a gluten-free Thanksgiving? Well…


pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

 

You know, I had every intention of this being a gluten-free Thanksgiving. After all, I remember every Thanksgiving of my life before this one, laying around in the late afternoon with my stomach overly full, my throat constricted, my head pounding from the pain, and a general feeling of malaise invading my system. We all overeat on Thanksgiving, right? That’s why I felt like such a dragged-out, run-over specimen of a being for most of Thanksgiving day.

But that was years past. And this year, for the first time, I would have an entirely gluten-free Thanksgiving. After all, this isn’t a lifestyle choice, a whim, and certainly not an attempt to cut carbs. With celiac disease, even the smallest amount of gluten can make for miserable days. And of course, keeping this website, and doing the continuous research to keep myself up to date for all of you reading, makes me even more aware of where gluten may lurk. It’s funny, how many people write to me and admit, “You know, I cheat sometimes, and I always pay for it later.” I’ve never been tempted to “cheat,” just sneak a taste of that cake or a bite of that pastry. Who would I be cheating besides myself? After being so inordinately sick last year, I know exactly how gluten can make me feel. So I’ve lost my taste for it. Traditional pasta no longer looks good to me. No chance for this gluten-free girl to grow sick.

After all, I took great precautions. The night before Thanksgiving, I made the pumpkin pies at my house, in my own pie plates, so there would be no chance of cross-contamination. And I have to say, with more experimenting since September, I’ve developed a pie crust recipe I just adore. (Recipe at the bottom of this post.) It’s flaky, tasty, and just enough bite to feel like real pie. I love making pumpkin pie, tossing in the cinnamon. And this year, I ground my cloves fresh, which shone through in the pie. That was a triumph.

gluten-free bread

And I attempted to make my own gluten-free stuffing. For most of my life, my mother cooked the entire Thanksgiving dinner by herself. And every year, what I looked forward to most was her gorgeous, simple stuffing. (By the way, apparently the distinction between stuffing and dressing is that stuffing is cooked in the bird and dressing outside of it. But I don’t care. Even though we haven’t cooked the concoction inside the bird in years, for health reasons, I still refuse to call it dressing.) Just soft bread cubes, butter, onions, celery, sage, and plenty of pepper. That was the taste of Thanksgiving for me. I always felt sorry for the families with “weird” stuffing, with apricots or walnuts or sausages or pears. That’s not stuffing. So on Wednesday night, I baked a loaf of gluten-free bread. In fact, I made two. In the bread machine, I made a loaf with the Gluten-free Pantry French Bread and Pizza Mix, my old standby. And in the oven, I made a loaf of the Pamela’s Wheat-Free mix, a new addition to my kitchen. The Pamela’s loaf had the feel of real bread, and a slightly sweet taste I find wonderfully appealing for sandwiches. But the bread-machine loaf had that silky-white texture I associate with the bread for stuffing. So after making the loaf, I cut it into cubes and browned it in a 250° oven for another hour and a half. This gave it a little crust, a little crunch. Good for stuffing. So it took me about five hours to produce a little bag of bread cubes, but it felt worth it.

box of food for Thanksgiving

On Thursday morning, I loaded up my car with my box full of food (including the cranberry relish I had made, a butternut squash, scallions, apples and pears, and chicken stock) and drove to Vashon, one of my favorite places in the world. The same width as Manhattan island, this green swath of land in Puget Sound is actually two miles longer than Manhattan. And yet, only 9000 people live there. Imagine 9000 people on Manhattan. The fir trees and madronas buffet against the water. Driving down the main highway, you only stop five times, and that’s with stop signs. There’s not a single traffic light on the place. Having lived and taught there for five years, I know the place like the recipes I never have to look up in a book. I just drive, and smile. And of course, my brother, sister-in-law, and darling nephew live there. When I’m in their house, my cheeks hurt from all the smiling, and my stomach aches from all the laughing with Elliott. Time stops, in the best way. I live in the moments when Elliott and I are imagining together. And so, on Thursday as well. I had offered to cook half the meal, add some new dishes, to make sure we had fancy vegetables and more gluten-free food. But my brother insisted on cooking almost everything, since it was his house. So no real cooking for me. Just a quiet family time, which I loved. The rain pattered on the skylights after a week of low fog in the sky, and it sounded like home. When Elliott napped, we played ridiculous word games and laughed so hard we all leaned out of our chairs precariously and let the tears squeeze from our eyes. It was shaping up to be a lovely Thanksgiving.

