Dear Gluten Dude: Am I Just Being Selfish?

selfish celiac who cheats

I’ve been seeing ghosts in my bedroom recently. This has absolutely nothing to do with today’s blog post. Just wanted to share. And for what it’s worth, for the most part, they look happy. Ok…moving on.

There are times in our life when other people should be considerate and work around our dietary restrictions.

And there are other times when we need to be the considerate ones and put our restrictions on the back burner for the benefit of others.

The question is…how do you know which situation calls for which solution?

Funny you should ask because I received the following message the other day from a fellow celiac:

Hi, GD. I have recently had a problem that I’m hoping your followers can help me with.

My son and his girlfriend are getting married soon. Very small wedding, immediately family only. They asked if they could do it in our backyard.

(Dude note: Insert your own dirty joke here.)

Of course my husband and I said yes, and I offered to make all of the food. My house is strictly gluten free.

They wanted everyone to bring a covered dish, and I would rather just make the food myself. My husband and a good friend of mine offered to help me cook.

Now my son has changed the plan, accusing me of making it all about me and my disease.

I also have Christmas at my home every year so that I can eat and relax, once all of the food is done. Now, members of my family are agreeing with my son, and saying that’s why I cook for everyone for Christmas.

Am I being selfish? I want to participate, and be able to eat too. My husband, daughter, and good friend, are the only ones who understand, and take my disease seriously.

I’m so hurt that I’m considering not even having my family here for Christmas this year.

Ok…it seems to me that we have three separate situations going on here and I’ll see if I can break them down.

Situation 1: You want your son’s wedding to be gluten free because it’s at your house.

Sorry. While I don’t side with your son that you are being selfish and making it all about your disease, the fact is it’s HIS wedding. You generously volunteered to host it for him. All they are asking is for everyone to bring a covered dish. I could see it if strangers would be cooking in your kitchen. But since the wedding is outside and everyone is bringing food, I don’t think you should insist on cooking instead. You say you want to participate and eat too? There is absolutely nothing from stopping you. Make your own food. On this day, the focus should be on your family.

Situation 2: Christmas at your house every year.

This one I get. The fact is, holidays are more relaxing for celiacs when they can control the food. That being said, you can always bring your own food if somebody else wanted to host. Or you could have your son host one year and try to cook at his house. This way, you’ll have family time and you can educate him on the ways of gluten free at the same time. Being a celiac means being flexible.

Situation 3: Your family thinks you’re being selfish.

I’ve received far too many emails from celiacs whose family members do not take their disease seriously. It’s why I advocate so strongly and why I hate the fad aspect of our diet. To me, family problems almost always come down to one thing: poor communication. Sit your whole family down and open up a discussion about your disease. But LISTEN to them as well. I swear, so many of the world’s problems could be avoided if we all just became better listeners.

Living with celiac disease is not easy. But there is a balance in there. Find it…and hopefully you’ll find some peace along with it.

Congrats to your son and his bride-to-be.

Do you agree? Disagree? Would love to get some more feedback on this one. I’ll even ask my friendly ghosts tonite about it.

Gluten Dude: Your passport to safe gluten-free dining worldwide. Every restaurant vetted.

Discover the joy of safe and easy dining on your travels, with restaurants that prioritize gluten-free safety as much as you do. Enjoy more. Worry less.

Find Gluten-free Restaurants

Thrive with Celiac Disease

Subscribe to the Blog

Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Let's Connect

Topics of Conversation


88 thoughts on “Dear Gluten Dude: Am I Just Being Selfish?”

  1. Here’s my approach to food and social gatherings. It’s not THE way to deal with it but it’s A way to deal with it. Feed yourself.
    So, with your son’s wedding, let guests bring food. Make sure you’ve got something for yourself. Spread the Christmas feasting around. Bring something for yourself. Oh course, make enough to share if you wish but have the events be about the people not about the actual food.
    This approach allows everyone to relax, yourself included. Give over the food prep and enjoy your son’s big day!

    1. I agree, people bringing food over can be just fine for you, however; make very clear in some acceptable way that those dishes are to remain outside. I have had parties where I felt fine with people bringing dishes and I made my own food to share in my safe kitchen, but was unprepared for when my super nice friends started cleaning everyone’s (glutenized) dishes in (what was) my safe kitchen. From my experience a Post-It Note on the faucet is a good sign: “For my health and safety please wash your dish at home <3 (You)" Moving your utensils and cutting boards, etc. out of sight might help too. Another situation I've encountered is the people who brought bread to share had brought whole loaves and needed to slice it at my house… uh uh NOT HAPPENING in my sanctuary. And because I have to hand wash everything, if their going to use one of my knives their going to take it with them. Think through your specific situation, follow the Dude's advice and sit down with your Son and his wife to be and LISTEN. Wait until you hear from him about his feelings, wants, and needs to come up with your needs. You need to protect yourself and stay healthy. One feeling I've had with family gatherings and holidays is that my family really cares about my health, but they seriously misunderstand what makes me sick, and then muddle in their hurt feelings when I refuse to eat something they made for me that WILL make me sick. Well, keep in mind that if they really care about you (which they do) they want you to stay safe, comfortable, and healthy. They will have to deal with their hurt feelings whereas you have to deal with your intestinal, mental, and emotional health. I'd stay away from telling them to, "get over it," rather stick to something like, "I need to stay healthy. How a Celiac needs to eat is very complicated and I am happy to clarify anything I can for you, but please trust I am trying to be respectful while doing what I need to do to stay healthy."

  2. First…if I was invited to a wedding and asked to bring a dish, I would be annoyed.

    I agree with Dude though, as long as it’s out side. Make whatever it is you had planned on making and have a separate table. Make sure they only use the plates from that table to get their food. I know how stressful AND hurtful it is to have people act insensitive about this disease. Just make your decision and stick to it. If it were me I would make it clear that in the future, any event that is to be held at your house is to be gluten free. I don’t think that is unreasonable.

