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Perkins "gluten Free" Menu
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Hi Gang,

 

I went to a Perkins in Fredericksburg VA this week and asked what they would suggest for gluten free meals. The waitress enthusiastically said they had a "gluten free" menu. I started to read over the selections and just before I was about to order, I saw this note that said "they do NOT recommend this menu for people with Celiac disease as they cannot promise no cross contamination." I have never read anything like this from any restaurant claiming to have a gluten free menu. I suggest that we send a strong message to the management of this national chain that we have a voice. I say don't patronize this establishment until they revise their approach to this solvable problem. Was it this hard to get places to serve people with diabetes? 

 

Ken  

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Hi Gang,

 

I went to a Perkins in Fredericksburg VA this week and asked what they would suggest for gluten free meals. The waitress enthusiastically said they had a "gluten free" menu. I started to read over the selections and just before I was about to order, I saw this note that said "they do NOT recommend this menu for people with Celiac disease as they cannot promise no cross contamination." I have never read anything like this from any restaurant claiming to have a gluten free menu. I suggest that we send a strong message to the management of this national chain that we have a voice. I say don't patronize this establishment until they revise their approach to this solvable problem. Was it this hard to get places to serve people with diabetes? 

 

Ken

I agree that is frustrating but I don't think its the same as a diabetic eating at a restauruant. They can order salad instead of potatoes or cake. It won't hurt them if someone accidentally gets a little potato in their salad. For a Celiac, its more than just gluten-free ingredients. It's extra care not to cook our bacon where they just made a grilled cheese sandwich. I wouldn't feel safe eating at places like Perkins.

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I wouldn't eat at a Perkins even before celiac. All of their food comes from the main plant. It all comes in frozen. Even things like a pot pie - the dough comes in frozen, and the filling is in a big plastic bag. They put it together and bake it, but they do no real cooking. That's why everything there tastes like a TV dinner - because basically, that's what it is.

 

But they aren't the only restaurant who has a bogus gluten-free menu. Look at Domino's pizza. They also tell people it isn't suitable for people with celiac. And then there are places like Applebee's, who have a gluten-free menu but do things like cook their fries in the same grease they cook battered chicken and fish and onion rings in. Only as far as I know, they DON'T have a disclaimer. At least you were warned at Perkins. At an Applebee's you might have eaten off their gluten-free menu thinking it was safe.

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. I suggest that we send a strong message to the management of this national chain that we have a voice. I say don't patronize this establishment until they revise their approach to this solvable problem.

i already don't eat there :(  so i can't boycott it - or places like olive garden or applebees, chili's - ok, most chain restaurants i won't eat at - too much chance of cc.  one of the reasons i have such a hard time being supportive of the 'find me gluten free' website.  most of their recommendations are because the place *has* a gluten free menu.......  not a celiac safe menu  :(  apologies to those who use the fmgf website with no consequences..........  i just haven't had much luck with it.

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Diabetes is not the same thing.  Diabetics can technically eat anything.  People seem to think that something horrible will happen to diabetics if we eat sugar.  It won't.  In fact if we get low blood sugar, we *need* to eat sugar.  We do have to be careful with carbs.  If I order a burger, I usually order it with no bun.  Not only to lower the amount of carbs in the meal but because I can't have dairy or egg.  I am almost always afraid of bread or buns in a restaurant for that reason.  I do not have to avoid wheat or gluten.  I came here when my daughter had to avoid wheat and gluten.  But I digress...

 

What happens to me if I consume too many carbs is that my blood sugar will rise too high.  Yes, I have been given a regular soda a time or two when I ordered diet.  I even once got a diet drink that tasted of root beer.  The waitress said, "Oh yes.  I know.  The root beer line leaks into the others."  That made no sense to me but I'm no expert on how those things work.

 

Every time I eat in a restaurant, I am taking chances.  Not so much with the diabetes because after having it for as many years as I have, I can pretty well determine the carb count of what is on my plate and can decide to eat or not eat all of it.  There have been a few exceptions.  I tend to order plain, simple food.  But before I knew of my food intolerances, something like a quick bread or stuffing did trip me up because I assumed there to be a lot less carbs than there was.  In once case, I did go to the restaurant's website and looked up the bread.  One tiny piece had about 3 times the amount of carbs that I can safely eat in a meal.  Eek!  Anyway...  I am taking my chances that they won't cross contaminate me or put something in my food that I don't expect.  For instance, I was watching a show on TV and the chef put egg in his hamburgers.  Something like that would make me really ill.

