I know a lot of us dread invitations to weddings, showers, dinner parties, and potlucks. They are fraught with situations where we are confronted with food that we have little to no control over. It is hard.
I was invited to a baby shower for a sit down luncheon. I was excited to get the invitation, but was a little worried about the luncheon. I did attend this woman’s wedding and have been to her house for dinner. She knows I have celiac and even reads my blog. Hey there!!!
I got the invitation and immediately looked up the restaurant. They had gluten free options. Whew! I will be okay.
Next up, I thought about the menu. We probably would be given a limited set of options and I hoped at least one of them would be gluten free. Again, the honoree and hostess know about my celiac, so I should be okay.
I even thought about reminding the hostess about my food allergy. It was something I seriously thought about. I probably should have when I sent my RSVP, but I chose not to. I figured I would roll the dice and see what happened. I’m in good hands. The restaurant has gluten free options, the honoree knows about my celiac, and I thought I would be okay.
I got to the shower and checked out the menu. Nothing was designated as gluten free, but I was still hopeful. So, I went and talked to the waitstaff that was helping with the party. I asked what was gluten free on the menu. They told me and then they did something amazing. They said that their chef can do a gluten free fried chicken if I wanted. Fried chicken was one of the options for the gluten eaters, so I was VERY excited. I asked if they would fry it in a pan or in the fryer with the rest of the chicken and they said the chef cooks it in a pan! Done and done.
This bridal shower also had a pasta option – the pasta was gluten free and egg free too!
Next, as I’m sitting at the shower, the woman next to me said, “Hey, are you the Fat Celiac?” I said “Of course.” Then we talked about having celiac a bit, she enjoyed my blog, and asked if I knew what we could eat. I told her about the fried chicken and she was super excited!
I had fried chicken at a baby shower with a sit down lunch, so it is possible to be accommodated. The best way to make sure you get what you need is to ask either at the time of RSVP or at least a week ahead of the event. If it is a wedding, you need to ask at least 3 weeks before the event.
My point to this whole thing is – most people can accommodate your food needs if you ask. It also helped that the hostess had planned for my new friend and I. The waitstaff said that they knew two gluten free people would be at the lunch, so the hostess had planned for our needs. Thank you!!!
Also, know that cross contamination is ALWAYS a risk unless eating at a dedicated gluten free restaurant. Asking a million questions won’t quell your anxiety and will probably increase it. My suggestion would be to order things that are closer to naturally gluten free – steak, grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, etc. I think avoiding things that are gluten heavy – like pasta and fried items, will go a long way in keeping someone safe in restaurants. Also, salads are not always the best bet – croutons and dressings come to mind as landmines for gluten contamination.
I want this to give everyone a little hope that they can successfully navigate attending social events. With a little communication and planning, much of our anxiety can be alleviated and a safe meal can be provided.
Thanks again for the invitation, I had a great time!