As I sit here eating my gluten free oatmeal and drinking my super strong black tea (aptly named FOCUS), I am mentally preparing myself to say, “Please don’t poison me,” in the politest way possible. See, as I sit here having breakfast, I’m supposed to be getting ready to go have breakfast.
In about an hour, I will be leaving the introverted camaraderie of my dad’s house to meet my crazy extrovert mom and crazy extrovert sister and her rather odd boyfriend at a “country café”. This “country café” does not have a menu posted on the Interwebs (boo) and from the descriptions given by my mom and my stepmom, I have a feeling if I walked in and said, “Hi, I’m a gluten free eater,” they’d look at me like my head was on fire.
This is not an exaggeration; it’s happened many times here in the sticks. And rather than repeat the El Chico fiasco from a couple of years ago, I decided to eat in the quiet of my stepmom’s kitchen (she and dad had some class they went to at SEVEN THIRTY A.M.) and just have juice or something at the restaurant.
This is an unusual cop-out for me. In my two and a half-ish years of eating gluten free, I have gotten very comfortable with explaining my condition to confused-looking wait staff and kitchen managers, with searching through the menu like a food archeologist in hopes of finding something that is safe or can be safely adapted. I am the queen of politely sending back something prepared incorrectly. If I can find something to eat at Ole South Pancake House in Fort Worth, I can do it anywhere!
But this morning, I just don’t feel like it. Maybe it’s that in the day and a half I’ve been at my dad’s, I’ve read the label of at least five different things offered to me and said, “Yeah, no. I can’t eat this.” And my dad and stepmom are the best at figuring out how to feed me out of anyone else in my family. In going with my mom later today to stay with my brother, sister-in-law, and incredibly adorable nephew, I foresee at least one trip to the grocery store in my immediate future. And I will repeat, “I can’t eat that,” more time than I care to count.
I know I am the only gluten free eater (though I suspect I am not the only one who is gluten intolerant; the suspect is just too scared to try it). I know I’m only here about four or five times a year. But this time, it is particularly bumming me out.