KID OF A CHEF SERIES
Written by “Kid of a Chef”
The Gluten-Free Rock Star
Living your life Gluten-Free, whether by design or by requirement, forces you to become the most demanding person alive (aside from other Gluten-Free harridans) when eating a meal away from home.
Whenever I make dinner plans, I am immediately perceived as a mix between the infamous character Sally in the film “When Harry Met Sally” and a slightly deranged Rock Star who has a list of requirements to play at your stadium. Except that instead of a stadium, I am in your kitchen, and instead of a film, it is real life.
I dread going out for dinner or being invited to a friend’s house because I show up with a list of demands longer than the intended menu. First, I can’t have anything with ANY grains or gluten. Secondly, I can’t have anything that THINKS its a grain. Next, I want to check each-and-every ingredient you are cooking with to make sure it is not bound to any sort of gluten or grain-type product. Anything that quacks like a grain probably is one and will send me into fits of reaction for days on end. If you don’t have a completely gluten and grain-free kitchen, I will have nothing at all. Oh, and don’t forget, I want you to pick all of the BLUE M&M’s out of the candy jar (not red, just blue), put them on a silver platter and sing falsetto while balancing on your head juggling pickle jars.
Sometimes I think juggling is easier than cooking an entire meal to accommodate one measly little person. What right do I have, I think to myself, to make such impossible demands on people? I am often asked by a nervous dinner host how they could possibly know if they have made a truly gluten-free/grain-free dinner. I have gotten out of the habit of answering in a comedic tone as that does not seem to go over well and respond by simply saying: “A salad will be fine. In fact, I can even bring my own.”
My point is: I know I am demanding; I know I am causing you great difficulty; I know you would rather not invite me to your house or have me show up at your restaurant. Each-and-every person who has a food sensitivity or allergy completely understands that to the rest of the world we seem like picky, pernickety children. I feel truly awful that I am making you go to such lengths to accommodate me, but let me assure you that I sincerely appreciate it. Living a life with dietary restrictions can be a lonely road at times, and anyone who accepts the challenge of preparing a safe meal for a person with a food sensitivity or allergy is a saint.
- Potato Crusted Quiche – a Gluten Free, Grain Free Option
So how can a host or a gluten-free/food-sensitive attendee ensure that a meal can be prepared safely but with ease? My suggestion is to have a discussion ahead of time with your host and converse about the menu. The host should be made aware of the allergy and its restrictions well in advance of the gathering. If you are dealing with an individual who enjoys a challenge in the kitchen, they may be comfortable with your request and may even delight in the task. If the cook is a novice, make sure you approach the meal with solutions such as offering to bring a gluten-free dish or two, or even giving the host the option of “uninviting” you without fear or guilt.
Additionally, I will often eat a small meal beforehand and bring an appropriate dish with me; I still get to attend a gathering and insult the host by eating nothing that is being served.
If you are going to a restaurant make sure to peruse the menu before your reservation and devise some practical alternatives to what is being offered. A discussion with the chef is sometimes a wonderful solution. Some of my favourite dining experiences have come from a quick talk with the chef beforehand and have resulted in a beautiful custom-made meal.
Living with dietary restrictions need not be a difficult journey to be done by your lonesome, but it is important to educate the people around you, especially your host, of the importance and reasons behind your requests. With open communication, you may be able to stop feeling guilty for your demands and start to enjoy the benefits of your healthier lifestyle.
The decision whether or not to juggle pickle jars can be left in your host’s capable hands.
“Kid of a Chef”
Gluten Free Rock Star
Rock Star Veggie Burgers made for Kid of a Chef – Gluten Free Rock Star
Further Gluten Free Posts:
Gluten Free Rock Star Veggie Burgers
Gluten Free, Grain Free Potato Crust Quiche
Gluten-Free Tips and Techniques
Going Gluten-Free – What are Your Thoughts?
The Challenges of GF Cooking – Gluten for Punishment
A Sequel: Gluten for Punishment, Too!
You can find me on social media (see links below) – just be sure to tag @urbnspice and #urbnspice so I am sure to see it. Enjoy!
The Urb’n’Spice Chef
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