Friday, May 14, 2010

NATIONAL ETIQUETTE WEEK: HOW TO MAKE ALL YOUR GLUTEN-FREE GUESTS FEEL WELCOME

This is National Etiquette Week, and though many may think of the concept of etiquette as old-fashioned or outdated, one of the core values expressed in Emily Post's 1922 Etiquette in Society, in Business and at Home is that the goal of good manners is to express your consideration for others' comfort and that certainly is a worthy goal, even almost a century after the first publication of that famous book. After Emily Post's death in 1965, her granddaughter-in-law, Elizabeth L. Post became head of the Vermont-based Emily Post Institute. Here are some tips we hope the Post family would approve of, given in the goal of making get-togethers of gluten-eaters and gluten-avoiders run smoothly.

ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL

One of the easiest ways to make people with special dietary requirements feel comfortable at a dinner or cocktail party or barbecue is to serve them just what everyone else is being served. Dishes that are traditionally gluten-free or where substitutes can be made with readily available products are the best choices. Here are some suggestions:

Omelettes and fritattas

Meat, fish and poultry without breading or sauces made with wheat flour thickening (use cornstarch or rice flour instead).

Vegetables, cooked or raw, served without cooked barley, rye or wheat grains.

Quinoa, amaranth or rice cooked in dishes where couscous or bulgur would be used.

Bean and legume dishes without wheat flour, barley, rye or cooked whole wheat.

Rice cakes, rice crackers or all-corn tortilla chips instead of wheat or rye crackers.

Serve wine or non-alcoholic beverages instead of beer.

SEPARATE BUT EQUAL

In addition to the tips above, the following are items you can make at home or purchase at stores that carry gluten-free products, and be sure they are safe for your gluten-free guests. They should be clearly labeled as gluten-free on the serving dish, and should be kept away from gluten-containing foods until served, and then served on their own platters. Be sure to have enough on hand of these gluten-free items, in case the gluten-eaters get curious. They're that good!

Crackers made from gluten-free grains for hors d'oeuvres

Salt sticks for snacking

Hamburger buns

Cookies

Chocolate baked goods

Gluten-free beer

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