Gluten-Free Done Right

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BY THE TIME Tom Douglas opened his pasta house Cuoco four years ago, gluten-free dining had become enough of a thing that the chef decided to offer a gluten-free pasta substitution from a local outfit called Maninis. Since then Douglas has chuckled at the number of diners who will remain piously gluten free through dinner—then “cheat a little” with a slice of coconut cream pie for dessert.

Such is gluten-free in Seattle: the designation has come in some form to nearly every menu in town, but holds madly varying significance depending on the diner. What gluten free has to mean for a celiac, who suffers from the autoimmune disorder which makes a body attack its own intestine at the merest rumor of gluten, is almost molecularly strict: no breads or pastas or waffles, of course, but ketchup and soy sauce and salad dressing and soup can also cause problems. Gluten, it turns out, is in everything.