When I entertain people, I love to provide home-prepared foods to go along with great company and good conversation. Food is a large part of entertaining in our culture and is the centre of so many family and friend gatherings. Coming off the summer season, we saw many friends’ play-dates, family gatherings, sleepovers, and kids’ birthday parties. It was fun, busy, and one constant thing that stood out for all of them was food was present — of course, right?
When it comes to people with food-related issues, allergies, or intolerances, food can make these common gatherings awkward — fast. Especially so when it comes to celiac disease, the gluten-free diet, and the large amount of misconceptions that many people still believe.
If I am going out to a family event or my kids head out to a birthday party for a friend, I don’t expect there to be safe food for us to eat that comply to the strict no-cross-contamination gluten-free diet. I understand it’s difficult to accommodate food-related issues and keep it safe for everyone. In fact, even if you offer to provide gluten-free food at your gathering — assuring it will be okay for us to eat, I will likely thank you, but say that we will take care of our own food — no problems!
For too long I have tried to accommodate others’ to my food issues. Too often, my daughters and I have been gluten-contaminated all because of my fear of seeming rude and trying to be polite, but that’s not possible anymore — it’s no longer a choice I have.
I am not trying to insult your food, your intelligence, or ability to provide food for your guests. I am not trying to steal your thunder by bringing our own pizza and/or cupcakes to your child’s party for my children to eat or decline staying for dinner because “I don’t like your cooking”. I am not insulting you, your gathering, or your cooking.
I am just keeping myself and my kids safe.
I know you mean well when you offer to provide safe food, but unless you live in a gluten-free household and adhere to a strict no-cross-contamination gluten-free diet, I will, from now on and always, politely decline. I have been served non-labeled “gluten-free” desserts that made me really sick, my child was told the chocolates that were provided as a “thank you” gift bag for attending a classmate’s birthday party was gluten-free when it wasn’t, I have been repeatedly told to just pick off the gluten or that it can’t be that big of a deal, and I have been questioned on why I won’t eat the opened condiment jar in a non-squeeze bottle because I don’t know if it’s been contaminated with a knife.
Again, I know you mean well when you offer, but please stop making it so awkward when I politely decline. It’s not about you — it’s about me, my children, and our health.
Photo credit: adapted from Daniela Vladimirova | FlickrShare This Post: Tweet