The big question I often get is “So, since you’re allergic to wheat, I guess you don’t eat out do you?”
Yes, I eat out. It’s not every day, and I am selective about where I will eat, but it’s a food allergy… I’m not giving up my social life! Most of the time, I cook at home, but sometimes when the spouse and I find people silly enough to be our friends, we’ll want to venture out for a meal.
Such was the case last night. We decided to take some friends to a local seafood restaurant. It’s Southern Maryland after all… Well of course the restaurant specializes in things like crab cakes, and fried shrimp, and fried fish. They also have amazing burgers, and pulled pork sandwiches.
You can see my dilemma.
This happens a lot. However, I have become very adept at ordering broiled/grilled protein, a salad, and the vegetable of the day. And while I USED to be reluctant to rock the boat, or special order my food, I’ve gotten very good at it now. I am no longer afraid to ask the difficult questions about how a meal is prepared, and to explain to my server that I am allergic to wheat, and what will happen to me if I ingest gluten. I’m finding that a lot of servers and restaurants are more aware and educated about food allergies. They are also more willing to accommodate special dietary needs.
A pound of steamed shrimp would have cost me over $20. However, the FRIED shrimp were on special…a substantial savings of money and including two side dishes! A chat with my server, Michelle, and she brainstormed the answer in the form of my shrimp being coated in Old Bay and then grilled, surrounded by a delicious tossed salad (no croutons!) and a vegetable medley of locally grown summer vegetables. You can bet her effort was appreciated, and my appreciation was reflected in her tip.
Again, it all goes back to keeping it simple. No complicated sauces, no difficult preparations, and a willingness to assert myself and ASK for information and modifications to accommodate my dietary needs. After all, if I don’t advocate for my own health, who will?
Now, who wants to take me out to dinner?