We just returned from a weeks’ vacation in Wellfleet, MA on Cape Cod. The eatin’ was fabulous! We had seafood almost every evening, and most of it was cooked at home with the exception of two nights when we went out for lobster (both nights, how decadent!). We went to two different restaurants in Wellfleet and both accomodated us beautifully, with great care and attention to our needs. The first restaurant was called Mac’s (I think also known as the Lobster Hutt). I called and spoke to someone who assured me that my needs would be met and in fact asked that I let her know when we arrived. She said that she would make sure the kitchen staff changed their gloves when they handled my food. She also assured me that the lobster was boiled in a dedicated pot along with the corn; the steamers as well (not in the picture) were cooked in a dedicated pot. I didn’t check on the gluten free status of the garlic mash potatoes and I will confess to eating a little of them, though there was too much food to even consider eating much more than that. I much preferred to finish every last bite of the lobster which was outrageously delicious. The second restaurant was called Moby Dick’s, and we had a great experience there as well. In fact, while waiting to be seated, the hostess brought me a notebook put together by the restaurant. It contained every dish on the menu and its’ ingredients. It also had a Celiac explanation on the last page. That was pretty amazing. After dinner, we questioned the owner about it. I was sure that they had a Celiac in their family, but I was incorrect. They have a regular customer with Celiac who sent them the page, suggesting they include it in the notebook. In any case, the food and the experience was great, made even better because we got to share it with the friends who we rented the house with.
I’m getting much better at going out to restaurants and explaining my needs and making sure they are met. It’s really not that difficult, once you get the hang of it.
While I was a bit tentative about sharing a house with a non-Celiac family, I didn’t need to be concerned at all. They were so very accomodating and so eager to make sure that our experience in the house was pleasant. We couldn’t have asked for a better situation. They never made me feel like I was putting them out and always were willing to do whatever it took to make the kitchen safe for me. I should say for Peter too, as he went gluten free about 2 months ago. He doesn’t have Celiac Disease, but he wanted to support me and he also got tired of brushing his teeth every time he wanted to kiss me. He felt that it wasn’t worth eating gluten-filled food, so he went GF. Now we kiss whenever we want without having to think about whether he’ll be contaminating me! And I pick from his plate, he picks from my plate, and life has gotten much easier!
I planned our stay at the house with a lot of thought as to how to make it safe for me and easy for our housemates. I planned all the meals in advance and they were pretty willing to go with my menu ideas, with a little tweaking. Knowing what recipes I would follow meant that I could bring all the necessary condiments, pots and pans, etc. from home. On the first day, we arrived about an hour before they did. That gave me a chance to really organize the kitchen. I put green sticker dots on almost everything I could. If I couldn’t put a green sticker dot on things, I wrote GF with a sharpie marker on them. We even used separate sponges (green for gluten-free, blue for gluten). That applied to food that went into the frig as well, either in containers it was bought in, or containers we transferred it to, or ziplock bags. I also explained about cross contamination and they understood immediately about how to avoid it.
So, all in all, it was a very successful experience, one which we would gladly do again.