But after all that work, and being as careful as I could be with the food, I still got sick from gluten contamination. How?

Well, my brother made his stuffing, then washed out the skillet for me to make mine. Did he wash out the pan enough? Perhaps. When he put the tinfoil on my glass pan of gluten-free stuffing, did he still have flour on his hands? Maybe. He made his own gravy, then cleared a spot on the stove for me to make mine, with gluten-free flour and Kitchen Basics chicken stock. (By the way, thanks to Suzanne from Indiana for that suggestion. It’s fantastic.) But was there still flour flying in the air from his vigorous whisking? Did I get all the flour off the whisk before I started making mine? I don’t know.

onions and celery for stuffing

I do know that the last-minute details of cooking Thanksgiving dinner is often a bit of a frenzy. Everything finishes cooking at the same time. In the flurry of finishing my gravy, and laying out the cranberrries, and dumping a jar of green olives in a bowl, I didn’t notice that Andy had set my pan of gluten-free stuffing and his pan of regular stuffing side by side. Or that they were in the exact same glass pans. But I did notice, when I went into the kitchen to pile my plate with food, that someone had already used the spoon from the regular stuffing in mine, by mistake. There’s my contamination. I looked at it, in horror. I tried to take a spoonful from the other side, with a new spoon, but it probably wasn’t enough.

Why didn’t I just skip the stuffing? Well, I already had to skip the turkey. What? Turkey has gluten in it, you’re thinking? No. Of course not. Except.…My brother and sister-in-law had bought a fresh turkey, and they decided to roast it in a plastic poultry bag. As I was finishing my gravy, I watched my dear brother take the turkey out of the oven. I remarked on how lovely and brown it looked, then stared again at the bag.
“Hey Andy, what’s that white stuff in the bag?” I asked him.
“Oh, it’s flour. The manufacturers suggest you throw a couple of tablespoons of flour in there to make sure the skin doesn’t stick,” he said, with no hint of recognition in his voice.
I stared at him. And stared at him.
And then he looked at me, his eyes growing wide, and said, “Oh shit.”

He and my sister-in-law had put flour on the turkey. The one part of the Thanksgiving dinner most likely to be gluten-free—and this one had flour on it.

Now, my brother and sister-in-law love me. They know all about the gluten-free thing, since they both read this site. (Hi, you guys.) And I know they never had any intention of shutting me out of the Thanksgiving turkey. But that’s how hard this is. Even the people who care about us sometimes just don’t make the connection. And then we gluten-free folks have to go without. Again.

They both felt bad, but I backed off from it immediately. No point in making a fuss. And for ten years, when I was a vegetarian, I ate entire Thanksgiving meals without turkey. But still.

[Don’t feel too bad for me, though. Today, when I left the island, I drove straight to the movie theatre to meet Francoise and her family. After seeing Pride and Prejudice, we returned to their lovely home for tea and conversation. When I told Francoise this story, she immediately pulled the leftovers of her enormous turkey from her refrigerator, and insisted on cutting me half. So I didn’t lack, in the end.]

An hour after dinner, I started feeling exhausted. Bloated. That horrible sinking feeling of eating too much, my stomach filling immediately. I had to lie down on the couch, while my sister-in-law’s brother played with my nephew instead. My face felt hot. I could feel the headache rising. And my gut began reacting, almost immediately. Somehow, I’d ingested some gluten, and now I was paying for it. How? I’m still not sure. I’m pretty sure it was the cross-contamination from the other stuffing. And it’s possible I ate one cube of regular bread. When I was putting the glass pans away in the refrigerator, I grabbed one more bite of my stuffing, flecked with pepper and infused through with sage, and thought, “Actually, that does taste pretty damned good.” But almost immediately, I thought, “Uh-oh. That didn’t taste right.” Why didn’t I color-code the stuffings? Why didn’t I insist on putting them in different parts of the kitchen? Why didn’t I make a fuss and make all my own dishes in spite of my brother’s wish to treat the entire family to food? Well, because I’m learning. And there are so many gluten-free lessons to learn. This is a path, a practice, a continually unfolding journey.

I didn’t tell my family that I was sick. I didn’t want to ruin the evening. There were so many beautiful moments besides it—talking with my parents, or basking in the gratitude of having my fabulously imperfect family, or giving my nephew a joyful splashing bath—that it felt small. Thanksgiving, after all, is about the being together, the moments of uncontrolled laughter, the board games, the rain on the roof, the imaginings of a two-year-old, the reminiscing conversations, the long hugs. Imperfect as the meal was, and as quickly as my gluten reaction rose, it was still a lovely day.

