…at a new friend’s home
One of the hardest things for me after being diagnosed with Celiac was meeting new friends… and being invited over to dinner. I love to hang out with friends, cook, have dinner together, etc.
My friends in Chicago (where we lived for many years before moving west) were around when I was diagnosed and they took everything in stride. Our monthly potluck brunches became 95% gluten free. Our dinners out? Some place safe for me! Dinner at their house? No worries!
And since we’ve moved, meeting new people and getting invited over for dinner has meant having a conversation about my gluten-free life earlier than expected. And it’s not one of those “getting-to-know-you” conversations, it’s a full on “now-you-know-me” conversation. LOL.
So this weekend we were invited to a neighbor’s home for dinner. She’s had us over before, but just in case, I reminded her of my food “allergies”. She laughed and said “Oh yes! No worries!”
She served a lovely pot roast dinner. And she assured me that there was no flour, no wheat, nothing.
I helped myself.
Mashed potatoes, salad, and pot roast. Yum.
After two bites (and two more to go on the plate), I was listening to her daughter ask her about the recipe. The conversation went something like this:
“Mom, this is Cristina’s British Roast recipe?” asked the Daughter.
“Yes.” replied the Mom.
“But you made it without the flour. That’s great.” remarked the Daughter.
I took another bite of the tasty roast.
“Yes,” Mom replied, “It was easy to skip that step.”
“Oh, it’s so good.” said the Daughter. “What other seasonings did you use?”
I took the last bite of potatoes and roast from my plate.
“Oh, you know this recipe,” remarked Mom. “It’s the same one you made last fall. The one with the really dark stout beer. I think I used two large cans of Guinness this time.”
I swallowed hard and stared at my plate.
This sweet older woman who had made dinner for me and my love, invited the neighbors and her daughter over to meet us, and had spent the better part of her day cooking for us…. .she had no idea.
And at that very moment, I just didn’t have the heart to say anything.
What could she do about it?
What could I?
What would saying anything in that moment help?
I wondered all of these things to myself and made a mental note of refusing the new beer offered my way with an explanation of why I can’t have beer.
And I went home. And I’ve felt guilty, sad, stressed, overwhelmed, and ill since.
Sometimes being gluten-free isn’t easy.
Sometimes it forces us to develop stronger voices.
And take second helpings of the salads instead.
Bah. Twice in one month. And it hasn’t happened to me in SOOOOO long.
Ah well. Live an learn.
What do you all do?
How do you accept new invitations/new friendships without burdening your host?
Or becoming the “high maintenance” guest?