We are two weeks to Thanksgiving and Hanukkah and less than six weeks to Christmas. Yup the holidays that focus so much on food, family and friends are getting close.
Some folks might be freaking out about the holidays just simply because of how quickly they are coming up. But there are a whole lot of other people who may be worried about how they will manage their gluten-free diet during the holidays.
I have covered this topic a few times for Gluten Free Living magazine. Last year we talked about how to handle going to someone else’s home for a holiday meal. The magazine that available now has information on how you can host your own gluten free holiday meal.
Here are some suggestions I have on how you can stay sane, stay safe and stay FULL over the holidays.
Staying gluten free as a guest at someone else’s holiday meal
This, in my opinion is the most stressful option versus hosting the meal at your home.
- Contact the host of the event. They may not know you are gluten free. Ask questions about the meal. If the meal involves the traditional turkey, is it gluten free? It may not be. About.com’s Gluten Free Cooking webpage has a good list of turkey companies, their gluten-free statements and phone numbers to confirm or ask questions. I did a quick scan and was able to confirm via website Jennie O, Honeysuckle White and Butterball still have some gluten free turkey options. You always need to check ingredients.
- Your next question to ask, will they stuff the turkey or did they buy a pre-stuffed turkey. Either way, gluteny stuffing inside the turkey is a no-no for gluten free folks.
- Offer to bring an item or two to share. I like to bring something that is SOOO fabulous no one would ever know the difference. For me, that means a pie (or another dessert like holiday cookies). Other ideas could include cornbread (love this as a bread option for family gatherings), wine, deviled eggs, and maybe a fruit or relish tray.
- The biggest thing here is that once you determine what is gluten free, you should talk to the host about getting your food first. To keep your contribution from getting contaminated, you can always serve a part of it with the meal and keep a portion of it tucked away in the kitchen.
- If you’re feeling comfortable with the host, you could pass this post along to them: Cooking Gluten Free for Celiac Family or Friends? Read this first!
Hosting the holidays – gluten free
The least stressed out I have ever been at a holiday meal was when it was entirely gluten free. Hosting it may be the only way to make it happen. The only other time we have had a gluten-free holiday was when my parents went to an all gluten-free holiday meal a few years back. From my perspective, even with all the work that goes into the meal, it is worthwhile to host so I can be in control of the contents.
Some of the same suggestions as listed above ring true here as well.
- Get a gluten free turkey! (See link above for info)
- Make your own stuffing! Rudi’s has a contest on their Facebook page going through tomorrow. They have launched a new stuffing in time for Thanksgiving. You can get a $1.00 off coupon for the stuffing here.
- Gravy — I just use my staple gluten free flour to thicken gravy and no one knows the difference. I don’t use corn starch because that gelatinous texture grosses me out. But it works in a pinch.
- Try your hands at a gluten free pie! A lot of ingredients in the pie fillings are naturally gluten free. In most cases it is just a matter of mastering the crust. Just today my friend in gluten free blogging, Jules Shepard (who is also a gluten-free baking expert), shared her pie crust recipe and some how-tos! Glutino just sent me a pie crust mix (I have not tried it yet). Pillsbury also has a ready-made gluten free pie crust, but the reviews on that were mixed on my Facebook page.
- Cornbread! In my experience, most people will accept cornbread as their bread option at a holiday meal. So you make a gluten free cornbread! The recipe in the Williams Sonoma Gluten Free Cookbook is great. But if I just don’t want to put that much work into it, I will buy Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread mix.
- What can you tell guests to bring? Wine!
Need more inspiration for your holiday meal? Check out the current Gluten Free Living holiday issue.
Good luck! This will be a gluten free and worry-free holiday!