Sunday, February 21

Terina - Reality Chapter One--Essay 5

…separation anxiety

Years ago (too many to remember,) as a wedding shower gift, I received a basket full of canned food—without the labels. One of my bridesmaids thought it would be a great joke to let the newlyweds pick from the larder without knowing what was in store. The rule was that you ate whatever you opened. One night’s menu might be an entrée of canned salmon served with a side of refried beans, followed by a nice dish of chocolate sauce. This present became popular. Why? Because someone thought that being newly wedded was not entertainment enough?

The first time I grocery shopped gluten-free, I recalled that feeling of disquiet and unease. Those first few gluten-free months brought fear and trepidation every time I looked at a can.

Week one on the diet, my husband and I wandered up and down the aisles of the supermarket—for four hours. We picked up every can, bottle, and package searching labels for the big four, wheat, rye, barley, and oats. We knew enough to dodge malt, natural flavorings, and other unidentified food objects (UFO’s), but if the item appeared to be gluten-free, it went into the basket. This was my first introduction to sardines and pigs feet for which I bear fond affinity—but still can’t stomach.

This was prior to the 2006 government intervention requiring allergen label warnings, so we were dodging bullets, but with so few foods in my target range, I was desperate. The government labeling changes have freed the g-f community to a whole new world of culturally diverse foods like Vienna sausages and Brazilian corned beef![1]

Reality Check. Wow, and to think of what I would have missed if I had remained g-filled!

[1] Anyone know why all canned corn beef must state “Product of Brazil” on the label?

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