Raspberry Debacle

7 August, 2007

Ins, Outs, and Chilled Mulled White Wine

Filed under: drinks, fruit, gluten-free, summer, vegan — Holly @ 9:52 am

Three glasses of mulled white wine, with a bookcase in the background.

EDIT: Hello, everyone here from gluten-free forums! If you’re interested in gluten-free recipes, I have an archive here; about two thirds of the recipes on the site are gluten-free, and I’ll be posting another gluten-free cake recipe later in the week. If you’re here because you’re upset by the line about gluten intolerance in the post below, then I’m sorry to have upset you. The piece is intended as a parody of articles about food trends, written in-character by an imaginary food writer. However, I realise some of you recognise this and still find it offensive, and I don’t like upsetting people, so I’ve edited the joke to get rid of the line that seems to have been the specific cause of your anger. I should perhaps explain that I’ve been doing a lot of gluten-free cooking over the last year, and I do realise that gluten intolerance (and the specific subset of it that is coeliac disease) is a real, and serious, condition; but I can see that the tone of the piece perhaps implied that I’d just picked it as a random “funny” disease. Feel free to stick around for the recipes; the cake coming later in the week really is very very delicious. END EDIT

It’s always hard to keep track of which foods are fashionable. A few weeks ago, the Observer told me that strawberry cornettos are in, for example; who would have thought it? But at the same time, tiramisu is unfashionable despite its similar redolence of the 80s. It’s simply much too popular. Out: truffle oil, chocolate lava cakes, butternut squash, chicken breasts. In: foie gras speakeasies, bread. Oh, it’s all so difficult!

The main trouble with comprehensive in-and-out food lists is that everyone else reads them, so the “in” foods become popular, and then they’re “out” again, all within six months. To make things worse, the lists are usually published at the end of a year, so those of us in July or August are left without guidance. Fortunately, I’ve managed to get hold of an advance copy of next year’s Official Food Ins and Outs, and I’m ready to share them with you. Only with the help of the list can you can be safe from the risk of serving your friends pesto (in for quick-service restaurants, so out for the rest of us, I’m afraid).

IN: Portable pizza ovens. Back in the sixteenth century, many households had no oven. Instead, it was common practice to send a loaf of bread or a cake out to the local baker, who would pop it in his oven once he was done for the day. This is no longer necessary for most of us, but what are we to do about pizzas? It’s famously difficult to make home-made pizza that lives up to good restaurant pizza, simply because home ovens don’t get hot enough. This doesn’t mean you should give up on making your own! Once the weather has cooled down, ice-cream vans will take out their freezers and fit super-hot ovens instead. Consider prepreparing three or four pizzas in a range of flavours, and when you hear that tinkling Greensleeves you’ll know it’s time to run out to the street and get them cooked properly.

OUT: Putting cocoa percentages on chocolate wrapping. This used to be IN, but now it’s filtered down to Magnums and Cadbury. The thing to do with mid-level chocolate wrapping these days is to attribute abstract nouns and emotions to the different varieties; see Newtree’s FORGIVENESS, Chuao’s PASSION, Dagoba’s ECLIPSE.

IN: Truffle booths. At the moment the truffle booth is an underground movement, but it’s heading mainstream. Customers pay for a private booth in a restaurant, and a selection of truffles is wafted in front of them while they breathe deeply.

OUT: Food processors. It just tastes so much better if you chop it by hand.

IN: Remember perfectly spherical watermelons, square tomatoes, and all the rest of the “grow things in moulds so they’re a weird shape” fad? It goes back at least as far as the nineteenth century, when glass cucumber straighteners came into fashion. Relatedly: you know how corsets can deform the ribs and permanently change someone’s waist shape, if worn consistently enough? By 2009 you can expect cattle corsetry to be the big new thing: buckle in the young cows and wait for exciting rib shapes on your table come 2010.

OUT: Gluten intolerance. The Atkins people started eating bread again years ago, after all.

IN: Brownie intolerance. Brownies are cheap, easy and delicious, so they’re ubiquitous these days, and the only way we can get them off menus is to develop an allergic reaction en masse.

OUT: Truffle booths. Yes, already. It was a fleeting moment of popularity; you had your chance, and you missed it.

IN: Heritage cutlery. In the past, good cutlery was inherited; only an arriviste would buy her own. Look for heritage cutlery to make a resurgence soon, though due to changing standards of serving size, nineteenth-century salad servers may need to function as twenty-first century spoons and forks.