    Good luck and best wishes to your son and his fiancé.

      1. Small “family” weddings of 25 or less tend to end up with “how can I help” overload. Its sometimes easier to have each person do 1 thing or bring a dish instead of having everyone in the brides suite telling her what to do as she attempts to get ready. There are catches with that plan, as we have seen here. Mom is supposed to supply the location…not become location supervisor, catering director, mother of the groom, instructor of the bride, order everything, set up everything & DO everything (so there are no jobs to delegate to anyone else)

  3. i think you are pretty much spot on with your comments. Interestingly enough, my son is getting married and is doing a very small event as well. My intention is to prepare a gluten free cake that all can share if they want and to purchase a traditional wedding cake. As for the food, I wouldn’t have any problem with covered dishes prepared outside my home. I will just make sure there is plenty of food also, kept in a safe area for myself, my celiac daughter, and whoever else wants it. I also handle christmas dinner, same deal. I’m lucky, everone likes the food i prepare but they are welcome to bring dishes and help out. You just can’t be shy about teaching people to not share utensils. When and if my son wants to prepare christmas dinners i will bring some safe things to share and i will not be shy about telling them how to keep the naturally gluten free foods safe for me. Then as a final comment, if you think i am too strict and you actually think I’m selfish….well…tough luck. 🙂

  4. I like the way you address this woman’s concerns by breaking them down into 3 categories, and agree with you 100%.

    Since the wedding is about her son and his soon to be wife, they should be allowed to have people show up with casseroles to be shared, and she can always made a casserole she can eat, along with other side dishes so she has more selection.

    Educating other homes she may have the holidays in would also help her to have a little bit more relaxation time instead of doing it all herself. If those family members are not interested in keeping her food safe, it might be a challenge to make all the food she wants to eat to take one plate with her. I’m thinking about turkey, gravy, stuffing, pie, rolls, etc. Then she will have a whole lot of food at her house to freeze!

    GD, would you eat a turkey that was stuffed with gluten stuffing?
    Most gravies have gluten to thicken them.
    So I don’t think I would want have to make a bunch of food at my own home just so I could take a plate of safe food somewhere else, but that is only for the holidays when there is so much extra food and tradition.

    It is important that she sit down with her family and apologize for their misunderstanding over the wedding, and then explain to them how she feels about the holidays, and work out a plan for the future so they can all have harmony again, and she will have peace knowing they understand and support her disease.

    That is my two cents.

      1. Agree with your take on this reader’s situation. With regard to Christmas, for the first time this Thanksgiving (I’m in Canada) I did a completely gluten free turkey dinner (with the exception of homemade pumpkin pie…which I just made myself a ramekin “creme brulee” style with pumpkin filling). Best…stuffing…ever! I just substituted a really good gluten free bread for regular bread in the stuffing. Got rave reviews and everyone took home leftovers (as I chuckled watching them all leave with their little gluten free meal packs). By the way, I’m new to your blog and just loving it! Keep up the great work.

        1. They have a good (Yankee) cornbread mix as well that makes a great Southern dressing. My daughter liked my gf dressing better than the regular kind served at Thanksgiving.

  5. I say you have a gluten free household then you don’t let any gluten in it. wedding or no. it is not selfish. if you had a kosher household or nut free household wouldn’t anyone accuse you of being selfish not allowing nuts or non-kosher in the house or in your yard?

    You’ve offered a solution that requires more work for you, not others. it is the right solution. so i disagree. I actually find it selfish for the family members to accuse you of being selfish.

    1. Daniel, I think you’re right. There is no reason for the son to push this one thing to the breaking point unless he’s just trying to prove to the Mom that she just makes a big fuss out of nothing. I think many of us have had to deal with that reaction among family members and what that translates to is that he will minimize any efforts she makes to keep her kitchen safe for her.

  6. There are times when family should trump other concerns, and, to me at least, this sounds like one of those times. Is sticking to your guns in this case worth the bruised feelings, hurtful words and possible estrangement? Twenty years from now, will one day of not being in control of your diet matter, compared to the happiness of your son on his wedding day? And if the answer is yes, to either question, perhaps there are other, bigger issues here that need addressing.

    1. That was bad 🙂 and I have no idea. I started doing LSD so it could be related. Totally kidding. Perhaps my eyes are just playing tricks on me. Perhaps they’re actually there. Hmmmm.

  7. She is not being selfish at all. Its her house. Like someone said if they had a kosher or nut free house you wouldn’t want that in their house even out doors. It sounds like her family doesn’t care about her disease. This why I thank god everyday my family is used to dealing with someone with food allergies. I know celiac isn’t a good food allergy, but you still have to avoid the gluten.

    1. I think a balance would be something like “Mom & Dad, can we use your house and have it catered” or “Mom & Dad, can we use your house and thank you for offering to prepare the food.”

      Balance is not “Mom & Dad, can we use your house and contaminate your gluten-free kitchen with a bunch of strangers heating their gluten dishes and washing their utensils in your sink.”

      Balance is give a little, get a little.

      I have to wonder if the son realizes he or his kids could develop the same fun stuff.

  8. This subject gets real ugly. I’d prolly make an exception for a wedding, but it’s no fun watching other people communally partaking of a ceremonial meal. Not much fun at all. I was once pushed into helping my sister do a birthday dinner for her husband. I helped clean the house, prep food and serve and entertain the guests. Just couldn’t eat.

    Good times and smiley faces 🙂

  9. Totally agree with you Dude on situation 1. If the wedding is at her home, there’s no reason why she can’t have plenty of food (or even cake) for herself. His day, his choice on the food.

