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First Social Event With Food

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At church today I found out that in 2 or 3 weeks there will be a large meeting for the women. The meeting will begin in the morning with breakfast. There are several members of my church who have celiac, but I'm unsure of what I should do. I did talk to a leader who says they usually serve omelets and fruit (which should be okay) along with mountains of bready goodness. This is my first invitation to eat at any type of social event and I'm not sure how to properly go about things.

Knowing that some of the women in charge of food prep are familiar with the challenges I face, theoretically things like the fruit and omelets should be fine for me to eat. In practice, we're talking about food for several hundred people prepared partly in people's homes and partly in a small church kitchen.

I'm paranoid, to put it mildly. What if someone cuts bread, brushes off the crumbs then cuts up fruit on the same board? What if someone uses some random packaged product in the omelets that just happens to have gluten in it? I definitely want to go and enjoy the company of the other women, which I haven't been able to do for years. (I don't really feel any better yet, in fact I feel worse but I'm so tired of being lonely.) I'm just not sure if I should simply plan on bringing my own breakfast or not. I mean, a bowl of fruit for breakfast sounds perfectly delicious. I don't do mornings so it would be a rare treat for me to have something that fresh and delicious but it's hardly worth sprinting to a bathroom halfway through a meeting then slinking out.

My other worry is that having not been social for some years I don't really know most of these women. Since some have celiac and many others are familiar with it because of that I am sure there will be some who will insist that X and Y are safe. While that may be true, I'm not sure this early it's okay to trust anyone at all and risk a setback. I want to be able to be considerate of their feelings while protecting myself. I know some people just look for something to offend them and I can't do anything about those people, but if I do bring my own breakfast how do I say that frankly I wouldn't trust my own mother to make me food let alone random people I don't know without upsetting anyone? In front of a computer I can take time to think of what to say and how, but face to face I have a really serious brain-mouth disconnect and tend to just blurt out the first thing that pops into my head. (Which is usually sarcastic, my friends understand but people who don't know me will just think I'm being mean.)

I probably rambled some, I'm mostly trying to think things through as I type but still would love any tips on how to approach this with enough class (hahaha, I may die laughing at the idea of me with class :lol: ) to not hurt anyone's feelings while being sure I can enjoy myself.

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The first thing you will need to learn is that if you actually want to keep yourself "safe," you can't care what other people think about your avoiding their food.

Eat beforehand and just drink coffee or tea. Bring your own gluten free food snack, such as that bowl of fruit. Ignore the supposedly well meaning people who will be pushing food on you that will not actually be safe, and will make you sick. Just because they "know" about it, doesn't mean at all they will be able to implement the safe handling of food. The scenario you are describing, mixed large and home kitchens done by amateurs, sounds like a nightmare of potential cross contamination issues.

If you don't do mornings, prepare your take- along food and pack it, ready to go, and store it in your refrigerator so you just need to pick it up and place it in your bag in the morning. Most of us travel for even short trips with a small sized cooler, lunch bucket, or zippable picnic bag with a meal and snacks in it, to avoid those "awkward moments."

If anyone asks, you are allowed to say whatever you want to get you through it. I just tell people I am self sufficient for food because of allergies, and they don't have to worry about me, because I'm there to socialize. And this is technically true, because some gluten free ingredients will still make me sick anyway. I carry antihistamines and an inhaler with me for a reason. (There are a few restaurants that have gluten free menus I might eat at, but it is with the understanding that I always get the same thing because I know what the ingredients are due to research, and I know they're trained to try to serve people with allergies.) Yes, it is a gluten intolerance, but as I told one waiter who asked really politely if they could quiz me (please, yes, it's fine) it's the people who don't care about the small amounts of gluten and eat it anyway, who screw it up for the rest of us who actually do get sick, esp. with neuro symptoms.

Hah hah, only the celiacs and gluten intolerants will "get" the comment about not trusting your own mother to prepare your food - older relatives are the worst :P The only person I would trust to make me a meal is my spouse, and even he has, unwittingly, gotten me more than once to the point where we banned gluten food from the house. And I still have to go over every thing that shows up in the pantry or refrigerator. Of course, sometimes his mother sends us something "iffy" in the mail for a present, anyway. <_<:ph34r: Just when you think it's safe.... I'll be ****ed but there is now a little tin of "something" in the pantry again which while it is labeled as apparently safe, contains something else I cannot eat, which he knows about, and he put it next to my gluten free, allergy free chocolate. So I just took it out of the kitchen. #$%^&*(@ !!!! and will put a note on it for him to get rid of it. When he finds it in his underwear drawer. B)

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While that fruit may be perfectly safe in the kitchen, once on a banquet table with crumbly muffins and flakey croissants , it's going to have crumbs in it. I would eat first or bring my own. If people ask, just say " My doctor told me not to eat food from buffets or other kitchens as the risk of crumbs accidentally getting on the safe food will make me sick". The doctor thing works really well with older people.

Yours truly,

Dr. Karen

( I' m not a real doctor but I play one for you). B)

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So I just took it out of the kitchen. #$%^&*(@ !!!! and will put a note on it for him to get rid of it. When he finds it in his underwear drawer. B)

At least he wears clean underwear occasionally. :D

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Thanks! I never thought of just blaming everything on my Dr. It's brilliant. I'll be sure not to tell them that for my anniversary at the end of the month we're going to a Brazilian steakhouse that has a buffet. (They're amazingly sensitive to the gluten issue and come highly recommended.) I haven't slept for more than 3 or 4 hours a day for a week now so I'm way too foggy to be thinking up stuff like that on my own.

Some people don't get that a gluten free label doesn't mean something is actually gluten free. And no one wants to stare at delicious things we can't have sitting beside all of our gluten free food in the pantry. Drives me insane! Someone brought home a few packages of snack crackers and put them on my shelf. <_<

Hilarious that you hid the tin in his underwear drawer. You are of course assuming he'll find it. :lol:

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So I've gotten myself all prepared to show up and paste on a smile (which may kill me at 9:30 in the morning) and enjoy everyone's company with a nice bowl of fruit and a soft boiled egg. Then yesterday morning I got a very pleasant surprise. They went over what would be served and mentioned that one of the women with celiac will be bringing blueberry muffins. It was pointed out that they will be gluten and casein free. I don't really plan on touching anything else, but obviously these women take this very seriously to point that out. I am soooo looking forward to my first blueberry muffin.

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