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I'm Miffed - Need Advice

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What do other celiacs do? I read at restaurants you are supposed to ask the questions I asked. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do.

It's very rare for me to find a restaurant that has a gluten-free menu that isn't taking adequate care to keep me from getting sick. I do generally tell the waitress that I'm celiac and really do need truly gluten-free food. Most are well aware of CC issues, including informing customers about shared deep fat fryers. Places that don't have a gluten-free menu are much trickier. I often order a whole baked potato, salad (no croutons, oil and vinegar), and meat cooked without any seasonings if it's possible.

What did you ask that "failed" two out of three restaurants? What does it take to make YOU feel safe?

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It's very rare for me to find a restaurant that has a gluten-free menu that isn't taking adequate care to keep me from getting sick. I do generally tell the waitress that I'm celiac and really do need truly gluten-free food. Most are well aware of CC issues, including informing customers about shared deep fat fryers. Places that don't have a gluten-free menu are much trickier. I often order a whole baked potato, salad (no croutons, oil and vinegar), and meat cooked without any seasonings if it's possible.

What did you ask that "failed" two out of three restaurants? What does it take to make YOU feel safe?

Yes, I've not had any problems at places with a gluten free menu. It is a leap of faith, but the chef and servers want you to enjoy your meal (unless they are mean, bitter people!) and if they have a gluten-free menu then there is at least some level of understanding. It's not that hard for a restaurant to avoid CC if common sense is used. The bigger the kitchen, the easier I think. Different types of foods tend to be prepped in different areas (it's much more efficient to have someone cutting up vegetables, someone else making desserts etc in different areas and so there's much less chance of contamination there than in a tiny kitchen where it's all happening in the same place)

If the restaurant does not have a gluten free menu, then I get a bit more stressed because gluten-y items are so predominant in America (I live in Australia and things like croutons and bread served with the meal are much less common). But it's still do-able. I order things plain, no sauce, and emphasis no croutons etc - and it's still been fine. Really, my biggest concern is usually my table-mates spraying crumbs everywhere when they break open rolls. I also always ask if I can serve myself first from any (gluten free) shared platter.

But as for not being able to eat at all... we'll you get used to that too. Not eating morning tea at work has done wonders for my waistline. Maybe someone will stop off somewhere with you on the way to dinner so you can eat first. If I were going to this wedding we'd be stopping off at McDonalds or Chipotle on the way so I'd be arriving already stuffed. No need to eat rice cakes and peanut butter - that would just make me feel sad! At least take brownies or something else that people will be jealous of :-)

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Thank you for your response! I was beginning to think everyone is against me. I'm not a bad person, but this situation has made me upset whether it should or not. It is times like these that I find this disease difficult to deal with. The thought of eating peanut butter and rice cakes while everyone else eats pizza is depressing to me. I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually, but hard starting out.

No one is against you. The diet is tough to get used to but we do learn how to cope in time. It isn't fair that we have to jump through so many hoops to keep us safe in this food centric world but we do have to jump them. We just don't want you to miss out on a special event because of the issue of food. You haven't been gluten free very long and may be still going through the greiving process which includes an anger phase. We don't want you to regret in the future not doing something so important with your family. If you isolate yourself because of this disease eventually you will find you no longer get invitations to special events. I have been through that and would give anything to have gone to those restaurants with my family even if it meant just sitting with a soda because now the invitations just don't come any more. Would hate to see that happen to anyone else.

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When I compare that to the last 2 family weddings (my husband's side of the family) there was some effort made. A place for an "allergen diet" and kid friendly and how many other people are they trying to please?

One niece was having children in the wedding party, part the invitation said adults only. The cousins standing up ranged in age from 16 to 3. My kids at the time were 10 and 7. We knew that the cousin groomsman was 11 and staying the whole time for the reception. So it appeared the cut off was 10, just to exclude my kids and my sister-in-law's kids. We tried phone calling the bride to make sure it was correct, that all cousins except these 4 (ages 10- 7) were invited. We never got a single phone call back. So we went to the church ceremony and declined the reception. The 3 year old was sent home after the ceremony and pictures. Mind you 18 years before, the mother of this bride called me sobbing hysterically that her daughters not just be invited to my wedding but they have some special part in it. So they did come to the wedding and had a special parts to do throughout the reception.

