He tried to make ME dinner

One thing I have found since developing Celiac disease is that people love to ask you if something is gluten free. Unfortunately my answer is usually rather unsatisfying – “well, it depends.”

It depends on how it is prepared, on how it is manufactured, where is it manufactured? Different rules apply for the US vs Canada vs Europe. I learned this the hard way shortly after I was diagnosed.

I was pleased to find out that the Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce I had in my fridge was gluten free. When one of my friends offered to make me a gluten free dinner I was so excited. He asked me about various ingredients.

Jeff: “I’m going to make a roast. Can you have Worcestershire sauce?”
Me: “Oh, yes I can!”
Jeff: “How about rice?”
Me: “That’s ok too!”

I offered to bring some fresh veggies and a loaf of gluten free gingerbread.

When I got to his apartment that evening I discovered some hard truths. Not all Worcestershire sauces are gluten free – the Heinz brand he had purchased had “WHEAT” right on the label. We then looked at the rice – he had made rice from a box with a flavoring packet that included “GLUTEN” as one of the ingredients. Yikes! Well, he had discovered this before I arrived and threw a chicken breast on a pan for me. Only he used a contaminated Teflon pan so I couldn't even have that!

Luckily we discovered all of the contamination before I ate any of the gluten-containing goodies. But it was truly soul-crushing to sit there eating just the vegetables and later the gingerbread that I had prepared. It was on that night that I really began to understand how different my life would be from now on.

I now have a handle on what it means to be gluten free and all of the intricacies involved. I have a much better attitude. I probably eat much better than most of the general population, focusing on fresh, whole ingredients and the best spices and herbs to complement a dish. (Use your gluten free worcestershire sauce to make these Sauteed Mushrooms. )

We all have those moments when it just becomes too hard – that’s ok, know that there are others who understand. And hopefully, eventually it will get easier for you too.
PS - I still can't figure out how to pronounce Worcestershire - can anyone help?


Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to this story. I had a friend who did the same thing a few years ago. Prepared a flavored rice dish that I couldn't eat due to pasta mixed in with rice; made chicken cutlets that were marinated in a sauce with malt; and I ended up eating a plate of frozen veggies and my dessert.

I guess we can look at it this way "it's the thought that counts", right?!

Great Blog!!

Catherine said...

Erin - it's so sad because you really want them to be successful and they have put so much effort into it. It just broke my heart on so many levels!

Thank goodness we have friends who are willing to try.

I'm glad you enjoy the blog - it's been fun to do.

Lynn Barry said...

What a great friend. I love this blog entry. We do eat better than most and that is what we have to celebrate when we want to tear the top off a pack of Little Debbie's because we think we are missing something.

Sheri said...

No one ever wanted to cook for me before I found out I was gluten intolerant (I guess I was/am a pretty good cook). Now I am surrounded by food-pushers who try to nag me into eating the bad stuff.

All I can say is, "He tried," which is more than most would, I bet. Everyone needs friends like that!