Gluten-Free Is Not Everywhere

So last weekend, I went to my chapter’s Writers’ Retreat. It was lovely! Set in a picturesque location on a river, Marywood Resort & Retreat was nestled away in the woods. No televisions, no landline phones, no distractions–save the fish jumping in the nearby river.

Before I went down, I made sure to call the resort ahead of time to find out what the chef knew about Gluten-Free menus. Turns out, he knew quite a bit. He even made sure to prepare lunch on Saturday with one dish set aside for me that was untainted by gluten. (Love you, Chef Alan. Just sayin’ 🙂 )

Where I ran into trouble was when we were not on the retreat grounds itself. Except for Lemongrass (which, if you like Thai food, you MUST go there because it’s a Gluten-Free Girl’s dream!), none of the other restaurants knew about Gluten-Free.

Friday night’s waitress didn’t know and didn’t care about gluten. She told me I could eat salad. In her defense, there were more than a dozen of us that night and she was busy.

So I ate the salad served at the restaurant and the Gluten-Free bread sticks I brought from home.

Another server on Sunday afternoon did try her best to help me. She warned me that even the milk had gluten in it. Um…casein, but she gets snaps for trying to help.  🙂 That day, I ate a corn beef sandwich sans the bread.

So, not everyone is gluten-free or even aware of what it means. I’m glad to know now. It helps me prepare for my flight to Cali this summer. Hmmm…wonder how much it would cost to ship my dried GF stuff to my hotel room? 🙂

5 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Is Not Everywhere

  1. Yay Chef Alan! What did he cook for you? I wasn’t there for lunch so I don’t know what was available.

    And I say ship the food to Cali. I’m serious. Most hotels will hold packages for guests so you can even ship it early (though I would call first). Get one of those one-price boxes and hie thee to a post office!

  2. I’m sorry, but in this day and age every chef out there should know what the heck is meant by gluten-free. Heck, I’m not a professional chef, and I only do two events a year, and I know what the heck gluten-free means and how to handle it. I have two people at these events that need gluten-free (or at least very low gluten), and I cater to that without any whining. I also cater to religious issues (kosher) and other allergies (OK, the onion allergy was really annoying, because I LOVE ONIONS).

    In other news, I bought a new cookbook this weekend… bunch of recipes in it that have to do with meals that soldiers request when they get home from the gulf.

    • Hi Jon, thanks for stopping by!

      You know, I had an easier time with the resort than the mom and pop eateries. Sadly, the one restaurant was a local chain.

      What I found really amusing was the TSA worker at the Richmond Airport. He asked why I had food in my bag, the moment I said I was gluten-free he smiled. Seems he’s been gluten-free for 25 years and understood why I took my own snacks onboard. 🙂

      The cookbook sounds interesting. I know when my husband returned from his six-month cruise (he was in the Navy), he craved a marinated flank steak. 🙂

      • Spent six years in the Navy… I understand the craving. Oddly enough, now that I have been out of the Navy for well over a decade, I do have a craving for one specific food that we used to get on the ship that I can no longer get… fresh bread from the bakery when we ran out of the store-bought stuff in the middle of a cruise… the stuff they made out of that bakery was so good!

        I was leafing through the cookbook this morning just a wee bit before work, and it looks to be a very interesting mix of recipes… one of the recipes in there is “raccoon stew”. No. Really. Raccoon stew… and the primary ingredient in it was “one freshly cleaned raccoon”.

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