 

I did eat at IHop once recently.  Had a burger patty with lettuce, tomato and onion.  Also some fries.  Yes, fries are subject to cross contamination.  Not something I wouldl recommend to a celiac unless they know that the fryer is dedicated.  But I can also scan the menu to see if they have fried fish or chicken, neither of which I can have.  Then there is the egg and dairy that might be in the coating of such things.  At any rate, AFAIK, fries have never caused me a problem.  Again, not saying they are a good thing for you to order.  You'd have to decide that for yourself.

 

As for the disclaimer, yes.  I have seen it before.  And I can understand why.  I have thought about opening a restaurant for people with allergies.  And then I put that thought right out of my mind!  It would be next to impossible to make food that would be safe for all people.  Sure, I could eliminate the top 8 allergens.  That would be easy enough.  But I myself have issues with some herbs and spices and other foods like fish and chicken.  In fact there was a gluten free restaurant that used to be near here.  They sickened my mom and daughter by giving them egg containing foods.  The owner was asked about the eggs and told us that the food was egg free.  Then after my mom ate the cookie which she was given for free to try the new recipe, the owner ran back and said that oops!  It had eggs in it.  She sold my daughter a brownie which she ate at home then soon after began throwing up.  The next time I was in there, I discovered a self serve freezer/refrigerator case and on it was the ingredient list for the brownies.  Sure enough, egg!  So I did not feel safe eating there.

 

We do dine at a few local places that state on the menu to mention food allergies. We know the owners and we do feel safe eating there.  But once in a while they even mess up.  We got cheese on our bean dip.  But I can understand the confusion.  When my husband dines with us, he gets angry with me for ordering the dip with no cheese.  So I order one with and one without.

 

As for places like IHOP, I tend to try not to go there.  I prefer local places that cook from scratch.  Much better chances of getting what I can eat there.  I wouldn't necessarily boycott.  I can understand why they say what they do, particularly because they have flour containing products in their kitchen.  It may well be that they literally can't guarantee that they can make a meal safe for you.  But I'd much rather they be up front and say this than to say that your meal will be fine and then serve you pork chops that have been breaded with flour because they are clueless.  That has happened to my daughter.

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i already don't eat there :(  so i can't boycott it - or places like olive garden or applebees, chili's - ok, most chain restaurants i won't eat at - too much chance of cc.  one of the reasons i have such a hard time being supportive of the 'find me gluten free' website.  most of their recommendations are because the place *has* a gluten free menu.......  not a celiac safe menu   :(  apologies to those who use the fmgf website with no consequences..........  i just haven't had much luck with it.

 

Just want to add: I agree. Just because they have a G F menu, it does not guarantee squat.

 

However...

 

I use the FMGF site for traveling info, but it does not mean I EAT in all those chains places.(i wouldn't eat in most of them before DX anyway)

 

The site is very good for pointing people in the right direction, but I always look for people to say "I have celiac and I did not get sick".

 

That's how I write my reviews on there. In the "old days" I would review on trip advisor, etc. by giving 5 stars and going on and on about the cuisine, now I consider the  "I did not get sick! whoohoo" as a 5-star rating . :D 

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I use the FMGF site for traveling info, but it does not mean I EAT in all those chains places.(i wouldn't eat in most of them before DX anyway)

 

The site is very good for pointing people in the right direction, but I always look for people to say "I have celiac and I did not get sick".

 

That's how I write my reviews on there. In the "old days" I would review on trip advisor, etc. by giving 5 stars and going on and on about the cuisine, now I consider the  "I did not get sick! whoohoo" as a 5-star rating . :D 

lolz!  that is a good point!  :D  we have different 'criteria' here, don't we?!  AND with all the fad dieters, somebody that says 'good tasty food' vs. somebody who says 'educated staff' or 'crumb free environment' or 'dedicated fryer' makes a big difference  :)  

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I actually appreciate footnotes like this.  There are many people eating gluten-free for other reasons (whether we agree with those reasons or not) and clearly Perkins has decided to cater to them, but that the effort required to make the place safe for Celiacs is too much.  They are making it clear (unlike a lot of other restaurants that you just have to trust to avoid cc) that they consider their food unsafe for Celiacs.  Honestly, I would never have expected a pancake house to be safe for Celiacs like me anyway -- too much flour floating around.

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