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Food From Unknown Kitchens

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My daughter, age 12, has celiac. Last night my mother and father took her to a seder at my cousin's house that I could not attend. She brought her own entree. When they got back both my mother and daughter were really upset with each other over a flourless chocolate cake that one of the guests brought. It was made from cocoa, chocolate, eggs, butter, and sugar. My daughter never eats food made in someone else's kitchen because she is afraid of cross-contamination. My mother thinks she is overly rigid and should lighten up a bit. She told her try the cake and thought she was rude to say no.

1. Would you eat the cake?

2. Any advice on talking to my mom?

Thanks ever so much and I wish I had gone.

For some reason these potluck / big family things are so hard for her.

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Never eat food from an unknown source!

About your mom... there are people of a certain age who still think that it's rude to not eat food served at another person's house. It has to do with Emily Post and her rules of etiquette. If you approach it from this direction, you might get your mom to hear you. "I understand that you think it's impolite to not eat food that's served...blah...blah...blah...but I notify the host that we bring our own food for dd because she can't eat anything made by other people since we don't know if that person used utensils or pans that had flour on them." Or something like that. Go with the etiquette thing. Show her you took care of that by calling ahead.

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Good for your daughter being safe. I would hope that if she explained she just can't eat it because of medical reasons the person who brought the cake would understand. I am sorry that your mother thought her being careful was rude and that this was more important than her health. Does your daughter's celiac come from your husband's family? How long has your daughter known she has celiac? Regardless your mother doesn't understand the seriousness of the issue. There is a brouchure at celiac.org you could share. THat way you could avoid an emotional encounter. I would be so aggravated, I might say something I would regret. Again, good for your daughter and her resolve. I am sorry that a special occaision was spoiled because of this. Not being Jewish, I am not sure what the correct sentiment is to express... but I hope you have a joyous Passover holiday. I hope that is the correct sentiment, but you know I am sincere in wishing you the best.

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1. Nope.

2. I'm not sure what to say. How awful that your mom thinks your daughter should be less strict and risk her health in order to avoid being rude. How *awesome* that your daughter is already making the smart choices at 12 years old. She should definitely be commended for her vigilance. Maybe you and your daughter could work on little one liners to decline without offense. Sometimes you could be surprised at the simplicity of it all and it doesn't even have to be about celiac. Ex: "no thanks, I'm actually really full." "no thanks, I don't feel up for dessert." Maybe....? Best of luck to you both!!

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My daughter, age 12, has celiac. Last night my mother and father took her to a seder at my cousin's house that I could not attend. She brought her own entree. When they got back both my mother and daughter were really upset with each other over a flourless chocolate cake that one of the guests brought. It was made from cocoa, chocolate, eggs, butter, and sugar. My daughter never eats food made in someone else's kitchen because she is afraid of cross-contamination. My mother thinks she is overly rigid and should lighten up a bit. She told her try the cake and thought she was rude to say no.

1. Would you eat the cake?

2. Any advice on talking to my mom?

Thanks ever so much and I wish I had gone.

For some reason these potluck / big family things are so hard for her.

I'm sorry to hear that your daughter had to go through that. I know it must have been difficult for her to stand her ground against adults, but she was absolutely right in what she did, as long as she did it respectfully, as I'm sure she did. After all, she is the one who has to suffer through the consequences if your mother was wrong.

I guess the best way to deal with this issue is to talk with your mother about the high possibility of CC, and explain to her that unless a person is extremely careful, it is easy to get glutened. Also explain that the results are not just GI upset, etc., but the results of damage to the small intestines, and what that could mean as far as diseases go later in her life.

Hope this hepls. I'm still new to all this myself, so I'm still learning too. It's hard to deal with these issues as an adult, I can't imagine how I would do as a child

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In my opinion, your daughter did the right thing and it's exactly what I would have done. Who knows if something with wheat flour was just prepared in that kitchen or a wooden spoon was used to make the cake that had previously been used for something containing gluten....etc

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Your daughter sounds like a very mature person for her age. Turning down a few bites of dessert so she won't be acutely uncomfortable in a few hours. Congratulations.

Q 1. Would you eat the cake?

No way.

Q 2. Any advice on talking to my mom?

Call the cousin's family up and thank them for their hospitality, but emphasize that your child just can't eat other people's food, so you need their help to be vigilant so she doesn't get sick, or if they serve any other celiacs in the future, it will be the same scenario, so now they know.

Secondly, you said "mother and father." I bet he doesn't want to be involved in this. Too bad. He volunteered to escort his grand daughter, and he's just watching this go down without saying anything ? Talk to your father and emphasize that your daughter and you work very hard to keep her food free of accidental wheat flour, so she does not become ill. For Pete's sake, a seder and they don't get the concept of cleaning the kitchen ?!!!

