how to shop, gluten-free, for Thanksgiving

Let’s talk about buying food, shall we?

We’re very excited to share recipes for great Thanksgiving dishes, gluten-free, in the coming weeks. (And remember that you can put your name on the waitlist for our Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Baking iPad app, which should be live in about a week!) You’ll have plenty of videos to show you how to make cranberry chutney, roasted sweet potatoes, and the softest mashed potatoes you’re ever likely to make.

But before we cook, we shop.

This is a long video (15 minutes!), but it’s an important video. If you are new to living gluten-free, or if you are cooking for someone who is gluten-free and you are new to that, or you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner and you just found out that someone who is coming to dinner is gluten-free? You NEED this video.

Most people aren’t thinking about cross-contamination in the bulk aisle, or looking too closely at the label that says “Manufactured in a facility that also manufactures wheat” or remembering that cream of mushroom soup actually has wheat flour in it.

With the permission of our local grocery store, Danny and I walked up and down every aisle, trying to remember every detail of what people might be buying for the big day. (I’m sure we must have forgotten something! Let us know if we have by leaving suggestions in the comments.) Share this post with the people with whom you will be cooking, or for whom you will be cooking. Communication is key to making this a great Thanksgiving.

And by the way, there’s something about flourescent lights that make me look like I have the darkest circles under my eyes. We were working hard on these videos, to be sure, but I don’t look as death warmed over as I do in the video!

27 comments on “how to shop, gluten-free, for Thanksgiving

  1. tanja

    You guys are real, fantastic and inspiring all at once. Thank you for giving of yourselves so generously and beautifully.

  2. Sondi

    Great video! I have a question about cross-contamination. I am gluten intolerant, not celiac, and when I stopped eating gluten I didn’t buy all new kitchen equipment (utensils, cake pans, food processor, dishes, etc.). If I am cooking for someone who is celiac, would there be traces of gluten in my kitchen that might cause a reaction?

    1. shauna

      Good questions, Sondi. The only thing you have to worry about is wood. Wooden cutting boards, spoons, and rolling pins can trap gluten. Use a plastic cutting board. Rubber spatulas. Parchment paper on top of the pie dough. Then you’re good!

      1. KC

        From a gluten-free friend who has been hit by the “veggies drained in colander previously used for pasta” problem, colanders may also be worth soaking and scrubbing extra-thoroughly, depending on how many washes it’s been since they’ve been used to drain gluten-containing pasta (there are just so many nooks and crannies, especially in plastic colanders, and that pasta water really coats stuff well). Flour sifters are another one that tiny amounts of stuff can hang out in for a looooong time, and I honestly wouldn’t use for gluten-free flour mix if they’d ever been used for regular flour (mine at least are basically impossible to get completely clean, with the layers of mesh and the layers of blade-things) – regular ol’ mesh strainers do fine with sifting and are easier to clean. I’d also be wary about natural-fiber pastry or basting brushes and any scratched-up plastic that was formerly used for gluten-y things (so, some of my more-ancient spatulas are Not For Gluten Free Use). For people who make gluten-containing pie dough or whatever in their food processor (or for mixers/stand mixers), it’s sometimes worth doing a spring-cleaning on them (disassembling farther than usual or taking a bottlebrush to nooks and crannies) to make sure there’s no flour residue in between parts, although that’s probably unnecessary if you’ve been not eating gluten for a while.

        But yes, wood stuff is the biggie (and the sneaky one!).

  3. Lynne

    Six years ago I was diagnosed with Celiac’s at the end of October. My entire family went into a tailspin trying to figure out how we could deal with my new diet and still have all our treasured family recipes. I wish we had your video. After countless hours of research we had all the dishes that were usually on the menu AND they were safe for me. My family now entirely eats GF at the holidays (or whenever I am around) and no one knows the difference. As you pointed out things are actually improved because no one thinks of picking up a box of Jiffy cornbread mix to make the dressing out of – we all do it from scratch. Keep up the good work and Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  4. Maggi

    Thankfully, there are a few brands of gluten free cream of mushroom soups on the market for those that really do like that green bean casserole. Of course, making the fried onion rings gluten free is a pin (and can’t really be made ahead. drat) but last year we actually had a few really good casseroles thanks to Progresso and Gluten Free Cafe CoM soups.

    Oh! And if you shop at Trader Joes, read the stock/broth boxes. Picked one up with gluten in it by mistake last month. ugh.

  5. manuela garcia

    Hi Shauna,
    I have been trying to make a donation, but the system doesn´t let me go through with it. Paypal asks for a Province, but only gives the option of provinces in the States, despite entering Spain as the country. It also doesn´t accept a telephone number from Europe. Any help? We´d really like to contribute to the work you are doing.
    Many thanks,

    1. shauna

      Manoli, thank you for wanting to help. I don’t know anything about the PayPal system. Perhaps someone else here knows?

  6. manuela garcia

    Hi Shauna,
    Ok. I´ll try to find out. If anyone here knows and can help it would be great. I´m sure there will be more people outside the States wanting to donate. You’ve crossed all borders with your work!
    kind regards,

  7. Jessica

    Thank you so much for that thorough and comprehensive video. I recently went GF and the video is helpful, especially for getting across to others all the areas that contain gluten.

  8. Elise

    This is really amazing. Thank you so much for that video. I have recently decided to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle as I believe it will help my health and a condition I learned I have. I really appreciate your work in helping others easily adopt this diet.

      1. Alli

        We live in Wallingford, but my boyfriend grew up on Vashon. We’ll be there for Thanksgiving with his family next week! 🙂

        1. Alli

          Charlie graduated in 2001. He says he doesn’t remember you … but maybe you know his brother, Spencer? Spencer graduated in 2008.

  9. Julie Schauer

    My son-in-law is gluten intolerant and I’m new to this gluten-free world. I have a question for you. My son-in-law used to eat and still loves cream puffs and things made with puff pastry. Can I substitute gluten-free flour for regular flour to make cream puffs? If so, how much Xanthan Gum must I use and do I need to do anything else? Also, is there a substitute product I can use in place of puff pastry? Thank you, I really appreciate any help you can give me in these areas.

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