However, I’ve been sick all day. And I will be again tomorrow. I know the pattern. Terrible flashes of headaches. Enormous strains of lethargy. Foggy brain. Significant grumblings in the intestines, and more. The old pain in my side. A fullness in my stomach, rising up through my throat, almost choking me. Bloatedness in every part of me. Joint pain. And no appetite. This will be with me for most of the weekend. All this because of a possible errant bread cube. Or a cross-contaminated spoon.

This is hard, this being gluten-free. If you’ve been reading, you know how joyful I am about it, how much of an adventure I consider it, how much this has changed my life. Mistakes happen. And if I’m sick for one weekend, on a low level, it gives me enormous empathy for the person I used to be, the one who always felt like this, who suffered for years for no explanation. And for all of you reading who suffer with me on this. There are a lot of us out there. We aren’t just crazy.

The entire experience has set me thinking. About how careful we all have to be, when we eat in restaurants or go to friends’ homes. Because, if even my dear brother and sister-in-law put flour on our turkey without it occurring to them what that might do to me, how much damage can busy kitchen staffs do? I feel as though I am educating everyone I meet about gluten. And I have to be absolutely vigilant. No slipping.

But it also struck me how, in enacting old Thanksgiving traditions, I broke my own gluten-free rule. For months, I’ve been writing here, and living it in my life: don’t look for gluten-free substitutes of the same old foods. Branch out. Make sharp tastes and memorable bites from foods that are naturally gluten-free. I’ve been living that, in action, every night, with dozens of dishes made from amaranth or quinoa or fresh vegetables or rice. And after all this experimenting and throwing in spices, I’ve come to adore that food more than any other I ate before it. I don’t miss bread.

So why did I make a gluten-free stuffing, as close an approximation of the old stuff as I could?

Because of tradition. Thanksgiving means roast turkey, mashed potatoes, bread stuffing, gravy, and rolls. Right? Well, with the exception of the turkey (most times), everything else relies on flour. And it’s bound to be a problem for those of us who just can’t eat gluten.

So here’s what I’ve decided to do. Starting with this Christmas, and every holiday after it, I’m going to make celebratory feasts. Not the same old food as always, but rich, decadent foods with enormous bodies of flavor. Swiss chard gratin. Cassoulets. Braised lamb. Brussel sprouts in browned butter. Sweet potato puree. Crisp salads with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds. Cornbread. Roasted nuts. And, since I’ve mastered the recipe, pumpkin pie with a gluten-free crust.

I’m going to start a new tradition, not feel chained to the old ones. Because–and here was the biggest surprise for me–even if I hadn’t been glutenized, I just didn’t enjoy the meal. Not that my brother isn’t a good cook. He is. He did a great job. It’s just that the tradtional Thanksgiving meal is a plate of food that all tastes pretty much the same: starchy, mashed, salty, and full of flour. And after all these fresh foods and innovative ideas turned into moaning mouthfuls, I just wasn’t that interested. And in the end, the food I enjoyed most in the entire day was the butternut squash I roasted with sea salt and olive oil in the early afternoon, just enough to tide us over until the big dinner. That, and the piquant cranberry relish, is the taste that stuck with me. You never could have told me this before my celiac diagnosis, but Thanksgiving was far from my favorite meal of the year.

So once again, this experience teaches me. From now on, I’m following my own way home.

27 comments on “a gluten-free Thanksgiving? Well…

  1. Suzanne

    My heart breaks for you, Shauna. Holidays are supposed to be times of family comfort and joy … and so much of it centers around the traditions of food. Reading your experience brought back several of my own not-so-wonderful memories since eating GF (or TRYING to eat GF) at family holidays. I suppose what we can continue to be thankful for is families who care so much — and hope they will eventually understand that almost no one can cook for us unless they are used to dealing with our limitations. It is not a slight at our family and friends, when we bring our own food or opt out of a meal we are not comfortable with. You write about this experience so eloquently that I hope some families will eventually read it, and know a bit more about what it is like to be “us.”