All it would take to ruin it, is the wrong spoon dipped into the cocoa previously. A scoop shared out of the sugar canister. Or the knife being spread on a piece of toast out of that stick of butter that greased the pan. Or an unclean cake pan with old, baked on residue on it, especially non stick. A rubber spatula used on regular flour mixes. A cooling rack used with regular cake, and not scrubbed. Potholders used to grab hot loaves of bread. Wooden cutting boards used as a work surface. Tupperware transport containers, or a plastic plate ! And then, when you get it to the place of serving, look out for glutenoids immediately cross contaminating it. It does not matter if they know you are gluten intolerant. They do it anyway, because they are not thinking. We have taken gluten free food to activities, but we always take my serving out first, because I guarantee that somebody will immediately screw that last part up. Example: plate of cookies with a Gluten Free label. Somebody else sticks regular cookies on the same serving plate next to them, on the buffet. Holy ****. Now I have to remove the label, just in case somebody else is there and doesn't know.

If the mother has other adults looking at her askance that she is trying to pressure a celiac or a gluten intolerant person into deliberately making themselves sick, it will be easier to get her to yield to group pressure.

Now, for the mother.... I'm not sure if this was just she doesn't know any better, or it was more of a sort of control type of thing. Relatives are very weird at holiday meals. But tell her (besides the examples I gave above ) that this is the equivalent of a peanut allergy, only instead of your daughter suddenly dropping over not able to breathe and going into shock, with gluten it's going to chew holes into her gut where you can't see it immediately. But her body will still respond to the error by trying to eject it as fast as possible. In fact, you could sort of imply that she might have gotten sick right there in the car on the way home, if she ate the wrong thing.

Beware if your mother has successfully served her things in the past that might have been cc'd, with other wise no immediate reaction, and nobody knew about it. Emphasize that the longer off of gluten, the more potential there is for a much worse reaction, as people can become more sensitive. And nobody wants to be sick for the holidays, right ?

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I would certainly not have trusted the flourless cake. You should be proud of your smart, confident daughter! It's not just any 12 year old girl who will turn down chocolate cake when her mom's not looking!

As for talking with your mom, she may not understand cross contamination. I might put it in writing and explain how autoimmune disorders are different from allergies, and explain potential sources of cross-contamination. This way you won't be in a fight about the seder when you try to communicate these things.

If that doesn't get her on board, I'd lay it down - you are her mother, and you get to decide. This is a priority for you and your daughter. If she wants to be trusted to take your daughter places, she needs to agree to support your daughter's diet. Period.

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I am so proud of her for standing up for herself!!! I had a situation like that once, it was a flourless chocolate cake as well and I was quizzing the baker on the ingredients. Then I noticed a tiny bit of white around the bottom. I said "What is that?"

...

She responds with "Oh, that's just leftover flour from where I dusted the pan" :huh:

RIIIIGHT.

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Good for her!

My old cake pans have these little "spaces" where parts of the pan are connected. I'm sure there is stuff in there that can't be gotten out.

I agree with everyone here. Enlist other families members to help support your daughter. When you talk to Grandma, after explaining that a crumb will start the reaction, also tell her that continued exposure will affect her growth and future ability to have children. This might be a slight exaggeration but that hits a Grandma where it counts.

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Thanks so much for all the replies. You are all so helpful. I feel much better.

I will talk to my mom. She is generally pretty good about all this stuff. All our family meals at her house are gluten-free and she is careful to not have things in her kitchen that would leave crumbs around. She has made mistakes not checking labels since she doesn't always have her reading glasses handy, but we usually catch it in the kitchen. Some things like sausage or hotdogs she is shocked to even think that they might be a problem.

My mom just does not respond well to criticism of any kind, but she'll do better next time if I talk to her about it. Once she settles down she is pretty reasonable. I just know she'll bite my head off when I bring it up, but... must do this.

Glad to hear that none of you would have eaten the cake either. It can seem really nuts to some folks to be so careful and they look at me oddly. Then I maybe start to think am I really over the top here?

Buffets, big events, and potlucks are just so difficult. The few times we have tried to bring something to share it always gets cross-contaminated. For my daughter it's also really hard watching everybody eating all kinds of treats she can't have any more. She was diagnosed at 10 so knows what she's missing out on. Everyone keeps telling me that she should just get used to it since it won't change, but that hardly seems like fun.

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"get used to it since it won't change..." :angry: I know it's true, but that seems also kind of cold hearted. Best of luck in talking to your mom...

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For potlucks, I bring a gluten-free dish to share. It's hard to be the first to eat it so I bring my own bowl of it from home. Or if I'm re- heating it, I can grab the first serving and then set it on the table. Smaller gatherings are easier to " get yours first". Also, I try to bring the same thing as is being served. Then sometimes people don't know you are different.

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