Unlike the obvious glutens like bread and pasta, hidden glutens make up just a small portion of the meal, but can have just as dangerous an effect if you are not careful to recognize and eliminate them. Some small glutens are elemental to certain recipes or styles of food preparation and can’t necessarily be removed.
These can include breading on meats, flour for dusting meats and fish before sautéing, breadcrumbs for meatloaf, crusts used for desserts, flour to thicken soups, wheat starch in frozen French fries, and barely to add flavor and texture to soups and stews. And you should always be on the lookout for gluten in things used for dressing up a meal, like sauces (always watch for soy sauce!) for savory and sweet items, gravies, salad dressings, flavorings, spice mixes, and dairy products like sour cream and ice cream. You will never know about these ingredients unless you ask and have a server investigate the product label or the recipe.
Also, be leery of beverage menus. Gluten is in beer and can hide out in a variety of beverages ranging from coffee drinks and milk shakes to liquors and cordials.
After you gain practice in reading menus, you will learn how to recognize even the smallest, most hidden of glutens. But don’t take your gluten investigative hat off and pocket the magnifying glass just yet …