Dear Barbara: I’ve recently been told that I am allergic to wheat. I don’t mind giving up the bread, etc., but I don’t want to give up my gravy, sauces and soups. What can I use as a thickener other than flour? I know I can use cornstarch, but I don’t like it; it tastes chalky to me. Is there anything else I can use? — Michelle from Stockton
Dear Michelle: If you are making soup that contains vegetables, such as potato soup, you can remove some of the vegetables, puree them, and return them to the soup. This will help to thicken the broth. I personally use arrowroot. According to Barron’s Cooking Guide, written by Sharon Tyler Herbst, arrowroot is the starchy product of a tropical tuber of the same name. It has twice the thickening power of flour. Unlike cornstarch that can taste chalky if undercooked, and can become watery if it is overcooked, arrowroot is clear when you cook it and has no taste of its own. You must, however, mix it with a little cold water to make a “slurry” before adding it to the cooking product. This prevents any lumps.