  2. Erika

    Shauna, thanks as ever for such a thoughtful and eloquent post. I’m sorry to hear about your discomfort, and hope you’re feeling loads better by now. I eat both gf and low carb due to the double whammy of celiac and an androgen problem, and you’ve captured the heartbreak and resolve of eating “different” from everyone else. I just try to remember that giving in to temptation and having gluten or sugar is poison, literally, to my body and that eating my way is healthy and nurturing. When I think about how much better I feel all the time now that I eat my way, the temptation to eat like everyone else goes away quickly. Hope you’re back on your feet soon!

  3. Beth

    hi-We are also in Seattle and eat gluten-free (my husband is quite intolerant, never tested for celiacs) and he also suffered after Thanksgiving (friends’ made the gravy with flour and it somehow touched something on his plate). Anyhow, I tend to follow your rule of not making approximations– for stuffing I generally make a brown rice stuffing, that I do put inside the bird. cooked brown rice, cranberries, raisins and pecans– we love it.

  4. Kalyn

    Very interesting post. I enjoyed reading it and hope you are starting to feel better. I have my own holiday-related eating issues (avoiding sugar) and sometimes I do better than others. This year I ate too many sugary things and by midafternoon I had a sugar headache and was very mad at myself for giving in to it. But I know it is much less severe than what you are going through. Good luck.

  5. Ruth

    Shauna, sorry to hear about your misadventure. Although I don’t suffer from any food allergies, it’s wonderful to read about your experiences (although, admittedly, this time less happily than most). Your writings provide so much insight to those with food challenges.

    Thanks for sharing and hopefull by the time you read this, you’ve recovered.

  6. SpiderWomanKnits

    Hi! I have been reading and enjoying your blog for a while now. Thank you for all the recipes and insight that you share.

    I can completely relate to your Thanksgiving post and I feel for you. It is hard for people to comprehend the enormity of gluten intolerance. I think most of my relatives have never even used the word “gluten” until I discovered my allergy. For some reason bread is different than flour in their minds, most likely because so many people have been removed from the process of preparing food from scratch because of processing.

    I have a gluten “First Aid” kit that I keep with me which seems to help and it includes acidolphilus and arnica montana that I take immediately following any questionable meal (basically anything I haven’t prepared myself). The acidolphilus helps digestion and the arnica combats inflammation.

    Thanks for the inspiration and your eloquent post. Hope you are feeling well.

    ~Abi

  7. michelle

    Oh dear, Shauna, I hope you’re feeling better very soon. I think that your ideas for making your own traditions are a perfect way for retribution — after all, all of those ‘traditional’ foods for Thanksgiving came from someone beginning to make them every year…and yours will be full of your own heart and creativity to make them taste that much better. Feel better soon, my dear, and hang in there.

  8. Peggy

    Oh, Shauna, I’m so sorry you’re not feeling well! You’re smart — you realize the holiday is about the people, not the food, and sometimes traditions need to be set aside to forge a new path. Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  9. Travis

    ou! I’ll be there to join you! i’m a vegetarian, and it sounds like you’ll have plenty of options.

  10. Diosa

    I Hope you are feeling better!! I can only relate my experience of a gluten free Thanksgiving this year. It was a success, mostly by my insistence on cooking. I had a great GF turkey with gravy (though I overamped on the Xantham gum a bit. :) ), made my own stock for the gravy iwth a bit of Kitchen Basics (isn’t that stuff just wonderful??) Low carb stuffing made with sausage and cauliflower (with Parmeasan cheese — it’s fabulous stuff) roasted potatoes for the hubby, roasted carrots for me, tangy green beans (green beans with red peppers and a mustard vinegrette) and GF brownies. I could’ve went to a friend’s who is a wonderful cook, but I wanted to try it myself and see how I fared GF.

  11. Karrie

    Shauna– I hope you are feeling better. My girlfriend and I read your blog from Denver, CO. She has been gluten free for almost two years. I do most of our cooking– or we cook together– so I also do my best to educate friends and family. We had a successful Thanksgiving, but we insisted on cooking and transporting all of Melissa’s food (including turkey) which I ate as well. She didn’t like feeling singled out, so I usually eat gluten free at family events as well. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your vivid description about what it feels like to have a reaction. For the gluten eaters it is hard to understand sometimes. Your reaction seems similar to what Melissa describes. We took our own food even though it ruffles the feathers of the Mothers. They want to do everything it seems. But, we decided it wasn’t worth taking a risk. Melissa’s mom was kind enough to keep our gluten free turkey, wild rice stuffing, and gluten free gravy warm in a separate crock pot with dividers– sort of like a steam table at a buffet. It worked out well and because it had a lid it helped prevent some mindless contamination with other utensils. Love your blog. Hope you are well soon. Karrie

