Did you add a fork?

A few years ago, they diagnosed me with celiac disease. Since no other family members had this, I was unfamiliar with the dietary adjustments. Over time, we found great gluten-free (GF) substitutes so I can still make favorite family recipes. However, I felt sorry that my family struggled through the first efforts.

Eating GF at home has become second nature to us. Gluten-free items are more expensive, so we did not convert completely to a GF household. Bread is one such item. I have my loaf and the family eats “regular bread.” We are teaching our grandchildren what “GF” written on items means so they know not to use them on their gluten-containing food. We have two of many items (such as toasters) to keep things separate and safe for me.

While we are at home, eating gluten-free is no longer an issue. Eating out is another process altogether.

Those who have celiac or gluten sensitivities will be familiar with hoping there is a gluten-free menu to make the decisions easier. Some phone apps provide these menus and comments from GF individuals as to whether the restaurant follows strict food prep zones or is less stringent – something that is beneficial for those experiencing hypersensitivity to gluten. If no special menu exists, I (like many) have gotten adept at scanning the menu and asking questions before ordering.

Even with all these safeguards in place, mistakes happen. One of the more frequent errors occurs when the kitchen, by habit, puts a biscuit on the breakfast plate even if asked to leave it off (or put it on the side for someone else at the table to enjoy). The most sensitive celiacs are affected by even a crumb, so simply removing the gluten item may not make a difference. I discovered the problem of the crumb when I developed symptoms after putting my GF bread in the regular toaster. Apparently, a crumb from regular bread with gluten attached to my toast. Hence, the purchase of a separate toaster in my kitchen.

With a gluten item on the plate, you are faced with asking them to create a whole new plate. In the process you hope the kitchen realizes the need for this and doesn’t simply remove the offending item and bring back the same plate.

Grabbing drive-through has unique challenges. I can have burgers without a bun and often choose this option. The kitchen puts the bunless burger in a container and adheres to the gluten-free option I was seeking. What happens more often than I hope is the lack of any utensil to eat the burger. Most times, I may take the burger home and can eat it with my own fork. But, if we are en route to a destination, others in the car grab their burger and eat on the way. I am left to figure out how to grab a burger covered in cheese and condiments and eat it while it falls apart…a messy option indeed.

Now, I ask if a fork has been included in my bag. Sometimes, it is apparent they didn’t realize I needed one as they grab one and put it in quickly. Things like needing a fork are obvious to me because I have become used to eating burgers that way. But it is not the normal order, so adding a fork is extra.

My choices (and yours) are to get offended at this oversight or give grace. Too many times, we see people choose anger over mercy. It’s time we keep things in perspective.

“Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.” (Proverbs 19:11, NLT)

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