I hope you wonâ€™t avoid making the Baked Hot Chocolate because of my situation â€“ the dessert really was fantastic â€“ even if I did have an issue with it. Perhaps youâ€™ll be able to exercise more self-control than I did!
Now, onto another topic that Iâ€™ve been thinking about a lot lately. Friends. What to do about friends? What to do about friends who mean well but really donâ€™t understand the limitations or challenges of eating a safe gluten-free diet? I donâ€™t have an answer, at least not yet. With a few exceptions (and I can count them on one hand), we basically havenâ€™t wrapped a social event around going to someoneâ€™s house since my diagnosis Nov. 05. Weâ€™ve had people here â€“ but after awhile, theyâ€™re not as eager to eat at our house when they know they canâ€™t reciprocate. They think they have to abide by this fairness thing, when in fact for us, the fairest thing is to just come here so that we can eat safely. Anyway, as a result, we see them far less than we used to. Thankfully, my husband and I adore each other. But we also love people and love socializing. So, itâ€™s been really lonely. Really, really lonely. What do I wish? Iâ€™ll tell you â€“ first thing I wish is that our friends would call us, insist on talking over a cup of tea (comfort food for me), and that they would ask us the following: â€œWhat can we do at our house to make sure that you are completely safe? We will do anything. We miss you and want you to come and eat at our house.â€ I would thank them for noticing how lonely we are and how much we miss being with them. I would tell them that in many cases it would be great if they would feel comfortable inviting us and letting us bring our own food. I would think about giving them the same food rider we send to hotels, with a very simple explanation. The basics â€“ chicken or meat or fish, baked or broiled on foil in oven, being careful about cross contamination, use only olive oil or real butter, no spices (we always travel with our own S&P), real garlic, baked potato (uncut), steamed veggies made in pot that had been thoroughly scrubbed. Salad with oil and lemon juice. No wooden mixing spoons used. Use a dedicated prep area to avoid cross contamination. Etc. I would ask our friends to buy a dedicated cutting board (you can buy a 3 pack of the thin pliable cutting boards at the Dollar store for $1 or maybe I should just stock up and keep them on hand just in case this conversation does take place), write GLUTEN FREE ONLY in big letters with a permanent marker and save it just for when they prepare food for us. Donâ€™t make anything for us in a non-stick or cast iron pan as those two materials are the ones that Iâ€™ve read are the most porous and can retain gluten molecules. OK, so by this time, theyâ€™re looking at me like I have three heads, theyâ€™re sorry they ever asked. No wonder nobody invites us over.
Then thereâ€™s the issue of how careful other people will really be, even after I explain it to them. I know, I know. You think Iâ€™m going over the edge. But Iâ€™ll tell you, after my contamination episode in England a few weeks ago, I will never, never, never take any chances. Itâ€™s just not worth the pain and discomfort I felt. Though weâ€™re careful at our completely gluten free home, even though friends might mean well, how can I really be sure that they will follow everything we explain to them? And can we really expect them to? It seems like a lot to ask. I would think they would welcome our bringing our own food.
So, Iâ€™m completely open to any advice or suggestions. If you have any thoughts, please let me know. Or if youâ€™ve had success eating at friendsâ€™ houses and are willing to tell your story, please do. You can email me at [email protected] and I will compile your suggestions and include them all in a future post.
Thanks for listening!