I recently got an e-mail from a woman who lives in rural Canada who had checked out my website and noted that my material didn’t really speak to her: The restaurants are not near her, and she can’t get a lot of the prepared/packaged foods that I have reviewed.
This was really good feedback. I took it as encouragement to build out my website to have greater appeal to people who don’t necessarily live in a major metropolitan city. Watch for more improvements!
I also thought it would be interesting to do a little research when I visited my brother and sister-in-law in Roswell, NM. I figured Roswell was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so sure getting GF products would be a challenge, right?
Wrong. Turns out, Roswell’s not that little. They have a couple of grocery stores, including a mega-Walmart. I decided to do a little research at Walmart (I know that many think they are evil-incarnate, but it’s way affordable and MANY people shop there. Don’t hold it against me!) Not only did they have all of the perfectly normal, regularly occurring GF food, they also had half a row of shelving labeled Gluten-Free, and carried things like GF Bisquick. In ROSWELL. I found that to be pretty promising.
But still. I passed a number of “towns” that were hundreds of miles from a grocery store. What if I lived there? Here’s how I’d handle it:
Have a kitchen garden and grow things I like to eat, if I have the space. If I don’t, make friends with someone who has the space, or start a community garden (as it is part of my Day Job, I can tell you more about that if you are interested.)
Experiment with seasonal veggies. Vegetables are naturally gluten-free, and we can all stand to eat more of them, especially the green variety.
Learn how to freeze, can or otherwise preserve fresh produce. If I’m growing it and can’t eat it all when it’s ready, I hope I’d learn how to extend its edible life and eat it on into the winter months. I occasionally freeze my overabundance of kale and collards from the garden, but I have to admit it's kind of time consuming. Still, if I couldn't go to a grocery store anytime I wanted, I'd get better and faster at it, I'm sure.
Get good at cooking beans in interesting ways. Beans are available everywhere, and really nutritious.
Get a rice cooker and embrace rice as my go-to grain for breakfasts and dinners. Rice is available at stores even in the middle of nowhere.
Don’t forget eggs. I always forget eggs.
Mail order. For that gf birthday cake that you have to make, one can get gf baking products on Amazon.com or directly from the manufacturer. If you type in Gluten-free foods at Amazon.com in their "Grocery and Gourmet Foods" menu, there are 3,540 listings. The products there would be a splurge, but certainly in the realm of possible.
Stock up when in the presence of gf food. I grew up on 80 acres of land between Guthrie and Edmond, OK. I wouldn’t call it remote, but it was Small Town Oklahoma. We’d go into Oklahoma City (oft referred to as just The City) and there are health food and specialty shops there that can accommodate GF needs and provide specialty vegetarian products that are hard to find elsewhere in that part of the state. Of course, it could mean just going to the nearest town with a real supermarket and stocking up on Rice Chex and Corn Chex. Sure it’s a breakfast food, but everybody needs the opportunity to just eat a bowl of cereal for dinner now and then.
Salty snacks: Popcorn. Potato chips. Tortilla chips. Read the labels of course, but many of these offerings have no gluten present.
Sweets: Fruit. Rice pudding. Custard. Ice cream (read the label.) Crustless pies.
Other suggestions for our GF friends in remote locations? Leave a comment here or send me a note through my contact page.
From the Roswell, NM Walmart