Sunday, January 26, 2014
Having celiac, trust is something I think about often.
Can I trust the local taqueria where I have eaten countless times, to get it right again?
Can I trust my friend who vowed they only used gluten-free ingredients?
Can I trust the gluten-free items sold at the local farmers market without a list of ingredients attached?
Can I trust the caterer who says he is knowledgeable in the gluten-free diet?
Hmm......this is a tough one. After several years with celiac, I have decided the risk is not worth getting sick. I will avoid most situations to avoid that horrible feeling that happens after I accidentally ingest gluten...or the vomit extravaganza that is sure to follow. Not to mention the damage it is doing to my body. Not worth it!
It can quickly become a sticky situation, because you don't want to offend people, yet your health has to come before other's feelings. I am sure I have insulted friends and family who really tried to go out of their way for me, but at the end of the day.....I can deal with that. What I cannot deal with is getting sick, and then not being able to function for my family, or myself.
You may ask...."why would my friends be offended if they know I have celiac, they should be understanding, right?" Yes, you would think this, and I really do hate to hurt someone's feelings or make them feel like their efforts were not worth it, but let's look at a few examples, and then you tell me how you would handle it...
1. Dinner at friend's house. They talk to you beforehand about what you can/can't eat. When you arrive, they tell you they researched it, and are so proud of the efforts they made so you could all eat the same thing. You then ask the prerequisite questions about what ingredients were used down to the spices. Unfortunately, you find out they missed one. They used soy sauce. They didn't know that was even a consideration for containing gluten. You thank them profusely for trying, but politely decline the soy sauce laden item. You know your friend feels awful, but what can you do?
2. Friend bakes special treat just for you. You have a friend who is excited to try out the gluten-free diet themselves, so they start experimenting with new recipes and alternative flours. They tell you they came up with this fabulous new treat, it only contains X flour. It sounds safe. But you also know this person handles a lot of gluten in their kitchen on a daily basis, and don't feel completely safe eating something made in that environment. They are excited to try the gluten-free diet, but they won't suffer if they make a mistake. You will. You are grateful for their effort, but again...what do you do?
3. Dinner party catered by a someone knowledgeable in allergies/gluten-free diet. A close friend organizes a dinner party, and instead of cooking the food themselves, hires a caterer. Friend knows there are various allergies and dietary needs, so feels this will be best solution in handling that situation. After arriving, you talk to caterer personally, and he tells you the ingredients in everything he made, and points out what is safe. Seems to be knowledgable. Then we get to desserts and caterer points out the gluten-free items...yet, they sit on the same plate as the gluten-filled items. You try to just avoid the dessert area, but eventually the caterer brings them to you and asks you to try them. You tell caterer you don't feel comfortable about them being on the same plate. Caterer tells you to take one from the middle of the gluten-free side. You still don't feel comfortable. If serving them was not handled properly, what else was not handled properly the kitchen when preparing them? You continued to decline and the caterer was clearly annoyed. What would you do?
I am sure the I could come up with endless examples, but these are some situations that stick out from recent months.
What sticky situations have you encountered?