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I'm a glutant

Help -- Buffet Lunches?

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Hi folks,

The organizers of some upcoming buffet lunches at work have asked me for ideas about what to serve that would give me gluten-free options. (Very nice of them! :) ) Other than a build-your-own-taco bar (which could include corn tortillas, of course), I was having trouble coming up with buffet lunch ideas for large numbers of regular folk as well as gluten-free me...

There are a few of these events coming up, and I'm sure they won't want to do tacos for every one of them. On the other hand, it seems like they're hoping to do something that would work for me AND for everyone else (which may not be all that possible)... Suggestions? Any help would be much appreciated!!


Gluten-Free since October, 2007

Positive (tTG) Ab, IgA

Positive Ab IgA

Extremely postive dietary response: Within two weeks, I had more energy than I've had in years! :-)

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I like lentil/chicken/vegetable soup served with a long handle so its less likely to get CC. You'd have to make sure everyone washed their hands first or you might inadvertently get CC.

Bea


Diagnosed celiac sprue as infant: failure to thrive & pneumonia-back on grains age 4. Began herbs 1971 combating chronic kidney disease/general ill health 1973. Avoid wheat family and "allergens" by 1980. Late 80's doc. diagnosed candida: cave-man diet. Diagnosed degraded myelin sheath 2006; need co-enzyme B vitamins. Discovered celiac fall 2007; finally told diagnosis as infant. Recently found I am salicylic acid intolerant. Ironically can't tolerate most herbs now. Can now eat brown rice & other gluten-free grains (except corn) & even maple syrup & now homeopathic medicine works! Am still exploring the shape of this elephant but I've made progress!

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Hi folks,

The organizers of some upcoming buffet lunches at work have asked me for ideas about what to serve that would give me gluten-free options. (Very nice of them! :) ) Other than a build-your-own-taco bar (which could include corn tortillas, of course), I was having trouble coming up with buffet lunch ideas for large numbers of regular folk as well as gluten-free me...

There are a few of these events coming up, and I'm sure they won't want to do tacos for every one of them. On the other hand, it seems like they're hoping to do something that would work for me AND for everyone else (which may not be all that possible)... Suggestions? Any help would be much appreciated!!

Sounds like you have very nice co workers. I usually won't participate at work. I would suggest you work very closely with whomever sets it up to help prevent cross contamination. Also, you need to go through the line first and take what you want. Those are the best ways to eat at a buffet at work. Good luck! Let us know how it goes. A salad bar could work. burrito bar, anything "make your own" but only if you go first. CC is a big issue if you are #2 or worse, the last person through.

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How about a baked potato bar or you could have a buffet table set up with the gluten free items first and then the gluten items so people did not have any gluten items on their plate. Good luck!

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BTW, it's incredibly good that your co-workers are doing this. My co-workers did the same, but I've read of too many people who just got a load of you-know-what. Even if it doesn't work out, you've got some good folks there.

richard

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Thanks so much for all these helpful suggestions! I will pass them on to our organizer, and try to be as involved as possible to reduce CC opportunities... Yes, I do feel very lucky indeed to work with such nice people!! :)


Gluten-Free since October, 2007

Positive (tTG) Ab, IgA

Positive Ab IgA

Extremely postive dietary response: Within two weeks, I had more energy than I've had in years! :-)

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You could have most foods that have a gluten-free componant if they simply set up the food in a sensible way. They can put the gluten-free food first on it's own table and the gluten food across the room so the spoons and crumbs won't be shared. Then ask if the silverware can be last instead of first or maybe just at the eating tables only. That way won't use their silverware on the buffet food.

I was thinking of grilled meats with gluten-free seasoning, potato bar, roasted turkey not stuffed, ham, breakfast for lunch like omelettes, or hamburgers careful with seasonings and buns on the far table.

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Hi folks,

The organizers of some upcoming buffet lunches at work have asked me for ideas about what to serve that would give me gluten-free options

Hi,

You're not very clear on what type of a buffet they're setting up -- are your coworkers cooking? Are they ordering from a caterer? What type of equipment will be available ( grill, steam table, etc), so it's hard to give detailed suggestions, but here are some general ones:

I find it easier to stay gluten-free when eating "ethnic" foods. You mentioned a taco-bar. Mexican is a nice easy ethnic category. I'd add some mexican rice, beans (whole or refried), and a variety of vegetables. You could do fajitas, tacos, tamales (all gluten-free if cooked properly). Enchiladas, burritos, etc. would have gluten, but could provide more variety for the others.

I also like Middle Eastern food: Rice pilaf generally has orzo or other pasta in it, but plain rice (cooked in broth for flavor) would be gluten-free. Mjadara cooked with rice instead of bulgur, hummous, Chicken and or Beef kabobs are all gluten-free. Kibbee has gluten, as does most Falafil, but Falafil can be made gluten-free. Tabouli salad has gluten, as does Fattoush, but if you store the pita chips separately, you can still eat the Fattoush.

We've done chili contests at work. If your co=workers are cooking and equipment is limited, that way everyone can bring their own crockpot. Most chili recipes are gluten-free anyway, and cornstarch is an easy substitute for flour as a thickening ingredient. I'd provide some corn chips, crackers, cheese, onions, and possibly other toppers, and maybe a salad. A vegetarian chili is a nice option for vegetarian coworkers.

