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waitingdorothea

Suggestions On Handling Family Holidays?

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I was wondering if anyone could give me suggestions on how they handle family holidays with non-gluten-free family?

I had a rough christmas with my husband's extended family. The family is receptive to my food issues, but we asked them to not try to make a gluten free meal. (I have bad anxiety about food -unless I can read all the labels, I freak out about it, and we didn't want to put people to the expense and effort of gluten free food when they could make innocent mistakes) My mother-in-law hosted, and we were sure that the turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy were gluten free (before the family arrived), which I figured I could eat and be ok about. However, not having been around the food preparation before, I didn't realize that these items would be tasted, touched, and tweaked by ten people before I could take my portion. I ended up sick even though I ate next to nothing - my guess is that it was cross contamination, although there is no guarantee that one of many food preparers didn't add an unapproved ingredient when I wasn't looking.

It was also really rough sitting around with a nearly empty plate when tons of awesome food was being eaten by everyone else.

I'm seriously thinking that I'm going to do a microwave meal or eat my own food before people arrive next year. Any other thoughts or suggestions? Are there mail order holiday meals for one that are gluten free (it seems other people have got to have this problem)?

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Make your own food and take it, or make a side dish and dessert that you can have, and put your portion aside ahead of time. That is what I did for Thanksgiving. That way you are still a part of it, but can feel safe about the food you can eat. Don't ever sit there with an empty plate again if you can avoid it - it's your holiday, too! Make sure you can enjoy it - you deserve to, and to be able to enjoy your family. Check out suggestions on here - there are a ton of them, and come up with a plan. You'll find your way - don't worry. It just takes time and trial and error.

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I don't take any chances! I made a Christmas Eve dinner for my immediate family- turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, the works. Then I pack up a good amount of it the next day to take to the bigger family gathering.

That's the only way I can eat at a family gathering. Others just don't realize the whole cross contamination issue. We're the ones who suffer. This way everyone can do things their way, and I feel safer.

Good luck!

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I'm really glad you asked this question! I was just about to post something myself. My husband has celiac and DH and was glutened more than once over the holiday. My SIL really tried her best but something she made had gluten in it or was cross-contaminated. Then he had another problem with my Mom's cooking towards the end of our visit. It makes it really hard when you are coming from out of town but I think I'll just cook something separate for him next year at my Mom's before she starts the official meal preparation. Thanks, again for asking this question!!

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What worked for me this year..... called ahead and went over the menu, offered to bring a gluten free desert (pumpkin cake), arrived early and did a great deal of the work myself. I got good food and koodoos for being a helpful DIL.

I did get teased a little for washing my hands after arranging and placing the buns on the table but when I showed them the red itchy spots on my hands they stopped. I'm allergic to wheat. Later they were all very apologetic while they ate cheese cake. I made a joke of it, by next Thankgiving I will have learned to make an awesome DSG free moc cheeses cake.

I wonder if chill over is gluten free? That with coconut milk.....hmmmm

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Eat first AND take a dish or two that you can eat. And no, I don't blame you for being paranoid about other people cooking. Right now I have a shared kitchen and I'm even paranoid when I cook!

My sister-in-law is very smart, and she thought my vegetarian husband would eat pepperoni ('that's not meat, is it?'). She also very nicely made me gluten-free cupcakes but didn't even think to see if the frosting was safe. (It was, but the fact she didn't even consider it scared me.)

My mother is very smart, and she didn't think to read the label on the mustard she used to glaze ham. It may have been okay, but again, the fact that she didn't even think she needed to check is concerning. She's been getting advice from a gourmet grocery store in the area on gluten-free options and still I somehow got badly glutened at her house on Christmas.

In a shared kitchen whereever it is you're going, all it takes is someone using butter from the tub in the fridge with crumbs all in it to put on the corn or in the mashed potatoes. Or all it takes is someone using the spoon that stirred the pasta to also stir the gluten-free gravy. Or all it takes is cousin Jim to eat a sticky bun then use those same sticky fingers to snitch a peice of the gluten-free ham as it's being carved...

Think of HOW MUCH research you've had to do to learn about gluten, and you're especially motivated because it's your health and life. You can't expect others to know as much as you.

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I handle it different at each house. My MIL is very considerate and saves every wrapper/container and always includes me in the menu planning before hand. She is also the only house that feels guilty if I cannot eat EVERYTHING. I usually do a lot of the cooking over there and I enjoy it.

My FIL's house and his wife - while they have the biggest hearts they just don't get it and probably won't. I will bring a couple of dishes for everyone and usually only it those dishes. Prime example - this year they were frying a turkey and cooking a roast. I all ready know the turkey is out from previous years, so maybe the roast. All week before we kept asking - how do you season it? I can help you modify it and I kept getting salt and pepper only. Double check - no soup mix, seasonings? Nope, salt and pepper. I get there and she says - You can eat the roast it just has salt, pepper and some buillon cubes. Glad I didn't take her word on it - bold letters on the label - wheat.

At my parent's house - my stepmom won't let anyone bring anything, so I hover - a lot and go behind and read labels and avoid any suspect items. I have to use the "I am not a big fan of X" card a lot there, but it works.

Kat.

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my advice on surviving the holidays: BE THE HOSTESS

If its at all possible, have the family to dinner!

I will admit, the family circle in my immediate geographical area (the ones more likely to show up) is pretty small so this is something pretty easy to volunteer for

But it definitely made our first gluten-free Thanksgiving and Christmas (for my daughter and me) much easier to navigate!

Not everything on the table was gluten-free as brother and hubby and MIL wanted some of the old time favorites, that I didn't have time to research and convert to a gluten-free recipe. But, there were enough of the family recipes that I was able to figure out and convert, that my daughter and I had plenty of enjoyable options on the table. My MIL contributed some of her usual specialities; she was very gracious in understanding that my daughter and I couldn't partake. I even had two sets of desserts. The usual favorites, and two new gluten-free options I was experimenting with. (They were prepared on two separate days to avoid CC). All went over well with everyone. There was enough variety on the table that nobody questioned "why are you eating so little" and my daughter and I were able to fill our bellies in a very contented fashion!

I am lucky that my husband, son, and MIL are understanding, But, captaining the kitchen did give me the upper hand, while at the same time allowing for contributions to the meal from other family members...

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Hard as my mom tried she mades mistakes, like not relizing the broth she poured over the turky had gluten in it. We figured that out soon and i eat meat that was close to the bone and skiped the skin. She though made me my own mini crustless pie then hid it in the cabnit while she made the crust. Unless you have someone who is highly understanding it is not worth the risk of eating food. Ten people touching your food almost makes cross contamination

a sure thing.

Christmass I cooked dinner gluten free. My aunt cooked a dish with gluten, grandma made a pie.

My house is tiny with steps grandma can not get up. Grandmas stove is broken. So I took the ham, mashed patatos, sweet patatos, rasin sause, and jewish apple cake (with almond flour) and a few cans of vegies over to my grandmas. It was actully funny and amusing for me. I told people I was making ham cause it would bounce down the steps better then turkey.

I just had to make some adjustments and remind myself that if I forgot something it was ok cause no one in my family ever starved to death.

Niether my 21 year old or me got ill this holiday and I will offer to do it again next holiday.

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