Monday, 29 December 2014

The Holidays

Well, I've been pretty quiet on here the last couple of months, mostly because I haven't really had anything relevant to blog about, but I think the holidays in general are pretty relevant to all with special dietary requests. So here is how I got through my holidays:

Christmas Dinner Theatre

The first Christmas event that I attended was a lovely Christmas dinner theatre. Pretty basic concept - they feed you dinner, then you watch a play. The play was Christmas-themed, of course, and I loved it. It was amazing.

The dinner, however, was pretty so-so. When I called to buy the tickets, I asked if they would be able to accomodate me in any way. I was pretty open-minded about options. The lady said that most of the dinner was already gluten-free, so I would just be able to eat anything. Well, anything besides the stuffing, the pasta salad, the gravy, and the buns, of course. Well, that left turkey, ham, potatoes, corn, and fruit salad. It wasn't what I would call a plentiful banquet to begin with, so knocking out half the options made it pretty depressing. Oh, and the fruit salad was right next to the buns so I couldn't trust it.

I did try to make the best of it though - I loaded up on mashed potatoes and corn, and I smothered my dry turkey in (pre-packaged) butter, and put on a happy face. And you know, that plate of food was pretty delicious. Maybe not worth what I paid for it, and maybe not what I would call "accommodating" but hey, it's the holidays.

Work Christmas Party

Two days later, we had my work Christmas party to attend. Ahead of time, I asked one of the organizers about the meal, and she contacted the catering company. They promised to make and set aside an un-contaminated plate of food with my name on it.

When it came time for my table to go get food, I grabbed a waiter and told him my name. He returned shortly with a plate stuffed with roast beef, turkey, roasted potatoes, and hot vegetables. There was an au jus on the turkey, which they assured me was gluten-free (without me asking), but everything else was dry and sauce-less (which I prefer, for safety reasons alone). I barely finished my plate of food and I was stuffed for the rest of the evening.

The organizer also made sure to have at least two gluten-free alcohols on hand, so I ate and drank without a worry. It was a really lovely party, and I loved how care-free I felt.

Work Potluck

Quite possibly the source of the most anxiety for me was a potluck hosted at work. As I've mentioned before, I love potlucks, and I love bringing food to them, so despite my fears, I signed up. I decided to bring a potato dish as well as a dessert so that I would be able to eat real food and junk food (genius, right?). I brought slow cooker scalloped potatoes and some cheesecake truffles. Both went over really well.

As for what I ate, I did some spy-like work ahead of time, and casually asked a couple people what they were bringing and what they were putting in it. Then I went through the line and scoped out about four different dishes I could eat. I also dumped a bunch of raw veggies on my plate too, so no one would see and empty plate and pressure me about going back for seconds. I know, I go to a lot of work to avoid people saying anything, but it worked - nobody said anything. I was feeling a little sick right after lunch, because I ate a lot of dairy, but I figured that was pretty unavoidable.

Holiday Baking

As tends to be the rule for celiacs, I knew the only Christmas baking I would be eating was what I made. I made the cheesecake truffles from the potluck, and then I also whipped up some bacon peanut brittle and some chocolate walnut banana bread. Both went over very well, and I enjoyed them as well.

Home for the Holidays

The next big step in our holiday plans were that we were driving 'home' to Moose Jaw on Christmas Eve and staying with my in-laws through the weekend. That means four days full of meals that I wasn't certain about. I didn't want my mother-in-law to worry about every ingredient in every meal, and I didn't want to be eating out constantly, and I didn't want to compulsively wash every dish in their kitchen. So, in answer to all that, when we got to Moose Jaw, my first stop was a grocery store, and I bought four days worth of freezer dinners. That way, the only dish I needed was a fork, and I could have a quick, safe meal at any time.

Yeah, also picked up granola, oranges and Coke. Can't make it through a weekend without those.

However, I didn't need half of what I bought. I ended up leaving three meals behind in the freezer, and I didn't even touch my oranges or granola. My MIL had actually taken a few steps to carefully cook for and feed me as much as she could, without my permission. Haha. She cooked up a delicious ham and potatoes meal on Boxing Day, and she also had a supply of oranges, chips, and nuts so that I didn't go hungry.

Not that I regret any of the meals I bought! When it comes to my food, I would rather be safe than sorry!! And I think that freezer/microwave meals are pretty safe. Quick, easy, uncontaminated, and I never get to eat them at home.

Christmas Dinner

For Christmas dinner, my mother hosted a feast, as she has every year for as long as I can remember. I was, as usual, a little anxious about it, but I shouldn't have been.

My mother bought and made gluten-free gravy and gluten-free stuffing. She made them just for me and nobody else got any of them (there was plenty of regular gravy and stuffing). Both of parents also ensured that I got the first helping from every dish. They didn't let anyone else grab any food until I had grabbed some, so that the serving utensils couldn't be contaminated. Mind you, the only contaminants were the other stuffing and gravy.

So, I was pretty impressed by their effort, and I ate until I was stuffed. And then of course, my mother pulled out a gluten-free torte for dessert (and tarts for anyone else).

New Year's Eve

For New Year's Eve, I've decided to host another little party at my house, so there won't be any chance of contamination. I'm kind of excited. Much like last year, I'll make a few appetizers ahead of time, and hope they go over just as well.

So, I made it through all of December without getting glutened once. How about you? What were your survival techniques?