Ice cream has been one of our go-to treats ever since we began following the gluten-free diet, and it's always been hard for me to imagine someone putting gluten-containing ingredients in an ice cream flavor that doesn't absolutely require them (obviously, Oreo cookie ice cream is going to be gluten-y, but vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream don't need to be).
But an alert reader messaged me on Facebook the other day to let me know she'd been out for ice cream, and the owner of the cafe told her there's flour in virtually all the homemade ice cream selections sold at that cafe.
So I started looking at recipes for homemade ice cream, and discovered that yes, some recipes do indeed call for flour -- usually a couple of tablespoons to help thicken the mixture. This recipe from About.com's Guide to Southern Cooking is one such recipe: Chocolate Ice Cream with Flour (don't try this ice cream at home -- it's not safe!).
Obviously, even a tiny bit is way too much for us, so we'd have to give that flour-containing ice cream a pass.
The lesson here? Never assume something is gluten-free (even something that seems like it ought to be gluten-free, like simple vanilla or chocolate ice cream) unless you actually verify the ingredients. I've always followed this advice, but I have to admit that my review of ingredients in ice cream parlors has been a little cursory. Now I know we can't let down our guard for a minute.
Here's the rest of my advice for keeping safe when you order ice cream out: Gluten-Free Ice Cream Parlors
Photo © Getty Images/Richard Ross