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Christmas Dinner
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I know this seems early, but I'm a planning freak!

My boyfriend's parents have been divorced for 15 years. For previous Christmases, dinner has always been at his mother's house, with his father not invited. This year, his father has invited us for Christmas, and the whole family is in an uproar over it. In an attempt to settle the issue, we are considering having Christmas dinner at our house instead, so that everyone (including my family) can come.

While this poses many problems overall (for instance, we don't have an oven!), the main issue is that my boyfriend's mother has Celiac. This would put me in the position of providing seperate food for her, or attempting an entire gluten-free meal. This would all take alot of planning, hence looking for advice in the first week of November!

Much of what I've read online has been people saying that every time someone tries this, they always make something wrong, and they wish we wouldn't bother. I would like to attempt a gluten-free meal for everyone, but is this really something I could do? Christmas dinner is generally focused around meat and vegetables, so it doesn't seem like an insurmountable task to come up with menu, prepare the proper utensils and get right into it!

We are not going to make our home completely gluten-free for one day (we have dogs and such), but I am willing to purchase utensils and certain other items to make sure the food is gluten-free. I see that all nylon and wood utensils, as well as teflon pots and pans must be replaced, but how about the actual dishes and glasses? Would it suffice to thoroughly clean them in the dishwasher, or is that not enough?

My boyfriend has suggested that I just cook her some gluten-free pasta, and serve something different to everyone else, saying that since "she is used to it", that would be ok. He has not lived with his mother since she has had Celiac, while he understands the requirements and how serious it is, and I don't think he understands how excluding it can be. I think it would be rude to invite someone to my home and not make them thoroughly comfortable, and so would like to create this meal.

Any comments? Opinions? Suggestions?

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I think it's great you're thinking about doing this although it sounds tough without an oven.

Include your MIL from the beginning to make sure you have the right ingredients etc. It is NOT necessary to have all new dishes or glasses. And any glass, Pyrex, stainless steel, or aluminum pot or pan you have is fine. Same if you have any metal spatulas.

Most every spiral sliced (already cooked) ham I've checked has been gluten-free as long as it is not commercially glazed. My family also usually has some kind of seafood (oysters, pickled shrimp) but there is some cooking involved. Your store might be able to cook the shrimp for you, though. And of course fresh vegetables are fine.

I'm sure others will have other suggestions.

richard

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If you generally eat basic foods, then I say do the whole thing gluten-free and no one will know the difference. We do that with Thanksgiving and Christmas (I often do the cooking, but it's at my in-laws and I'm the only one who's gluten intolerant).

For instance, for Thanksgiving, we're likely having the following (gluten free and casein free):

Green Salad (Spinach, Mixed Greens, Red Leaf Lettuce, Red Onions, Red Bell Pepper, Julienne Carrots, Chopped Yellow Tomatoes) with Balsamic Vinaigrette or Honey Mustard Dressing

Bean Soup (Mixed Beans, Onions, Garlic, Rosemary, Sage, Cumin, Vegetable Broth)

Herb-Roasted Turkey (Whole Turkey, Fresh Sage, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, and Basil with Crushed Garlic) with Onions, Carrots and Celery

Cranberry-Pineapple Relish

Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Mash

Wild and Brown Rice Stuffing with Mushrooms and Onions

Ginger-Glazed Green Beans

Pina-Colada

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lovegrov:

Thanks for the information!

By the way, I do have a stovetop, so I will be able to cook, just not an oven, so no baking or roasting can happen. I can also enlist my mother's oven if I absolutely must bake, she is only 10 minutes away.

tarnalberry:

You are affirming exactly what I though! Except for desserts and bread itself, it shouldn't be too difficult to devise a menu of gluten-free foods, with very little effort to substitute ingredients. Meat and veggies are what it's all about, anyway! The kitchen will be the most difficult part, but I think I'm up for the task.

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You may want to find some gluten-free cook books and see if you find some interesting sauces, side dishes, or desserts. Personally, basic meat, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, fresh steamed veggies make a great meal.

Why don't you make up a dinner plan and then get the celiac involved for the shopping or cooking of the meal. Also, you can ask her to make her favorite gluten-free dessert. Mine is a flourless choc cake, fresh berries, and whip cream. Not exactly healthy, but non-celiacs love it too.

Be sure to check with the manufacturer for all of the foods, or ask the list.

Good luck!

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Thanks for the suggestions! I was able to have a long discussion with her daughter about specific foods she has problems with, so that was very helpful.

When we brought up the idea to her last night, it did not go over well, unrelated to the meal itself. However, later on, she did bring up being a "pain in the butt to cook for", and I tried to reassure her that I didn't see any problem, and had already begun making preparations. We were then able to have our first frank discussion about her disease since I've been with her son (nearly 3 years!). I don't know if this Christmas dinner is going to happen for other reasons, but I'm glad we were able to talk about it anyway.

Ah well, no decision has been made yet. I can still hope!

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Yay! Good luck!

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