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Glutened At Xmas Party
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So I went to a party Friday night, the hostess made me some "gluten free" soup and breadsticks....after some polite inquiries into the soup's ingredients, we realized it was not gluten free. She felt bad, and 10 minutes later walked over with a couple of the breadsticks she got especially for me. Well, I ate them, and went up to thank her when I realized she had baked them on the same cookie sheet with the regular gluteny breadsticks (crumbs everywhere). You can guess what happened from there....now I feel awful, both physically and emotionally because she feels very bad for "poisoning" me.

I've been diagnosed for close to ten years and don't mind the diet, but so many times I've had to explain my diet to clueless waiters and well-meaning in-laws and friends with the same frustration and fear getting sick if they don't understand.

My question is this: how do you politely inquire to people who cook for you on whether or not the food is truly gluten free (without sounding like a total psycho)? And how on earth do you say "no thanks" when you're getting the impression that said food item is probably not safe for you to eat? Is there a website I can send people to explain gluten free cooking? I tried Googling "how to cook for someone with Celiac" and couldn't come up with much. I'm a dietitian and my husband is swearing that I should create a website if one doesn't exist already.

I had a former boyfriend dump me when I told him I couldn't eat the (contaminated) dinner his mom had prepared for me, I'm getting desparate!!!

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When the person mentions that they will cook something "safe" for me, I say "really, don't worry about me. it's so very hard to be careful about not sharing pans and baking utensils or using a shared cutting board or condiments; it's just so mindnumbing to pay attention to all of the minutia to avoid contamination that could make me quite sick. I'll be fine on my own, really. I appreciate the thought and the effort, but it is so much easier for both of us if I bring my own food."

That said, I've had two friends who really sat down with me and asked about the details so they could cook for me. One of those times, a shared wooden spoon derailed the plans, and he felt bad, but was understanding (or at least acted it very well!). I try to emphasize, almost to the point of extremes, that I really, really do not have any expectation for anyone else to feed me because staying healthy is entirely my responsibility. An exception to the hospitality rule, if you will. :)

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When the person mentions that they will cook something "safe" for me, I say "really, don't worry about me. it's so very hard to be careful about not sharing pans and baking utensils or using a shared cutting board or condiments; it's just so mindnumbing to pay attention to all of the minutia to avoid contamination that could make me quite sick. I'll be fine on my own, really. I appreciate the thought and the effort, but it is so much easier for both of us if I bring my own food."

That said, I've had two friends who really sat down with me and asked about the details so they could cook for me. One of those times, a shared wooden spoon derailed the plans, and he felt bad, but was understanding (or at least acted it very well!). I try to emphasize, almost to the point of extremes, that I really, really do not have any expectation for anyone else to feed me because staying healthy is entirely my responsibility. An exception to the hospitality rule, if you will. :)

Same as T said!

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I don't think there is a web site. Go for it since you are a dietitian and then let us know where you will post it.

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Thank you all for your replies. I guess I should clarify: I didn't expect this host to go out of her way to cook me a gluten free meal, and I brought several gluten free goodies to the party to share. I have a hard time saying no to people who insist what they've made is gluten free without feeling like I'm being rude (not just at parties but at work, etc) <_<

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I really don't think average, at-home cooks can get it unless they have to ( and by that i mean unless an allergic/intolerant lives with them).

The best thing I can come up with is that gluten us like salmonella or raw meat. You must wash everything as if it has come in contact with it. And that still doesn't help with colanders, wooden spoons, etc.

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I understand your frustration....but I'm so afraid of being glutened, I don't care how embarrassed I feel or how hurt the host/hostess is by my refusal to eat something. I broadcast regularly to all of my friends and co-workers that I will NOT eat anything they bake or cook because I don't expect them to understand the intricacies of how to prepare something safely for me to eat. After saying this for eight years over and over, people now "get" it. I only trust two of my friends to be careful enough to prepare, say, crustless pumpkin pie, fudge, and other easily prepared items. My closest friend has pretty much adopted a gluten-free diet herself in the past year, so she understands how to ensure my safety. Luckily, my mom and son both have celiac, so family gatherings tend to be relatively safe.

