I may not eat your food, but will you please still invite me to dinner?

This month, I’ve been doing a lot of education about the perils of eating away from home for those with celiac disease. I’ve talked about restaurants that claim to have gluten-free food but end up having multiple cross-contamination issues. I told you about how I had to get brand new pots and pans for my kitchen, a new toaster, new wooden spoons, and new colanders just to be safe in my own kitchen.

It’s been a great month of raising awareness about the seriousness of celiac disease.  I’ve had many readers tell me that they have a better understanding of what their celiac friends go through.  I’ve even had multiple emails thanking me for the information and telling me that they would finally be pushing their doctor to get tested.

But I’ve also heard this: “We want to have you guys over for dinner, but I’m too scared to cook for you.”  Hmph.  I hadn’t thought about that.

Here’s the thing.  I don’t come to your house for dinner because of the food.  I come because of you.  I don’t come because you make a killer spaghetti sauce.  I come for the conversation, the laughter, the community of it all.

Invite me over, feed my family, I’ll eat before I come or bring my own dish.  We’ll figure it out, just don’t stop the invitations from coming.

And I’ll do my part by inviting you over more often.  Let me cook for you!  I promise, my food is delicious and you won’t even notice that it’s gluten-free.  Don’t bring anything, just your smiling faces.  Well, I wouldn’t say no to a bottle of wine.  Just come, let’s have a meal together.

Because being together is what it’s all about anyways.

  • Emily W May 25, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I think it’s good you posted this. Because even though we don’t live close anymore, I’ve thought a lot about what it would look like if you did. We love to have people over, but I dealt with guilt after we came up to visit and you got sick from a restaurant! Let alone if I made you sick with my own hands! It’s good to voice your desire to still eat in community so that others don’t shy away from opportunities to live life with you. Love you Friend and miss you!

    • inspiredrd May 25, 2012 at 9:19 am

      Thanks Em. That restaurant thing was actually a good learning experience, that I need to really speak up for myself and double check everything. Don’t feel guilty! Miss you tons.

  • Ann Dunaway Teh May 25, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Great post. I can relate a little as I am currently dairy and soy free as my baby girl is intolerant to it. It is very difficult to eat out and I bring my own food to other people’s houses. Most people don’t know that about me though so it hasn’t prevented anyone from inviting us, and I don’t mention it until I’m there with my own food because I don’t want anyone to try and accommodate my diet right now! And like you, I’d rather have people over and let me do the cooking! Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

    • inspiredrd May 25, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks Ann. It’s easier to bring your own food, then the hosts don’t have to stress!

  • Kimberly O May 25, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I definitely needed to read this today. One of my good friends has celiac disease and is also lactose intolerant and I am always so wary of inviting her over for dinner because i’m scared of cross-contamination! She has frequently invited my husband and I over for dinner, so I really need to be better about returning the offer.

    • inspiredrd May 25, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      Definitely Kimberly! Extend the invitation whether she can eat your food or not 🙂

  • Maren May 25, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I totally get that. I’m afraid to try anything new these days because I don’t know what will aggravate my IBS and what wont. I need to just break out and try and make it work. You totally inspired me today!

    • inspiredrd May 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Oh Maren, I totally get that. Just try not to let your IBS keep you from being social!

  • Angel May 25, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Good stuff, Alysa! I’m so thankful that you are being proactive about this and not just sitting wishing people would have you over. Miss you and wish you could come over this weekend!

    • inspiredrd May 25, 2012 at 10:36 am

      Thanks Angel! Miss you too and wish I could hug your neck!

  • Cheryl Leahy May 25, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Thanks for the education! We have a lot of friends with allergies, aversions, sensitivities to certain foods, etc… and I always get nervous about inviting them over. I have mostly gotten over it, though, and figure if they need a particular exception they know me well enough to just let me know! I will try my best and they can laugh at my efforts 🙂 You are so right- it isn’t about the food. I could care less if I am having coq a vin or leftover pizza; as long as the conversations (and cocktails) are flowing, I am happy!

  • Bree May 26, 2012 at 5:30 am

    Ignorance is bliss for people like good ol Ann there, who assume they don’t get passed by for invites. But, as u can see, many gluten eaters like Kimberly state they do feel wary of inviting those w special diets. If u dare to look, it is there. I’ve even bumped into coworkers returning from lunch without me, and the guilt is evident from their sheepish grins. My stepdad refuses to get pizza at Uno’s down the street on my annual visit. He takes the whole family to his fave pizza place & my boyfriend takes me to Uno’s. When we paid lots to fly to the other coast to spend time with family. Most isn’t so overt, but I’ve dealt w this since ’05 and it’s there.

  • Becca - Our Crazy Boys May 26, 2012 at 10:25 am

    This is so sweet. I love it 🙂

  • GFDougie May 26, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Awesome thoughts not many on the celiac side of the fence think about. So often, the celiac is about “me, me, me.” While it should be about us, please don’t forget to understand others – in regard to any platform, not just celiac disease.

    Thank you for that!



  • Al May 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Again, another nice article! Those of us with dietary restrictions learn early on that is not about the food – it’s about the people. However, over time and if our friends are open and willing to learn, we can educate them on creating safe food for us.

    Yes, invite your gluten-eating friends over for dinner. Turn it into live cooking show! Walk thru all the steps – discuss ingredient selection – point out cross contamination hotspots. Hopefully after some “lessons”, they will feel comfortable with having us over for dinner.

    We have a very dear friend that is very comfortable with making GF foods for me. In fact, in her kitchen there is a tote labeled ‘Mr. Al”. In this tote is dedicated pans, utensils, cutting boards, etc. She maniacal about cleaning the kitchen before any GF cooking/baking.

    Before we give up on our friends and family ever creating safe food for us, we need to give it our best shot at educating them. If we [the gluten-free community] don’t do the education, who else will? We’ll never move forward if we don’t advocate for ourselves and educate others.

    Here’s some info that I’ve found useful over the years when educating others; it might be useful to others.


    Thanks! Keep up the great work!

    Branch Manager
    Gluten Intolerance Group East Central WI

  • teri@managedmacros May 28, 2012 at 4:55 am

    If this was face book I would give it a Thumbs Up and LIKE! 🙂 Celebrations are always about the people and not the food whether of the foods intolerance or not! Great reminder!!!

  • Cooking, Leaping, Struggling and Thanking: A look back at 2012 December 31, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    […] this life change to be, how frustrating it was to be called “trendy”, asked you to please invite me to dinner even if I can’t eat your food, and finished up the month with a guest post from my husband. […]

  • Kristy May 15, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Love this! Having strict food restrictions can feel very isolating. Since we’re used to bringing our food everywhere it’s even easier to have us over!! One would think our friends/family would take advantage of that! Lol! It’s is hard, even our family sometimes excludes us because of food restrictions… It’s frustrating and sad!