The last wedding, YIKES. WE were told to sign-up for a website for details and information. We live in the midwest and the wedding was in NYC. We knew ahead of time it was another adult only wedding.The bride was supposed to arrange for babysitting in the hotel and once again the age cut off included the cousin one year older than my son as an adult. The permit to have the wedding on Gavernor's Island was revoked one month before the wedding. The bride was looking into how much the fine was instead of looking for another venue. (Just the person I would never trust to choose a babysitter for special diet children?) So let's look at the way I was "invited" to the shower. 4th of July weekend picnic Sunday evening, I was told "by the way, the shower is Tuesday night @ 6." Now some members of the family are quick to judge me harshly but, We never received an invitation~ not by mail, or e-mail (like the majority of guests received thier invitations by e-mail.) Biggest favor in the world not to get an invitation! The wedding was Friday, hurricane Irene hit full force the next day. Some guests were stuck in NY Til late Monday or early Tuesday.

I'm sure others have worse family wedding stories to share. Karma can't come quick enough for some.

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It sounds like they made a great effort to accomodate you. I can understand not being able to eat out at very many places because there are only 2 or 3 places I can eat safely consistently (note, however, that this is more because of my other allergies and not just gluten). Had my family offered to LET ME CHOOSE the site of their reheasal dinner I would have been flaberghasted! I would have been overwhelmed at their generousisty in thinking of me. And my family is very accomodating most of the time but I can't imagine my brother/SIL doing that. They even have kids with food allergies but I don't think they would have changed their whole wedding weekend around for me--and I was a bridesmaid. If the three choices were places I had been and knew I couldn't eat I think I would thanked them for thinking of me and told them to just pick one and I would bring my own food as a back up. If they were places I had never been I would have picked one that I could eat as safely as possible in regards to my other allergies, asked the appropriate questions and chanced it. I'm so curious now what questiosn you asked that they failed? I also agree with someone else that said get some gluten-free take out to take with you. There's a PF Changs in downtown Chicago if you are going to be anywhere near there.

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Thank you for your response! I was beginning to think everyone is against me. I'm not a bad person, but this situation has made me upset whether it should or not. It is times like these that I find this disease difficult to deal with. The thought of eating peanut butter and rice cakes while everyone else eats pizza is depressing to me. I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually, but hard starting out.

Yes, it is! I'm 6 months in and STILL there. I don't even CARE if I don't get any more invitations! Honestly, that would just be one less thing for me to worry about, and one less thing for me to finagle my way out of.

I hear it gets easier and we'll stop living to eat and start eating to live. My SIL has been on a gluten-free diet for years now and it doesn't affect her in the slightest. She can sit there with everyone eating the best bread on the earth and be completely unaffected. But, she also admits that she never really was food-centric or a big dessert/bread eater. She doesn't feel a need to find sweet treat alternatives. I hope, someday, I'll feel the same way. Thankfully, I have a VERY supportive DH. His WHOLE family gets together on Christmas Day - aunts, cousins, etc. WE will not be attending this year. I will miss seeing them, but I also know that I can see the people I want to see on other occasions. I can set up a day to visit them at their home where food isn't so central to our visit. Will I be sad to miss out on all that on Christmas Day? I doubt it. In fact, I'll probably relish sticking at home and enjoying the day with my family. But we'll see. I might change my mind before then.

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I hear it gets easier and we'll stop living to eat and start eating to live.

That will NEVER happen with me. I for one will ALWAYS live to eat. :P I just love food far too much to eat to live.

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I don't think anyone is against you. It's just that you are in the anger phase and most people responding are in the acceptance phase. Yes it 100% sucks to eat rice cakes when everyone else is eating pizza. That's why you should consider finding a good safe restaurant before the dinner and get take out! Honestly I've never had a particularly good meal at any wedding so you may find you aren't missing much. Plus even if they had gone with a restaurant that had a gluten-free menu you really don't want to eat during a rush time and a huge event like a wedding party could throw off some of their safety procedures. You may be better off not eating anyhow, especially since you have a bus and train ride and aren't sure of your reaction!

Honestly I will say the fact that they checked on a few gluten-free restaurants is more than most people would do. My inlaws can't even make one side dish without gluten so I can eat Thanksgiving dinner! If my sister in law even offered to find a gluten-free restaurant for a big event I'd probably die of shock!