OUT: Vegetables. Vegetables are everywhere these days, which means top chefs are already looking elsewhere for inspiration. The behind-the-times tastebuds of the masses might mean that potatoes are still listed on the menu, but the with-it restaurants will treat you well if you ask, quietly, for a side-dish of mashed squirrel instead.

IN: Mulling. Give it a couple of months and we’ll be firmly into Autumn, and mullers will spring up everywhere. This may be your last chance to get some mulling done before the rush.

A wine glass seen from above, with mulled white wine in it.

Mulled White Wine
750 ml white wine, maybe something Riesling-y (raspberry tea works too, if you’d rather it was less alcoholic)
100 ml apple or pear juice
100 ml dessert wine
50 ml brandy
50 ml honey
100 g strawberries or cherries (or both if you like)
1 orange or lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
4 or 5 green cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Put the wine, juice, dessert wine, brandy and honey in a saucepan over a low heat.

Slice the orange into rounds, dehull the strawberries and cut them in halves, and break the cherries in two to take the seeds out. Add these to the saucepan as you go.

Add the cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg and the little brown or black bits from inside the cardamom pods.

Warm gently, not allowing it to bubble, for twenty minutes to half an hour, adding a little lemon if it’s too sweet, or more honey if it’s not sweet enough.

Strain through a sieve into a container and chill, covered, for an hour or two. Serve over ice.

Glass of mulled white wine with a strawberry on the rim.


  1. “OUT: Gluten intolerance. Get a real disease.”

    That’s hilarious. And I have Celiac. Be warned, you’re about to get a bunch of crazed celiac patients raining their ire down on you for writing that.

    Comment by Ozzie — 8 August, 2007 @ 5:14 pm

  2. I appreciate you were trying to be funny with the gluten intolerance comment. But it’s hard to stomach that comment. I have Celiac Disease/Gluten intolerance and the last time I inadvertently ate gluten in a restaurant I was ill and unable to function or keep any food down for 4 days. It made a total nightmare of my business trip.

    I wish more restaurants and food writers understood the prevalence and ramifications of gluten intolerance.

    Comment by Christine — 8 August, 2007 @ 5:18 pm

  3. The comment about “Gluten Intolerance being out-get a real disease” is very offensive. If you have never struggled with the symptoms of this issue you have no room to make a judgement. I have had to change my whole way of eating because of being deathly ill and no one able to diagnose my condition for two years. I had lost about 25 lbs by the time they found the problem. I felt horrible and looked it, could not eat or keep food down if I did, however once I was diagnosed and begin eating properly for my condition I have gained the weight back and feel much better. Your comment is misleading and could lead to others having delayed diagnosis. It is inconsiderate and ignorant to make a judgement like that. Very politically incorrect.

    Comment by Jill Burchenal — 8 August, 2007 @ 5:19 pm

  4. Oh dear, I’m sorry for upsetting you, Christine and Jill - and I’m not coeliac, so no, I don’t have first-hand experience of gluten intolerance or coeliac disease (though one of my housemates is coeliac, and I do understand some of the ramifications, and some of the genuine dangers associated with the disease). As you’ll see from my archives, many of my recipes are gluten-free, and I think it’s important that people realise that gluten intolerance doesn’t have to mean losing out on favourite foods; I also think it’s a shame that many manufacturers put gluten in foods that completely don’t need it, and I think it would be a good thing if more recipes included notes about when recipes can be easily adjusted for the gluten-intolerant (which I do try to do). I’m glad people are becoming more aware of the disease, and that perhaps diagnosis is going to become easier as a result of this.

    I’d hoped that the context of the comment would prevent people from taking undue offence, though! I don’t really think gluten-intolerant people should “get a real disease” any more than I think corsetted cattle are going to be the next big food trend. The idea that gluten intolerance can be “out” is meant to be a parody of the idea that food becomes untrendy once it’s widely-known about. People are becoming increasingly aware of gluten intolerance, which would make it “out” by the peculiar rules of food trendiness; and the fact that this is obviously absurd points, to me, at the slightly absurd nature of people sneering at food just because it’s popular.

    And I’m glad you were amused, Ozzie, though it’s possible you’re in a minority…

    Comment by Holly — 8 August, 2007 @ 5:29 pm

  5. Gluten Intolerance? You got to be kidding! It’s “out”? Those of us who suffer from it find it as NO JOKE! Obviously no one in your family suffers from this debilatating disease, which is refered to in medical journals as Celiac Disease. At the very least, you should try eating a diet that is totally free of gluten for a month just to get a feel for the complete life change we are forced to make.

