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Going Gluten-FreeNovember 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Special dietary needs make the holiday…um…interesting.

In my large, extended family, more relatives each year are getting used to living with special dietary needs. Food sensitivities and intolerances run throughout my family tree--but it’s just been recently that there’s been much awareness.

Any awareness that’s there comes to a crux at Thanksgiving. I just got off the phone with my sister who is hosting our crowd this year. She lives in a distant state so everyone is driving in from all over the midwest and eastern seaboard. After years of not feeling well, she’s now living gluten free (not a celiac but definitely gluten intolerant) and so she’s preparing gluten-free gravy and stuffing. I’m bringing the ingredients to whip up the gluten-free, dairy-free yeast rolls. A cousin, who’s flying in with her family, ordered the pies early from a bakery down the street from my sister’s home. That means the pies will be off limits for several so I’m throwing some gluten-free piecrust ingredients into my car along with the flour blend for my yeast rolls—and we’ll be set. 

We’re doing better every year (read: more inclusive). I remember a Thanksgiving when the gluten-free options were limited. I made gluten-free gravy with what was on hand (again, we were at a relative’s home in a distant state)--and I bungled it by over-doing the cornstarch.

This year brings an added twist with a couple relatives in the early stages of recovery from alcohol abuse. This presents new meaning to “living without,” doesn’t it? There’s a rumbling of debate over whether it’s prudent to serve the usual wine that always flows abundantly at Thanksgiving dinner. And a sister-in-law is planning to generously supply the Bloody Mary’s for Thanksgiving morning. Is that a good idea… is that supportive… is that even medically wise?

I say, let’s nix the booze this year. I mean, what’s the big deal? Yet there are some people in the family invested in alcohol, just like there are some invested in gluten or dairy. All this makes Thanksgiving all the more interesting.

Does any of this sound familiar? What’s your Thanksgiving like?

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