Let’s face it: families have a tendency to angst over a member being gluten free, and to feel resentful that they might have to move out of their comfort zone in preparing food for them. ”What are we going to do?!” The gluten free member of the family, on the other hand, tends to feel uncared for and left out of holiday favorites if their family members don’t make an effort on their behalf. And both parties also tend to think that gluten free foods are not delicious like the “regular” stuff. But boy are they wrong! There is an easy way out of this uncomfortable dynamic. The holidays are a time to reunite with family members briefly and delight in each other’s company, and you can make that happen whether you are the gluten free member or whether you are the non-gluten free member of the family! If you both do it, that’s even better.
Let’s think about it for a moment: the traditional Thanksgiving meal is mainly gluten free anyway! The items that are NOT gluten free traditionally are:
- The stuffing
- The gravy
- The pies
The following items ARE gluten free:
- The turkey and the cranberry sauce
- The corn and peas
- The mashed and/or sweet potatoes
- The non-starchy vegetables
- The whipped cream or ice cream!
Take Charge of Your Happiness
So, here goes. For the gluten free member of the family, take charge of your happiness. These are your tips:
- Offer to make your favorite pie! Or buy one. And don’t forget whipped cream or ice cream. So easy! If the host or others choose to bring other pies or desserts, at least you’ll have a dessert to eat. And use Bob’s Red Mill’s Pie Crust mix for your pie – it is absolutely delicious and no one will ever know it isn’t gluten free. Click here (http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-pie-crust-mix.html) to purchase online. Make sure to use 12 Tablespoons butter and 8 Tablespoons palm oil shortening (Spectrum), cooled down, to cut into the mix. The only other thing you will need for the crust is ice-cold water.
- Offer to make the stuffing too! My favorite recipe is Martha’s Stewart cornbread recipe – it’s fancy but SOOOOO delicious and can be made ahead of time – I promise it will be a hit. And don’t actually put it in the turkey – just bake it in a pan so no one gets sick! Click here (https://www.marthastewart.com/336872/buttermilk-cornbread) for the Martha Stewart stuffing recipe, or make your own stuffing using gluten free bread crumbs, now widely available. Stop whining about being gluten free. Don’t make a big deal out of it. Ask whether foods have flour in them before taking a serving. Ask in a matter of fact way and move on! Your family members/friends will appreciate it.
- Ask whoever is making the turkey if they could use arrowroot flour or rice flour when making the gravy, instead of wheat flour. Or ask them to set some of the juices aside for you before making the gravy. Again, be matter of fact. And gush about the delicious pie and stuffing you will be bringing!
For the non-gluten free members of the family, it is all about empathy. Here are your tips:
- Show goodwill! Offer to make or provide something gluten free! Do it with love in your heart and a sense of adventure. So what if you have to buy a few extra things, spend more, and do some research? It’s the holidays – get in the spirit! Most people who are gluten free have a health problem and can’t help it.
- Ask your gluten free family member if they would like to bring a pie and stuffing. Do it nicely – explain that you don’t normally cook or bake gluten free and you’re nervous to try, and also say that you are very eager to taste what they might bring. Tell them it’s important to you that they enjoy their meal.
- Don’t make a big deal out of other people’s dietary restrictions – to them, to yourself, or to others. If you use flour, bread crumbs, rye, barley or soy sauce in anything, make sure you alert your gluten family member to what is NOT gluten free, and what IS gluten free.
Enjoy each other’s company, and enjoy the food. Happy Thanksgiving, folks!
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