Attending a potluck can be terrifying when you have to eat gluten-free. You don’t know if there will be anything there you can eat. You won’t know if Betsy used a soy sauce that has gluten in it to make those wings, or what’s in the mysterious fluffy salad that Tom brought. There’s just so many unknowns to contend with. I get it. I understand. Potlucks are scary for a Celiac. But, there are certain steps that you can take that will make them a lot less scary.
Talk to the host – If they are not aware (or have a tendency to forget things), let them know that you have to eat a meal free from gluten. The host can ask everyone attending to bring along a recipe card with the recipe of the dish they are sharing printed out on it. This lets you see exactly what is in each dish, then you can make an educated guess as to whether or not to take the risk. Not only will this help Celiac’s identify potential sources of gluten, but anyone with a food allergy will also be able to see if nuts, eggs, shellfish, or dairy are included in the dish. With the number of food allergies on the rise, everyone could benefit from knowing the ingredients. Not to mention, when everyone raves about a dish, they can write out the recipe before leaving.
Keep ‘em separated – If you have both gluten-free, and gluten-full food at a potluck, a way to cut down on potential cross contamination is to keep the gluten-free food on a separate counter or table. This way, if someone accidentally dips a spoon into the wrong dish, or misses their plate and drops something into another container – all is not lost to cross-contamination.
Serve yourself first – Before everyone else digs-in to the spread at a potluck, everything is perfect. No spoons have been placed in the wrong bowls, no crumbs have fallen into a gluten-free dish, all is alright. Once people start scooping, spreading, and moving along, things become imperfect. Fill up your plate with the gluten-free foods before anyone else to avoid the potential contamination. Take enough for the meal – with carelessness and the risk of cross contamination, you won’t be able to go back for seconds.
Pack your lunch kit – When you attend a social function, like a potluck, don’t expect everyone else to cater to your dietary restrictions. People will still bring gluten-full foods. And that’s OK, because you packed yourself a gluten-free meal before leaving home. Besides the dish that you are contributing to the potluck, there may not be any other dishes for you to eat. At a potluck, it is unlikely that anyone would even notice that you are eating something else. They may just think that you found a dish or two that they missed.
Now it’s time for you to throw your own potluck!
Join Sobeys and Jamie Oliver for the Potluck Challenge! All you have to do is host a potluck and share your potluck pictures between now and May 16th on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtags #PotluckChallenge and #FRD2014. For every picture shared, Sobeys will donate $1 toward the Cooking Toward Independence Project to help to fund cooking skills workshops across Canada.
Sobeys questioned Canadians, and based on their answers:
- 62% of Canadians dietary-energy comes from processed food.
- Canadians who cooked with their parents are 59% more likely to love cooking as an adult.
- 67% of Canadians who say they love to cook also agree that tasty, healthy, and cost-effective meals can be planned, prepared, and served in a limited time.
- 59% of Canadians who grew up cooking involve others in the process and enjoy sharing all they’ve learned.
- Only 18% of Canadians have at least one meal per day prepared from scratch.
- Only 31% of Canadians aged 18-29 are confident in the kitchen compared to 48% of those over 50.
This is why Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day is so important. And why cooking skills workshops for young people is so important. Cooking is a necessity of life. To thrive, we need to know how to take a few basic ingredients and make something delicious. Young people need to be taught that there is more than just processed foods available for them. I encourage you to pledge to host a potluck today. Sobeys has even included a Potluck Planner to make hosting your own potluck even easier.
Looking for something delicious to take to a potluck? How about these Best Baked Beans? They start from canned beans, but then get kicked up – guests will be asking your secrets. You don’t have to tell them how easy they are to make though – that’ll be our little secret.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/4 green pepper, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 14-ounce (398 ml) cans gluten free baked beans (I used Bush's Best Vegetarian Beans)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup your favourite gluten free barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- (optional: 4 slices bacon, fried & chopped)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Saute the onions and green peppers until tender.
- Add the beans (don't drain them), brown sugar, barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, mustard, and paprika. If using - stir in the fried bacon. Stir to combine.
- Pour the beans into a baking dish, making sure to leave some room so that the beans will not boil over.
- Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You could also heat them in the slow cooker for 2-3 hours on high.
- Serve hot or cold.
Looking for more easy gluten free dishes to bring to a potluck? How about:
Disclosure: The author has received consideration from Sobeys or Sobeys’ media partners in exchange for this content. Sobeys has not reviewed these claims and is not responsible for the content. As always, the opinions on this blog are my own.