Friday, January 30, 2009

A House Divided, Gluten-Wise OR My Restaurant Tantrum

It's Friday night, and we ate out tonight. We are not doing that much anymore, and anytime we do, it's at some specially pre-selected place where I know there is a gluten-free menu. The times we've been cavelier about his diet, we've paid for it with days of him not feeling well.

I make sure before we make a move that there is food for him wherever we are going. I can feel us all relaxing a bit as time goes on, but still, it is a new way of life, being responsible for a child who will get ill if he eats what everyone else is eating. It has made me more than a little anxious at times over the past few weeks. Do I have enough food in the house? Food for his lunch? Breakfast? Something to send with him to a friends? To a church fellowship? What will we do about camp? About college? (I'm getting a litte ahead of myself here, aren't I?) I dream at night of grocery aisles of gluten-free food, and spend hours a day on the internet, trying to find the flour mix of my dreams.

Funny thing is, my normally fuss-budget-of-a-kid has turned remarkably layed back about his food lately. "Sure, mom. I can eat those." "It doesn't matter." "I can eat whatever." Blessing of all blessings, God somehow sent a better attitude with his better health, which is quite a change for him. No shreiking, gagging, or complaining in general, he has even apologized for not liking a few of the odder things I've served him. Huh?

So tonight we went out to one of my preselected restaurants. Fish City, with its very own gluten-free menu. When I asked the waiter for it, he had no idea what I was talking about--I explained I wanted the menu for the items free of wheat, for my son. He said the kid's menu "didn't have much wheat." I'm a little keyed up about the whole gluten-free thing, as I've said. I pointed to the kid's menu, and named the items, "hamburger, mac and cheese, fried fish, fried chicken. Those ALL have wheat. I need the menu without wheat. He cannot eat wheat and your restaurant has a menu with food choices that don't contain it."

Our waiter was pretty young, and he started to stutter. "I, I'll go see." He returned shortly with the gluten-free menu, but in the meantime, my sweet son had called me on my behavior. "Mom! You can't talk to him like that! You're acting like he's dumb." I apologized to the poor guy when he returned, who also apologized for not remembering the menu. We were off to a better start, and I indulged my sea-food lovers.

There are several good options--my blackened catfish was great. Alec loves crab legs, and even though they are expensive, I gave in and let him have them this time. He was happy as a clam, or maybe a crab, and both the glutened and the non among us were satisfied. No bread on the table to make us wish we had some, and their slaw has a vinegar dressing that I love.

Thumbs up from our family of five! And apologies to the waiter--Alec thanked him profusely when we left! The waiter worked hard to make up for his initial lack of information, and Alec worked hard to make up for my rudeness, so I think we were all happy when we left.

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