Saturday, 2 October 2010

High Tea: Gluten Free!

I was at a wedding this summer where at least 3 of the guests required a gluten free meal.  In fact, the bride once shared a house with a Coeliac so she is always fabulous at catering gluten free.  Her wedding was no different, I was very well fed, down to gluten free canapes on the lawn.  When the waiter brought gluten free bread to the table to accompany my starter, another guest at the table questioned me as to how I got it.  I explained that I have Coeliac Disease so couldn't eat gluten, and that I informed the happy couple of this when I RSVP-ed.  She announced that she had a wheat intolerance, but hadn't thought to mention it on her RSVP.  At that point, the Musician and I exchanged a knowing look (we have a mutual friend who professes to a wheat intolerance, but tends to overlook the wheat content of any foods she enjoys!)  Sure enough, this girl avoided bread during the starter, and discarded the pastry from her beef wellington, but the bread based dessert was devoured.  This annoys me.  If it makes you ill, don't eat it!!!  It doesn't help to enhance the understanding of others about the effects of gluten on someone with Coeliacs either.  If you know someone who claims that they can't eat wheat, then they ask for cake, them it becomes very easy to underestimate the effects of even the smallest amount of gluten of a person who truly can't eat wheat.

If you this I am unfairly generalising all people claiming a wheat intolerance, it happened again today!  I was at high tea at The Three Tuns pub in Lower Halstow for a friend's hen party (a brilliant idea).  I wasn't expecting to be able to eat anything - high tea consisting of sandwiches and cakes - however, I was greeted by a platter of gluten free open sandwiches (gluten free English muffins and seeded rolls, split and topped with delicious ham, egg, cheese and tuna) and a selection of gluten free cakes.  I was delighted.  It lifts my spirits when people consider my diet and accommodate me.  As I exclaimed my joy at the plate of goodies in front of me, further up the table another member of the party stated that she, too had a wheat intolerance.  As she spoke, she was slicing open a (wheat) scone and covering it with jam...  Later, she asked if she could have some of my open sandwiches, because, and I quote "I only had cakes, because the sandwiches have too much wheat in them".  I did share, but I was dumbfounded.  I am sure there are plenty of wheat intolerant people out there who avoid wheat diligently, and probably Coeliacs' out there who ignore their need for a gluten free when tempted, but I just don't understand it.  Any accidental gluten consumption has left me sick, weak and miserable, so why would someone knowingly do that to themselves?


  1. I have also noticed this and am at a loss with what makes some people tick sometimes. The other thing is that my step daughter gave us a high tea voucher for Christmas (for the Langham hotel in Auckland, New Zealand) and I was thinking at I won't be able to use it but maybe they will do me a gluten free high tea.

  2. Came across this via google.

    It frustrates me too! I have a wheat intolerance (my GP reckoned it might be an allergy but didn't see the point in testing as I made it perfectly clear I wouldn't be eating wheat ever again - I had daily stomach cramps, vomiting, my arms and legs were covered in eczema and I slept 10 hours a day).

    In two years I have never intentionally eaten wheat (I had an issue in the work canteen - I took the pot labelled 'grated cheese' to mean that. Not 'grated cheese with flour sprinkled in it') and won't be going back. I feel better and value my health too much (plus, I dropped from a size 18 to a 12-14 with the diet change which I'm not complaining about either).

    But these days in restaurants I say allergy because if you say intolerance you're just not taken seriously. And whilst it's not true I am not taking a risk! I spend the following day in bed if I have anything more than a trace amount and it's not worth it.

    (PS: Burger restaurants - the Atomic Burger in Oxford. None of their burgers are naturally GF but the menu is available on their website and if you pick the burger you want in advance and tell them when booking, you can have any burger made GF and it will come in a GF bun. Plus, the burgers are amazing!)

  3. Glad to have you, Kip! I'm pleased that going wheat free had helped you, I know how hard it is to keep it up especially when eating out.

    I hope my wee blog is of use to you.