GfreeB’s inspired blog post in late 2014 about coeliac tribes* got me thinking about people’s reactions and attitudes to me since I was diagnosed. They vary wildly, from relatively new friends who’ve embraced the challenge of feeding me, to people I’ve known for ages who now give me a wide berth when it comes to eating.
*(I aspire to being a Purist, but as a busy mum of young kids and someone who likes a fish finger butty… Well, I like to think I’m pragmatic.)
Anyway, here is my take on tribes from the other angle:
A very lovely friend recently said she was going to try to buy gluten free food where there was a choice, so she always had something when I came round. I think that’s one of the nicest things that’s happened since my diagnosis. Another put in a lot of effort to make me a breakfast she knew I’d been missing when we stayed over recently. I’m lucky to know a few of these people. 🙂
This type makes no concession – you have to just fend for yourself. At least you know where you stand. I’m unlikely to ever get invited round by these people for more than just drinks these days.
The terrified host
This person is well meaning but makes me feel a bit like a leper. I know that’s not PC but there’s nothing quite like being singled out, is there? When they invite you round to a bbq they cook your food in the oven as they are too worried about poisoning you.
Really no idea
Having invited some friends round for Sunday roast, I honestly got asked whether it had taken a lot longer than normal to make everything gluten free. We were eating chicken, roast potatoes and veg!
People who think it’s a fad diet
No, I’m not doing this by choice. Not one teeny tiny bit!
Having strong associations with this tribe, one or two of my close family members are in the medical profession, yet when I see them at a meal, they never fail to have a dig about how fussy I’ve become. I know it’s meant to be a friendly joke, because being medical, of course they understand, but enough already – it’s so tiresome!
My father: isn’t really aware of what is happening. Only that he now gets double helping of the garlic bread.
My mother: despite knowing full well that bread and gluten WILL make me ill seems intent on ignoring it. After arriving at theirs in the summer (a 90 mile journey) I was amused to find that lunch would be “bacon butties”. Or for me…. bacon between a slice of bacon. At Christmas I was informed she had “looked at the gluten free section”… but choose to not to buy any (or warn me to bring some of my own which I happily do for friends) or make any efforts to cook non gluten meals / give me any option other than to eat cheese on salad for all meals with salad and cheese for a special luxury dessert.
My brother: tells me to bring my own. Very useful if he gets to parents house before us so he can snoop around the fridge!
My aunt: don’t see her very often so can forgive her when we go around to visit and she produces her signature giant lasagne and garlic bread with almighty trifle.
His father: a food scientist working in a flour mill. What he doesn’t know about gluten isn’t worth knowing. An amazing no fuss source of information. Takes it all in his stride when cooking.
His mother: is intent on buying EVERY cookbook that even hints at gluten free. Alas most are not worth the paper. Quietly convinced she brought EVERY gluten free food stuff the supermarket had available for Christmas even making me a pork pie having toured most of Melton Mowbray (well known town in Leicestershire for pork pies) looking for a suitable one. As a result my wedding diet suffered some what.
His grandparents: Save every article in the newspaper. Regularly phone up to tell me about the hairdressers friends daughters dog walkers niece who also can’t have gluten.
Him: takes it all in his stride, helped me when we first started the restricted diet trying to work out what was making me ill. Is fantastic at re-reading labels and eating all the “bad food” in the kitchen (not so hot on avoiding contamination but fortunately I can cope with small amounts).
My friends have all been really good: swapping the likes of the traditional Frankie & Benny meeting places to local good quality pubs and not making a fuss when I bring my own meals to be thrown on the BBQ. One very kindly offered to drink my beer allowance but we felt it better for me to share my beer allowance with everyone! Bit of a strange excuse for an extra pint every so often!! 😀
LikeLiked by 1 person
Sounds like you have some extremely different reactions! Shame about your mum 😦
So good to read this! I think my family are all a bit clueless at the moment – early days though! I’m also lucky enough to have a friend who has stuffed her cupboards with gluten free pasta and even has a pack of gluten free beers in the cupboard for when I visit!
LikeLiked by 1 person