Nature has blessed mankind with a plethora of gifts we take for granted every day; bushes, golden retrievers, the Nile River, and double fudge brownies. While she was busy perfecting the Orca whale and catalyzing Redwood trees, nature also gave man wheat, a crop that civilizations found could be manipulated into bread. With baguettes, bagels, hot pretzels, tortillas, donuts, and croissants, bread is more diversified than the United States Congress. However, not everybody has the liberty to eat a subway footlong BLT sandwich on rye without intestinal consequences. Celiac disease causes certain people to medically neglect bread and pastries to avoid a full-on assault by their immune system, thus creating a market for gluten-free products. For those ignorant to the technical ways of the gluten-free people, the free market of wheat-less products can be fairly daunting. With bagels manufactured out of brown rice, you truly don’t know what to believe. Recently, it came to my knowledge that one of these gluten-free people was my sister. Despite the sister relationship being stigmatized as petty, fake, and riddled with arguments over who stole who’s clothes, my sister and I maintain an alliance against our sometimes overbearing parents. When she told me about her dietary revolution, I was adamant towards helping her tastebuds without the mediums of gluten products. I recognized that she was in need of a hero when she confessed to me that she tried making black bean brownies- if that’s not a silent cry for help, I don’t know what is. To me, nothing says sisterly companionship like a muffin. The first step was finding a recipe. After muddling through mom blogs and middle-aged women on detox diets Instagram pages about how being gluten-free opened their sixth chakra, I found a banana muffin recipe that seemed the most humane. After viewing the ingredients, I was surprised to see that I wouldn’t have to venture into the Peruvian forest to scrape bark off an Amazon tree, or worse, go into the vegan tundra of Whole Foods market. The bananas, eggs, peanut butter, vanilla, honey, baking powder, and chocolate chips were all already conveniently located in my kitchen.
Gaining more and more confidence in my ability to defeat this glutenless challenge, I started to blend everything together. I’m pretty sure this is what Einstein felt like when he was inventing the quantum theory of light. Blending all the ingredients together in a Hello Kitty baking bowl, I admired my work. Admittedly, I over added peanut butter (I don’t take my lack of peanut allergies for granted) but besides my overzealous nutty tendencies, the nascent muffins looked delicious. Next, I poured my wheat-lacking muffins into the tin. This is where my lack of baking experience got the better of me. Betty Crocker forgot to remind me of the magical properties of baking powder, and as I watched a tsunami of batter spill over the tin and cumulate on the bottom of the oven, I regretted filling each muffin cavity to the brim. Fortunately, the casualties were limited, and after sunbathing for 8 minutes at 400 degrees, the banana muffins appeared golden and fluffy.
I equipped Michigan State themed oven mitts and cautiously pawed them out of the blistering. Growing impatient, I dug an infant muffin out of the tin. It was strangely satisfying to pry it out the tin, and I was astonished to see a lack of muffin residue glued to the pan. It was time for the final taste test, the part that would determine if I would score a touchdown for the New England Patriots or if Tom Brady would forever remain with only five Superbowl rings. I bit into the surface of the banana dessert, my teeth grazing a chocolate chip. The sweetness of the chocolate morsel complimented the nutty flavor of the muffin, and the banana aroma tied it all together with a red ribbon. The inside was moist (pardon the gross adjective) and soft, and it immediately melted on my tongue. With all the flavors, I couldn’t even imagine squeezing gluten into this recipe- for the first time ever, there was no room for any form of wheat. With melted chocolate on my fingers, I dialed my sister on my phone- I had found her the perfect, gluten-free banana muffins.