Holiday Meals at Home.
Consider hosting the event yourself. Yes it will be work, but you can control what and how food is served. Believe it or not, most entrées, potato/rice side dishes & veggies, are naturally gluten free or translate into gluten free with minor adjustments. Accept gluten dishes that guests wish to bring, keeping them separated from the GF fare.
Need ideas about what to serve? Honey Baked ham/turkey are gluten free holiday standards that are no fuss and feed a crowd. There are new GF cookbooks—The Lagasse Girls- The GF Table and America’s Test Kitchen: How Can It Be Gluten Free—many others are available at your library. Delight Magazine or Simply Gluten Free Magazine have recipes (some online) as well as your favorite GF blogs like www.glutenfreegirl.com or http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/
Don’t remove traditional foods from consideration. Try to modify recipes that only may need a little tweaking. Family may be much more accepting.
If you want “from scratch” GF baked goods, choose brownies or cookies which are easier. Or there are many good baking mixes out that fool the gluten guests— (these come to mind but you may have your own favorites) 123 GlutenFree Pan Bars (make a cream cheese frosting –delish!) or 123 GlutenFree Poundcake (makes 2 to feed a crowd, add berries or chocolate sauce). Check their website for availability. Or just support one of our local gluten free bakeries that count on your business. They are listed on our Grocery/Bakery page.
Holiday Meals at Someone’s Home
If you are invited for dinner at someone’s home, and you aren’t comfortable enough to ask questions about the food, bring a casserole dish (with protein). Often times, hostesses are grateful that you offer. Bring up the offer as soon as you receive the invitation to allow the cook time to understand and accept your needs–they may then think about your concerns as they grocery shop.
If you are comfortable asking questions, consider these pitfalls, then check with the cook if you think these may apply:
- First, start by thanking the cook for caring about you enough to let you share your concerns!
- Concentrate on the entrée. Without going into a major explanation, simply say you have to avoid flour/wheat that may be hidden in marinades & gravy. If you determine the entrée is safe, you can always volunteer to bring a side dish or dessert to round out your meal. Most hostesses appreciate offers.
- If you have a microwave divided dish, bring your own full meal, matching the hosts menu if you don’t want to be different. A minute or two in the microwave, and you are good to go!
- Cooking Bags are great ways to cook big roasts or turkeys, but flour is required to prevent bag from exploding, so ask if you think they may have used this to prepare the entrée.
- If a cream sauce/gravy is planned, suggest cornstarch to thicken or GF condensed cream soups (like Pacific Naturals or Progresso) can substitute for Campbell soups
- If entrée is breaded, ask if a piece could be made without bread crumbs on a separate piece of foil. (Foil is wonderful to separate meat and readily available.)
- Consider being the first in line at the buffet so you can prevent serving spoons from being cross contaminated. You can let your hostess know if this is your plan.
- Again, take a GF casserole with a protein. This way you know you can have a safe main course.
- If you are comfortable with the host/hostess, offer to come early to help with prep. That way you can see how things are prepared or will be served.
- If the event is catered, ask your host/hostess for the caterer’s name and offer to call the caterer yourself. They often have gluten free options, and you will free up the host as well as feel more in control if you call.
Let’s face it. The holidays are not all about the food. They are about enjoying family and friends. Try not to let your diet come between you and them. If in doubt, be proactive and do what you can to take care of your needs. Who wants to be sick?
How do you handle the holidays? Let us know by adding a comment!