Entertaining people by having them over for a home-cooked dinner is fun for everyone, but when it comes to people who have dietary restrictions, it can become a bit of a nightmare. You don't want to offend your friends by saying you can't attend and at the same time, you don't want to always say “no” to the fun.
Cooking for your friends who are on a gluten-free diet isn't as simple as you may think. If you're planning to cook a meal for your gluten-free friends, read this first!
It may feel like you’re prying, but the reason for a gluten-free diet will make a big difference in your prep work. If your friend eats gluten-free due to Celiac disease, you need to worry about issues with cross contamination. You will have to make sure you’re kitchen is throughout cleaned to remove any trace of gluten possibly coming into contact with the food you’re serving.
If your friend is gluten intolerant, you won’t have to worry about cross contamination, but will still need to make sure that what you’re serving is in fact 100% gluten free in ingredients. If your friend is eating gluten-free as a lifestyle choice, you won’t need to worry about cross-contamination and there wouldn't be any adverse health reactions if something were served accidentally.
With the trend of the gluten-free diet on the rise, it is easy to think that someone is just being picky or trying the latest fad diet. If someone is eating gluten-free whether, that be for celiac disease, intolerance or a lifestyle choice, it still must be taken seriously. If it’s your opinion that your friend is just difficult and they don’t need to eat gluten-free, don’t offer if you won’t take it seriously. If someone is eating gluten-free, even as a lifestyle choice, it’s important to respect.
When it comes to gluten-free products, we all have our favourites. We know which brands we can trust, which is good for the money and which ones don’t taste like cardboard. Ask your friend which brands they prefer or which ones are their favourites.
If you’re cooking from scratch, you will have a better idea of making sure what you’re serving is gluten free. There’s a myth out there that gluten-free means bad, but when you take a look at all the fabulous foods that are naturally gluten-free, you have an extensive ingredient menu to pull from.
When it comes to celiac disease and eating outside the home, it can be tricky and frightening. For some, all it takes is one small accidental cross contamination and they’re sick for weeks or more. While it’s would be nicer to just not have to worry, some people are on a strict gluten free diet and only feel comfortable preparing their own food. Don’t take it personally and don’t insist on doing so if they have asked to bring their own food. It likely has nothing to do with your cooking, but all to do with them wanting to avoid the terrible side effects and symptoms of a celiac disease or gluten flare.
Photo credit: adapted from Webb Zahn | Flickr