Sunday, November 28, 2010

My First Gluten and Dairy Free Thanksgiving

During the last family party with my mom’s side of the family, I was at my lowest of lows. My mom practically had to force me to find a dairy-free cookie recipe so I could have a dessert at the party and it took me close to an hour to decide on chocolate crinkle cookies. When making a dairy free pasta salad, I could care less what vegetables she put in it. I wanted nothing more than to lie down and not eat or move. Fast forward six months to my first gluten and dairy free Thanksgiving. (By myself with no parental encouragement) I revised a cookie recipe to be gluten and dairy free, I made an appetizer of meatballs, I baked some corn bread to then dry out for stuffing and finished things with a gluten, dairy, tree nut and soy free pumpkin pie. Wow. I have a lot to be thankful for!

My family is great – my aunt who hosted Thanksgiving went out of her way to make sure I had plenty of dairy and gluten free options available. After potatoes were done cooking, they were separated into two containers: mine had rice milk, olive oil and chives while the others were traditional milk and butter. The gravy was made with my gluten free flour mixture. Vegetables were grilled on aluminum foil. There were even two turkeys – one with stuffing and one without. I even asked people to wash their hands before they were handling food. We did everything right.

But I still got sick.

I started having a reaction while I was almost done eating my dinner. By the time we were ready for dessert, there was no mistaking it: I was glutenized. The girl who was happily chopping potatoes only a few hours early and was so full of life disappeared within minutes. My reaction was small, but I visibly looked pale and disoriented and felt horrible. I am fairly certain that something I ate was cross-contaminated by the tiniest speck of gluten. It is a risk that I am going to be taking when foods are prepared outside the comforts of my gluten free kitchen and many hands were involved in the food creation. It is embarrassing to be sick in front of the people who spent so much effort into making sure I would be safe. I am thankful to have a family who loves me so much that will go out of their way to make sure there is always food for me at the table.

Oh, and for my pie, I totally cheated. Libby’s pumpkin pie mix is clearly labeled gluten free. I successfully substituted evaporated milk for coconut milk. I used the Gluten Free Pantry’s pie crust mix (but rolled the crust out a little too thick…) with a vegetable oil spread instead of butter. Success!

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