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An oxymoron?  Perhaps, but not as contradictory as the likes of vegetarian bacon!  I have chosen a gluten-free diet simply because I have noted a positive correlation between the consumption of gluten and my stomach blowing up like a balloon inevitably followed by a migraine.  The fact that going gluten-free appears to be yet another trendy regime to assist weightloss never entered into consideration.   Furthermore, I certainly don't lose sleep worrying about the cruel conditions baked goods suffer during their creation, packaging and storage before they pass my lips. 

In fact, I harbour zero emotional or social hang-ups over eating breads, cakes and the like.  (Mmmm fresh bread...)  Gluten just does not agree with my primitive digestive system.  But before I wander off on a tagent discussing blood group diets, let me tell you about my latest attempt to cater for the varying deitary needs of my wee family of three...

But first, a slight digression...

My first taste of hamburgers was in the early-eighties in the form of the great Fillet'O'Fish from McDonalds.  Influenced predominantly by my parents' incredible dislike of the 'saw dust filled' meat patties, we opted for the more 'real' option of the cumbred fish fillet encased in the plastic-like burger bun lacking in substance.  Unfortunately, we only ever indulged in this 'treat' during long car trips and my tendencies towards motion sickness ensured that every single Fillet'O'Fish repeated on me.

It wasn't long, before my parents came to the conclusion that not was it considerably less expensive to make and pack food for our trips away, but that it was a heck of a lot tastier too!  So the eve of our holidays or at times the morning before our departure was spent not only packing but also preparing crumbed chicken fillets.  Somewhere along our journey, crusty bread rolls or French baguettes would be purchased and we'd cover all food groups with the addition of whole juicy tomatoes.  So rather than stopping in town for McDonalds, we would pull over at a handy scenic rest stop and feast on my parents' home made delicacies - complete with salt to sprinkle on the tomatoes as we bit into them and even a jar of home-grown pickled chillis (the latter being something I never acquired a taste for). 

Interestingly, I don't recall my parents' version of burgers ever repeating on my during our travels.  I like to think it's due to the far superior quality of the food.  However, in reality, my parents' epithany around the virtues of making rather than buying convenience food hapened to coincide with our discover of Sea Bands.  But I digress...

It was the late eighties and I was still in primary school when I had my first culinary experience of home-made hamburgers.  It was my first sleep-over at this particular friend's house and as a treat, her mum made hamburger patties - which we had the pleasure of combining with an assortment of fillings inside supermarket burger buns.  I cannot recall what exactly I put in mine, but what struck me was that each member of her family liked different things and I took great care in choosing the same fillings as my friend.

Whilst the burger itself was far from memorable, the concept of customising your own meal whilst still eating together as a family has stuck with me ever since.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that I'm not about to impose my need for a gluten-free diet upon my husband and deny him the peasure of sinking his teeth into a juicy home-made hamburger.

So I make my own meat patties with gluten-free breadcrumbs or omit them completely, adding ground carrot and celery for bulk and flavour.

Personally, I'm not a fan of gluten-free bread rolls - preferring a generously sized salad to accompany the meat patties on my plate.

Looks pretty good, doesn't it?


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But you don't have to stop there!!

A couple of slices of cheese, sauteed onions, a squirt of tomato sauce, a dallop of mayonnaise and voila, all the goodness of a home-made hamburger without the gluten and accompanying belly-ache.

I am pleased to report that the meal was an outstanding success.  Hubby was pleased with his towering momstrosity, daughter was thrilled that she didn't have to eat any beetroot and I didn't suffer any of the usual gluten-induced ailments.

Thanks to my foresight, I even made extra patties to go in the freezer for a quick and easy meal the whole family can enjoy when we're too busy or exhausted to cook from scratch.

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