May is “gluten free awareness month”. To give us another opportunity to call attention to our cause, “National Celiac Awareness Day” is celebrated on September 13, the birthday of Dr. Samuel Gee, the first physician to link celiac disease to diet in 1877.
The Gluten Intolerance Group is again this year sponsoring its Chef to Plate Awareness Prigram” in May. Read their article to see where you fit in. This article contains a seven page list of addresses and phone number of gluten free restaurants that will be participating. I intend to print out that list and take it with me when I go on vacation next week.
I’ve been trying to think of ways that I could help raise celiac awareness. The thousand-or-so people that read this site are already aware. All my relatives are aware, and I spend very little time in restaurants that are not already gluten-savvy. But, I’ve had at least two opportunities to improve gluten free awareness this week.
♦ I recently ate what was probably the worst-tasting gluten free cupcake I have ever tasted. It was in a posh kiosk in a very upscale shopping mall. The cupcake cost at least twice the amount I pay at my local gluten free bakery. I suspect that the people in charge of this place were under the delusion that people who must live gluten free would gratefully accept something that tasted like cardboard. I would have welcomed that or any cupcake ten years ago, but I have a lot more choices now and I intend to use them. I haven’t done anything about this yet. I should respond. I’m guessing that the owners of this establishment would be mortified if they knew what they have been serving.
♦ I attended a workshop last week that provided a gluten free option for lunch. The bad news is that I did not find out about this until after I had finished my brought-from-home meal. I chided the leader of our group about this and she responded with words to the effect of “they mentioned that in my instructions but I didn’t know what it meant”. She knows me well enough to be aware that I can’t eat the cookies that she usually serves at our meetings, but she never connected that with the term “gluten free”.
Celiac Awareness is important, of course. But the needs are changing and — if anything — we need to be more creative. I’ll write more about this as soon as possible. In the meantime, I would love to read your thoughts on the subject.