    The holidays are so tricky. I was a nervous wreck at Thanksgiving last year because it was my first holiday post-diagnosis. We hosted and I just couldn’t tell people not to bring some covered dishes and rolls that they wanted. We put the gluteny items on a separate table away from the safe food and I explained about sharing utensils and how to safely get seconds without contaminating safe food. It turned out just fine and every event we’ve hosted since then has been progressively easier. I’ve offered to help folks learn how to cook for me so I can go to their homes too, but so far there have been no takers. But they are more understanding as time goes on. Sometimes it’s just a work in progress. I’ve also noticed that the older folks have a lot harder time with this than the younger generation. It’s such a foreign concept to them. As hard as it is, we have to make some allowances for that too.

    Dude, say hi to Casper for me! I think I just dated myself a little with that reference…..

  10. I’m so lucky to have an understanding family. When my Mom cooks, she doesn’t always make the entire meal gluten free, but she always has enough for me to eat. When I go to potlucks, I always bring a little something for myself. Last 4th of July, I brought a couple desserts with plenty to share. They were eaten up the fastest, and no one there even knew they were gluten free! I try not to make a big deal of my problems (though I’m not celiac, just intolerant) because I don’t want to seem selfish and needy, but you do have to protect your body and not starve, so you have to speak up when necessary.

  11. If my son were getting married at my house, the last thing I’d want to be doing would be cooking all day. But, that’s me. I was in the wedding party in a relatively small wedding many years ago (bGF). It was also outdoors, and the couple asked people to bring a dish to share. The bride asked for these special cookies I made, and I was honored to do it for her. Some guests brought KFC, some brought Roy Rogers sandwiches. It was casual, fun, relaxed, and I will never forget it.
    It’s kind of like the guy who’s wife wouldn’t let him have gluten food even out of the house. There needs to be a balance at times. I get communal eating and the social constructs there, but is it worth – as someone else said here – potential hurt feelings and tension years down the line? I would hope not.
    I wish them luck.

  12. I agree with Gluten Dude on all three points. I would maybe disagree on the wedding food if people were going to cook gluten-filled food in her kitchen, but what’s the harm in a potluck outside? Rent serving pieces, utensils and plates, if you are worried about cross-contamination (or just by the fancy disposables at Costco, it’s a potluck!). We’ve all experienced the disappointment of not being able to eat at a family gathering, but this scenario seems to be one with a workable solution.

  13. Sorry, let me clarify that. You absolutely should be able to provide your own food. Does this mean that on this occasion you should insist on absolute control over ALL the food? No. And I speak as a Celiac sufferer who has a GF house as well, but there are time when we have to bend in the wind, you know?

    1. I don’t think she’s asking for control over all food, she’s asking for control over her home and her kitchen. Anyone that thinks the potluck dishes are going to stay outside the kitchen is dreaming. I don’t think this would even be an issue if the son didn’t want to use her home to host the event.

  14. I agree that family harmony for the special day is important, so if it were me, I would let people bring the dishes, making sure to have disposable plates/utensils on hand so everything can be done outside, and then during dinner, grab food from the house I’ve prepared for myself. I’ve found if I don’t make a big deal about it, people don’t even notice you’re not eating the same thing. And if it’s going to be buffet-line style, they won’t even notice when/how she obtains her own plate of food.

    And in the future, I would be crystal clear about expectations of events at my place. (Personally, I think it’s rude of the groom to even ask to have his wedding at someone else’s house, but maybe that’s just me – everyone I know got married in a neutral space like a park or venue so no one’s home was invaded).

  15. My son got married almost exactly a year ago. I am Family Celiac. I spoke with the chef at the venue and he assured me that they could feed me… And they did. AND the two other GF Guests. It was a lovely wedding…and my DIL had a friend who also has CD and a GF home bake me a small cake. And a great time was had by all. As The Dude says… It’s all about balance!

    (That said… I *always* travel with peanut butter and GF crackers. And apples. ALWAYS.)

  16. Her Son could choose to have his Wedding somewhere else, then he could have or do whatever he wants for HIS big Day. I don’t think it’s selfish or unfair to have certain rules in your own home. If the condition of having the Wedding at her house is that she prepares the food, then I feel it’s up to her Son as to whether he wants to go ahead with her house as the venue or not based on this condition. A lot of Wedding venues have catering restrictions, and if you don’t like it you don’t have your Wedding there.

    1. Well said. If the wedding was at a receiption hall, I doubt she’d have an issue with it. By the time a bunch of potluck dishes and clueless people tromp through her GF kitchen, fridge, warming things up in the oven, washing dishes, etc. she could be getting mystery gluten hits for awhile.

      1. Does it seem like the family dismissal of the LW’s celiac is actually the bigger problem? I get the impression, between the lines, that there is a tone to this argument that is far beyond this wedding, or beyond one event. That can make compromise a lot harder.

  17. I agree. BTW – your sense of humor is too funny. similar to mine – pretty twisted. But I digress. I see ghosts too – for what’s it worth.

    But again, I agree, it’s HIS wedding and she should not insist that she cook all the food, and people not be able to eat glutened food (if they so choose). For good, bad, or indifferent, by her being inflexible, it perpetuates the myth that GF people are annoying. And let’s face it, 99% of the people out there don’t know or understand Celiac Disease and think that eating GF is simply a choice. She can be careful for her dietary needs, while still allowing others to enjoy their time at the wedding. Bottom Line.

    By saying that she won’t have Christmas is the equivalent of a 2 year old temper tantrum. It serves no end. She needs to accept that people without gluten issues, DON’T want to change their diet. Period. End of Story.

    1. I agree with the second half of your post (you can’t refuse to host this year), though if it were me, I’d say to the family “Of COURSE that’s why I cook at Christmas! You don’t seem to realize this is an autoimmune disease, you’ve shown no interest in learning about it, so how would I feel safe eating what you’ve cooked? If anyone else wants to host, I’ll be glad to bring my own food so we can continue to enjoy holiday meals together.”