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Any thoughts? Am I being irrational? I'm sure if things were reversed my brother would be having a fit about his needs. He's not a nice person.

I am wondering if this is much more than angst over gluten. I'm not there and I don't know all the back story. Ironically enough, your decision as to whether you can attend with good wishes must come from what makes you feel good in your gut.

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Yes, it is! I'm 6 months in and STILL there. I don't even CARE if I don't get any more invitations! Honestly, that would just be one less thing for me to worry about, and one less thing for me to finagle my way out of.

I hear it gets easier and we'll stop living to eat and start eating to live. My SIL has been on a gluten-free diet for years now and it doesn't affect her in the slightest. She can sit there with everyone eating the best bread on the earth and be completely unaffected. But, she also admits that she never really was food-centric or a big dessert/bread eater. She doesn't feel a need to find sweet treat alternatives. I hope, someday, I'll feel the same way. Thankfully, I have a VERY supportive DH. His WHOLE family gets together on Christmas Day - aunts, cousins, etc. WE will not be attending this year. I will miss seeing them, but I also know that I can see the people I want to see on other occasions. I can set up a day to visit them at their home where food isn't so central to our visit. Will I be sad to miss out on all that on Christmas Day? I doubt it. In fact, I'll probably relish sticking at home and enjoying the day with my family. But we'll see. I might change my mind before then.

I've had to pass up a few family holidays too. We didn't go to see my husband's family for Easter this year and they were pretty upset. HOWEVER, if I know that the people I'm with won't try to make me eat things they make then I will go and take my own food. My side of the family is pretty accomodating (meanign they don't force food on me or lie and say thigns are gluten-free or try to sabotage my food). I take all my own food and make my own gluten-free versions of things when I'm there. I can't imagine just going on as if there is NOTHING I can eat in the world. There are SO MANY things and sometimes my food is BETTER than what everyone else is having! I went to a pick-nic last weekend where everyone brought their own food. I brought Thai Chicken spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce. Most everyone else was eating boring sandwhiches on white bread. I had some extra spring rolls and let a couple friends try them since they were curious. They couldn't stop raving about how good they were and they wanted the recipe. One friend even said, "you know with all your restrictions you sure do eat a lot of yummy food!" Just because you can't have gluten doesn't mean you have to eat flavorless rice gruel. I love food and that will never stop!

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I think this diet can be less traumatic for people with more versatile tastes. The only food that I have found that I would consider better than any other gluten-containing food would be steak. I'm a steak and potatoes kind-of-gal. I veer more toward a Southern Style food. I don't *do* spring rolls or sushi. My most "exotic" dish is Feta Chicken Bake because it has red peppers in it!! It's a lot more difficult, I think, for those (like me) who have a rather limited palate.

There's really nothing better than picnic food and a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in my mind. Well, besides, steak and bacon, of course!

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I think this diet can be less traumatic for people with more versatile tastes. The only food that I have found that I would consider better than any other gluten-containing food would be steak. I'm a steak and potatoes kind-of-gal. I veer more toward a Southern Style food. I don't *do* spring rolls or sushi. My most "exotic" dish is Feta Chicken Bake because it has red peppers in it!! It's a lot more difficult, I think, for those (like me) who have a rather limited palate.

There's really nothing better than picnic food and a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in my mind. Well, besides, steak and bacon, of course!

That is true - it makes a HUGE difference. My palate and tastes are extremely varied and I love the very exotic. I could easily cook different meals each day for a couple of years without every once doubling up recipes. It does help to be adventurous and creative. My ideal Thanksgiving dinner would be a lot different than most! :D It also helps having access to a city three hours away with fantastic ingredients to experiment and play with. We rarely have a dull meal - only when I am ill. :P We enjoy duck, goose, pheasant, quail, elk, moose, caribou, bison, seafood and fish in addition to the usual chicken, beef and pork and are thankful to have access to such wonderful things.

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I think this diet can be less traumatic for people with more versatile tastes. The only food that I have found that I would consider better than any other gluten-containing food would be steak. I'm a steak and potatoes kind-of-gal. I veer more toward a Southern Style food. I don't *do* spring rolls or sushi. My most "exotic" dish is Feta Chicken Bake because it has red peppers in it!! It's a lot more difficult, I think, for those (like me) who have a rather limited palate.

