The Dinner Party Drama—Two Guidelines to Assure a Pleasant Gluten-Free Experience
- By Ali Demeritte
- Published 10/24/2008
As a nutritionist, I have a regular column in my local Scottsdale, Arizona paper dedicated to the health and well-being of individuals, especially those who suffer from Celiac, as myself. I am in the process of publishing my gluten-free, dairy-free cookbook. I also contribute to support groups for Celiac Disease and write articles for many national magazines educating the reader about Celiac.
With the holidays looming on the horizon, invitations to highly-anticipated dinner gatherings are arranged. I usually dreaded any environment involving food because, much to my dismay, the buffet tables arrayed with decadent dishes and gluttonous enticements are all gluten laden, and I realize I cannot even consume a morsel, and I’m ravenous! So, how do I avoid the drama of starvation or anti-socially concealing myself in a corner sipping water? I follow two guidelines to assure a pleasant social experience.
Call the host in advance. Explain in simple terms your dietary restrictions. And when I mean simple, don’t verbally vomit medical terms and intimate, symptomatic details, but specifically list foods that you can and cannot eat. Even if the host appears to comprehend your situation, don’t expect them to accommodate or fully understand you. So then...
BYOD (Bring Your Own Dish): After my explanation, I always offer to bring my own food to relieve the cook from added labor (and to guarantee that my food isn’t cross-contaminated in spite of the cook’s good intentions). Yes, as I consume my "special dish" while others inhale turkey with stuffing, I may receive inquisitive stares and be bombarded with personal questions, but, as my husband says, it is what it is. At least I’m not dealing with a low-blood sugar episode!
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