  18. I have to agree with everything you recommended. I have to eat this way and am very cautious, but missing out on life, even if it means me not eating at all, isn’t worth it.

    I always host holiday meals because it’s just easier to prepare and serve lots of food that I know to be GF for myself and my nephew. I won’t call it lucky, but I also have family members with assorted other food allergies so they all understand the necessity of reading labels and checking for the dangers of cross-contamination. If they say something is GF, it is. We have two Celiacs, a wheat allergy, and two with nut allergies to contend with when we all get together and have all survived holiday meals for years with NONE of us having incidences.

    My friends/family are told in advance to bring whatever food they love and want to share. Desserts are the hardest to prepare GF and I don’t expect anyone to be denied homemade cakes or other goodies because a few of us may not be able to eat it. (Our gathering usually has a minimum of 25 people.) We have designated areas for the gluten-free foods and another for anything containing nuts so that when we serve the utensils aren’t accidently switched. The meals are always enjoyable for everyone and we all eat until we can’t move.

    I have to say that I feel she is being selfish to insist that no outside foods are brought over for her son’s wedding. While I totally get frustration if family members think she should eat non-GF food, I’m not sure if that’s the case here. If it’s because she won’t attend holidays at their homes because they have gluten-containing food or if she won’t allow them to bring food that contains gluten into her home, then I think that’s a horse of a different color.

    This Thanksgiving we will be with my husband’s family in Minnesota for a reunion to celebrate his father’s 80th birthday. There is no way to prepare homemade food for myself, but it doesn’t bother me at all. I haven’t worked the details out yet, but I will pick up something I can eat before I go and enjoy the company. None of them have food concerns so how selfish would it be to expect them to accommodate me? How would they even understand what it means to prepare gluten-free? (I don’t want them to even try.) How selfish would it be if I refused to go? Thanksgiving is one flippin’ day and I can make it the rest of the time. (I’m a savvy GF traveler.)

    She should let her son have the wedding he wants, relax, and enjoy her family without making everything about the food. *rant over*

  19. If the guests are bringing prepared dishes and they’re not actually contaminating the kitchen, I’d feel totally comfortable with the idea proposed. I do this all the time for Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving where I have people over for dinner and they bring glutened foods for themselves. My mom or my brother-in-law cooks the Gobbler and I make my own stuffing and buy some Udi’s or Promise buns, and everyone’s happy. I estranged myself from my family for a while when I was first diagnosed, and it sucked dirty, bedsore ass. I fully get the concept that the mother of the groom is worried about cross contamination. But if the guests are bringing foods outside, she could stock up on plastic plates, glasses, and cutlery, so she doesn’t have to deal with the dirty dishes. Problema solvada (problem solved).

  20. I agree with Gluten Dude for the most part but I do know that when I bring my own food to events, people sometimes move beyond curious about why and even seem resentful that I don’t share with them and insist on being different. It’s also hard enough having food allergies without having to make everything separate for myself and watching others enjoy anything they want. For the wedding I think guests should be able to bring their own dishes (and utensils) but for Christmas I think there are so many delicious gluten free dishes out there it’s not too much to ask for everyone to eat gluten free. If it’s done right the food is better anyway.

  21. I think you’ve stated the solutions well. An event doesn’t have to be 100% gluten free to be safe for celiacs as long as the gluten free food is prepared by someone who knows how to do it safely in a gluten free kitchen and the food is arranged so that the risk of cross contamination is eliminated. It should be fine for everyone to have a safe and happy event. Whenever I have been invited to events where food is involved, I always make sure to bring one or two dishes that I know are safe for me to eat.For the most part, my friends and family get it.

    Though, I did have a situation last year that really broke my heart. I received an email forwarded to me by a friend (we’ll call her Friend A) that came from another friend (Friend B). The original email from Friend B contained the following: “I’d also like your honest feedback on whether or not to invite Janet. As a threshold matter, pretty much nothing I am making for brunch is gluten free. So I’d have to make something special for her. Of course, that’s the minor issue. I plan to invite people I know from agility and perhaps a few other folks (like my overnight dog sitter, for example, as we’re fairly friendly). These will all be people who have never met Janet before and as HORRIBLE as it is for me to say this, I’m not sure if I can do that to them. Thoughts?”

    First, I thought how ignorant of her to think that being “forced” to eat gluten free is a burden for those that don’t have to be. Second, I was absolutely devastated that she felt my needing to be gluten free was a reason to exclude me from a social event. I responded to Friend B that I was okay with not being invited (even though I really wasn’t–I was in tears over it).

    Friend B felt very guilty and offered to make me something gluten free if I could provide her with the recipe. I tried to offer to make something myself (since I would feel safer that way because I know my kitchen is 100% gluten free and there’s no chance of cross contamination) but she was determined not to have a guest bring food. Her issue was the fact that she intended to make everything and didn’t feel right asking folks to bring a dish (that’s not how they rolled in her family).

    Not knowing her cooking skills or time factor, I simply gave her a link to my Pinterest board where I have literally thousands of recipes pinned. That overwhelmed her so she reluctantly agreed to let me make a dish to bring. Frankly, what I brought was so much better than what she made (I made a smoked salmon hash that had onion, potatoes, smoked salmon, asparagus, and a tangy dill vinaigrette that I found in the Primal Cravings cookbook).

    I always view situations where I’m going to a party as an opportunity to show folks how terrific eating gluten free can be, sometimes just by choosing a dish that is naturally gluten free, sometimes by making a dish using gluten free flours. Most of the time, this has been a great way for my friends to see how easy it is to be gluten free and to get a better understanding of food and nutrition.

