Friday, October 2, 2009

Xantham Gum is More Devilish than Bill Clinton by kittee

veganmofohouse
I was pondering Vegan MoFo subject matter in a public arena last night, when I was reminded of an important post I had begun a few weeks ago. I began writing it in a hot fit of hate and rage, and then when my boiling blood cooled a little, I was distracted by zombie cupcakes and poured fondant.

Here's what I wanted you to know:

XANTHAM GUM IS THE DEVIL STRAIGHT FROM THE BOWELS OF HELL. Some people in the elevator may tell you it's Bill Clinton, but they are wrong. Unless they have solid literature, do not listen to them.
xanthanhell
Now I've known for some time that xantham gum is irritating stuff. It alone has caused me to avoid XgfX baking, for eleven months now. It has an unpleasant name. It makes me feel nervous and uncomfortable around flour. Also, it's wickedly expensive--what's to like? In New Orleans I could only find it in small bags for $15 bucks or so, too much to spend on a tenuous kitchen experiment. But here in Portland, I can find it in the bulk bins, which is besides the point, since I was recently given a hand-me-down bag of it (more proof that it's rotten stuff, people are trying to pass it off to the innocent). Anyway, I'd finally gotten to the point in my "journey" where I was becoming open to trying a XgfX mix. I thought experimenting with something within my comfort zone like Indian flatbreads--specifically simple chapathis and aloo paratha, would be a good idea.

So you know how slimy and gummy ground flax gets when it's been moistened? Have you ever dealt with psyllium husk slush? Do you know about mixing Gremlins and water? Xanthan Gum becomes a horrid plague when moistened with liquid--like a zillion billion trillion times worse than anything you could ever imagine. I seriously can't believe it was left out of the bible story. I know this to be true because I unknowingly threw some into the sink and then tried to wash it down the drain with running water.

Here's my warning--do not do this. You will be sorry, and you will never get it out of your sink, off your sponges, or away from your skin unless you use coarse gritty sand paper. Even then, you will still know it's there.

Instead, stick to recipes that do not require this evil nightmare, like Isa and Terry's gluten-free cupcakes from VCToTW.

The end.

P.S. I wrote a round roundup for Vegan MoFo International today.
xo
kittee

31 comments:

  1. Wowee! I have to use it at work to make gf loaves and cookies, just whisked into the dry ingredients, and it's never been a problem. I don't think we use it for any of the few vegan gf items we have, but I'm not too sure. Sorry it was so horrible to you and your kitchen :(

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  2. Kittee! I love this post. I have stories I can not tell here about xanthan gum and associated horrors, and yet, I have not turned my back on it, why?

    love,
    Michelle

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  3. Haha! I think this is my favorite post ever. I've never had a problem with The Unmentionable X.G., but this made me smile. :)

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  4. Ha, this is awesome. I have a bag in my cupboard, but it has been there so long it is bound to be past its used by!

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  5. Blahaha, this is an excellent post. I have a bag in my cupboard that I use on the rare gluten free experiment and have never had a problem, but I can relate with the unescapable kitchen nightmare of hellish ingredients!

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  6. Too funny! I'm a gluten ho & so "ho"pefully will never ever have to deal with any substance more devilish than Bill Clinton...unless maybe...jackfruit...

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  7. I had Xantham Gum burn out my blender on me. I bought it just to try it out, put it in my closet and forgot about it.I was cooking one night and needed to thicken up a sauce. I went into the pantry and found no corn starch but found the bag of Xantham Gum. I took 2 tablespoons full, put it in my blender with about 1cup of my liquidy sauce. Turned on the blender and within 5 seconds it gummed up the blade. Then it died. Almost solid pieces were completely stuck around the blades. It was gross.I haven't used it since.

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  8. Ha, ha, ha! And I thought guar gum and pectin were mean. I loved your subject line and I had to laugh several times during this post.

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  9. Never used Xantham Gum. Not going to now. I heed the words of wise Kittee.
    :)

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  10. Thanks for the tip. I'm brand new to the to the Celiac life, and I've been reading up on GF baking mixes. One of them called for xantham gum, but I don't like the sound of it. What normal food starts with x? I'll try Isa's mix instead. I can't wait to see your gf baking experiments!

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  11. Haha! This is an excellent post! Now I kknow to avoid this stuff!

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  12. Noted. I will never ever ever use Satan Gum. And if I ever succumb to temptation and decide to try it, I will arm myself with a garlic necklace, a giant cross and a wooden stake. And a brillo pad. Just in case.

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  13. wooo lordee.... i own a bag of this stuff. perhaps there is an innocent to whom i can pass it off??

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  14. Haha. Like gremlins and water.

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  15. Oh god. It totally is just like gremlins and water. I have a bag of the stuff that I use occasionally, but since most recipes call for 1/4 tsp at a time, it looks like we're stuck together in an inseparable slimy mess for the next 10-14 years. Would if I had only known.

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  16. thanks! i've been wondering about it, but i only have the big bob's bags of it as well. you have saved me.

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  17. haha, awesome post! i just got xanthan gum handed down to me and now i am scared to use it!!!

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  18. the mention of gremlins and water got me - ah ha ha! thanks, kittee! gremlins still scare the hell outta me and so does gluten-free baking. when i found out my tummy loves me keeping it gluten-free i wanted to cry. i love all the gluten goodies, and i was so unfamiliar with gluten-free baking. i'm trying out a few things and working on being brave - but xanthan gum isn't my favorite, and i'm still intimidated by it and the whole gluten-free thing - but i am more happyfaced without the gluten. i'm sorry that damn xanthan gum took over your kitchen! argh! >:(

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  19. A tip : never, ever breathe it in. Hah. My bff makes ice cream/gelato for a living and they were experimenting with different gelling agents for sorbet - apparently he dropped a bag, it exploded, the entire production facility was coated and he breathed it in. Gooey snot for a week.

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  20. Oh no. I must be Satan, too, because I love xanthan gum. It performs magic in GF baked goods!

    I'm sorry it brought evil into your kitchen, though!

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  21. This makes me feel better about not buying a ridiculously expensive bag of xantham gum the other day... A "flax egg" seem to work to replace it in a muffin recipe. Very funny post!

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  22. Woah, thanks for the heads up. I've had a bag of this stuff in my fridge for over a year. Time to pawn it off on some poor unsuspecting friend who I secretly hate.

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  23. Perfect timing, I was about to buy a bag last night. What's a better substitute? Agar? Tapioca starch?

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  24. Wow! I cannot even tell you how much I laughed while reading this. So funny.

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  25. Uh...okay. Convincing argument. I have never tried Xantham gum. And now I probably never will, LOL!

    Faith

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  26. Wow I did not know this about xanthum gum. Very interesting.

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  27. This is a funny post, but I love XG in my GF baking. Anyone wishing to pawn off a bag, please, please, please send it my way. I must say though, I premix my Gluten Free Flour Mix a bag at a time, so no pouring XG into liquids, it is all mixed into my flour mix and therefore harmless, and makes delicious GF Baked Goods. Give it another try for me. :)

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  28. It is nasty stuff that makes my face get clogged pores. No kidding. Nasty nasty, and getting harder to avoid. Within minutes of eating anything with XG, I get a welt or two on my face.

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  29. Never pour xantran gum down the sink. It was very costly to replace pluming, and garbage disposal. I wish there was a big warning not to pour down sink. I am very careful what I send through the garbage disposal now. I wish I knew. :(

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