  12. Helen

    Dear Shauna,

    I am so sorry you got sick! But I love your resolution to break the holiday food traditions in the future. I know this sounds terrible, but I hate Thanksgiving! We always go to my husband’s Dad’s house and his new wife is the world’s most awful cook. I offered to help with cooking, but she won’t let me, so we had to endure 4 days of inedible food. How can mashed potatoes be inedible? I really don’t know what she did to them. For a minute, I wished I could tell them that I was allergic to something so that I didn’t have to eat it. But they know I am not allergic to anything, so I just had to pretend I liked the food.

    Hope you are feeling better. I am sure Christmas will be better :)

    Cheers,
    –Helen

  13. capello

    I’m so sorry to hear you got sick. I was only diagnosed about eight weeks ago with a wheat allergy (which we are treating as celiac). My husband and parents are quite supportive, but my in-laws are not and it created a lot of problems during their visit (like them always wanting to go out to eat but I haven’t figured out any place I can eat at yet).

    I too made a GF Thanksgiving and everyone was surprised at how good it was (thankfully).

    Now, the smell of wheat no longer smells good to me. And I’ve even noticed now that if I get anything with wheat on my hands, my hands burn and I have to wash them immediately.

    I hope you come out of your gluten coma soon!

  14. Dawn

    That was a lovely post Shauna. I think that your future holidays will end up being so much more exciting than what the rest of the country will be doing. I think that you should start a gluten-free restaurant. Even if people didn’t know anything about gluten, it could still just be awesome, different food. And all of those folks out there with celiac disease would be the best customers in the world, since they’ll know they’re safe there! Your thanksgiving sounded like fun, but what a food let-down. I think you’re on the right track to make some changes for yourself. Hope that you are feeling better!

  15. Tricia

    Wow, Shauna, I had no idea a reaction would be so sudden and severe, to such a small amount of gluten. Scary! Then again, a friend of mine who is a highly sensitive hypoglycemic has a similar reaction to starches and sugars and certain fruits & veggies. The first year we knew her, we hosted her and her husband for Thanksgiving. I didn’t even realize until the turkey came out of the oven that the self-basting solution had sugar in it — I never even thought to look at the label! But she was unable to share in that part of the feast. So I can relate to your brother and his flour!

    For what it’s worth, we are not a GF family but have an almost GF Thanksgiving dinner, so good luck on your journey. I’m sure you’ll find plenty of exciting foods to incorporate into your celebrations — and 5 to 10 years from now, that’s what everyone will view as ‘traditional’ when eating with you! :^)

  16. beastmomma

    Reading this post reminded me of the Buddhist quote, “You create the path by walking.” I wish you joy as you make new traditions. Also, I think it is hard for us to make our old habits fit with our new selves. Figuring out a new way to celebrate is part of the joy and the challenge of transformation.

  17. kitchenmage

    Seems our best-laid plans go awry, especially on holidays…or is it especially on Thanksgiving? grin While there were obviously some problems with the food, you did get the important parts right: Elliott and the rest of the family. Consider how many people have the opposite: food they like and a family they don’t. Would you trade? Clearly not.

    You are dead-on with the assessment that you should step away from the “pseudo-whatever” and come up with new traditions. I’ve never understood the thinking behind things like tofurkey…if you aren’t going to eat meat, why are you pretending to eat meat? You have another big family holiday coming up (I am assuming you do some sort of mid-winter celebration: Hannukah, Christmas, Saturnalia…something) and a little time to consider how to approach it. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts about what you’re doing.

    My day ended up in its own form of sideways; everyone cancelled (for a variety of reasons), including my daughter who was bringing the spanish paprika for the roasted cauliflower. Drat! Ended up spending the day playing a new network computer game with my snuggly–which may seem like an odd way to spend a surprise “alone” day, but we did it a lot when we first got together and it was darn near romantic. Somewhere after dark, I made stuffing and potatoes for two, we played with the new kitten (another one, only been here a week), and hung out on the couch with entwined legs while we killed monsters in a dungeon. It was surprisingly nice.

  18. stephanie e.

    Like all your other readers, I am sorry that you became ill. I thought of you on Thanksgiving Day, because I was enjoying my first GF Thanksgiving, too, as I was told to eat GF about the same time as you. Thankfully I did *not* get sick. I ate only what I knew was GF, and after the meal, I was the only one with energy.