  22. I really think the son is being selfish and totally inconsiderate to his Mom by accusing her of trying to make everything about her disease. If she has Celiac, she has an obligation to her health to be as gf as she can, always. HE asked to have the wedding at her house knowing she has Celiac. It’s her house. HE is being selfish to want her to allow gluten food into her home. That being said, she does need to consider the possibility of working it out with him. As long as food is outside, disposable dishes, and someone other than her (maybe an understandung husband) would do food clean up duty, it is a doable situation. They both sound a bit unbendable to me. As for Christmas, she needs to understand that maybe others would like to host the dinner and joyfully give them the opportunity to do it. She brings her own food and even eating utensils if she feels that is necessary. Family holidays are about being together. I’d happily eat nothing if I could be with my son and his family at Christmas. He is military. He is stationed out of the states. He presently is in Afghanistan. This woman seems to be forgetting what the holidays are about. Yes, eating the traditional food is part of it, but it’s the part that many families must do without for lack of money, so again, I hope she can realize that food shouldn’t run her life and certainly shouldn’t keep her from being with her family on special days. I hope she can sit down with them and talk about compromise so she can enjoy her day, but also so that food isn’t being made the center of attention in her life. And, I make a fantastic gluten free stuffing that even my “don’t want to even try it if it is gluten free” husband likes. If you are in the Pacific NW at Thanksgiving, GD, you are welcome to join us 🙂

  23. Is it just me? I’m completely against them doing it in her backyard! Nobody wants to look out the window and see people doing it in their backyard. Have some decency! 😉

    But seriously, I think one of two things is going on here. I think either she’s a bad cook so nobody wants to eat her food, or her son is being a little sh*t. Sounds like he thinks his mother is getting too much attention. How dare she have an autoimmune disease on his big day!

    There are great suggestions here on how to allow people to bring food but keep her home and herself safe from gluten cross-contamination. Good luck!

  24. Ok I’ve planned weddings & been asked to help when one is kosher, the other vegan with a nut & gluten free MOB from a farming family that expects to save money by shipping their own non-usda slaughtered beef to the caterer…so here’s the 2 cents.

    If they are insisting on small & cheap yet there are territorial issues (sorry your kichen your rules is valid BUT this is your sons wedding we are talking about) find a neutral site. Most city parks have covered picnic areas. My state there are several beautiful parks good for a wedding as well as reception & fees are modest (under $200). Again control & planning can be issues so ask lots of questions about other adjacent activities & rules about strangers making themself at home, or soccer game scheduled for your flat wedding site or or or.

    The whole potluck thing while some see as rude, its is an excellent way to cut costs & deal with very small (under 25 people) wedding where everyone is a close friend or relative that’s going to be offended if they can’t “help with something”.

    At the same time you’re dealing with the ancient separation of son to husband. He’s endlessly hearing how upset his bride to be is because her mom’s sisters cousins hair dresser can’t bring the cake (that must be frosted & baked at the last possible second in your house) she’s had for every major occassion her whole life. “Your moms ruining my day”, “she’s so controlling”, “why can’t your parents just do what my parents want so they will get off my back”
    This is the relationship with the mother of your grand-kids we are talking about!! These battles are as old as adam & eve’s kids & have made every holiday, birthday & child entering the world complicated for centuries…don’t fall into this trap! It easily means not seeing your son or grand children except once for a few hours every other year.
    There is this amazing invention called a garage that has by-passed the kosher kitchen rule since their invention. Sorry no kosher home I’ve been in gets crazy about a cheeseburger in the back yard unless you wanted to cook it with their tools. There are loopholes…you’re renting tables & chairs anyway. Get something called a hot box. Its basically a giant rolling warming oven & some have adjacent refrigerator compartments. This keeps the food off your counters, an entire case of plastic serving spoons & tongs keeps tools from your kitchen from being used & sells pretty plastic plates & cups that again save “your stuff” HOWEVER be prepared to pay for this out of your own pocket, if its your demand (yes i used the D word) that things be removed from your kitchen, be prepared to pay the cost difference yourself.

    This is the bringing together of families. How well aunt suzies cousins whatever treats you at events from now on is based on these first battles. Is it worth not seeing your son for holidays anymore? Have him resent you or your disease for “ruining his wedding” (if you haven’t caught on this translates as making the bride upset for some reason) from now on everything is compromise!!! Her family, her feelings, pressures on him all get added to how you feel about something. You don’t get to be “always right mom” anymore.
    Taking a middle road that respects “your space” but is open, welcoming & compromising to the bride & her family will not only make this day easier, but every event for years to come easier.

  25. Sorry, Son. My house, my rules. You want everyone to bring something with gluten in it, bring it to a reception hall.

    All of you that think she’s overreacting – do you seriously think all these gluten foods are not going to be in her safe kitchen, dishes washed in her sink with her sponge, all by people that are clueless about cross contamination? Yes, you live in a mixed house and only get glutened now and then. That may be acceptable to you. I’m not willing to take that chance. She’s offered to do all the cooking and her son would rather score points. Let him price a few other venues and see if pot luck is still that important.

    For the record, I do have a gluten free house. It’s my one refuge that I know is safe. It took awhile to get it there and I’m not willing to get sick so someone can bring over potluck dinners.

    1. I agree 100%. It’s one thing to say if it stays outside then it’s not a big deal, but that seems unrealistic to me. People are going to need to do food prep and may want to borrow utensils, serving bowls, etc. And when that happens she’s stuck, because you either say no you can’t use that and people go without food, or her stuff risks becoming contaminated.

      The problem is that it is her house and the place where she can feel 100% safe. I love my family and am very lucky they are all supportive of my needs, but I wouldn’t jeopardize my health over something as simple as holding it somewhere else if her son can’t respect her wishes.

