Sunday, November 29, 2009

One way to make a difference ...

The word potluck almost always makes me cringe and run in the opposite direction. I used to love potlucks. With a minimal amount of effort you were able to enjoy copious amounts of food and if it was done right it was glorious glorious food. Potlucks can be tricky things as sometimes everyone brings desserts or chips and dip and there is nothing substantial to eat. That used to be my biggest concern. Now potlucks are scary because I don't know what's in the food and because of the potential cross contamination. Contamination is huge. People without allergies are constantly sharing utensils and combining dishes in order to be helpful, not realizing they are now making something you could eat into something you can't eat.

One way to make a difference is volunteering to be involved with the organization. For instance, we have had two potlucks at work recently and I normally avoid them like the plague, but this time I tried a different approach. The first potluck was a pancake breakfast. We had a sign up sheet and I volunteered to bring the pancake mix and a coworker who knows me well volunteered to bring gluten free sausages. There was fruit, bacon and various other dishes brought. Some of the dishes of course contained gluten, but there were enough that didn't (including the pancakes) that made it possible to get full from breakfast and not be bloated! I used Pamela's baking and pancake mix, which is my favorite and I had several people ask me after wards what I used because they wanted to go out and by the same mix. See gluten free doesn't have to mean taste free.

The second potluck was themed. Again as
I had a hand in it, I requested Mexican theme as certain cultures naturally have more gluten free options than others. Mexican and Indian cuisine have lots of options, where as Chinese food does not. At this potluck I requested that everyone in the office fill out place cards for their food items. I found them through Gluten Free Girl and Beneficial Design. They are at the bottom of this page: You can print them off and have them at your next potluck event. They have the name of the food, who made them and what major allergen is present. It makes it a lot easier to figure out what you can and cannot eat, and find the person who made it to double check. There is always the risk of cross contamination at home when the food is being made, but it's a start. Another trick was that my co-workers let me start on the grill first, so that I could use my corn tortillas first before they cooked with flour tortillas.

My co-workers went from knowing very little about gluten free food to knowing quite a bit. They are always interested in learning more about it and asking questions. At least they are very good at pretending to be :) I'm very grateful that they are as understanding as they are and always trying to incorporate my diet as best they can.

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