely accidental, which only added to the thrill.
My daughter and I were shopping to restock the pantry at home with gluten-free items now that she is back from a semester studying abroad in London. She is the only one in our house who is gluten free and had finished off everything before she left.
We were just about to check out of the grocery with a basket full of items we regularly buy -- gluten-free cereal, baking mixes, bagels, and bread -- when we turned a corner and ran smack into gluten-free Tastykake cookies prominently displayed on an end-of-the-aisle shelf. That's a spot usually reserved for items a supermarket is really pushing and not one where you would expect to find a gluten-free product.
Even though I regularly get press releases about new products and follow a number of blogs that are very good at getting the word out when something new hits the market, I had no idea Tastykake had any interest in gluten free. The thought that we were one of the first to find the new cookies only added to the rush we felt as we plopped a carton of Chocolate Chip and another of Chocolate Chocolate Chip into our cart. The $5.99 price tag for eight cookies was a little deflating, but not enough to dampen our enthusiasm or slow down my intentions to blog about the find as soon as I got home.
But when I sat down to write I did a little research first and found that Gluten-Free Philly, a blog that details gluten-free developments in the Philadelphia area had beaten me to the punch. Turns out the cookies were mentioned there in March on the same day I left for a nearly two-week trip to visit my daughter in London and I had simply missed it. Tastykake is based in Philly and so it makes sense the cookies were first available there. Not to mention that Michael Savett, the lawyer and father of a child with celiac disease who writes the blog, is always up-to-the minute on gluten-free products and restaurants.
Still, I bring you news of this new item, just in case you missed it like me. And because it falls into the category of "I never thought I'd see that" gluten-free products, which hold a particular fascination for me. It's one thing for a specialty company to work out a cookie recipe using gluten-free flours. It's another for a company that made its fortune with wheat flour to take the initiative to do so.
On the subject of wheat flour and possible cross-contamination of the gluten-free Tastykake cookies, I contacted the company to see what steps they take to prevent it. No one ever got back to me despite several tries and the passage of several weeks (I wasn't in as much of a rush to write the blog once I realized the word was out). But Gluten-Free Philly reports that a company representative said they are made in a dedicated gluten-free facility.
So if you live in an area where Tastykake is sold, keep an eye out for this new entry in the gluten-free market to show up on your grocery shelf. It might give you a little "aha" moment.