    2. So K2 you would alienate you son, his new bride, her family & everyone that hears the horror story (which means everyone at the wedding & any time they talk about the wedding forever) …end up eating out of tupperware something you cooked while everyone else share (let’s not even discuss the reception hall cross contamination) thereby alienating your son FOREVER? How exactly do you win in this situation?

      Ok you’re right, kitchen stays safe: sooooooo you’re eating out of tupperware in the corner while everyone discusses control freak mom that won’t try their food, refused to allow them into her home & made the bride cry.

      You do potluck at home: garage option has been discussed. This also works for patio. Worst case you shrink wrap counters, tape cabinets shut & still come off like the celiac psycho we all dread even hearing about. BUT you can be a full part of “their day”, will likely become a main stop on the holiday tour & can honestly tell your new daughter she’s welcome in your home with open arms (not controlling kinda psycho restrictions)
      This is a disease not an excuse to torture others!! The food, cake, even venue shouldn’t be “all about you”. Love without exception…this is your kid!

      1. Oh, please. Enough with the sobs and drama already.

        It isn’t like this son doesn’t know exactly how disruptive this is going to be to his Mom and is likely using it to “prove” that she makes a big deal out of nothing. He knows the rules of the house already.

        If Mother Nature has the wicked sense of irony she typically has, he may find out exactly how sensitive a person with Celiac is when he has a few little ones running around.

        1. Loving the open discussion. I just like to keep it somewhat even keeled here. I don’t want this safe haven to turn into the Huff Post or CNN or any of those other sites where the commenters just end up attacking each other.

          We’re all on the same team…though we may disagree at times.

  26. I’m still laughing about doing it in the backyard. Thanks Gluten Dude. My brain isn’t really functioning on a normal level so I’ve got nothing but giggles.

  27. It’s a shame the son didn’t approach this in a problem solving mode instead. I could totally see catering something basically GF like BBQ served up after the wedding, outside on tables, not impacting the inside kitchen area at all.

    Potlucks tend to be chaos and clutter, a perfect recipe for someone clueless to “borrow” something to finish off their dish.

    Why do people go bonkers over weddings?

  28. It’s not about the food. Son refuses to understand Mom and Mom wants control. Mom should be OK with sons wishes knowing she too can bring a covered casserole and have other gf “safe” foods and utensils in her house where the party is. Son needs to see Celiac disease as a disease. We have had family members who don’t understand that it is a disease either. When we explain that eating gluten poisons son’s system and causes his body to destroy itself, they get big-eyed and nod and say, “Oh I didn’t know.”

  29. It’s true, I don’t see why it’s so hard to just set aside food for yourself and let others eat whatever they want to eat… I’ve NEVER expected anyone to sit and eat my disgusting food, when I have guests, I always make them food that they can have first, and then I make my own food. And when people are nice enough to invite me to a BBQ (in which I hardly get invited because people think I’m just going to ruin it like an evil villain) I ALWAYS bring my own starches and sauces.

    There is no reason that you should just make everything suitable for you to eat, because more than likely, you’re not going to eat all of the dishes. It’s also not a bad idea to set out the dish and add a sign that says (gluten/diary/nut free) because you never know when a guest has the same restrictions you do. You gotta give people variety and choice. It can make people rather uncomfortable if you don’t. As a Celiac, I try all I can to avoid confrontation and gossip.

    1. Connie, why is your food disgusting? I have Celiac and am completely gluten free, but I don’t eat disgusting food. Surely you can leave gluten out and still have delicious food like most of us do. If you aren’t a great cook, buy a cookbook or watch some cooking videos or Food Network. Please don’t think you can’t have tasty food! Meat, fish, chicken, and vegetables are all gluten free and can be prepared in many delicious ways. Don’t limit yourself because of gluten!!!

      1. I was wondering the same thing. I have brought numerous GF dishes to parties (sometimes baked goods that are either GF or totally grain free) or other dishes that are naturally GF. I love bringing something that tastes fabulous to a party and have everyone rave about how good it is. No one has ever turned their nose up at one of my creations and often I’m asked for the recipe because they thought it was so good.

    2. Calm your tits people, I never said ALL gluten free food was disgusting, lol.

      No one likes Udi’s bread though, you can’t tell me you do because everyone knows you’re lying!

  30. Holy Moley! here it is 6:40 EDST, the day is not over and you really struck a nerve on this subject- or 3 subjects– as you so adroitly suggested!. First, yes I agree- my home, my rules- which also happen to include a vegan daughter who is more than willing to bring her own vegan food when we have a meal. My family is willing to eat gluten free at my house AND they know if they want to bring something like a dessert, they do keep it separate and take it home.
    When we have TDay at another daughter’s home, the meal is gf not just because of me but because it’s easier to make one meal and they LOVE Aleia’s Stuffing Mix. Desserts are gf, vegan and whatever else walks in the door. Everyone leaves full and happy.
    As for the wedding, it is in poor taste to ask guests to bring food UNLESS it is a community tradition and others do it too. If the food is kept OUTSIDE, does not come into your home, you provide separate plastic serving utensils, plastic plates and forks, nothing gets washed in your sink using your sponge, and you provide a regular wedding cake for the event (so you don’t eat a piece, so what!), I would sit down and have a nice discussion with your son describing how it can work. OR, you can offer to have it catered and provide your own food for your meal,.
    Just today I was invited to my grandson’s home for lunch for the first time. I said, “ok go ahead and make the mac and cheese for you and your mom, I will bring some chicken to put on my salad and I am fine with that. ” I certainly did not want them to go to any trouble or expense to make a meal for me, I was just as happy with my salad while they all ate salads and the mac and cheese too.
    So I guess every situation is different. I would never expect anyone to fuss for me and provide a gf meal. If I can eat what
    they are preparing (think grilled chicken or a hamburger), fine, if not, I bring my own.
    Really interesting discussion!

