As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, May is Celiac Awareness Month and statistics show that more than 330,000 Canadians are believed to be affected by celiac disease. Chances are, someone in your family or circle of friends is required to live gluten free. So, how do you cook for them? It’s tricky! I polled my readers and the most popular response I got was that they just bring their own food. I get that, I really do. As a former vegetarian, it was hard to put trust into someone who doesn’t know all the ins and outs of my diet… but unlike being a vegetarian, a ‘little bit’ of gluten can cause a whole lot of pain and illness to someone with celiac disease.
I’m not going to let the people I love always bring their own food whenever they come to visit though, I just can’t. Here are the most useful tips I’ve put together to help you build the trust that you indeed are, the Gluten Free Hostess with the Mostest:
- Let your guests help you build a menu, you don’t have to be super hostess! Ask the gluten-free people in your life what foods/recipes they love. If they still insist on bringing their own food, work together to build an awesome gluten free spread.
- Simple, unprocessed foods are your best bet. Meat, vegetables? All gluten free, naturally. If you are using purchased foods, it’s really necessary to make sure the product says ‘Gluten Free’, like Catelli’s Gluten Free pastas, all of which are identical in taste to the original wheat-based varieties. It’s made with the finest quality white and brown rice, corn and quinoa and since the majority of pasta sauce recipes are naturally gluten free, serving pasta is a great choice that everyone will enjoy.
- Serving a completely gluten free meal is best but if you do serve a combination of both, whatever you do, have the foods in different areas and serve, or let the gluten free guest do up their plate, first. Cross contamination is the worst enemy of the Celiac. One invisible fallen bread crumb in the gluten-free hummus can undo everything.
- Let your guests know what each item is and what its ingredients are. Even if they aren’t Celiac, they may get horrible indigestion from onions, an upset tummy from too much milk or another food intolerance. Having this info ‘out there’ makes some guests more comfortable, as they may not want to ask or discuss their condition. I may be biased, but I also happen to think that these cards are the cutest.
Get your free printable by clicking here: Ingredient Card Printable
With a bit of planning, knowledge and communication, hosting friends or family who are required to eat gluten-free will become much simpler. Of course, always keep in mind that your guests are there to see you and it’s your friendship and company that is the most important.
Looking for more gluten free recipes? There are many tried and true recipes to be found at Catelli.ca.
Disclosure: I am part of the #CatelliFamilies network and have been compensated for creating this blog post, however all opinions expressed are my own.