Or rather, over a few states and across the skies, to Grandmother’s house she went.
In movies and stories, a visit to grandma’s house is often a thing of magic, evoking images of warm hugs, laughter and extra helpings of dessert. It is a place where children are bestowed an extra dose of attention, love and wisdom, free of the watchful parental eye.
Known as Mimi to her six grandchildren, my energetic, whip-smart and undeniably hilarious mother-in-law, rivals the best of TV grandmothers! An expert storyteller, personal cheering section and maker of delectable chocolate chip cookies (soon to be gf-ed, we hope!), Mimi dazzles each of her grandchildren on every encounter. The eldest of Mimi’s 6-pack, Grace has been traveling for “special Mimi time” since she was in grade school. These treasured trips keep them close despite the physical distance separating them.
Mimi keeps current on the grandkids’ favorite things and is stocked and ready for every visit. Teeming with highlights and memories, excited chatter echoes for days following a trip to Mimi’s. Seemingly executed with aplomb, I took it for granted that this family superhero intuited everything — from the important to the minute– until our phone conversation before Grace’s most recent trip.
New to the world of celiac and terrified of poisoning her granddaughter, she wanted to know what she needed to do. She jokingly claimed that she felt as if she should throw out everything in her kitchen! “I have no idea how to keep her safe!” she confessed. I assured Mimi it would be ok, reminding her that (fortunately) Grace is old enough to take care of herself. Adding I would send her some basic guidelines her way.
Upon finishing the call, I considered how different these visits would have been if Grace’s celiac had been diagnosed earlier and what I might have packed in her suitcase for a visit to grandma’s. Offering Mimi some ideas, I am happy to say the trip went off without a hitch!
For anyone hosting a celiac or gluten-sensitive someone, below is a budget-conscious list of items that will help you safeguard happy memories for all!
Items to have on hand when hosting a celiac or gluten-sensitive someone:
- Cutting Surfaces: a new cutting board or mat (or heavy-duty paper plates work well in a pinch!)
- Food Barriers: creating a barrier between food and a potentially risky surface is a fast and easy precaution to take. Lining a pan in heavy-duty aluminum foil or parchment paper can help protect your guest from harm
- Disposable Wares: baking in disposable foil pans can help ensure safety; paper cups make great prep cups, paper plates can be good cutting surfaces. And a bonus: fewer dishes!*
- A New, Inexpensive Non-Stick Skillet: let’s be honest, most of us don’t realize it is time to replace the old scratched one. This is the perfect opportunity!
- Duplication Station: from condiments to spreadables, the safest way to circumvent cross-contamination is to have separate items. Mark them with GF to offer a visual clue of the difference.
- Dishtowels & Sponges: having extra dishtowels and a dedicated GF sponge on hand will decrease inadvertent cross-contamination when cleaning up.
- Cooking Utensils: if your GF someone will be a frequent guest, consider having some spare cooking utensils as well.
Most importantly, maintain open communication and a sense of humor and perspective. And of course. . .
Please remember to recycle and compost when possible!