  31. Wow – I can’t get over what Connie said. Just because there is no gluten in food in no way means it is disgusting! I wish Connie could come to dinner at my house; we eat wonderful meals! Tonight we had penne pasta covered with diced chicken, turkey pepperoni, sauteed onions, mushrooms, garlic, and red bell peppers, with spaghetti sauce – and it was delicious! No gluten in sight.

    1. Elizabeth – That sounds awesome! Can I come over to eat? And can you please leave the mushrooms pretty big so I can pick them out? 😀

      1. Lol, I used to pick mushrooms out too! I finally decided if everyone else liked them, I could tolerate them. They’re fine; it was a childhood prejudice in my case!

  32. I’m of two minds regarding the bringing of dishes to the wedding held in her yard. On the one hand, I’d normally say your house, your rules, particularly if there is a possibility that since it’s family only people are going to be more free to run in and out of the home with G dishes, possibly heating them up in the GF kitchen, mixing utensils, etc. On the other hand, I see the importance of the balance, of the wedding event, and preserving the relationship with the son/DIL. If there were some way to ensure that all the G food stays outside, that the utensils are separate, then I’d be more inclined to agree that she should let the guests each bring something. But I’d still wonder about the result, just knowing how people mix utensils and thinking what happened in the kitchen that might slip under the radar too. I don’t know.

    More fundamentally though, I agree with what someone said above about the problem being communication. It seems that the son and the mother are at odds already (she says he doesn’t respect/understand the GF issue at all, and doesn’t seem to want to). The relationship is already broken – if it were not, they’d be able to sit down, the mother would voice her concern on the issue, and they could discuss options to support each other’s needs/desires. Rather, she rushes to the Christmas conclusion, the son and DIL start saying she is an extremist GF crazy person, etc. Son doesn’t want to understand the mother, and the mother starts clinging to control things even more.

    For the holidays, if I were to host, I cook entirely GF in my entirely GF house. No complaints. I am blessed to have an understanding family who is actually happy to eat food that is naturally GF and prepared suchly. They enjoy the taste and don’t think about that it happens to be GF. If we are visiting others for a meal, I bring my own food or eat before/after when we get back home. Yes, there is the communal meal that I’m not taking part in, but I don’t want to get sick. Better to keep the focus on the people and the company rather than what’s going in the mouth. I’ve had people ask a few times (sometimes curiously, sometimes unkindly), but I just say I have severe medical issues, including celiac, which means I have dietary restrictions. Said matter-of-factly and with an expression that shows I’m not suffering by not eating the G food usually stops things. A member of my immediate family or I then turn the conversation so that the moment passes. Repeat as needed throughout the gathering. While I would like to cook/host at my own home so I can be more comfortable and eat freely, I also know that is not always feasible because of where extended family may/may not be able to gather. Instead, I look for ways to protect myself and still go with the flow – which means cooking tasty food in advance and then bringing it if needed.

    (Yes, there is the question of ‘traditional meals’ and it being hard to cook that in a small portion size/leftovers, but rather than recreating old traditional food (i.e., what everyone eats and what I had before GF), I’ve started new traditional foods that I reserve for the holidays and can make in smaller amounts as needed.)

  33. GD-

    Great post. Y’all will have to forgive me but two movies come to mind here. First quote directed at GD. Just sayin’. Second, its your son’s wedding for god’s sake get off your gluten high horse for a day and suck it up. I would.

    Jersey Girl
    Malcolm: In your dreams?
    [Cole shakes his head no]
    Malcolm: While you’re awake?
    [Cole nods]
    Malcolm: Dead people like, in graves? In coffins?
    Cole: Walking around like regular people. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re dead.
    Malcolm: How often do you see them?
    Cole: All the time.
    Kirk: Spock!
    Spock: [climbs slowly to his feet and walks over to Kirk] Ship. . . out of danger?
    Kirk: Yes.
    Spock: Don’t grieve, Admiral. It’s logical. The needs of the many outweigh . . .
    Kirk: — the needs of the few . . .
    Spock: — or the one. I never took the Kobayashi Maru test, until now. What do you think of my solution? [He kneels.] I have been . . . and always shall be . . . your friend. [He places his hand on the chamber glass, and his voice is a whispered broken husk.] Live long and prosper!
    Kirk: [places his hand against the glass as Spock slumps and dies] No. . . .

  34. It’s interesting how many commenters draw the line at allowing cross-contamination of their houses. I feel less guilty about wanting a GF house.

  35. I am guessing those who insist on a 100% gf house never eat away from home? I don’t have the luxury of having a totally gluten free house, but if I did, I think I would be just as adamant about keeping it that way as this woman. People stopped asking me to attend functions where food was highlighted because they were uncomfortable having someone there who can’t join in on the “fun” of eating with friends and family. They say they feel “rude” eating when I can’t eat. That, to me, is their problem, not mine, and I have explained over and over that it doesn’t bother me to not eat what they are eating. Why does enjoyment of life have to be dictated by food? After reading more comments here, and thinking more about why the woman wrote GD, I am now thinking she should tell her son he can have his wedding elsewhere. She isn’t being selfish. Her son is. And so is anyone else who feels people with Celiac should bend their food rules every now and then to make family members or friends who don’t understand more comfortable. We should not be made to feel guilty because we need to be safe. And she should sit down with her son and his future wife and gently explain that to them.

