Finding out that you need to cater for someone on a gluten free diet may cause you to panic. What on earth can you feed them? Are you going to have to feed them something boring and plain? Don't stress yourself - there are still plenty of foods they can eat. Here are some hints on catering for a guest on a gluten free diet …
1. Suitable Foods
When you're catering for someone on a gluten free diet, the first thing is to find out what they can and can't eat. There's a helpful list at mayoclinic.com and celiac.com. Although a lot of familiar products are out of bounds, you'll still find plenty of ingredients that you can use. Or just ask them to give you some ideas and ingredients that they like.
2. Avoid Cross-Contamination
You should also be careful to avoid cross-contamination if you're preparing other dishes containing gluten at the same time. It's wrong to assume that it won't matter if you use the same utensils. This is not the case, and can make your guest ill. Use separate dishes and utensils. Also make sure that dishes containing gluten have separate serving spoons from those that don't.
3. Read Ingredients Carefully
You'll need to read any packets very carefully. Check the lists of ingredients thoroughly; foods containing gluten can sneak in where you'd least expect it. Some stores and manufacturers label products that are gluten-free; your local health food stores will point you to the suitable products they sell.
Cooking for someone who can't eat gluten may seem a daunting prospect, but there are plenty of people who have done it before you. A number of them have shared their experience by writing a blog. Take advantage of their knowledge and read their blogs. Try glutenfreegirl.com or glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com.es. You'll also see some tasty recipes and handy tips.
5. Take It Seriously
People on a gluten free diet can be treated as a nuisance. It's important to recognise that they have a genuine medical problem, and aren't just being fussy. So never be tempted to sneak a problem ingredient in on the grounds that "a little bit won't hurt them". It will. If it's really that much trouble to cater for their diet, then don't invite them.
6. Bring a Dish
Most guests who follow a restricted diet don't want to cause their host any difficulties. So they would most likely be more than happy to bring something suitable to eat. If they bring a main course, you could add some side dishes that they can eat, such as salads and vegetable dishes.
7. Familiar Foods
Cooking a meal without gluten may seem daunting at first, but there are plenty of possibilities among the foods that you're already used to cooking. Use those as a base for your menu, and it will be easier to decide what to cook. You'll also find it easier than experimenting with unfamiliar ingredients. Rice- or potato-based dishes are ideal, or try corn tortillas for a Mexican flavor. Then there are rice noodles.
When you're catering for an occasional guest on a gluten free diet, it might seem a lot of trouble to work out what they can and can't eat. However, it doesn't take too much effort to find some ingredients that they can tolerate. So don't be worried about what you're going to cook. Do you have any tips for following a gluten free diet?