Whether this is your first or your fiftieth year eating gluten free, you know that a holiday gathering is minefield of foods that have gluten hiding in them. Your well-meaning Aunt Susie will have made her famous potato rolls just for you because she just doesn’t understand that they still have wheat in them. While everyone else is digging in to the food, you are still calculating which ones of them you will be able to eat without having to worry about getting “glutened”.
I understand exactly how you feel. You stand around watching others eat, wishing you had just stayed home, because you just don’t know what you can have. Here are some tips to help you stay gluten free while enjoying the party.
- Stick with the fruit and veggies. There is almost certainly going to be a platter full of carrot sticks, celery stick, broccoili and cauliflower florets, and cherry tomatoes. You can have all of those. Just be careful of the dip. Most packaged dips contain wheat in some form.
- Snacks. Potato chips, Cheetos, and Tortilla chips are all gluten free. You can be sure that you can eat those, if there is nothing else available. You can also snack on the peanuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds, and just about any other nuts the hostess has on the table. Just remember, plain, no coatings.
- The Buffet If there is a platter of meats and cheeses for making sandwiches, you can make your own sandwich with bread you take yourself. Believe it or not, when I go to a party, I tuck a couple of slices of my favorite gluten free bread in a zip lock bag and put it in my purse. This lets me take advantage of the sandwich making platter on a buffet style party. If all there are sandwiches that are premade, ask the hostess if she has a couple of slices of the meats leftover so you can make your own sandwich.
- Soups and Casseroles. You may already know that no soup or casserole is safe. The best way to find out what is in the soup is to ask the hostess . If she can’t tell you then pass it up. The safest foods for you in a seated dinner are the vegetables. Anything that is just the cooked vegetable, with no sauce or gravy, is fine. Green beans, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, corn, rutabaga, butter peas, carrots, are all fine and gluten free. Stay away from green bean casserole, broccoli casserole, and any other casserole.
- Most meats are ok. Prime Rib, Turkey (Butterball is gluten free, ask the hostess) Roasted Chicken, lamb chops and other meats are going to be gluten free as long as they are not coated in flour before cooking, such as fried chicken or pork chops. And of course you know before asking that Beef Wellington is covered in flour crust. You might ask if you can bring a pan of gluten free dressing.
- Desserts The hardest part of the holiday meal to get through is usually the dessert. How are you going to navigate that scrumptious holiday spread of coconut cake, chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and everything else the cooks can come up with? Your very best bet is to ask the hostess of the party if you can bring a dessert. If she is ok with that, then make a delicious gluten free Death By Chocolate Trifle, and make sure you eat that. Others at the party won’t even know it’s gluten free. Or, whip up a quick gluten free pumpkin pie. Most of the larger grocery chains are going to carry the new Pillsbury Gluten Free Pie Crust Dough in the dairy case. Roll it out, put the crust in the pie pan, and your pie is ready in a jiffy!
While eating gluten free can be a difficult task in the beginning, just by paying a little bit of attention at a party you CAN stay gluten free and enjoy the holiday parties.