Although I've never actually lost a friend over my diet restrictions, I rarely receive invitations to lunch or dinner now because of the restriction of which restaurants I'm willing to dine at. My colleagues at work that I used to go to lunch with on Fridays stopped asking me to join them about five years ago--probably because they prefer Japanese and Chinese cuisine, and I don't dine at those establishments (except P.F. Chang's). Yeah, celiac can sure be a bit of a social disease...

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Thank you all for your replies. I guess I should clarify: I didn't expect this host to go out of her way to cook me a gluten free meal, and I brought several gluten free goodies to the party to share. I have a hard time saying no to people who insist what they've made is gluten free without feeling like I'm being rude (not just at parties but at work, etc) <_<

Hi Nadtorious, I know exactly where you're coming from. I got sick at a holiday party earlier this month because I felt obligated to eat what they specially ordered for me, got kicked in the teeth for a week following the party. Here's what I'm going to say from now on..

"Thank you so much, that was so incredibly kind of you to cook that just for me! I know it's delicious and everyone will enjoy it, but no thanks." I think if we consistently decline food offers, our friends and family will stop trying to make us special items and we won't get poisoned.

For me, it's easier with family. My brother & SIL were visiting and stayed at my sisters. I was invited for dinner. I showed up early and brought appetizers. When they were getting ready for dinner, I said I needed to get home to let my dog out. Everybody was cool with that except SIL. She told me that I should stay and that they had bought and made special food for me. I thanked her for buying and preparing the special food...and told her I'd had a great time, and left. I felt a little guilty leaving, but a little guilt is so much better than being sick for a week. :ph34r:

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I don't let people cook for me.

I tell them I'm sorry but if you have ever used wheat flour in your kitchen then the food would not be safe for me. It only takes particles to make me sick.

That usually does it.

I don't feel bad about it and they don't feel like they have to learn to cook gluten free.

Win Win. :)

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You can tell them that you don't expect them to buy new dishes just to cook your food. That might get across the lengths we have to go to stay safe. And I've always found telling them that the same spatula used to serve "gluten-free" hamburgers will make me sick. And you can also mention that you get sick for a week from even the slightest hint, and you've found it to be easier to ensure your health by bringing your own food. Perhaps if you stress the "I'll get sick" component, and say you guarentee your health by not eating thier food...

-Good Luck! Daisy

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My brothers and sisters get it.

That entitles me to be a certified "picky eater" and not 100 percent social when it comes to eating. Sometime's I just say I'm a "picky eater" and leave it at that when somebody wants me to eat something.

Even if you've never been picky before, you are entitled to be picky. Your health and wellbeing depends on it, and if you don't want to explain it any other way, "picky" works. :blink:

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You can tell them that you don't expect them to buy new dishes just to cook your food. That might get across the lengths we have to go to stay safe. And I've always found telling them that the same spatula used to serve "gluten-free" hamburgers will make me sick. And you can also mention that you get sick for a week from even the slightest hint, and you've found it to be easier to ensure your health by bringing your own food. Perhaps if you stress the "I'll get sick" component, and say you guarentee your health by not eating thier food...

-Good Luck! Daisy

That's a good idea. That expresses the idea that gluten sticks for life, more or less, to certain surfaces.

I really wouldn't have a problem eating a "gluten-free" meal if someone really knew how to do it. I put homemade "gluten-free" food in the same category as restaurant fast food. Some people and meals will be safer than others.

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You can't do it (inquiry) without sounding like at least a partial psycho or at least a world class neurotic, so it's no use trying. :rolleyes:

They just can't do it with their home kitchen equipment. They aren't going to have the separate clean cutting boards, dedicated teflon, bakeware, stand mixers, and plasticware, etc. They aren't going to scrub their counters down for this, get real. Clean potholders grabbing your special gluten-free muffins? hah hah hah, don't think so! They may wonder why some restaurants can do it, but that is because they have chefs and assistants who have been trained to do it.

