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The Dinner Party Drama—Two Guidelines to Assure a Pleasant Gluten-Free Experience

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.

First:
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...

Second:
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!

As always, Celiac.com welcomes your comments (see below).


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4 Responses:

 
Martha

said this on
07 Nov 2010 4:26:17 PM PST
Thank you for this. Thanksgiving this year is a rehearsal dinner (for may son and his fiance) that the bride's mom is giving, and she is also giving the post-wedding dinner (don't worry--we've paid for a great deal of the wedding!). I can't afford to take the chance and want to bring a little of my own food. My husband agrees, but I can guarantee no one else will like it. I am SO tired of non-celiac people's opinions! Think about all the info on the internet about celiac disease. Few of the people I know WELL have not bothered to look even one thing up about it. I don't whine to them about it, and they behave as if I am making this all up. I was diagnosed over 2 years ago. I am trying to make this easier, yes, for me, but also on the hostess. Frankly, I am under enough stress.

 
Barb

said this on
15 Nov 2010 3:09:19 PM PST
This will be my first gluten free Thanksgiving. After many years of being told I had IBS, we finally got the diagnosis this year. But I'm not counting on my family to even consider gluten-free options. After all, I should be considerate of everyone else, right? (read a bit of sarcasm there) My favorite is stuffing, so I'm going to try making a rice stuffing this year and take it with me.

 
Susan

said this on
16 Nov 2010 10:57:20 AM PST
I have only just discovered a gluten-free diet after suffering over 25 years with IBS. Frankly, I'm terrified of Thanksgiving, but realize that as the matriarch, I'm pretty much going to have to go. I like the idea of taking my own food, but am still on rice cakes and bananas, since I haven't been able to identify all the gluten (and dairy) in my diet yet. The hard part will be saying, "No," to all the good stuff I have enjoyed in the past. My strategy for now is to tell myself that it's poison! I really appreciate this website and am learning little by little what to eat and that I'm not alone.

 
Dani

said this on
16 Nov 2010 12:58:01 PM PST
It is my 1st gluten free Thanksgiving house-hopping and boy am I nervous! Not so much about the food but the looks and questions from others-even if the host is accommodating the guests are usually a bit confused. I normally don't tell the other guests my dish is gluten free unless asked and at least they can eat it too without feeling weird. There is just something strange about watching a person eat 1 small plate on Thanksgiving. Yay to awkward situations! I take 1 main dish and 1 dessert that's usually a gluten free pie and a side dish so I'm not alone in any section of the meal.




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