You know that moment. You’re out to eat and you’re told the dish is gluten-fee but after doing more digging into the preparation and ingredients you realize it’s obviously not.
Per a New Yorkers usual Sunday ritual, I was out for brunch in the Upper East Side with some friends. Before being seated I asked the person at the hostess stand, who happened to be the manager, if there was a gluten-free menu. He said no but personally took the time to walk me through the menu deciphering what items were gluten-free. One dish, fish tacos, was specifically called out as gluten-free so before even sitting down I knew what I was getting (I LOVE fish tacos). And if you know me, I tend to be indecisive when it comes to choosing a dish so knowing what I was getting that quickly was a rare occasion.
When the server came over to take our order I told him what I wanted. As I always do when eating out, I then followed up by saying I have celiac disease which means I can’t have any gluten. I asked the server to please inform the kitchen of this when preparing my food.
This is where being your own health advocate when gluten-free is vital to keeping yourself safe. If I had just ordered the fish tacos based on what the manager said then the server would have put my order through and not warn me that the fish is battered. Yes, once the tacos came out I would have noticed it was battered which I would have immediately followed up by asking the server what was in the batter and if the fryer is designated gluten-free.
Not all gluten-free people have the know all to always question what’s in a dish. There’s a lot to know and deal with when being gluten-free: misconceptions of what gluten is, not fully understanding the ingredients in a dish, hidden glutens, know that cross-contamination is a serious and real issue and the list goes on. Just because someone says it’s gluten-free don’t be afraid to follow up by asking what the ingredients are as well as how the dish is prepped and made. You have to remember that you’re not doing this to be a pain in the butt. It’s your health we’re talking about here. Don’t let anyone make you feel different!
So what’s the takeaway? Be your own health advocate. Just because someone says the dish is gluten-free don’t stop there. Ask the server or manager what the ingredients are. Also, let your server know you’re gluten-free and/or have celiac disease and that even a small amount of gluten will make you ill. If you do this you will lessen the chances of accidentally being glutened, just how I did.