An Open Letter From Gluten

Yud-Tet Cheshvan 5778

Dear Booba Motek Zisseleh, my little tzadik tzadekis,

WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME ANYMORE? WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU? I’m sorry. I don’t mean to yell. But I’m so hurt.

When you were a baby, you ate challah like it was the best thing you ever tasted! (It probably was the best thing you ever tasted!) You should have seen yourself — you were so cute stuffing fistfuls of challah into your tiny mouth. You loved Bubbie’s challah the best. You’d squish it in your little fingers and say, “Mo calla!” (I’m crying as I write this.)

But you’re all grown up now — I don’t understand your generation. What’s wrong with me? I’m protein! You told me you’re on a high protein diet, so why won’t you eat me? (Your mother told me not to be insulted, but how could I not be?) I see you eat chicken, tuna fish, the sushi, the cheese sticks, the Jack’s beef bacon (it smells like chas v’Shalom treyf!), the potato and egg breakfast special. If I’m protein too — why won’t you eat me? The only reason I can think of is that I’ve done something to hurt you!

You don’t have Celiac disease, Baruch Hashem. (Nobody should ever know from it! Every day you’re healthy is a bracha!) Are you sure that it’s gl-oot-ten that’s making you bloated and fat? Are you sure it’s gl-oot-ten that’s sending you to the toilet to cack your kishkes out like someone with dysentery? Do you know what dysentery is? They had it in the camps. You think you have diarrhea? You don’t know from diarrhea until you’re 80 pounds, going in a filthy wooden latrine in below zero weather, with a guard pointing a gun at you! I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get excited.

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I’m not making you fat! I know, I know. You can’t say “fat” anymore. Your mother always tells me I have to be sensitive. I know you don’t want to hear this from an old lady like me, but you’re heavy because you eat all day from morning to night. I know you read in the diet book to eat five small meals, and to have things that are organic, but you’re taking it a little too far. The rice crackers, the black bean chips, the Larabars, the sushi, the chocolate covered rice cakes, the nut mix, the Enjoy Life! cookies, the Greek yogurt cups full of sugar, the smoothies, the juices! The michigas with the spelt bread!

Spelt you’ll eat. Why, why, why? I’m in the spelt as much as I’m in the wheat. Spelt is wheat — it’s a kind of wheat! I’m in it like Yerushalayim’s in Eretz Hakoidesh! Like the Koisel’s in the Old City! Like Avram Avinu is in the ground in Chevron! You say, “Ya, but it’s less.” Take it from me — gluten herself, old as Gan Eden — I’m in the spelt as much as I’m in the wheat. You talk like wheat is the Satan! You know who is the Satan? The yetzer hara and olam hasheker! It’s enough already with the sheker about the spelt!

Bubbelah, don’t hate me. Please let me sit at your Shabbos table again. I want to be on the tish, with the kiddush and the lichtelach. I want your friends to eat me at your chasana. I’m only a stretchy protein that naturally occurs in grains. How can you believe that it is easier to digest a plate of meat than a slice of bread? Bubbeleh! It’s michigas!

I’ll always love you. And to me, you’ll always be that baby shoving challah in her face.


Bubbie Gluten