    Again, like you I decided the best way to face being GF was to not look for substitutes, but to eat what naturally is gluten free…all the wonderful vegetables and fruits and meat, simply seasoned. And, like you, at this time of year, I was hoping to find replacements for the traditional foods.

    Here’s to new traditions!

  19. Elise Moore

    hi Shauna,
    I just learned of you on a commercial on food network and logged right on. you are on the right track. Cheating is for the birds and even when you’re careful, you still pay with terrible symptoms no one understands unless they have celiac. So — please keep it up — you can’t substitute but you can make new dishes that are tastier than the old traditional. Bravo — I’m so proud of you. (I was diagnosed 5 yrs ago and have never cheated on purpose but have slipped plenty of times by accident — so — keep up your good work.

  20. Heidi Fuller

    Shauna,

    I just found your site as I was doing research for a gluten-free thanksgiving this year. My 14 year old son is gluten/dairy allergic. I thought I might find your pumpkin pie recipe; can you share it?

    Heidi

  21. Heidi Fuller

    I love your blog. I found it while researching for a gluten-free thanksgiving. Did you give out the pumpkin pie recipe somewhere and I just missed it?

    Heidi

  22. Anonymous

    Just did a trial run for a gluten free stuffed acorn squash to see if it was Thanksgiving worthy, and it was g r e a t! Just steamed two halves of an acorn squash until soft enough to scoop out squash to about 1/4″ to 1/2″, then used the “Comprehensively Stuffed” version of squash stuffing out of Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook with only two modifications. I used rice bread and added the portion of squash I had scooped out to the stuffing. Then rewarmed stuffed squash for about 1/2 hour before eating. This stuffing has walnuts, sunflower seeds, raisins and, of course, the traditional stuffing spices. MMMMMM

  23. Anonymous

    Thank you, thank you everyone!! I needed advice about G-F T’Day foods, and I got it. Wow! Great advice and warnings.

  24. Anonymous

    I’m so shocked to see that I am not the only person who doesn’t see Thanksgiving the way others do. I’ve become the Thanksgiving “scrooge” in my family because in recent years I loved to go out to dinner instead stressing everyone and having a ton of leftovers. Now that I have found out that I have Celiac’s Disease my husband and I have decided to just have dinner as normal and invite family to partake of a NORMAL meal. We have no intention of spending a fortune for food no one should be eating anyway and praying that any diabetics in the family didn’t have too much sugar that will lead to a 4am phone call on the way to the emergency room.

    Ok, so call me the Thanksgiving Scrooge…I think I’m proud of it because we are healthier than ever and have no wish to go back to the way it was before.

  25. Anonymous

    Hi there,
    We cannot find the gluten-free piecrust recipe at the end of Shauna’s post. Are we missing something? Can someone please post where to find the recipe?

    Many thanks!

    GF2

  26. Tara

    Thank you for this post. I can’t believe I had never read this one! I’ve been reading your posts for the last couple of years, since going gluten-free, and this one sounds almost exactly like my Thanksgiving this year, my 3rd GF Thanksgiving (you’d think I’d get it by now…). I ended up with an achy stomache, migraines, and psoriasis for days after Thanksgiving. What a shame. I decided to adopt a similiar way of looking at it though for Christmas and invent new traditions, rather than try to recreate the old ones. I never liked stuffing much anyway.

    Thank you for all of your posts over the years! You saved me when I first went GF!

  27. Suzanne

    Hi Shauna … after all these years, I went looking for this blog post of yours, and am so glad I found it. I’m now the Branch Manager for our local GIG group in Indianapolis, and we are planning to do a support group meeting in a couple of weeks about strategies for managing holidays and staying GF. This blog entry still remains, to me, the BEST and most compelling GF “holiday” story I have ever read. I went searching for it because I wanted share it with our membership prior to the meeting, because you really say it ALL here! I still use that same Kitchen Basics chicken broth, by the way — lol! Just a big thanks to you (and now your hubby and the bean) for all that you have done for the GF virtual community. There was truly a point, probably not too far before you posted this, that I think like your GFG blog saved me from almost the deepest possible discouragement with what I’d had to give up. You made me remember that I could still celebrate wonderful food by redirecting my thinking about all of this. I am a true foodie, always have been, and remain so, even though GF! You possess such a great and positive attitude, and it is truly a blessing you have generously shared. ~~ “Suzanne in Indiana”