There's really nothing better than picnic food and a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in my mind. Well, besides, steak and bacon, of course!

So learn how to make the BEST southern food you can gluten-free! Seriously. Become an expert at making steak and potatoes. They don't have to be boring unless thats what you like. Make BBQ sauce so good people want that recipe. Learn to make the BEST southern style cornbread (gluten-free of course), potato salad, coleslaw, Southern greens and pulled pork-- or whatever is traditional for your area and can be easily made gluten-free. My thanksgiving is pretty traditional-- turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, pumkin pie, cranberries etc. ALL made gluten-free and dairy free and soy free. No it's not all easy to make items but the effort is worth it to make something really good and enjoy the meal. I do agree however that the diet is easier if you are more willing to try new things and you like to cook. I had never had thai sping rolls before last year. I tried them and I love them! I still don't eat sushi and don't want to (doubt I could find one that's gluten-free, shellfish and soy free anyway). If you can't cook this diet will either force you to learn or be satisfied with simple stuff.

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I usually go to places that at least have a gluten-free menu available. I just had breakfast at Eat and Park. They have a gluten-free menu. I talked to the server about the fact that I have celiac, so that usually clues them in to treat my food differently. She offered to give me a gluten-free bun in place of the toast. I told her it couldn't be toasted in a toaster, but could be broiled in an oven on some foil or even cut and put on the grill/stove where they made my omelet. I don't know what they chose to do. A lot of it is a leap of faith on my part.

In regards to your dilemma, I'd be hurt, too, that my food needs were too complicated for them. Would I go? I'm not sure. I'm still 6 months in and very bitter about the whole thing. I KNOW this about myself. I also know when situations are going to be too much for me to handle. I've missed many a picnic this summer due to this miserable disease. Does it bother me that I stayed home instead of going? Absolutely NOT! I am doing what I have to do to keep as positive frame of mind as I can. And that means not putting myself in situations like that. I know people SAY it's about getting together with friends and family, but, really, it's about food. Picnics are about FOOD. Holiday parties are about FOOD. Do I go to company holiday parties because I can't wait to chat it up with my DH's co-workers? No. Hell no. I go because it's free food. Perhaps I'm still too food centric. Doesn't matter what it is, really. What it boils down to is whether I'll be miserable or happy.

I realize this is very self-absorbed, but it is what it is. Life is too short for me to put myself in uncomfortable situations. I guess in the end, only you can decide if it's worth the effort/emotional cost to you.

I agree with your feelings here and think for people to say it isn't all about the food is downright ridiculous. You are correct...if most gatherings only served coffee and doughnuts, people wouldn't show up. They get all excited about the free meal. I say this as a person who is not food-centric at all and can sit right next to the bread eaters and not get upset I can't have their bread BUT I think it all depends on the situation.

Where it is easy to take my own food I go to gatherings but it is not always possible to do so. I also like to blend in with others because if I get one more person who profusely says "I'm SOOOOOOO sorry" to me because I cannot eat their food, I'm gonna explode. I have had people become obnoxious about it and then make me the center of attention, which I hate. Can we just please move on, people? Why should my restrictions cause them to act so weird and behave like I should be pitied?

I recently went to a wedding and ended up with the best 4 course meal I have ever had at a social function. The bride went way out of her way to make sure my meal was not cc'd and safe....she's a good friend. I also got what everyone else got to eat, with some substitutions on the things I couldn't and nobody said anything about what I was served. I had a totally normal time and the food was awesome AND I didn't have one inkling of getting sick from it. That is a rare moment and it was cherished.

I think as a Celiac, you have the right to refuse to attend any function if you feel you cannot be accommodated with your dietary requirements and there will be heavy eating going on. Those who do not have Celiac should just mind their own business because they don't know what we go through to eat safely. I have turned down functions where we had to pay to attend and it was all about the food. Why should I pay $75.00 to attend something and not be able to eat anything I didn't bring? I would be paying to walk through the door and talk to people only.....no way. The functions I was able to attend and bring my food worked out well...aside from the obnoxious people who kept asking why I wasn't eating what they had. That can be answered in one sentence but they kept making a big deal about it. Why should it be weird that someone would pack their own lunch?

