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SuperMolly

When Friends Cook For You

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I'm curious to know how you all handle it when a friend cooks for you. I'm not talking about someone who is well-educated in celiac disease and how careful you need to be. I'm talking about the friend with a big heart who knows you need to be gluten free and goes to all kinds of trouble to find gluten-free recipes and products, but doesn't know anything about cross contamination.

I went to visit a dear friend this weekend. I told her I'd bring my own food, and I did. However, when I got there she was so proud to show off her beautiful gluten-free bars. I felt stuck. I decided to risk it and be a gracious guest. Sure enough, these past 2 days I've been miserable.

How do you handle these situations?

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For this very reason I do not eat at any one's house. I am upfront that I will not be eating anything that I do not prepare when I visit and I do not even try their food. I tell them their kitchen are contaminated with gluten that will make me ill.

The last time I was at a friend's who was trying to get me to eat her wonderful food she had prepared 'all gluten free just for me', I had her tell and SHOW me exactly what she put in it. Raw potatoes, squash and onions from her garden. All fine. Then I asked her about spices. Sure enough the chicken broth seasoning had wheat as the second ingredient. I told her this is why I only eat food I prepare. Gluten is hiding in to many things for others to understand, let alone try to cook for me.

Let your friend know that you are sick. She needs to understand that you are not kidding about eating only food you've prepared. Tell her it really is your fault because you know how sentitive you are to even a trace amount of gltuen. And ask her for the recipe. People love sharing recipes.

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There are approximately three other homes I feel comfortable eating in (or being cooked for in) - and they all know that I am even happier to bring my own food than to have them cook for me. They are my in-laws (but I've done lots of cooking there too, especially during the holidays), a couple that we visit fairly often for game night where they tend to provide food for the crowd, and one other couple who I worked with. Anyone else, I'm bringing food, and though I may feel bad when they show me the attempts they went to in order to provide something I could eat, I still decline. I make sure to express my very deep appreciation for the gesture, and give them an out to blame on me ("Maybe I'm paranoid, but I just don't feel comfortable taking any kind of risk.") And I try to ask them about the item so that I can try making it at home.

(If it helps the situation to point out the contamination concerns I have, I will. The reason my number of houses I'll eat at now is three is because our friends once made a fabulous smelling curry, that they checked ingredients on (or had me check) so I could eat it. When I got there, I saw there was a wooden spoon in the pot. I declined the food, and felt AWFUL! for not thinking to mention it, but they're good friends, and they respect that it's my decision what to eat, regardless of anything else.)

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My mom's friend keeps insisting that I don't need to be as careful as worrying about contaminated wooden spoons, etc. My mom just tells her "Her doctor and the doctors at the University of Chicago want her to do this." The "doctors at U of C" comes from my reading thier info on the website & that they sent me. Prestigous sounding doctors make an impression on the older set. Anyway, you could say something like that if people insist. It puts the decision on someone that's not there for them to try to convince.

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I have not had any friends cook for me. My MIL has and I have since rethought that position. We are going over this weekend and I am making/bringing all my food and told her I would take care of myself. My mom has cooked for me at my house, so no problem there and we cook together at her house after a good cleaning and me bringing some of my own ingredients. My mom and husband are the only two at this point I can trust enough. I have not had an ivite to anyone's house since diagnosed. Oh well.

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Yeah, basically don't do it. I know it can be hard to try not to hurt someone's feelings, but you don't want to get glutened, and you will 9 times out of 10.

In my case, everyone now knows I always bring my own food everywhere. But if I was going somewhere new, I call ahead (or have my DH if he knows them better) and explain that my son and I have severe food allergies (we leave it at that initially) and that we don't want anyone's feelings to be hurt but that we have to bring special food. We also emphasize that they should not do anything special for us and to please make whatever they were planning. If they press it, or really want to do something special, we try to explain that if someone was to simply touch a piece of bread and then my food I would get sick. Most people usually don't want the liability of preparing food for someone that sensitive. ;) Then in person (if they ask, and they always do) I will try to soft the strangeness for them by talking about Celiacs and using some of the examples of hidden gluten everywhere. So far, it has worked well, and if someone still thinks I'm a freak, no one has told me to my face. :lol:

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I always tell people that they don't have to worry about me, I will bring all of my own food. If necessary, I simply explain that I don't expect them to go to all the trouble of checking ingredients and avoiding cross contamination. I've never had a problem with that.

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Thankfully I don't eat at other people's houses very often! I can't even eat at my family's house without feeling ill after. It is really hard to tell people you can't eat what they make, or that it made you sick. I told my mom that and felt awful because she got upset. But its really hard to avoid cross contamination! It happens even when you are trying to be careful. Their kitchens are full of gluten, and it is a very sneaky thing. Just stay firm, and try and explain it as best you can. It isn't worth getting sick over, is it? Surely they would feel terrible knowing how sick you get even if they put alot of effort into it.

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I will occasionally taste something a well-meaning friend gives me, but I won't take more than a bite. And even then, it has to be a friend who knows more than the average guy on the street.

I consider eating at a friend's house to be similar to eating at a restaurant, except most of my friends aren't trained like chefs are in food preparation and allergen isolation. IF the friend -really- understands, I might eat some things cooked in their kitchen... but only rarely. Just like restaurants. It's a risk every time, and one that I get less and less willing to take.

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