TRUST NO ONE.
Ok, so I have climbed down from my soap box and I am ready to resume my friendly, big-sister-with-advice-to-share tone. Today's lesson is about cooking for your gluten-free friends. Don't do it. OR, if you are absolutely hell-bent on cooking for your gf friend, there are a few simple rules you should follow:
1. Trust no one.
Not a website that tells you what is and is not gluten-free, not the grocery store "gluten-free" section, not even the packaging on food. Only your gluten-free friend knows what he/she can eat and it came from trial and error, not a label.
2. Plan the meal with your friend.
Surprises are lovely, but not when they involve hours curled up in the fetal position.
3. Keep all the packaging from the food you used so your gf friend can inspect before eating.
See Natalie's story below
4. Trust no one. And you do not talk about fight club.
So this whole blog idea came from an experience I had a few weeks ago. I was on the Women's Health website looking up recipes. Their recipe looker-upper thing is pretty cool, you can filter down your search criteria to things like "cooking method," "occasion," and "dietary needs." Long story short, I decided to look up some gluten-free recipes that I might one day make for my gf bf Amy.
Let's look at the first ingredient of the first item that popped up after I selected my filters, including "Wheat/Gluten Free":
Awesome. Luckily, I am a smart girl, and I am able to deduce that my wheat-gluten free friend cannot have whole-wheat pizza crust. For someone not as naturally gifted, this could lead to a disaster. Our friend Natalie is very smart too, she does Science. But even a Scientist is no match for the gluten-monster. What follows is her story.
Natalie's Semolina story.
About a year ago our friend Natalie had the good intentions of cooking an awesome meal for Amy. Back then Natalie was pretty new to Glutenfreelandia, but she was determined to get it right. She went directly to the "gluten-free" section of her local supermarket and found the perfect noodle to make her gluten free vegetarian lasagna with....the semolina noodle. It was in the gluten-free section, near the rice noodles. It sounded gluten-free (never mind that there was a picture of wheat on the package). Back in my newbie days, I would have done the same thing.
Amy loved the semolina lasagna. She loved it so much she had two large servings. Then we did what any good friends would do when their Celiac has just been glutened, we took her to a corn maze. Amy developed super-human powers that night, she was like a machine. She guided us through that corn maze as if God him/herself was whispering the directions in her ear. Left, then right, then right again, she was a woman on a mission.
one of us: "Hey, I think we should make a left here."
Amy: "No. It's a right. We are going right."
And it was a right. Amy survived the corn maze that night, but still suffered a gnarly glutening that she felt for the next few days. All because a supermarket put semolina noodles in the gluten-free section.
Moral of the story = trust no one. The end.