Lunching with a friend recently, she waxed on about her delight in the number of gluten-free breads, muffins and other goodies hitting supermarket shelves, all the while picking the mushrooms from her lamb dish. “What’s wrong with the mushrooms,” I asked. “The gluten!” she relied. I was shocked! So when I Googled the subject on getting home, I was amazed to find that it’s a commonly held misconception, so much so that scientists have actually taken the time to prove in the lab that mushrooms indeed contain no gluten (which is a protein). What mushrooms do have is glutamate (an amino acid, first isolated from gluten, hence the name), and it’s from this that mushrooms get their natural umami flavour. And in case you’re wandering, it’s not the same as monosodium glutamate! This is just a matter of three similar sounding terms causing a bit of confusion. Needless to say, my friend was delighted to hear the news and has been piling her plate high with the little flavour nuggets ever since!