A fellow gluten-free blogger, GlutenDude, wrote a very timely post that I just had to share. I have to admit, I was never really a Jimmy Fallon fan, and now even less so. And, I will also admit that many times when I see gluten-free mentioned in TV shows or movies, I think it is kind of funny too.....but not this time. It was just a stupid skit all around.
I have heard, before, of people speaking about the negative remarks they receive from people when they know they are gluten-free, but I have never personally experienced that...until yesterday. Sure, I have had friends that are not really aware and are skeptical, but I have never come across someone with such clear hostility and anger toward me about it. I was shocked, confused and mostly hurt.
I really don't like to write anything negative about anyone, especially someone in my real life, so to avoid any hurt feelings (though mine have been hurt), I will try to write this as anonymously and in general terms as possible.
At an event yesterday which centered around food (don't they all), my friend, who I will call H, offered to bring a gluten-free version of what he was bringing. He works in the food industry and knew the people cooking would prepare it properly. When the food arrived and I saw it, I was so excited, because honestly, I never expect to eat at events that center around food, because it usually isn't safe. I would rather eat before, or after and do without...because the consequences of getting just a little bit of gluten would ruin my night and have me puking for hours. Not really a run way to spend the evening.
I suggested that I would take some of the food before others handled it because I didn't want to worry about cross-contamination from shared utensils. And you know how sketchy things can get in a buffet situation, which is usually a scenario I steer clear of....unless it is an Indian buffet! H hands me a serving spoon, which I saw was just used on something fried and not gluten-free. I told H I was going to go get a fork, because I couldn't use the same serving spoon. Well, the reaction I received was overwhelming....H told me that he had no other serving utensil and rolled his eyes like I had asked for a bag full of crisp hundred dollar bills.. I said, that was OK, I was going to get a fork....and I did! But, while I did, I overheard H talking to a mutual friend standing next to him about how this was all bullshit and ridiculous. I didn't know what to do.....part of me was so hurt I was near tears, and part of me was so angry at someone being so insensitive. Someone who I thought I knew well. If I had a peanut allergy would he of reacted the same way?
I always try to be super polite about my needs and any accommodations someone makes for me, and I never go into a social situation assuming there will be something for me. After almost 5 years, I am fine with going to a social event and not eating. It was difficult at first, but I am fine now. I know my comfort level, and I know what will happen if I take chances...never worth it!
At the end of the night H asks me to take the plate of gluten-free food he brought. It was quite a lot of food, so I asked if maybe some other people would want to bring some home as well. He rolled his eyes and told me no one wants the gluten-free food. What?? This is food that is naturally gluten-free unless you add something unusual...so why would someone not want it? There was no flour in it, nothing in it to make it taste different, and he was just so sure no one would want this food. In the end, I found plenty of takers. No one cared if it was gluten-free or not.
Would this person of been so hurtful if someone with a peanut allergy told him they could not use the same spoon. Why do people have to be so negative?
Have you had an experience like this? Do you think awareness will help, or are some people just forever closed off to thinking it is a big deal?