Let me start off with, it feels good to be back. After several weeks of a busier than usual spring, this Savvy Celiac is back in business. My other job has spurts of crazy busy time, and the last few weeks has been one of those times.
As many of you know, two weeks ago we went to Charleston, South Carolina. The trip we had was fantastic! The best choice we made was to rent a place where we could do all the cooking. Our one time venturing out to a restaurant (Sticky Fingers in Downtown Charleston) Emma got sick (by the way they said they were working on a gluten free menu, they baked Emma’s food which should have helped with cross contamination worries. She loved the food, but didn’t love the way her tummy felt about 3 hours later–But I digress).
Other than that, we had a great trip, until we got to the airport, which brings me to this post.
We had eaten a late lunch and got to the airport at 5:30, two hours before our flight. We had our emergency “Medical Supplies” box with some snacks and so I thought I could get her through until at least Charlotte where we had our layover. But Emma was suddenly hungry, as were we. And we needed to find a gluten-free solution. And let me tell you, the Charleston, South Carolina airport is not exactly the place for that. The food was mostly deep fried, pre-made sandwiches or pizza.
From the limited selection of dining, we found a place that appeared to have some possibilities: salads and fruit. But the problem: there was no way to find out if the meat on the salad was gluten free. We asked at the counter and they said she shouldn’t eat it the meat in the salad because they were sure it had gluten in it and she’d be better off with “a bagel or something”…..YIKES! (-As yet another aside- I really don’t like it when people talk to me about the gluten free diet like they’re teaching me what it is…).
We ended up with fresh fruit and potato chips for her. Great dinner right? I felt so bad for her, I felt claustrophobic. Here she was trapped in a place where she can’t leave to eat and she’s still got 3-4 hours of traveling ahead of her. And I can’t do anything to help her and no one else knows squat about gluten free foods. Have you ever felt claustrophobic because you can’t find a safe place to eat? I am sure it must be a common experience.
About 15 minutes later, after eating and before we went to our gate, we walked by a quick grab-and-go kiosk in the airport. I started looking — for a cheese stick or something with more nutritional value and substance. I did find some cheese sticks. But I also spotted this: Oscar Mayer Cracker Combos. The meats appeared gluten free as did the cheeses. The only things that weren’t were the crackers in the middle and the “dessert” seemed suspect. The packaging is the reason why I thought we could try it. There were dividers between each item and the cover was sealed to each divider, so they didn’t move around and touch the other food.
Emma opened it up on each edge only to reveal the cheese and meat. The crackers and dessert remained covered and sealed. She ate the food with her own Schar Crackers and was satisfied and she didn’t get sick.
Upon review online, Oscar Mayer is a Kraft product. Kraft says it won’t hide gluten in ingredient labels according to its gluten-free statement on their website. So the meat and cheese were indeed safe (or as safe as they could be given the “Cracker Combos” they came in). The tray with the food inside appeared clean and there weren’t crumbs everywhere. Clearly choosing to eat this is a personal decision and some readers might not be comfortable trying it. But I really felt helpless and needed to find something for her. We would probably do it again in a pinch.
Have you ever gone to lengths you didn’t think you would, to get yourself or your child a gluten free meal? Feel free to comment below.