Tell me if this sounds familiar – you or someone in your home is gluten-free and you maintain a gluten-free diet but when you invite people over to your home you feel obliged to bring gluten into the house.
For many years I did this. Even though I made delicious gluten-free meals for my family and myself every day, when I had company coming, I panicked! Should I “subject” my guests to my diet? Would they feel deprived eating a gluten-free meal? Was my diet somehow not good enough for others?
Maybe you are a well seasoned gluten-free eater or someone more confidant that I was and the answer is, “Of course not! My home is gluten-free.” If that’s the answer then good for you! But I have found that some people, especially those new to a gluten-free diet, find themselves with the same doubts I had.
This month Diane from The W.H.O.L.E. Gang pulled together an amazing group of gluten-free bloggers to share their viewpoint, tips and tactics for gluten-free living in a series 30 Days to Easy Gluten-free Living.
I decided to share with you a thing or two I have learned over the years about entertaining gluten-free.
When I finally made the decision to entertain the same way I lived, it was Thanksgiving. In the past I had allowed gluten on my dinner table in the form of pies, gravy, stuffing and rolls. This particular year I decided that the entire meal would be gluten-free even though the majority of people joining us were not gluten intolerant. You know what? Everyone said it was the BEST Thanksgiving dinner they ever had – they didn’t feel stuffed and bloated after dinner and in no way did they feel deprived. This taught me a great lesson! What I feed myself and my family is GOOD ENOUGH to feed others who I invite into my home. And for the first time in years I didn’t get ill from all that gluten floating around my kitchen!
When we cook a meal for someone we are in essence sharing of ourselves; our time, our love, our creativity, our caring.
Entertaining is usually about spending time with people we care about and sometimes about trying to impress someone we feel we need to, like the boss or the in-laws. Regardless of the reason the result is the same, you are sharing of yourself.
So why not share who you REALLY are and how you REALLY eat? Look at it this way – if you were invited to a person’s home from Ethiopia, wouldn’t you get more from the experience if they served you a traditional meal than if they tried to make the food you eat everyday? The same holds true for gluten-free, sharing the foods you eat and love will give the other person more of an experience of who you are and how you live than trying to feed them food they can get anywhere else.
My rules for entertaining are pretty simple, I prepare food I love with care and hope others will love it also, I keep it as simple as I can so I can actually enjoy my guests and I try to make everyone who enters my home feel special. I don’t try to be something I am not – like a gourmet French Chef. I just try to be the best of what I am. And you know what? It is enough!
So this isn’t a list of tips and how-tos, it is a mindset change– my hope is that if you are still bringing gluten into your home when you entertain that you will realize you don’t need to do that. If your diet is good enough for you, it is good enough for those you feed. After all, if you compare the food that has gluten in it to the food that doesn’t, you will see that the vast majority is naturally gluten-free. There really is an abundance of gluten-free food out there, so celebrate with it.
Since Oprah signed off for the final time yesterday I just figured you might need someone else to tell YOU that it really is OK to be YOURSELF, even in front of the boss or the in-laws!
On the flip side, if you are a gluten-eater and are entertaining someone who is gluten-free, that’s a different story. You DO need to provide gluten-free food for them to eat; it is a matter of health and safety.
If you need some easy, entertaining recipes here are just a few:
Enjoy your Gluten Free Diet!
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