Celiac.com 11/19/2008 - This year my husband and I took in Ida, an exchange studentfrom Norway, who needed a gluten-free home.We couldn’t help but be excited at the prospect to have someone else inthe house set an example for my 9-year-old gluten-free daughter.Ida (pronounced EE-dah) has quickly becomepart of the family. And of course one thing we talk about is food and thedifferences in gluten-free options here in the United States versus Norway.
Bread, Gluten-Free, Bread
For all of us, bread is troublesome if you’re on thegluten-free diet.Even if it followsyour restrictions, there’s no guarantee it is any good. That has been thebiggest hurdle for Ida.In Norway, shecan get fast food and the hamburgers have gluten-free buns.Can you imagine?“It is more difficult [here],” she toldme.“I eat a lot of Burger King,McDonalds, and pizza in Norway.We havea lot of gluten-free options.”She saysyou never have to worry about French fries either, as they aren’t contaminatedin the oil like most are in the United States.
Navigating the New Gluten-Free Culture
When Ida first got here, I explained to her just howill-equipped most of our restaurants, and many of the people who work there,are regarding specialized diets.While McDonald'shas lists of their gluten-free items on line, many of the people taking ordersdo not understand the first thing about food sensitivities and allergies oreven about what their establishment has to offer.
She got a quick guide on the main fast-food places that havegluten-free options, and how to order specialized foods.Also, every time I hear of a place that has agluten-free pizza option, I make sure Ida gets the information.I figure someday she would like to go outwith her friends for pizza.The bestexperiences dining out have been at restaurants with a specific gluten-freemenu (aren’t they all?).
For now her focus here is school, meeting new people andexperiencing the American culture instead of food and eating out.She is having a great time learning aboutAmerican football (her high school team is in the state championships) andheading out to the movies with her friends.I suppose as long as I have gluten-free food she can load up at home–she is doing pretty well.Ultimately she is a typical teenager, no matter what country she’s from.