Gluten Free Hospitality
The invitation came via email. “We’d love to have your family over for dinner. We’ll make something casual and visit. Please let me know if there are any dietary restrictions or allergies and we can go from there.”
How lovely! How scary! How do I accept such a thoughtful invitation and share all my complications without imposing too much? “Thank you so much. We’d love to come! By the way, I have celiac and can’t have a speck of gluten. Oh yeah, and I’m allergic to shellfish.”
But her reply came back. And I was shocked.
“No worries! We have lots of friends and family with the same concerns. It’s no trouble at all! :)”
Dinner was absolutely lovely. Plenty of wine and conversation … and no worries. Just like she said! They were the perfect host and hostess and immediately set my always anxious, gluten free mind at ease. “These are gluten free. This has these four ingredients.”
The hosts are brand new friends to us. And they welcomed us into their home with the kind of gracious hospitality that we the gluten free do not always experience. I have friends that have known me for years, and whom I love to bits, who still think that a little bit of gluten in a dish won’t be a big deal. I’ve come to expect this behavior unfortunately, and so I adapt and choose to eat only what we bring to a potluck. Or I recruit my husband to ask a lot of curious questions before dinner is served. I hate feeling that way about good friends, but it’s a matter of health and well being so I can’t compromise.
But, it’s also a matter of hospitality.
Growing up, I was accustomed to welcoming people to Sunday dinners, holiday meals, snacks after school … all with open and accommodating arms. Back in the day, my grandmothers always served their guests’ favorites and wouldn’t dream of putting something out that they knew would not be appreciated or enjoyed. I can only imagine how they would have quietly, graciously changed their menus to meet my gluten free needs.
So when a new friend effortlessly extends the same gluten free hospitality, I cannot let it pass without mention. Or without a hearty, gluten free thank you.