  36. I’ve been GF for 9 years, and also have DH (lucky me). But was so darn glad all those scary symptoms and 40 lb weight loss turned out to be “only” CD and not some dire wasting disease that I went home & did a happy dance. As to her son’s wedding–I agree she made it all about her illness. The fact she refers to it that way says a lot. She doesn’t have to eat the carry ins; fix something for yourself. Ditto, Christmas. I celebrate Christmas x2, including one at the home of one of my daughter-in-law’s family with about 50 in attendance and a kitchen full of carry-in dishes. So, I calmly track down who made the posole, quesadias, etc and POLITELY ask if there’s wheat flour in there. And I don’t make a deal over it. There have been times at a function where I’ve had a dinner of mashed potatoes and canned corn because nothing else was GF. Was I upset? Not really, one weird meal in exchange for an evening of great company and a celebration–that works. Do I sound disgustingly Pollyanna? I’m not. There are times when I have a pity party or get frustrated (“Why the ##&* would anybody put wheat in that???”) But overall, a GF diet is a small price to pay for return of health and a normal life span. BTW, in case you’re wondering, I’m a 27 yr cancer survivor. All things are relative. Compared to that, celiac isn’t a real big deal. Sorry, didn’t mean this to be so long. But I really get tired of people whining about that darn diet.

      1. One side of any story doesn’t allow for all facts to come out, so what might work for some might not be possible for this woman to do. As many of us have said, the family needs to communicate better so that they could find a way to compromise. I hope they can. Sometimes living with a loved ones’ illness is nearly as difficult on family members as it is for the one with the illness.

  37. Deb I agree with you on some things but don’t understand this: being her son I’m assuming this kid & his bride to be have eaten at mom’s home more than once. How is the son being unreasonable thinking that “holiday protocol” (whatever that is) would also be able to be applied to the wedding?

    Most people even in 100% homes have some kind of concession for guests. While I’m strict about some things expecting the roomie never to eat bread or drink beer or have a white flour burrito isn’t real realistic. Make sure to use a plate & put it directly in the dishwasher isn’t bad.
    Drink in your room & remove your own beer contaminated trash the same. You work things out where there is motivation to.

    Sitting the kids down & telling them her safety is more important than them or wedding in my experience would alienate them forever. Son is already in defensive mode over something. This my way, no highway option would pretty much guarantee not seeing them often after the wedding. Forget seeing grandkids in anything but pictures.

    1. I was saying it is her house, he asked to use her house for his wedding, so I don’t think she’s being selfish to offer to cook all the food for his wedding and allow her home to be used for it, as well. Who said anyone is more important? Sorry you got that impression from my post. Everyone is important. And the family should sit down together and discuss that. Personally, my home isn’t gf. I would have to divorce my husband for that to happen. And I don’t expect anyone anywhere to eat gf on my behalf. I eat to live. I don’t make food a big deal. If there is nothing I can eat at a gathering and I am hungry, I get into my stash of gf food that I carry for that purpose. I think something could be worked out for the kids’ wedding by this family, but I don’t think she’s being selfish to want her family to take this disease seriously. She agreed to have the wedding at her home and offered to cook all the food. That just doesn’t sound selfish to me. Don’t know what ” holiday protocol” meant.

  38. Interesting perspective! I am happy you mentioned how the fad aspect of being gluten-free is affecting people’s view of celiac disease.

  39. I disagree with allowing people to plan a potluck in my yard or home. People automatically assume they are welcome to “finish” their cooking in my home. That is anything from stopping at the local grocery to purchase raw items and totally prepare the dish in my home to heating using my dishes and utensils contaminating my once safe kitchen.

    Allowing gluten items based on no one using the kitchen would mean essentially turning into a guard at the door all day long. I would have to spend all my time reminding people that their gluten will destroy my villi.

    Allowing them to bring such to my home expecting them to not use my kitchen is asking them to be mindful of my disease and the seriousness of the risks. Now that seems selfish to me.

    Each time Celiac’s choose to take such risks is that the need for gluten free eating is watered down. The next time, every person in attendance thinks “it’s no big deal because at the wedding we used the kitchen and brought gluten”. So they get hostile about it the next time the rules are kept in place. We have to be consistent or we simply confuse others about the realness of this disease.

    It should be automatic that my home stays gluten free. Any offers with regard to my home automatically include the restriction against gluten in or around my home. Anything else is others just making light of the fact that I nearly died from Celiac and that it is a very serious illness.

    Many people don’t allow smoking in their homes for any reason. It causes breathing problems, allergy and asthma attacks, cancer, and other health risks. How is this that different from known damage to the ability to digest foods leading to malnutrition and starvation?

    I do have severe cat allergy. No one would be welcome to bring their cat for any reason even if they had to travel many nights to attend the wedding. If I had a severe peanut allergy and I offer my home, I don’t expect people to be allowed to bring peanuts.

    My family decided they could cook gluten and clean the kitchen “good enough”. NOT TRUE! I got seriously ill (ended up in hospital) just from breathing in the gluten that was cast into the air from the many steps in the cooking process. I can’t imagine what a bunch of people with varying opinions on gluten would do to my home.

    My mom would sneak at least a couple pieces of gluten pasta into every dish just to “prove” that I was only attention seeking because Celiac’s where she lived allowed these things to happen ONLY AT SPECIAL EVENTS.

    At work, they pulled this kind of thing. Birthdays’ would bring a big cake kept in the hall to “keep me safe”. People cut and plated the cake “in the hall” then walked into the office and ate it while talking spitting cake all over. I actually found my desk covered in cake crumbs one day when I had a meeting out of office during the cake party part of the day.

    Everyone’s good health should matter. Celiac’s don’t deserve to be sick or take risks for special occasions. We have the same right to look forward to enjoying special events without fear of weeks of illness. It is up to the one who has to suffer to decide to have their home made dangerous.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

Follow me on this journey

I hate to drive alone

Download my app

And live a better gluten-free life

Send me a message

I'm all ears

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Please type your message.

© 2024 Gluten Dude: The Naked Truth About Living Gluten Free | Legal Stuff

Scroll to Top