    Comment by L. Carter — 8 August, 2007 @ 6:07 pm

  6. The comment about gluten sensitivity being “out” is in extremely bad taste. As a celiac support group leader I have been to too many funerals of celiac friends who died as a result of the complications of untreated celiac disease to accept such distasteful comments about gluten sensitivity not being “cool” as being harmless or even humorous.

    Comment by Lynn Rainwater — 8 August, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

  7. I thought it was funny too. If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?!

    Comment by sydney — 8 August, 2007 @ 6:15 pm

  8. While, I appreciate that your comments were intended as comedy and I also appreciate your reply to those who have commented, I still need to say one more thing. Gluten Intolerance, Celiac Disease, Gluten Sesitive Enteropathy are all names for the same disease and it is a REAL DISEASE. Again, I do understand that you comments were meant to be funny but even in jest no one would say “Cancer is out, get a real disease”.

    Comment by Frances Kelley — 8 August, 2007 @ 6:43 pm

  9. I would like to make a comment on the line in this that says “OUT: Gluten intolerance. Get a real disease.” It IS A REAL DISEASE! It’s called celiac disease. Your writer should have put a little more thought into this, even if it was just meant to be a humor piece. People with celiac disease aren’t just avoiding gluten because it’s a fad or something, it makes them ill and can lead to life-threatening medical conditions.

    Comment by Tonya — 8 August, 2007 @ 6:45 pm

  10. You may think gluten intolerance should be “out” and I wish it were that easy. I would throw it out in a NY second if I had a choice. It messed up not only my body, and I have various other related ailments because of celiac, but it also caused us to be invited to drop “out” of the gourmet group we had belonged to for years. No one wants to invite a celiac to dinner because it is too much work. So, I guess I would have to agree. I have been “out” for 10 years now. Now we socialize with our BnB guests who come here because we are gluten free. They love feeling “in” when they are here!

    Comment by anne — 8 August, 2007 @ 7:28 pm

  11. Thank you for changing your post to reflect your understanding of how upsetting a comment that does not seem to understand the seriousness of gluten intolerance can be. While I do understand your parody, and appreciate your lighthearted humor, there are still people who have to fight their families and friends regarding the seriousness of their illness. So any comment, even joking, can feel like a slap in the face. I applaud you for being upfront, honest, and apologizing, instead of telling people to “lighten-up” or “get over it” as so many bloggers do. Good Work. :)

    Comment by FollowOurFlip — 8 August, 2007 @ 8:03 pm

  12. So you are a bit socially challenged? We all are at different points in our lives. Not an unforgivable mistake. Celiac is a real disease and affects may of us. I have watched first hand how this disease can ravage a child’s body; permanently change a mother’s heart and life forever. If you consider that 1 in every 133 people actually have celiac disease–I have no doubt that you will be touched eventually. I would not wish celiac on my worst enemy—but I do hope that you develop some compassion and get a clear understanding of this disease.

    Comment by Caaren — 8 August, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

  13. Celiac disease is no laughing matter. While we struggle to make the best of a difficult situation, it’s not particularly funny. Until you’ve walked in our shoes, you can’t imagine what we’ve been through. Once the diagnosis has been made, your life changes…..not only at home in your kitchen, but everytime you go somewhere else to eat or to purchase food. A gluten free diet is the ONLY treatment and it’s that way for the rest of your life. A very serious disease!

    Comment by Sue — 9 August, 2007 @ 1:46 am

  14. Sure, I understand that it was ment as a joke but I must be honest and say that to me and my family Celiac is not a joke. My son is 5 years old and was diagnosed about 7 months ago. He still struggles with his “new” diet every day and cries because he wants his “real” food. Sometimes he tells me that he dreamed that he was eating “normal” pizza, bread, pasta, and e.t.c. It would be hard to explain to him that for some people this is a joke - trust me my son is not laughing about it.

    Comment by Annelie — 9 August, 2007 @ 3:20 am

  15. My son nearly died from gluten intolerance. It doesn’t get more real than that.

    Comment by Lisa — 9 August, 2007 @ 4:12 am

  16. Holly, this same thing happened to me when I made a one-line diabetes joke in my column once.

    Comment by Sumana Harihareswara — 12 January, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

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