By Janet Dalziel, President of the Canadian Celiac Association
- Never surprise hosts with your dietary requirements. Most people want everyone they invite to enjoy the dinner.
- Learn the art of gentle assertiveness – parents are often better at this in defence of their children’s needs than adults are for their own. Don’t be a martyr as it spoils the occasion for everyone.
- Don’t overwhelm others with too much detail on hidden sources of gluten. It frightens them – and they genuinely do not want to make you ill.
- Offer to bring a dish or course. Dessert is often the hardest for people prepare for you.
- Make helpful menu suggestions. The host wants to serve pasta? Bring your own GF pasta to be cooked separately and share the sauce.
- Hover helpfully in the kitchen to pre-empt accidental issues of cross-contamination.
- Hide a baggy of GF crackers in your pocket or purse so that you can enjoy the dip or cheese like everyone else. You may have to put a dollop of dip on a little plate for yourself first instead of using the communal and inevitably contaminated bowl.
- Try not to feel deprived if everyone else gets a fabulous dessert you can’t have and you are served the ubiquitous ice cream or fruit salad.
- Accept that they won’t always get it right, and enjoy the company and the wine.
- Give hosts a second or third or fourth chance to accommodate you (whatever your limit is) on subsequent occasions, after which you should feel free to decline invitations. People who care about you will try their best.
- Host your own dinners with fabulous gluten-free menus so that your friends and family see that it can be done without depriving guests of great tastes, textures and variety.