Being a "celariac" (something I often get called when eating out and people are unfamiliar with the word Coeliac) one of the unexpected difficulties of living gluten free comes when friends invite you for dinner.
Most of my closest friends are confident cooks, happy to grill me about ingredients they plan to cook. However I have been served starters on toast and gluten-ous sausages even after explicit instructions, but luckily I have a beady eye for gluten contamination and am now quite comfortable asking to see packaging or recipes. But it took a while to get there, especially since I have always been the kind of guest to eat what is put in front of me, proud of my ability to eating literally anything. I never like to make a fuss...
For New Years Eve this year, we were invited to a friends house party to welcome in 2010. They are aware and sympathetic of my condition, but are not my most foodie friends and are often a little stumped at what to feed me. So you can imagine my excitement, relief and sheer joy when we arrived to a completely gluten free feast.
They had raided the Free From aisle of the supermarket collecting GF pitta breads, lasagne sheets and rolls. Checked the ingredients of hummus and dips, put my GF dippers in distinctive bowl, even cooked them on brand new baking trays. And then came the piece de resistance... Gluten free lasagne.
Inspired by a Coeliac family friend over Christmas, they created a lamb mince, a Jamie Oliver inspired white sauce from crème fraiche, cream and a tonne of Parmesan and layered it with the free from pasta. Salads on the side and GF rolls to mop up the juice I tucked into Lasagne for the first time since I was diagnosed. Delicious.
This was followed by cheese (and some incredible vintage port that we supplied) which was accompanied by conference pears for me as a much tastier cracker replacement. "The free from crackers all have funny seasonings on them" said our dear host "why would you want that when you want to taste the cheese". I couldn't agree more!
It was a really lovely way to end our awesome year and a truly positive way to begin 2010. Such a treat to be able to eat the same as other party guests... and easier for the hosts too. How do you cope with eating at friends houses with a special diet?
You may also enjoy reading:
How to eat out
Eating out with a special diet