How to say "no thanks" is easy, just whip out one of your other food allergies, ask to see the labels for the ingredients, and sigh and say, "oh, so sorry, it's got "ingredient xxxx" and I can't eat that either. "

If you don't have another food allergy, you can borrow one of mine for social occasions. I am wondering if we should start a website where you could rent them, like prom dresses or tuxes. :lol:

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You can tell them that you don't expect them to buy new dishes just to cook your food. That might get across the lengths we have to go to stay safe. And I've always found telling them that the same spatula used to serve "gluten-free" hamburgers will make me sick. And you can also mention that you get sick for a week from even the slightest hint, and you've found it to be easier to ensure your health by bringing your own food. Perhaps if you stress the "I'll get sick" component, and say you guarentee your health by not eating thier food...

-Good Luck! Daisy

Butterfl8.....your profile pic is just too cute!! Way off subject but had to add.

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So I went to a party Friday night, the hostess made me some "gluten free" soup and breadsticks....after some polite inquiries into the soup's ingredients, we realized it was not gluten free. She felt bad, and 10 minutes later walked over with a couple of the breadsticks she got especially for me. Well, I ate them, and went up to thank her when I realized she had baked them on the same cookie sheet with the regular gluteny breadsticks (crumbs everywhere). You can guess what happened from there....now I feel awful, both physically and emotionally because she feels very bad for "poisoning" me.

I've been diagnosed for close to ten years and don't mind the diet, but so many times I've had to explain my diet to clueless waiters and well-meaning in-laws and friends with the same frustration and fear getting sick if they don't understand.

My question is this: how do you politely inquire to people who cook for you on whether or not the food is truly gluten free (without sounding like a total psycho)? And how on earth do you say "no thanks" when you're getting the impression that said food item is probably not safe for you to eat? Is there a website I can send people to explain gluten free cooking? I tried Googling "how to cook for someone with Celiac" and couldn't come up with much. I'm a dietitian and my husband is swearing that I should create a website if one doesn't exist already.

I had a former boyfriend dump me when I told him I couldn't eat the (contaminated) dinner his mom had prepared for me, I'm getting desparate!!!

Sorry to hear about your adventure, I hope you get to feeling better soon! This is someting I really struggled with myself and I am not one to really want to have all the attention turned my way, I definately don't want people to go out of their way for me however, after months of not getting betytr I knew I had to change or else I was never going to get it.

Sometimes it's easier to stay at home and I found myself skipping out on many events but then I asked myself, "why?" I just had to learn to speak up, to save myself. I have learned to ask direct questions in restaurants but have learned that they don't always know so I play it safe, salad.

With family, they can think what they want and how I would love to eat my grandmother's homemade cookies but know I can't. I have gone to a few private socials for Christmas recently and while don't want to insult anyone I also have to kn wo what I am eating or avoid anything that I question. It might seem bold but most meats I know are okay as long as they are not proceessed but I will ask the host if she has the wrapper the meat came it, let her know I have an allergy and that usually opens the conversation up to what and I have found people to be very helpful in this sense. I might not do this in a complete stranger's house.

If I am given a gift from a student that is gluten I never tell my students I can't eat it, my family will eat it and they don't need to feel like they did something wrong as their intentions are what I see anyway. some of my students' moms though do know I can't have wheat and have made me homemade gluten-free items. Unfortunately, I do not know what their pans look like, how they clean them, what is in their kitchen and how the food is prepared. Even with gluten-free items I still have to be careful with crtain additives that these people are not aware of. So I thank them nd I give them to my family to eat. I just feel I cannot take the chance. One of my student's has a celiac mom and she is the only person I can trust to get something from and actually eat it myself.

It stink sometimes to be so careful but what is worse is the effect afterwards if I am not.

Hang in there!! Drink lots of water and if you have not found charcoal tablets, invest in them. They are no miracle solution to being glutened but they will help me thru the first week which is usually the hardest for me.

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I tell people very simply and politely, "If I don't make it, I can't eat it." Period. No one gets insulted. I always tell people not to even try to accommodate me... I'm JUST FINE. If they ask more questions I tell them what they need to know, but again... "If I don't make it, I can't eat it."

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