I have been doing this for 6 years and for the most part, always go to social gatherings without issue but I think about what the situation is before making up my mind not to go. It can be a good excuse if you REALLY don't want to go for other reasons too! :P But I understand your feelings and don't pass judgment because it really does depend on the situation each person has to deal with. I have learned that people are way too emotionally attached to food anyway and that's not good. You should be able to have a work meeting without bribing people with food so they'll show up!

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Thank you for your response! I was beginning to think everyone is against me. I'm not a bad person, but this situation has made me upset whether it should or not. It is times like these that I find this disease difficult to deal with. The thought of eating peanut butter and rice cakes while everyone else eats pizza is depressing to me. I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually, but hard starting out.

It is really, really hard starting out, nobody disputes that. It gets easier. And I hope you didn't interpret my response as being against you, because it wasn't. Other posters didn't intend to be against you either. We were trying to give relavant advice.

My other good advice is always to pay close attention to Ravenwood's posts. My last bit of advice is to review Ravenwood's posts if you're still waivering on whether or not to go to your brother's wedding.

Wish you well. This isn't your husband's Christmas party... so the weight on the scale isn't the same.

If you're too sick to go to the wedding, I'm sure they will all understand.

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My brother has yet to be tested for celiac so he might have it. I believe in karma, so who knows.

Love your reply, go for it!!! Enjoy yourself regardless!

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Can the person who makes the amazing spring rolls post their recipe? I'm still struggling to find enough recipes to get variety in my diet.

I'm not so ticked off anymore. I was very upset the day it happened. And I mean UPSET. I was seriously crying off and on all day and was mad too. Kind of surprised me to feel like that. But emotions are not always rational and in the end sometime you feel the way you feel. My brother is not a nice person (that has come out many ways through-out my life). It was not him who was suggesting the gluten free option in the first place, it was his fiancee. She seems very nice and accomodating. I think that is why it probably works out with him. She's willing to put up with him and he needs that. I wonder how long a marriage can last like that. His one ended because he didn't get his way enough. Just mentioning this as some people were asking.

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Can the person who makes the amazing spring rolls post their recipe? I'm still struggling to find enough recipes to get variety in my diet.

Here you go:

If you are looking for any other recipe ideas just ask or browse the recipe section of the forum. Or check out the what's for dinner thread.

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Honestly, you should be happy that they gave you options at all. In planning their wedding where they had to consider many factors such as date, number of people, what type of food they wanted to have, price, etc. They took the time to do enough research to come up with 3 options. Honestly, that's a lot of work when you are trying to plan a wedding. They took the waited for your response. Unfortunately, they found out that restaurant did not meet all of their other needs. So, they made sure that you could bring in your own food if you did not feel that you could safely eat at that restaurant. They went over and beyond what most people do for food allergies/intolerances you should be happy that they tried so hard. They could have very easily just chosen a restaurant on their own without any input from you or considered your special diet. It sucks that your preference didn't work out. But, now you have two options bring your own food. Or call the restaurant and explain that you will be eating there soon and need gluten-free due to celiac and try to work with them on what would be safe for you. For example if the restaurant has a chicken ceaser salad would they be willing to make yours on a house salad with no croutons and oil and vinegar dressing (or bring your own) and grill the chicken in foil unseasoned. Then you have a gluten-free meal and the CC would be minimal. Find out how things are cooked and if they can cook your meal in foil, substitute gluten containing items for gluten-free items, if they can hold sauces/seasonings that contain gluten.... I really suggest calling ahead because then the kitchen can find out if gluten in in certain items and be prepared to make a special meal. If you wait until you arrive to make many special requests you may find that the restaurant cannot do things or don't know the answers without extensive searching which delays your meal and the meals of the other patrons.

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Depending on where you are in Chicago, or in which suburbs, you could just have a pizza delivered to the event. I really like Marcello's gluten-free thin crust. People will be staring at your food while they eat rubber wedding chicken.

Locations:

Lincoln Park Location

645 North Avenue

Chicago, IL 60610

Phone: 312.654.2550

Logan Square Location

2475 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Chicago, IL 60647

Phone: 773.252.2620

Northbrook Location

Northbrook, IL 60062

Phone: 847.498.1500

There's JJ Twig's in Palatine, a few places on the south side, and a whole bunch of others.

