I’m going to put this bluntly, I’m exhausted, up in the middle of the night when I shouldn’t be, because my other job (yup The Savvy Celiac works for a running organization too), has two big days coming up starting in just a matter of hours.  I have no business being awake right now!  But here I am because one thing that’s plaguing my mind is a birthday party that Emma’s been invited to on Saturday.  I thought we’d had this stuff down pat after 10 years.  But now we’re in for a little culture shock.

Gluten-Free Conundrum

Emma is invited to this birthday party and at a friend’s house whose family moved here from Viet Nam in the last several years.  The birthday girl was asking Emma at school a lot of questions about her diet and what she could and couldn’t have. Emma implored me to call the host’s mom.  Because of the craziness with work, I’d been dragging my feet.  I finally did on Wednesday night.  And while the other kids are having ready made pizza and lasagna the mom insists on making food for Emma.

After going over with Mom, the fact that Emma couldn’t have breading, sauces, marinades, seasonings, dressings, bouillon, croutons, after 30 minutes of discussion (and her mom not taking no for an answer and several hand-offs of the phone to her daughter who could read ingredient labels better than she) we figured out a potential recipe of  rice lo mein noodles, plain chicken and plain veggies plus some butter and/or olive oil.  Sounds really good right!!?? Yum!– but I digress…

I explained to both the daughter and the mother on the phone why they could not use their colander for the noodles and had to use fresh butter because of the risk of cross contamination, oh and no soy sauce.

Let’s face it, if the roles had been reversed I would have stopped  at “What?  I can’t use my colander?”

But I believe the culture insists that the host makes good on a meal for her, so denying her this right might be considered an insult.

So now my husband and I have posed the question to each other and to our daughter:  What happens if  the meal gets messed up?  Does not eating further insult the family?  Do you eat it at the risk of being glutened but saving face culturally?  We’ve come up with the most simple solution for her meal…but I’m very uneasy about it. Part of the issue is that my job will keep me busy nearly all day away from home, so I can’t even offer to maybe stay and help or be there if she has questions while cooking.

Please keep in mind, I recognize this family is going out of their way to help make Emma feel welcome and we really appreciate that!  Plus the meal could be fabulous!!!  And we want to be as respectful as possible.  As we celiacs know there’s always a big BUT……  But at what potential risk to her health???  I don’t think I’m making something out of nothing here.

Okay– that’s off my chest –What would you do?? Be honest!   Feel free to comment below or on my Facebook page about what you think and if you’ve experienced something similar.  I have to go back to bed and finish off some sleep….and please excuse any late-night typos!  We’ll chat in a few days.

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