Thursday, May 2, 2013

Receiving Gifts of Food

Pre-diagnosis, I used to love it when people gave me food. Everyone loves free food, right? Wrong. Now I fear it.

Case in point: About a week before Easter, we discovered a box on our front step that said "Perishable." Instead of jumping for joy that we got free food, I froze. It's not like packaged food will hurt me if there is gluten in it, but there is so much more than not being able to eat the food itself. How do I thank someone for their good intentions without hurting their feelings. Do I thank them and lie when I say I'm looking forward to eating it? AUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH!

That's how I feel. It probably seems silly to most, but I'm sure others with food allergies understand.

We discovered the box was from my fiance's parents. Oh goody! I potentially get to offend my future in-laws. That sounds like a great time, and I'm totally looking forward to doing something that they will potentially remember about me FOREVER.

Ok, yes, I'm being slightly dramatic, but seriously! Who wants to tick off their in-laws before they're even in-laws.

My fiance didn't have any interest in opening the box (probably because he knew he would probably be told we couldn't eat it anyway). I opened it with slight trepidation. Would I be pleasantly surprised or would I be figuring out who I could regift this to?

There was a note inside from his step-mom explaining that she had heard about this company on the news and noticed they were talking about allergies and gluten-free. The food itself was 3 chocolate Easter bunnies and 2 bags of jelly beans. I had to look it up on the internet to determine if it was in fact "safe" for me or not because the packages didn't say anything about gluten-free on them.

End result: pleasantly surprised.

I love when people "get" it. I fear the day when a family member of his bakes me "gluten-free" cookies and I have to politely turn them down without forever offending them. "But they were made from a gluten-free mix, and I mixed them in the same bowl that I used for all my gluteny stuff, and they were baked on the same pan as my gluteny cookies--how could that possibly get you sick," they will say. Ok, that's not what they will say, but that's what I will be imagining them saying.

So to those of you who have good intentions in giving people with allergies food, I have some advice for you:

1. Make sure you know EXACTLY what you are doing, and don't be offended if they still aren't comfortable eating it.

2. Don't try at all unless you're willing to do it right.

3. Ask the individual for help/advice and/or see if they would like to cook/bake with you (preferably in their kitchen). I would much rather spend a day with someone in my safe kitchen baking all kinds of goodies than question if they were able to avoid cross contamination every step of the way in their kitchen.

How do you handle gifts of food?

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