Have you ever had something quirky or amusing happen to you while trying to eat responsibly? Having to eat gluten free or live with any food intolerance or allergy is no laughing matter, yet sometimes it helps to lighten-up . . .
I remember once traveling on business and going out to dinner with an associate friend. I ordered steak and a baked potato, which was to be prepared in a strictly gluten-free area, of course–something the restaurant promised they could do when I called them earlier that day.
At the restaurant, I told the waiter all about how I’d get very sick if I ingested even the smallest amount of gluten. He said he understood and assured me the kitchen would take excellent care of me . . . yet, he steadfastly refused to bring me a baked potato. He said it had “much gluten.”
I said, “What the heck is the chef putting into, or on, that potato?”
He, in a charming Italian accent, said, “Oh, nothing, oh, no, no, no. But so much gluten! It’s all gluten, gluten.”
Gluten gluten? Double gluten? What the . . . ?
The remaining discussion lasted long enough for me to finish a glass of wine. I was determined to get to the bottom of it–not the wine (despite having done a lovely job of it), but the potato.
What was the problem? The sour cream? The bacon? The chives?
The butter? Was it the butter? Did someone churn the butter with a wheat stalk?
We went around and around. Where, oh where, were they hiding the wheat, barley or rye?
I ordered a second glass of wine, but the waiter would not budge. His eyes sharpened as he raised his eyebrows as if to insinuate, Pazza! As if ordering the potato isn’t crazy enough, now you’re ordering more wine? Whatsamaddawityou?
My friend started drinking her wine with intensity. Poor thing. Her dining with someone willing to overturn the universe for the sake of a potato must have been quite a pain in the spud.
The waiter was getting annoyed, too. His concern caused his voice to grow louder, and he became quite animated as he tried to explain gluten-gluten to a birdbrain.
Hands flapping while patting his belly, he talked about . . . well, I couldn’t quite make out what he was talking about, until he got to the part about how “. . . a person grows big, big round and can have big, big problems above the . . .” did he say, belly button?
Yes. Okay. Right! Now I get it. He means bloating! He means experiencing upper intestinal distress! He’s showing me what it’s like to need an endoscopy!
I had no idea what this had to do with a potato, but feeling relieved that he really did understand, I grinned and bobbed my head in agreement.
This calmed him a bit.
My friend kept drinking.
He smiled back and relaxed, yet he still would not take my order. Instead, he kept patting his stomach while embellishing on how, if I wasn’t careful, my blood sugar . . .
AH-HA! He was confusing gluten with glucose.
Not to worry. Before I was done placing my order, I put on my game face, called for the manager and made sure both of them understood the difference in terms.
They were ever so nice about it. Delightful even. One might go so far as to say they quivered with wanting to deliver the finest customer service, all the while feeling a clobber of guilt mixed with a fear. TRIP ADVISOR! YELP! Yipes. They hurried off to place my order . . .
The waiter brought my steak, then he rushed back to the kitchen to get my potato.
He needed both hands.
As he returned to the table, the potato loomed large from far across the dining room floor . . . and when he placed it in front of me, I gasped. No doubt, everyone in the room gasped. It was crazy huge and looked more like a football than a baked potato.
Well, I guess they finally understood. I guess I won and got what I ordered. As I savored the score, I wondered whether I should eat the potato or kick it through some gluten-free goalpost.
I ate it.
Love to all, from Lee. (PS: If you’ve had some amusing experiences while coping with food issues, please join the discussion in the Knitting Is Gluten Free group on Ravelry, here, or post your comments below.)
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