‘Giggles’ and Other Gourmet Gordie Adventures

1 Mar 2008  .  by Maggie Bowen Boone

If you suffer from a food allergy or just want to enjoy your meal in a warm cozy environment, then Giggles Deli just might be the place you crave.

Located on Symons in Richland, it is like “Cheers,” but without the booze or that nasty Carla. Instead you are served by friendly, knowledgeable people like owner Gayle Noga, who makes it her mission to provide gluten-free products to others who, like herself, suffer from gluten allergies, also known as Celiac Disease.

According to Noga, about one in 20 people have Celiac Disease, which affects more people than Chrohn”s Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease combined. That is a substantial number, especially when about 97 percent of those who suffer from the disease go undiagnosed.

Celiac Disease is one of the most common genetic conditions in the world. It is a multi-symptom, multisystem disorder that is triggered by eating gluten proteins that are found in wheat, rye and barley, which in turn are found in just about every processed food product on the shelves.

There are many symptoms for this disease and not all of them are gastrointestinal. Classic symptoms include abdominal cramping, bloating and gas; diarrhea or constipation; anemia and both weight loss and weight gain. Loss of dental enamel,
osteoporosis, bone or joint pain, fatigue and infertility can also be indications of the disease.

If you or someone you love has a family history that includes Celiac Disease or are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may want to be sure that your health care professionals do the specific antibody blood testfor this disease.

For more information go to the Giggles Web site or the Celiac Disease Foundation. Or you can stop in and talk to Gayle who will
share what she knows.

Noga makes it clear that her first love is baking. That is very evident when you sit in the deli, surrounded by the smells of fresh-baked bread in what feels like a big homey kitchen.

Her goal is to fill the niche for people who cannot eat wheat and along the way she caters to just about every other food allergy as well.

Her outstandingly delicious crab chowder is not only gluten-free, but also corn-free and dairy-free. Amazing, considering that I have never had any chowder that I thought tasted better than hers. She also makes a gluten-free macaroni and cheese that has to be heaven for those with Celiac Disease.

The sandwich I had, the “Nutty Bird” was sensational. The turkey was freshly baked and organic, as are all the ingredients, produce and deli meats used in preparing Giggles’s food offerings. Since there are no fillers or additives, organic products are toxin-free as well as allergen-free.

Gourmet Gordie, my brother, had the Ruben Sandwich and the chowder. He did not say much, other than to comment that the sandwich was made with ham instead of pastrami. [Editor fo rGiggles – I bet he didn’t notice the turkey pastrami in the sandwich.] But that did not stop him from eating everything on his plate, and then everything that was left on mine. As he left the building, Gordie gave Giggles his highest approval rating when he murmured, “I’ll be back.”

Bottom line: You do not have to have a food allergy to get a great organic sandwich from Giggles. All you need is an appetite for wholesome, home-prepared goodness.

– Maggie Bowen Boone