Growing up, potlucks were one of my favourite things. I even bought a cookbook filled with "Potluck Pleasers". I loved cooking and baking, and I loved sharing. I loved both sharing my things, and sharing other people's things. So if you ask me to whip up one dish and then go to a big meal with a bunch of different foods and try a little of everything, while everyone enjoys whatever magic I brought? Oh my goodness. It was heaven. Whoever thought of potlucks was seriously the smartest person ever.
Untilllll you introduce celiac disease. Now, you're asking me to make a dish that people will enjoy (Okay! Still love that part!) and then go to a big meal where all the food is next to eachother, there is no control over who brings what, and what ingredients are in what, nobody considers that the buns shouldn't be right next to the veggie tray. Even if there is something that seems to be GF, it was made in someone's kitchen, and I don't trust other people's kitchens. So really you're asking me to make some food and then carefully eat that one dish that I brought, along with some crackers I smuggled in my purse? No thanks...
I went to one shortly after I was diagnosed, only because I'd signed up for it before diagnosis. It made me sad, made me realize how much I love potlucks, and that that would probably be my last one.
Well, it won't be. I'm hosting my sister's bridal shower, and when I offered her about twenty different themes and told her to pick her favourites, she selected "Fifties Housewife" and "Potluck". So I've asked everyone to bring their favourite dish along with the recipe and dress like a fifties housewife. (Don't worry, I'm completely aware that I might be the only one dressed up, and that's okay. I'm also decorating vintage, and playing some old school games. I would also make some mid-century favourites for food, except that everyone is making food, not me.)
At one point, my husband asked what I'm supposed to eat, and I realized how terrifying a potluck was.
A potluck in my own home. People will be bringing food they made into my house, my kitchen. My safe place, my gluten-free sanctuary will be filled with food I can't eat. I'll eat ahead of time, and have some snacks out that I can eat, and I'll be fine, but that doesn't mean I'm not terrified.
And then, the other day, one of my friends asked if anyone else had any food allergies, or if it was just me. I told her not to worry about me, and she says she's been eating gluten-free, so it's not a big deal. And a couple more people messaged me to ask for gluten-free ideas.
I was actually trying to avoid this, because it's not my bridal shower. It's for my sister, who eats and loves her gluten. And they're supposed to bring recipes so she enters married life with a cookbook full of tried-and-true favourites, not gluten-free alternatives her sister can eat.
However, I'm still touched that people are thinking about me.
So the bridal shower is tomorrow, and I'm a mix of nerves, stress, and excitement. I'm psyched for my sister, I'm so happy she's getting married. I'm nervous about eating, and all that food... And I'm super stressed about all the tiny details. My house is still a mess, and I only have tonight to clean it.
And then tomorrow, I need to finish cleaning (God knows I won't finish tonight), decorate, get dressed, do my hair, fix my nails, make some chocolate-dipped strawberries, finish washing the vintage dishes I got for the party, and make sure everyone remembers what time it starts. Oh, and take pictures before anyone shows up, because we all know it's going to look amazing.
I need to stop stressing. I barely slept last night or the night before because I'm just a ball of nerves. I just need to keep breathing and get through it and focus on the highlights. Everything will be perfect.