December is all about the holidays.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or something else, there are always parties to attend or host.

At my house we celebrate Christmas, and it’s all about the true meaning of Christmas, family and good food.  Christmas eve is a really good meal then off to Christmas Eve services.

Dinner is a nice Beef Burgandy.  What makes it easy is I make it in the crock pot.  That way it takes minimal watching and I can concentrate on other last minute preparations.

Now, how do you make sure the food is something you can eat?  If the celebration is at your house, you need to decide, is everyone eating Gluten Free or is there going to be gluten filled food?

If there is going to be a combination of gluten filled food and gluten free food make sure you prepare your gluten free food first to avoid cross contamination.  Think about making little signs to place on your buffet in front of gluten free food to keep your gluten free food, gluten free.

What if the party is at someone else’s house?  How can you be sure that there is food there safe for you to eat?

  1. Remember you’re the guest.  You want to have fun but you won’t have fun if you’re spending the whole time in the bathroom.
  2. Call the hostess.  If you’re not going to a close friend or relative’s house who knows your condition, call and talk with the hostess.  Offer to bring a dish.  If the affair is going to be catered, ask the hostess if she would mind you calling the caterer.  If the caterer can’t give you a list or label the dishes, arrive a few minutes early to speak with the caterer about ingredients in the dishes.
  3. Keep in mind the possibility of hidden glutenous ingredients.  Just because something looks safe, doesn’t mean it is.  If you’re not sure of ingredients, ask.  Better safe than sorry.
  4. If you don’t have a spouse or significant other, maybe ask a friend to help you keep informed of potential hazardous foods.  Extra eyes, and ears will help to keep you gluten free.
  5. Eat before the party.  If you arrive full instead of hungry, you won’t be tempted to eat something you might not eat, if you weren’t hungry.
  6. BYO Food.  Bring your own dish to share.  Let the hostess know that you would like to bring a dish.  Make sure it tastes good and will add to the buffet.
  7. Try to be first in line.  If food is being served buffet style be first, to avoid cross contamination.  If that’s not an option, ask your hostess if you can prepare a plate ahead of time.  Then eat your plate when everyone else does.
  8. Stick to food you know.  Eat foods that you know to be safe.  Avoid no no’s like bread, and pasta, and be aware of marinades, dips, sauces, casseroles, and desserts, unless you made them.
  9. Be Gracious.  Thank your hostess for being accomodating.
  10. Have Fun.  Remember this is a party.  Keep the above tips in mind and enjoy yourself.

Mary Blackburn

Living Gluten Free