Celiac-happy potlucks

My church has a thing for potlucks. Not a-couple-crockpots-and-a-veggie-platter, but the good old-fashioned 10-foot-spread of casseroles and hotdishes and three kinds of that fruit-marshmallow-pseudo ‘salad’ stuff and fruit punch and coffee and FOOD. Call it a Midwestern thing, or some weird holdover from our denomination’s Lutheran roots (which is also arguably a Midwestern thing), but we like finding excuses for a potluck.

Congregational meeting? Potluck!

Baby shower? Potluck!

Pastor needs to talk to more than three people in the same room without them getting distracted by shiny objects? POTLUCK!

However, when I found out that the pastor’s son-in-law is a fairly sensitive celiac, suddenly I felt guilty for every potluck we threw. I mean, what’s the point of hanging out in the church basement with massive sprawls of food if you can’t eat it? If you have to make your own little snack and bring it just so your stomach doesn’t scream “FEED ME, SEYMOUUUUUR!” while you’re chatting it up with people? For a long while, my mom and I discussed bringing something that he could eat, but since we knew next to nothing about gluten issues, we were always too scared to try it. Plus, there’s probably some special hell reserved for people who mess with a preacher’s family (right next to child molesters and people who talk at the theater.)

This last Easter Sunday was different.

This time, a tray of fruity bread sat at the end of line, pieces all buttered and laid out, and a little sticky announced “Gluten-free cranberry-orange bread.” The pastor’s SIL took a piece, nibbled it, took another piece, and then scooped as many as he could fit in his hand.

And then he went back for a second round.

Plenty of non-celiacs partook of the bread too, because maybe 3 pieces were left by the end. Because I will be DANGED if I cannot enjoy a potluck!

(And I take twisted pleasure in making others submit to my dietary restrictions, even if they are nummy and secretly good for you.)

Oh yeah, I'm going to the special hell.


  • 2 cups flour or GF baking mix, sifted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp orange zest (grated orange peel)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp veggie oil
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped (Dried cranberries work too)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9x5x3″ bread pan (i.e. a normal-sized loaf). I just lined it with wax paper.
  3. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the egg, orange zest, orange juice, and veggie oil. Mix together, and then add to the dry ingredients.
  5. Stir all ingredients by hand just until moist. Fold in cranberries and walnuts.
  6. Pour batter into bread pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until done.
  7. Remove from pan and cool.

Makes 1 normal-sized loaf, or a couple small loaves.

By the way, if you want to be able to cut the bread into slices thinner than 1/2″, let the bread cool completely. As in overnight. Or it will crumble as your nom-happy family attacks the loaf and it’ll be half-gone before you can take it in for the church potluck that you specifically baked it for.


About C.N. Wolf

Vaguely humanoid, often inquisitive, moderately bizarre. Also called a writer. View all posts by C.N. Wolf

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