Believe it or not, growing up I used to look forward to the 9 days. Not that I enjoyed the fact that we were in mourning and that we couldn’t go swimming and that Tisha Ba’av was the longest fast of the year, but I did look forward to a week without Shabbat leftovers. The 9 days and their prohibition against eating meat meant no Shabbat leftovers on Sunday, and no leftovers on Monday and no leftovers on Tuesday, not to mention the occasional spill over to Wednesday and even Thursday.
Leftovers were not how my early childhood started. Our dinner menus changed when my youngest brother was born. 16 years my junior, with no one in-between, my brother and his dairy and soy allergies revolutionized dinnertime. My brother was so allergic to dairy and the proteins in dairy that you could not even touch him if you were eating dairy or washing dairy dishes. So my mom would make enough chicken and meat on Shabbat to last the whole week! No joke! Dairy took a back seat in our home. Because of my brother’s allergies, our dinners became more routine – chicken - Sunday night, Monday night, Tuesday night, and if my memory serves me correctly probably Wednesday and Thursday night as well. Gone were the pizza and the lasagna, the eggplant Parmesan and my personal favorite -- tuna casserole. Yet, once a year, in the heat of the summer, we stocked up on milk and cheese and feasted on my old dairy favorites. It was a dairy lover’s paradise for the whole family except my younger brother who still ate his chicken night after night.
As the years passed and I became a wife, a mother, and now a Savti, the 9 days have become a much more serious time for me, especially as I write this and the situation in Israel seems quite grave. I no longer have the levity I did as a child during these 9 days. I have a better and more mature understanding of what it all means. And, at the same time, I still love the milchig meals.
Tuna is one of my favorites. I used to love tuna casserole and would make it for my family regularly, until … I too had a child who could not tolerate a food group. This time it was gluten. When my daughter was diagnosed as gluten intolerant our dinners changed. Tuna casserole was no longer on the menu. There are gluten free noodles now, but they were not a big hit in our home and most cream of mushroom soup required for the recipe has gluten in them as well.
I was determined not to let my daughter’s allergy keep us from enjoying a family favorite. Fortunately I have found an even better option. My Aunt gave me a recipe for the most delicious gluten free tuna casserole. I tweaked it a bit for our family, and now the whole family categorically likes it even better than the traditional noodle tuna casserole. This Gluten Free tuna casserole is the best. I guarantee you will love this twist on the old favorite.
Here is the full recipe for my Gluten Free Tuna Casserole.