A Gluten-Free Spook!


I have been thinking about the idea of being “spooked” ever since Allergic Girl made this post. Shortly after reading her tale, I was at a conference held at a hotel in NYC. I spoke repeatedly with the waiter, gave very specific instructions and received this plate of chicken and vegetables that looked perfectly safe. But I just couldn’t eat it – I was “spooked.” Things were so hectic in the dining room, I couldn’t confirm that the chicken breast wasn’t pre-marinated (as has proven a problem at other hotels) or that it wasn’t cooked on a grill with bread or gluten containing sauces. So rather than risk it I sat and ate the cold lunch I had brought with me “just in case.” It could very well be that all of the food was safe but once you are spooked it’s just not worth it.

Which brings me to my latest dilemma. I had a grand plan for this weekend. Spend Saturday night with a group of girlfriends eating lots of food, decorating eggs and sampling various wares from BabyCakes bakeshop. I wanted to know what items were the best so I started reading online reviews. Then I discovered that they are not a completely gluten free facility. I started some investigation into the way their bakery is set up. From the BabyCakes Web site:

Should there be concern regarding cross-contamination? BabyCakes realizes that many people are concerned about cross-contamination, because spelt flour is used in our facilities. We take every precaution to ensure that gluten-free items are not corrupted by spelt flour. We use separate pans, sinks, spatulas, measuring cups, cleaning utensils and bowls. During the baking process, we bake gluten free items first and wipe down the oven between baking. Although we take every precaution to ensure a safe gluten free environment, it is ultimately up to the consumer to decide her comfort level.”

Knowing the amount of time it took me to get my antibodies down to zero, the amount of work that my Mom does every time I come home to “decontaminate” the kitchen, all of the money invested in new baking equipment and Teflon cookware, and how grateful I was for my gluten free kitchen, I just couldn’t do it.

This sent me into a slight funk – I had already sent the menu to my friends to ask them what they wanted. I was so looking forward to just buying some goodies rather than fixing everything myself. I was disappointed, I didn’t want to disappoint my friends, I didn’t want to deal with this miniscule protein that makes me so sick!

Well it turned out just fine. My friends and I had a great time. I tried out some new recipes, bought some other gluten free cookies and felt safe knowing that I didn’t cross the line after being spooked. Every person with Celiac has to decide what and where they are comfortable eating. But it’s important to my piece of mind to listen to my gut.

Of course I still plan on trying out some of the amazing looking gluten free recipes from BabyCakes founder’s (the fabulously feisty Erin McKenna) appearance on Martha Stewart. And lucky for us, according to her interview with Kelly from the CeliacChicks they are working on a dedicated gluten free facility in San Diego. I will be first in line.

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Allergic Girl said,

April 9, 2007 @ 1:02 am

thanks for the spooked link and really bravo for literally trusting your gut at that hotel. getting sick is just not worth it and how smart to bring a snack! getting spooked is annoying but worth paying attention to.

also, sorry to hear about your experience with babycakes but i’m not surprised. given my poor and disappointing dealings with them and their products….

happy holidays though, loved that snow today!

Catherine said,

April 13, 2007 @ 2:25 am

I still can’t believe this weather in APRIL!! It’s out of control.

We have to trust our guts when we get spooked – our instincts are smarter than we realize sometimes…

nowheymama said,

May 1, 2007 @ 6:05 pm

Spooked! What a perfect word! That is exactly how I feel sometimes.

Crystal "Zella" B. said,

December 29, 2007 @ 9:44 am

Thank you for posting this. I’m a newbie Celiac and pretty much think I’m nuts for having that “spooked” feeling about certain foods or products. However, I know that if I end up getting contaminated – it’s NOT pretty. So, thank you for letting me know that I’m not the only one feeling this way.

=)
Cheers!

» A Gluten-Free Dinner with Mario Batali | A Gluten Free Guide said,

March 11, 2008 @ 9:50 pm

[...] meal, so why put myself through it? When I arrived at the restaurant, I did get a little spooked. It was relatively early on a Thursday night but the place was buzzing. Crowded and noisy, how [...]

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