glu*tened [gloot-nd]: (verb)

  1. the accidental ingestion of foods containing gluten
  2. an act of evil

Example: “I think I was glutened at Jane’s dinner last night.”

I appreciate anyone willing to take on the task of cooking for me, but when you’re not g-free, the idea of cooking g-free can be a foreign concept wrought with the potential for error. I took a little tidbit from Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s playbook, The G-Free Diet, and casually ask my chef for the evening, “Looks great! So, how’d you make it?” Usually, any offending items will come out in the answer to my question, and I can politely avoid the item for the evening.

I once had dinner at someone’s house and witnessed them spraying a baking dish with a cooking spray that included flour. The food going into the dish was naturally g-free, but by using the spray, the food would obviously be off limits for me. My host stopped spraying, looked at the can, back at the dish, made a little shrug and proceeded to prepare the dish as usual. Needless to say, I refrain from accepting dinner invites from this person.

But this experience highlights an all-too-common predicament of guests and hosts alike: How do you gracefully handle being glutened? And, to what extent should a host go to accommodate a g-free friend’s diet?

The epi-Log on Epicurious had a great post about how to cook for a g-free guest. Suggestions include:

  • Make sure all ingredients are truly gluten free—read labels, find substitutions and even better, ask your guest!
  • Keep it simple—a complicated recipe is going to be even more complicated g-free; skip it and go with something that’s easy to modify
  • Let the guest help! Seriously. We’d prefer to assist than to spend three days in the fetal position.
  • Use common sense—flour-laced cooking spray should not be used in cooking for a g-free guest. Capiche?!

And for the unfortunate guest whose host has inadvertently (or in my case, purposefully) glutened them, my advice: tell them how much you appreciate the effort, and either plan to eat out at a g-free-friendly restaurant (find some here), or retire your host from future dinners and offer to cook the next one.