When I first got diagnosed, my best friend dropped off some rice pasta at our house, in that super helpful kind of way that people do after you get diagnosed. It is just something that will happen, along with people telling you about all of the great places that you can find gluten free food and cook books. It’s all good stuff, and mostly helpful. (I’ll revisit that in another post.) So this rice pasta was 100% white rice, and my husband, who does the cooking, decided to make mac and cheese with it. He started cooking it like he would pasta: salty water brought to a boil, drop the pasta in, and stir for a minute. After he started cooking and stirring he said , “did you know that rice pasta doesn’t float? Not only that, I can’t see it, the water is completely white. You should come and see it.”
So I go over and peek into the pot. It looked like non-fat milk and there was not a single floating piece of pasta. It looked like we were cooking rice, and I suppose it made sense. We were cooking rice, it just was in the shape of pasta. We went into this thinking, “we’re cooking pasta” instead of thinking “we’re cooking rice that looks like pasta.” Let me help you with this…
YOU ARE COOKING RICE THAT LOOKS LIKE PASTA.
Now, anyone that has ever cooked rice knows that rice released its starch into the water, this is because rice is missing gluten. It’s missing the basic building blocks that cause the tiny starch molecules to stick together, and all of the starch is released into the cooking water. That is why we wash our rice before we cook. And also why we get all of that sticky stuff in our rice cookers. And, most importantly, why risotto is so creamy. Since starch is part of a sugar molecule it’s also sticky, and that’s why we add starch to our gluten free flour mixes. It’s sticky so it holds it together, like candy.
Yup, it’s much ado about starch.
You also notice that rice doesn’t float in water. Wheat floats in water. You know what else floats in water…WITCHES!
Yup, I went there.
So, why is this news worthy…well, it’s an explanation or apology, that it for what you will, because after I went back to sit down and play video games, my husband says to me. “You know, I feel like I need to write a blog about learning to be gluten free and name it ‘Rice Pasta Doesn’t Float.’”
Yup, that’s why the blog is called what it’s called.
So here’s the lesson we have here.
Rice pasta= Rice.
Rice doesn’t float. Witches float in water. Therefore rice isn’t a witch.
Wheat pasta= Wheat.
Wheat pasta floats. Witches float in water. Therefore wheat is a witch.