That’s the question that is plaguing my mind as of late.  We just got Emma’s class schedule and sure enough, she has, what we used to call, Home Ec(onomics).  She’ll be doing the cooking portion this fall and sewing is yet to come later this year.

I don’t know what to expect and I have heard only a little on how others have made this work.  I will be emailing the teacher this weekend with the hopes of her greeting me with complete understanding and flexibility. But as we all know– that may or may not happen.

If you have already been through this, what has been your experience?

Did you,

  1. Have your child cook what the other kids were cooking but not let them taste the food?
  2. Prepare a gluten free version of what the other kids were doing so she could eat it? (and then did you supply the gluten free ingredients?)
  3. Let them even participate in baking?  7th graders + flour + many kitchens = a gluteny disaster for me.
  4. Volunteer in the class to ensure everything went okay?  I don’t really want to do this, but I will if it guarantees she can create something that she can eat.

So that’s it, I would love to hear your feedback and I am sure others will learn from it too.  I will do a recap on how it went later in the school year.

Please see additional posts on this topic:  Gluten Free in Home Ec part 2: Working with the School, Gluten Free in Home Ec part 3:  Launching a Plan, Gluten Free in Home Ec part 4: 504 Plan Complete and 504 Plan and Celiac Kids



6 Responses to “Welcome to Home Ec: Will the Cooking Be Gluten Free Friendly?”

  1. I was in 7th grade home ec not tooooooo long ago, and my teacher was pretty understanding. I made an alternate (gf) version of whatever everyone else was making, with my own pans and of course my own supplies-almost 10 years ago you couldn’t find gf products anywhere. You probably don’t have to volunteer in the class, as by 7th grade I’m sure your daughter is quite resourceful and if you prep her and teacher on the situation, I’m sure it will be fine 🙂

  2. Things are probably different now, but the only thing we baked when I was in 7th grade home ec was english muffin pizzas. That should be an easy substitution, I would think.

    I hope that your daughter’s teacher will be both willing and able to make adjustments. Oh, and she’ll be mortified if you go into the classroom with her. Just sayin’.

  3. I never had home ec. (I stayed away from it because of other more severe allergies), but here’s my take on the situation:
    Let Emma decide how she wants to handle the class. Middle school is a tough place to be, even tougher when you have anything that sets you apart (CD for example). If she wants to be able to taste, then find a way to make that work (baking will be the hardest thing to make work because of flour dust!). If she doesn’t want to taste and just wants to cook, that’s the easiest one to work out.
    I think it would be nearly impossible to do any type of GF cooking in a kitchen that is non-GF and full of 7th graders and still have it be GF. Maybe the teacher would be willing to have a lesson or lesson section on allergy friendly cooking and the class can learn about cross contamination and how to accommodate special diets. It doesn’t have to be just GF (though that should be part of it!), but can include things like nut free cooking, egg free cooking etc. That way Emma is less likely to be singled out. Of course, it would take a very understanding/cooperative/brave teacher to take something like that on, but it’s not impossible.

    Just my two cents worth.

  4. Ahh, middle school home ec class. This was probably one of the biggest challenges as my daughter made her way through the school years. I spoke to the home ec — I think its called Family and Consumer Science now – teacher who agreed that my daughter could bring in her own gf ingredients so that her group would make the gf version of whatever the class was doing that day. She gave me the first recipe and all went well. Then she forgot to follow up before they made the second item. OK so we all make mistakes even when we promise to do something a certain way. But the teacher then tried to blame my daughter for not reminding her that we needed the recipe in advance. That was never part of the plan — the teacher was just supposed to email it to me prior to “cooking” day. I was more upset that she tried to shift the blame, making my daughter feel bad about her special circumstances. As for my daughter, she just made the skillet lasagna that day and was thankful she did not have to eat it because she said it looked quite unappetizing. The rest of the year went more smoothly because I made sure to email the teacher weekly to get the recipes. Fortunately, everything they made was pretty simple to convert to a gluten-free version. But I rested easier once my daughter got to the sewing part of the course!
    Despite my experience, I would suggest talking with the teacher,putting the plan in writing and “cc” ing itto the guidance office and perhaps the principal. Since eating the food is part of the whole experience, I would try to send in the supplies for a gf version whenever possible. And I would suggest not going in to oversee the class. If a problem were to come up and you pointed it out, it would probably embarass your daughter. Once she knows what she has to avoid, and she probably already does, trust her to handle the situation. She will be on her own with the diet more and more as she moves through middle school to high school and college and this is but one step on the way. Hope this helps.

  5. I would not have my student participate, just as I , an adult with Celiac, will not participate in a gluten containing cooking environment. Loose flour is airborne and remains for days on the surface and in the air it blows over to your bowl. I believe it to be unsafe for a Celiac to be in such a room filled with airborne flour. This is why foods currently not made in a gluten safe environment are cross contaminated.

  6. Thanks to everyone for their feedback. I see it from all sides, I really do. Plus, it really helps to know how people were able to “make it work” (as Tim Gunn would say). New post coming Monday with the latest details.

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