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Eat Out at Your Own Risk

It's been a while since I penned a blog entry for this site and it's been something I've missed. I intended to post something in June, but the gluten-Gods had something else in mind for me, and on June 20th I was seriously gluten-poisoned while eating out at an Italian restaurant - and have been suffering the serious physical and mental consequences ever since.

As much as I love home-cooking, I certainly also enjoy a nice meal out and the social life that usually accompanies dining outside the home. Since being diagnosed as a celiac disease nine years ago, I've learned to navigate through many restaurants safely and with confidence, yet on the other hand, there have also been many times when the message of cooking gluten-free was not properly transmitted from server to chef, and I've paid the serious price for their lack of awareness via a very sick body.

This past incident, however, has made me really angry and that's not like me - but when a restaurant so blatantly goes to great lengths to advertise and serve homemade gluten-free pastas on their menu, in my opinion, they are announcing that they have not only the understanding but the full awareness of exactly what gluten-free food preparation entails -
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this was so sadly not my experience on that lovely June evening. In fact, I went to great lengths to speak with the restaurant staff, and server five times from when the reservation was made on line, to a phone call, and throughout my meal.  What more can a paying Celiac customer do to ensure their safety?

As it turns out, the special gluten-free pasta that I ordered ahead of time was then prepared with a basil cream sauce that was mixed with wheat flour, and then poured all over my delicious pasta and served to me. I instinctively asked the server as the beautiful plate of too-good-to-be-true pasta was placed in front of me, "okay so this meal is 100% gluten-free, correct?"...."Yes, enjoy!"....I was told.

It's this kind of negligence, and lack of understanding about how Celiacs and gluten-intolerant folks truly have to eat to ensure safety, that really incenses me.

I'm sure there are many of you out there who have experienced similar situations, and hopefully survived to tell about it.  Our voices need to be heard and in my opinion when gluten contamination of food in a restaurant happens, it's not simply a stomach ache that ensues...there are serious symptoms involved that restaurants all across this nation need to be educated about.  It's really a matter of life and death.

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


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2 Responses:

 
Mary

said this on
31 Jul 2009 8:20:34 AM PST
It's one thing to go into a restaurant blind and demand that they provide you with something suitably gluten free. It's another thing to prepare so fully and to be assured that your meal is safe. This incident makes me incredibly angry. I'm sorry you had to go through this. Let's all get to work by doing what we can to raise awareness so that this kind of thing can stop happening.

 
Hallie

said this on
28 Sep 2009 7:57:50 AM PST
This reminds me of the time I went to a restaurant and was told all their flour was gluten-free. I responded, "Oh! You use rice flour?!"

The waitress replied, "No, it's wheat flour."

Grrrr!




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