Contamination Throughout the Holiday Season
of the most difficult occasions for a Celiac is eating out. Consequently,
the most difficult time of year for most Celiacs is the
holiday season. The holidays are fraught with danger for those
of us gluten-intolerant. Danger lies not only in every restaurant,
quietly hiding in sauces, desserts, even vegetables, but an even
more devious danger lies in wait for us at our relatives and friends
houses, and yes, even at our Mothers house.
is virtuously impossible for a non-Celiac who does not live in
a gluten-free household to be aware of all the hidden gluten that
exists in our every day lives. I personally find it more difficult
to eat at friends or families homes for the very fact that they
are friends and family. These people care about me and many go
out of their way to prepare special meals that they believe I
will be able to eat. So when I have to reject their efforts because
"there is just a pinch of " an offensive ingredient
they didnt know about, everyone ends up feeling bad.
only safe way to eat through the holidays, is to prepare the food
yourself in your own gluten-free kitchen. You can make this a
group effort by inviting others to help you plan the menu and
cook the meal.
you must go to someone elses house here are a few tips you
can follow to avoid contamination:
involved with planning the menu. Approach the challenge as a
fun thing we can do together and you may receive a better
reaction. By helping plan the menu, you can identify what dishes
will be potential problems and can offer to supply a gluten-free
substitute for that ingredient.
you can be involved in the preparation, bring your own knives
and cutting boards or cutting mats. You can purchase plastic cutting
mats. These mats are inexpensive, can be washed in the dishwasher
and are very easy to travel with.
pre-cooked or partially cooked dishes. This way you know you will
have an appetizer, rice stuffing or dessert you can safely eat.
One Thanksgiving, we had dinner at my sister-in-laws house. I
brought soup, dressing and dessert, insuring that would be able
to eat a full meal. My sister-in-law bought a free-range (non-injected)
turkey and agreed not to stuff it, but rather to make a stuffing
on the side.
holiday season can be the much anticipated culinary feast for
Celiacs as it is for everyone else, it just, like everything else,
takes a little more prior preparation and cooperation. So roll
up your sleeves, have a good time and a great feast!