I found these tips from the Celiac Disease Association (of which I am a card carrying member). I have edited them to my preference but honestly, people have no idea how difficult it is to be a guest for dinner somewhere. I have two options: say nothing and possibly be very sick or feel rude by talking to the host about the menu. The CDA reminded me that you would learn to give yourself insulin shots if you were diabetic so get used to talking menu or going hungry, so here we go:
1. These days, many people have food issues including allergies and foods they don’t eat for religious or ethical issues. A quick email before the menu is set can make this dinner great for everyone. If you run into something questionable, I’m happy to answer questions.
2. Keep it simple. Meat, vegetables, fruits and spices are likely to be gluten free, but when these ingredients are processed and blended commercially, there is an opportunity for gluten to be added. Many great chefs use very few ingredients.
3. Leave sauces, salad dressings, and croutons on the side. This way, every guest can assemble a meal that suits perfectly.
4. Please don’t feel upset if I ask to read labels on products you’ve used. I have to cope with both short term and long term consequences of food accidents, so I am cautious about what I eat and how it is prepared.
5. Keep ALL ingredients packages handy for reference. I am an expert at reading packaging ingredients and feel much more comfortable when I am able to check them myself.
6. Watch out for pre-prepared foods. Marinades, seasoning blends and thickeners are just a few places that gluten likes to hide.Thicken sauces and gravies with cornstarch instead of flour. Potato flakes are great for thickening stews and vegetable soups.
7. Make sure you avoid cross-contamination. Wash all pans, knives, measuring utensils, containers, or cutting boards that had something with gluten on them (like bread, soy sauce, flour, etc.) before using them for something else. Even a few crumbs are enough to make someone ill.
8. Don’t worry about serving a few things that contain gluten. I feel fine if other people enjoy bread, buns, or other gluten-containing foods as long as I have something to eat too. As long as there is enough to fill me up, I am happy. If the meal is balanced with an appetizer, veggie, starch, protein, and dessert, it’s my lucky day.
I find number 8 funny because often people apologize to me if they eat bread in front of me. No need for that because if I did not have this disease I would be eating right along side of you. For now that has to wait till heaven…yummy, glutinous, donut filled heaven…..