This week, my friend, Peyten, invited us over for dinner. I know Peyten from my college days as she was my little sister in my sorority. Ah, college…But I digress. Back to food. I emailed Peyten earlier in the week to ask if she had any questions about cooking gluten-free. She said she would use my blog as a reference for recipes. Now that’s intimidating.
Sure, I write recipes and cook all the time but there’s a part of me that fears other people reading and using my recipes. What if the food tastes terrible? What if the cooking time is totally wrong? What if it just doesn’t make sense? (Peyten’s an English teacher so I was also worried about grammar and parallel structure.) I actually felt like I was back in middle school, getting my essay read and ripped apart by my teacher. Do you remember that feeling of dread when the teacher told you she was returning your paper? Same feeling, only this time the success or failure of the assignment would be on display in front of five other people.
As I walked into Peyten’s house on Tuesday night, I didn’t know what she was making or what to expect. I was amazed when I saw the bustle in her kitchen and all of the delicious things being prepared. And everything looked like it should look. I breathed a sigh of relief and was ready to enjoy the gluten-free meal.
Here’s what Peyten made. Quite a feast and everything was delicious.
Peyten’s boyfriend, Stan, added his own component to the meal, grilled fruit. It was a unique and flavorful addition, especially the pineapple. It would be a perfect dessert too.
It always means so much to me when people invite me to dinner and want to cook for me. It’s intimidating to cook for anyone, but especially a person who’s gluten-free. I’m amazed anytime a friend or family member welcomes me into their home and wants to give “gluten-free cooking” a try. The time and energy that Peyten must have spent researching, planning and shopping for this meal is much more than cooking for a gluten-eating group. People have no idea just how moving it is for me to eat outside of my house, but it’s huge. Our lives can actually be normal, something I doubted would ever be possible when I was first diagnosed.
While Peyten’s use of my recipes intimidated me, this exercise of having other people make my dishes was definitely good and I should really do it more often to get feedback on what works and doesn’t work. Also, since I’ve been gluten-free for almost three years, sometimes I take for granted the things that I just know and consequently don’t clearly explain in my posts. I want Gluten Freedom not just to be useful for those who are gluten-free. I want to provide a resource for gluten-eating people that are hosting a GF person in their home. I hope to create clear, manageable recipes that will make GF guests feel comfortable, but also minimize stress for the host by using simple ingredients and directions.
While at Peyten’s, I was reminded of a couple of tricky gluten-topics that I should discuss:
- Chicken broth/stock sometimes contains gluten. Yes, I know. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Some of the brands that I use are Pacific and Imagine.
- When buying ice cream, you obviously want to stay away from Cookies ‘n Cream and Cookie Dough, but I also avoid generic brands that have a ton of ingredients, making it difficult to determine whether or not there’s gluten. When I buy ice cream, I go with Edy’s or Breyer’s.
- Vanilla extract (for the chocolate sauce) can be controversial in regards to gluten content. While vanilla does contain grain alcohol, it should be gluten-free, since the alcohol has gone through a distillation process. The same thinking applies with vinegar and liquor. Beer, however, still contains gluten because it has not been distilled.
So, did the recipes pass the test? Everything tasted yummy and I woke up the next day feeling great! (This doesn’t always happen when I eat outside of my home.) Hopefully my grammar and sentence structure passed too!
Thank you, Peyten, and the many others who have hosted me in the past and those who will have me in the future.
Note: Photos are from when I made these dishes previously. Peyten’s looked very similar though! I’m not yet quite tacky enough to take my camera to someone else’s home but I have a feeling I will soon.