When we got there, the sun was setting. A lovely breeze floated in off the hills. Servers were passing hors doeuvres and I eagerly told the first person who waved a tray of canapes in my direction that I was gluten free. Sorry, he said, and pulled the plate away from me. I was crestfallen but determined to get something to eat. When the second server thrust a platter in front of me, I explained cheerfully, I need to be gluten free. I was certain this was a magic word that would send him scurrying to the outdoor kitchen to get the appetizers that were safe for me. Instead, he pulled the plate away saying, well, these arent for you.
This summer, a different challenge awaited us. For 14-year-olds, her camp offers an overnight camping trip. But this is no simple overnight camping trip, it involves five weeks of traveling from Wisconsin to the Pacific Northwest and back. Theyre traveling by bus for five weeks, hiking each day, sleeping in tents at campsites in national parks and making their own food.
When I first went gluten free, I attended several different in-person support groups. Some were helpful, and some were not. It was interesting to see how the tone differed so vastly between the groups. One was positive - focusing on all the great new products available and sharing positive stories. Another was negative, focusing on how difficult life had to be as a celiac. After a while, I slowly stopped attending. I shifted to online support groups - on top social media sites like Facebook. However, I struggled with the constant barrage of misinformation. Now, years later as a blogger, I spend a chunk of time each day busting myths online. Im not the only one, as readers commented that they too have encountered many myths online. Here are some of the top myths that continue online.
I apply the Christopher Columbus-method in most of my cooking, using recipes like maps for inspiration. I dont always know where I am headed but 99% of the time, my recipes are successes. I take copious notes so, like Columbus, I can find my way home again! My recipes are always well-tested so I dont send our readers over a culinary cliff!
My 10+-year tenure working at Gluten Free & More has helped me better understand and support my friends challenges. Whether its me preparing a salsa (wait, you cant have tomatoes, right?) or choosing where we might dine out, Ive become much more sensitive to how those with dietary restrictions are sometimes dismissed.
Yesterday my son (gluten-free for the past 12 years) started his first day as a summer camp counselor presiding over 7th and 8th grade kids at a summer camp for inner city kids in Hartford, Connecticut. Yippee!...his first real 5-day-a-week job ever.
However, I jump at the chance to visit our son in Boston and to eat at the restaurants in Bean Town. I eat without worry, thanks to the rigorous food allergy training in many restaurants. This program has a lot to do with the efforts of Boston-based celebrity chef Ming Tsai who has a son with severe food allergies. Ming helped make the Bay State the first in the country to mandate restaurants to establish specific protocols for serving food allergic guests. Thank you, Chef!
With a little bit of advanced planning, youll be able to safely enjoy your summer vacation. And youll be focusing on feeling the sand between your toes instead of worrying about safe food. Following are some trips from our recent vacation to the New Jersey shore this summer.