Tag Archives: March Madness

The Gluten-Free Bracket

During the month of March in my house, it is hard to find a flat surface or a table that doesn’t have a printed out bracket on it. We are college basketball fans and every March, Madness is alive and kicking for us as we cheer for teams that we don’t know and watch games that we never would watch during the regular season for the sake of how each will affect our selections. I’ll admit, we go pretty hardcore. Cam is in a bracket pool with boys from his class. My wife is part of one for her work. Our immediate family has our own pool where the winner gets to choose what we are having for dinner one night. We even filled out brackets for six of the tournament championships that happened a week before what most consider March Madness so we could get in some extra practice. Every night produces jubilation or heartbreak and every morning consists of logging in and checking the standings. Yes, we’re bracket-junkies.

Last night, after a long evening of watching the tournament and seeing the teams that I needed to win fail miserably, sleep escaped me. During these bouts with insomnia, my mind races and thoughts fly in and out of my head until I eventually doze off. I started thinking about this blog and how I felt it was time for some more feedback from Cam when is comes to the foods that he enjoys. He participated in one earlier post about his favorite pizzas but he does eat more than that (I promise). My thoughts must have also still been on the basketball games as the crazy amalgam that became the idea for this blog post popped into my head from out of nowhere. With this in mind, I present to you the first annual Gluten-Free Food Bracket sponsored by CeliacTeenDad! This is just for pure fun so please, no wagering.

Here’s how this works. Since the March Madness tournament is now in the Elite 8, I selected 8 foods that Cam has had more than once and put them into four categories. These categories are Breakfast, Fried, Starches and Pizza. The winners of Breakfast and Fried will meet in the 2nd round and then take on the winners between Bread and Pizza in the championship. How are the winners selected you may ask? Advancement in this tournament is based solely on the knee-jerk reaction of a 12 year old celiac. Without any prior knowledge on his behalf, I will read to him the two foods and ask him which one he likes better and why. I will paraphrase his answer below along with the food that he selected. At the end, a champion will be named. No, there are no trophies or banners that will be hung from the rafters after the winner is declared but the food will hold the title of gluten-free favorite for Cam until another worthy contender is found. Without further ado, let’s start with the Breakfast portion of our bracket.

Breakfast : Simple Truth Homestyle Gluten-Free Waffles vs. Kinnikinnick Chocolate Dipped Donuts

Winner: Kinnikinnick Chocolate Dipped Donuts

Cam Commentary: After a long deliberation consisting of deep breaths and a small moan, “The donuts because they are easier to make and an enjoyable treat in the morning.”


Fried: Homemade Corn Dogs vs. Perdue Simply Smart Chicken Breast Tenders

Winner: Perdue Chicken Tenders

Cam Commentary: “I don’t know. I mean I know which one but I don’t have a reason. I’m not sure why? Maybe because they fill you up more”


Starches: Homemade White Sandwich Bread vs. Mom’s Homemade Mashed Potatoes (in my opinion, the number 1 seed)

Winner: Mom’s Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Cam Commentary: (Squirming) “Mashed potatoes because they’ve always been my favorite and I’ll always eat any type of potatoes. And, when they’re buttery and warm, they’re delicious.”


Pizzas:  Donato’s Gluten Free Pepperoni Pizza vs. California Pizza Kitchen Gluten Free Pepperoni and Cheese

Winner:  California Pizza Kitchen Gluten Free Pepperoni & Cheese

Cam Commentary: “Oh no.” (closes his eyes, bows his head and thinks). “California Pizza Kitchen Pepperoni because it’s a treat but when we get it the crust is more crunchier and tastes more like a regular pizza.”


To the second round!

1st Semi-Final:  Kinnikinnick’s Chocolate Dipped Donuts vs Perdue Chicken Tenders

Winner:  Perdue Simply Smart Chicken Tenders

Cam Commentary: (Scratches his head) “Perdue Chicken Tenders just because I like chicken tenders better.” (Sorry Kinnikinnick)


2nd Semi-Final: Mom’s Homemade Mashed Potatoes vs. California Pizza Kitchen Gluten Free Pepperoni and Cheese

Winner: Mom’s Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Cam Commentary: “I love them both. California Pizza Kitchen is one of my favorites but there’s nothing better than homemade mashed potatoes” Note: The boy is half Irish.


The Final Two!

Championship:  Perdue’s Simply Smart Chicken Breast Tenders vs. Mom’s Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Winner: Mom’s Homemade Mashed Potatoes

Cam Commentary: “This is actually tough and fun. Can I say both in one meal?” (I answer “no”). “Ok, there’s not a clear favorite but mashed potatoes. I don’t know why. Just because they’re mashed potatoes.”

So there you have it. Nothing beats a good old-fashioned, homemade serving of mashed potatoes in my son’s mind. I’ll be interested to see if a contender emerges as we continue trying gluten free foods and as his palate changes. But for now, Mom rules.