invited to dinner - gluten-free preparations

Ian is someone I worked with briefly a few years ago - and we had just recently connected to learn more about what the other was doing on the work front. 

I share this to position the situation aptly. We are not friends. We like what we know about each other, but that isn't a lot. We have a good vibe, and I guess that was enough for Ian's generous invitation to dinner at his home. 

This invitation came by way of email. This means I had a minute to breathe before responding. How would Ian and his new wife (who had never met us) feel about being put to the test in the gluten department? Only one way to find out. 

I wrote back that we would be delighted to join them, but "understood that they may not be up to the gluten-free challenge". I wanted to give them an easy out. Some people don't even like to cook, let alone contend with someone's dietary restrictions. 

Ian graciously responded "gluten-free? No problem!"... He was confident that they could pull it off adding that "they would be careful." How nice is that?

We arrived at their beautiful home, and were greeted by Ian, his gorgeous wife Neri and their uber friendly dog Mozart. Nothing breaks the ice between a group of strangers like an exuberant dog who believes that everyone has come to visit him.

Each dish was gluten-free, and was announced as such in the name of putting me at ease right away. There were gluten-free crackers. A warm baguette on the table... so good that it drew suspicion, leading Ian to show me the bag. Next there was borscht, scallops on a beautifully arranged salad, baked trout topped with peaches and thyme, quinoa salad with plums and fresh green beans. I could hardly move - when a chocolate cake was presented. Gluten free. 

As Ian was plating the cake, Neri returned to the table with a little container of cookies. "Not gluten-free" she says, "These are for me." It turns out that the shop had one gluten-free cake and it was chocolate. Neri, who contends with her own food intolerance, can not eat chocolate. Here I am in her home, eating a cake that she can not eat - so that I can. A strange reversal of roles.

I'm sharing this dining experience, because I think it really touches on the type of celiac situation that can bring some high anxiety - for both the guest - AND the host. I'd say that in this case it all went swimmingly. We learned a lot more about each other, everyone tried new things, we ate very well and are forming a friendship that is based not only on common interests, but more importantly, empathy and trust. I send my thanks to our new friends for this amazing gluten-free gift.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely evening indeed with your hosts being so supportive and kind! I always try to explain to people that plain old meat and three vegs is gluten free, and that that's easy done, but they still seem more worried than me :) Lucky you with such a nice dinner AND chocolate cake!