Yesterday, I read about a chef in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, who spent time on his facebook page bragging about how he had intentionally served pasta with gluten to patrons who had requested a gluten-free meal. Once I started searching for news about the post, I found a variety of blog entries and some coverage by various news sources as well. (Here's one such news clip on the story.)
After looking around on several different sites, I realized that countless people are outraged! Are you? I certainly count myself among the “outraged” masses. It is almost unbelievable that someone would not only deliberately poison someone else, but would brag about it to his friends. If this chef ever did this to a child (or adult) with an anaphylactic reaction to gluten, he'd be in a world of trouble. But, as you may know, most people suffering from Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity don't have immediate reactions; reactions are slower to start, but can be very long-lasting.
After I got over being mad, I realized how this situation could play out in many locations. Previously I mainly worried about cross contamination issues (with untrained kitchen staff) when we have eaten out, but now I’m going to be worrying about the integrity of the people working in the kitchen. Silly that I didn’t before, really. But, I suppose I assumed that my requests for special foods for Ethan and myself – while more work for the people working in restaurant kitchens – would be respected and seen as important and necessary for our health and well-being.
Health and well-being: that’s why our kids are on GFCF (and other) special diets. That's why I'm on a strict GF diet; gluten gives me severe migraines and muscle and joint pain. It gives Ethan gastrointestinal problems and also manifests as increased challenging behaviors and impulsivity.
Because we know it matters, we bend over backwards to make special meals for our kids to heal their guts, make sure they’re healthy, they're happy and can function at their best. But, not everyone cares about others’ well-being.
Not everyone is an upstanding employee.
Not everyone does what they say they’re going to do.
Now I know that sometimes people tell you they're going to prepare a "safe" meal (for you or your child) and they do just the opposite.
So, I wonder, will this change how often or where (or even IF) you’ll be eating out in the future?
Leigh Attaway Wilcox is a writer and editor for the projectLD family of companies. Leigh is Assistant Editor of the internationally acclaimed AutismSpot.com and her work can be found on many of the pLDNetworks sites. Leigh is the author of ALL BETTER: A Touch-and-Heal Book published by Piggy Toes Press in 2007. Leigh lives in North Texas with her husband and young son who loves reading, LEGOs, Mario Bros. and also happens to live with Asperger's Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum Disorder.