Why when you ask for gluten free and dairy free and grain free do you still get served rice? This is what I faced last night at the football in a (not to pump up my own tires and name drop, but I will) corporate box with Craig Hutchinson, AFL journo and Crock Media SEO. When it arrived, my social conscious, stigma and the fact I already had to have a special meal prepared and paid for by my host sent me into a guilty tailspin – so much so – I tasted – only a little of the two giant rice patties that took up half of my plate.
I should have told them before arriving of my list of dietary no no’s but I thought I would have time to devour the left over lamb shanks and I would be safe. But Friday had other ideas, and I arrived hungry and to a table full of full fat, full sugar, full of nothing primal food. Wedges, party pies, sausage rolls, mini quiche, cheese and processed cold meats, mini burgers, rolls filled with sundried tomatoes and salami, deep fried chicken drumsticks. All the food you would want to eat on a cold wet night at the football. But I couldn’t.
So I had a quiet word in the waitress’s ear when she was serving my mineral water, just to ask if there was, anything for a gluten free, grain free dairy free guest. The next thing I knew she had called in the manager and they were having a hushed conversation, fingers were pointed in my direction, menus were looked at, heads shook. Then my esteemed hosts were called over, a credit card was put down and a meal apparently matching my requirements was ordered.
I felt the flush of embarrassment crawl up my neck, especially when I was apologized to profusely for not checking dietary requirements prior, and had I only just found out about my intolerances or had it been a while?
Of course this wasn’t the best time to launch into an entire discussion around how this was just a challenge, and really I could eat everything, I just chose not to as I felt better for it.
Especially when my meal arrived and it was the envy of everyone else in the box.
Two lamb medallions, a pile of vegetables – fantastic. But then the cheap option, the two giant rice patties on the side of my plate.
You can’t eat rice can you? A friend whispered.
No, and I feel bad. Do you want them?
But I couldn’t give them away.
So I ate my lamb, and my vegetables, and in between I cut up the rice patties and moved the small particles around my plate to try and disguise the lack of disappearance. Like a child does with their brusel sprouts, I played with my food until it looked like at least half a rice patty was gone.
More comments were passed about how good it looked, lots of eyes passed over my plate, and then the hosts were there, looking over me, making sure I had enough to eat and was it ok?
I nodded, smile on my face, thanked them again, remarked on how good it was, then when they didn’t leave and eyes still watching, and I had no meat left, as if to prove a point I pulled off the tiniest portion of a rice patty and put it to my mouth.
It was enough for them to move on, and when the vegetables were finished and during an intense moment during the game when I thought nobody was watching, I took my plate, napkin covering rice patties, up to the waitress and thanked her, eyes almost pleading not to mention what I didn’t eat and just clear the plate before anyone could see what remained on it.
I’m not sure if it really was that one forkful that did it, or my mind making me feel the guilt, but later, my when my stomach flipped and turned and groaned, I blamed that rice patty.
And rice was one of my stables before this challenge.
I’m not sure if I was more guilty that I had ordered a special meal or if I had that one tiny forkful of rice. Either way, it as probably the toughest moment of the challenge so far.
And I say that as I am cooking a Christmas pudding – boiling it the traditional calico cloth for six hours. The smell of honey and golden syrup is radiating through the house and the windows are steaming up from the heat of the pudding. It’s a sickly sweet smell, and a task that requires meticulous detail for if that pudding comes off the boil then it is lost forever. So after every few goals of the football I get up and boil more water, add it to the saucepan, make sure the top of the cloth is not in the pan, that the pudding has enough room to expand, and all the while engulf the smell of sugar.
The smell is so strong I keep thinking I have burnt the bottom and ruined it, but there is no black mark on the bottom of the pudding, the plate is clean and the water the golden brown colour it should be as some of the juices seep out.
The smell doesn’t make me want to eat it at all. Instead it makes me worried the pudding is bad and nobody will want to eat it.
Instead I have warmed up the leftover lamb shanks for a late lunch and the smell of these little babies is delightful. Maybe its too late for a late lunch given I have a feast of a Christmas dinner before me, but I know the snacks I wont eat and none of the dessert, so I figure it will be five hours before I eat again so why not.
Plus I love those lamb shanks.
I’m not that worried about tonight. Not like I was. The food will not be an issue, and I managed to not even think about drinking last night with free grog all around me, so surely tonight will be fine.
I just cant be bothered with the questions.
Like yesterday, when a friend called and asked me if I really wasn’t drinking because I was pregnant and was this challenge just a way to hide it.
Do you honestly think I would go to THAT much effort?
If you don’t believe me, ill show you my new abs, the beginning of a six pack and the way my pants hang off my hips – no pregnant belly there thank you very much. No food belly either.
Nope, I wont be drinking tonight, and now its not just about the challenge – now its personal!
- Sidestep the Side Effects of Eating Gluten-Free (everydayhealth.com)