A breakfast/brunch bar is fun if you've got more equipment, but it's harder to do without a steam table to keep things warm. A continental-style breakfast is OK (if you don't have a steam table) as long as you provide some quality meats, cheeses, and fruits. Continental breakfasts tend to have a lot of baked goods, but there's no reason some of those can't be gluten-free - especially if you cook them yourself. See The Food Philosopher for some help baking yourself (I have her book "Gluten Free Baking Classics" and love it so far!)

If you're cooking outdoors in the summer, almost any grilled meats are gluten-free - check the labels on hot dogs - just skip buns. Barbecued pork is easy to cook in a crockpot, and is gluten-free if you're careful about the barbecue sauce. If you have access to some turkey fryers, use the big kettles to boil potatoes and corn - it makes a nice change from potato chips. Coleslaw and other cold salads go nicely.

Nearly anything can be gluten-free if you have a little say in the preparation. Be creative, and don't insist that everything be gluten-free, so your co-workers don't get worn out trying to keep up. Insist on serving yourself first if you're worried about cross contamination.

I cook gluten-free meals for my family (who aren't gluten-free) almost evey night, and they generally don't notice the difference between gluten-free meals we eat now and what we used to eat. You just have to plan ahead a bit more.


Gluten free since 2008; Dairy free since 2009; Nightshade free since 2010

Hopefully done with additional restrictions!

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You're not very clear on what type of a buffet they're setting up -- are your coworkers cooking? Are they ordering from a caterer? What type of equipment will be available ( grill, steam table, etc), so it's hard to give detailed suggestions, but here are some general ones:

Unfortunately, what they want to do is get pick-up buffet-style food from a nearby restaurant, which is how they've done this in the past. It would be easier if it were potluck or a fancier catering company... In the past, for example, they've ordered food for 20 people (or however many) from places like the Olive Garden (won't work for me, obviously) and just picked it up -- getting big tubs of pasta and salad, and set that up for us buffet-style. So they'll want to do something similar, order a large take-out order in tubs from a local restaurant...

The ethnic food suggestions are very helpful, in this vein! Thanks so much! :)


Gluten-Free since October, 2007

Positive (tTG) Ab, IgA

Positive Ab IgA

Extremely postive dietary response: Within two weeks, I had more energy than I've had in years! :-)

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Unfortunately, what they want to do is get pick-up buffet-style food from a nearby restaurant, which is how they've done this in the past. It would be easier if it were potluck or a fancier catering company... In the past, for example, they've ordered food for 20 people (or however many) from places like the Olive Garden (won't work for me, obviously) and just picked it up -- getting big tubs of pasta and salad, and set that up for us buffet-style. So they'll want to do something similar, order a large take-out order in tubs from a local restaurant...

The ethnic food suggestions are very helpful, in this vein! Thanks so much! :)

Yikes I'd be concerned about this since you can't supervise the restaurants. What about something like Pei Wei or Big Bowl where they can order buffet-style for everyone else and a single-serving individually packaged gluten-free meal for you?


Gluten-Free since September 15, 2005.

Peanut-Free since July 2006.

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Hi folks,

The organizers of some upcoming buffet lunches at work have asked me for ideas about what to serve that would give me gluten-free options. (Very nice of them! :) ) Other than a build-your-own-taco bar (which could include corn tortillas, of course), I was having trouble coming up with buffet lunch ideas for large numbers of regular folk as well as gluten-free me...

There are a few of these events coming up, and I'm sure they won't want to do tacos for every one of them. On the other hand, it seems like they're hoping to do something that would work for me AND for everyone else (which may not be all that possible)... Suggestions? Any help would be much appreciated!!

how about a bunch of chicken breasts poached in a nice herb/wine sauce with a mushroom rissoto and fresh baby greens. Seems to me, even Olive Garden could do that. In fact, that might be dinner tonight!

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Unfortunately, what they want to do is get pick-up buffet-style food from a nearby restaurant, which is how they've done this in the past. It would be easier if it were potluck or a fancier catering company... In the past, for example, they've ordered food for 20 people (or however many) from places like the Olive Garden (won't work for me, obviously) and just picked it up -- getting big tubs of pasta and salad, and set that up for us buffet-style. So they'll want to do something similar, order a large take-out order in tubs from a local restaurant...

The ethnic food suggestions are very helpful, in this vein! Thanks so much! :)

Ouch. That's harder. The only way to make sure _anything_ is gluten-free at a restaurant is to talk to the cooks. Some restaurant chains have gluten-free menus, so you can determine what items have gluten, but unfortunately a lot of them say things like "order salad without croutons" or "order vegetables with no seasonings", which are difficult to do when ordering for large numbers of people.

I'd check out ethnic restaurants in the area and try to talk to the restaurants before ordering. You should also consider some smaller or more specialty catering companies. We order food from a local caterer who doesn't have a restaurant. Their food is much better than standard restaurant fare, and they're more willing to work with us on possible food allergy issues.

Good Luck!


Gluten free since 2008; Dairy free since 2009; Nightshade free since 2010

Hopefully done with additional restrictions!

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