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My brother is not a nice person (that has come out many ways through-out my life).

Well that changes everything. I take back everything I suggested. My brothers weren't nice when I was little, but they ended up being rocks for me by the time I was in my teens and twenties, even now in my fifties.

If your brother is still unkind to you and not a nice person, I guess I wouldn't make the effort to attend either, just because he's a meanie.

That definitely adds a new dimension. Sounds like he's marrying someone considerate. Hope she rubs off on him.

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It makes sense that you are upset over this, but it's also not entirely rational. It's part of the process of adjusting to the new diet.

You have a right to feel this way, and it's natural to feel this way right now, but you have no business holding this against them or bringing a bad attitude to their wedding.

I think it's nice they made the effort to find three choices and ask you ahead. It's unfortunate that the one with the safer practices didn't turn out to be a choice that could work for others in the wedding party. As someone with kids, I do think that choosing a child-inclusive restaurant would be very important. They are part of the family and wedding party, too. Bringing children to a restaurant that does not welcome them is no fun for anyone!

It's too bad that they couldn't find other options, but I think they went the extra mile in arranging for you to be able to bring your own food. That's what I would want to do anyway, in your shoes. It's way safer than eating restaurant food, and you don't want to get sick when you are traveling, a day or two before the wedding!!!

Yes, it is a hassle to bring your own food, especially when traveling. However, it is doable, and it doesn't have to be peanutbutter and rice cakes. Like others have said, a thermos with a stew or soup is an excellent choice. Our thermoses stay hot for 7 hours. There are also small coolers that you can use while traveling. Restaurants will heat up food for you if they are aware of the situation.

Perhaps you could find a truly gluten-free restaurant to visit earlier in the day, or stop at a whole foods or similar store to get a few of your favorites. Where are you staying? Will you have any chance to get to a hotel room or someone's house before the dinner? If so, you can bring a crock pot or pan and heating element with you for the trip and do your cooking that way.

If you don't want to bring dinner into the restaurant, you can eat before hand and just order a drink. Your hosts will be gracious and not try to force food you can't eat on you... that's more that can be said of many people!

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Sorry to hear that. We were just invited to a wedding celebration for one of my husband's brothers. It's a second marriage for him and his wife. They have already gotten married.

We can't go because it's in another state and there is just no way we could do it with school on and such.

Anyway... I looked up the restaurant where they are having this thing. Of course I have no idea what sort of food they will be serving, but at first glance of the menu there wouldn't be a single thing my daughter or I could eat. Lots of pasta on that menu. And hard to digest meats.

If I were you I would eat before or after or try to bring something. Stuff like this is annoying, yes. But I am very used to it by now.

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Never expect anyone (even family) to take your dietary needs into consideration.

Then, if they do, it's a surprise and, while it still probably won't work out, the gesture was nice.

My husband's brother is getting married 12 hours away this December and I have no idea what will be available. My plan is to bring a jar of Barney Butter and a loaf or two of Udi's. If I get to eat more than that, fantastic! If I don't, oh well.

One thing I've asked myself in the past is, "Will this one meal / food item really matter so much tomorrow?"

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I think this diet can be less traumatic for people with more versatile tastes. The only food that I have found that I would consider better than any other gluten-containing food would be steak. I'm a steak and potatoes kind-of-gal. I veer more toward a Southern Style food. I don't *do* spring rolls or sushi. My most "exotic" dish is Feta Chicken Bake because it has red peppers in it!! It's a lot more difficult, I think, for those (like me) who have a rather limited palate.

There's really nothing better than picnic food and a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in my mind. Well, besides, steak and bacon, of course!

I actually do really well eating at one grandmother's house because she makes that classic steak and potatoes food that is pretty plain. Basically, I skip the dressing on the salad, the bread, and have ice cream for dessert instead of cake. It's not exciting, but there are always white or sweet potatoes at meals so I get carbs. Or make some good cornbread, and cook up a nice plate of veg and roast chicken. Or fry up some fish in a cornmeal coating. Broil pork chop with applesauce, salad, and potato pancakes... Lamb or beef stew; gumbo...

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