Care and Feeding of Your Gluten-Intolerant Loved One

Pecan Mini Muffins

Recently my mother and I made a quick weekend trip to visit cousins.

“Now, what can we get for you two to eat?” one of my dear cousin asked.

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” was my reply. “We can eat a lot of what you do, and I’ll bring food. I can buy stuff there, too.”

One difficulty I always have is a dislike of being what I feel is a burden, causing people to make allowances for me. Even as I write that, I recognize the prideful silliness of my attitude. Normal life requires us to make allowances for other people. Doing so goes by the name of love.

However, there is the tedious factual difficulty of explaining the extent to which someone would have to go in order to cook safely for me. The explanation cannot be made in one single sentence. Home cooking gluten-free for a normal wheat-flour cook is no undertaking for sissies.

My cousins are made of sturdy ingenuity, however, and both of them belong to the side of the family that possesses strong Southern hospitality genes. Undaunted by my lack of help, they did research on the web to learn what foods my mother and I could have, and got themselves around to grocery stores. When we arrived they had gluten-free pastas and flour mixes lined up on the counters, along with wonderful fresh produce and menus fully planned for our stay. I almost cried, and even now get teary remembering.

The cousins sat us down with cold tea and presented their gifts. Already made were batches of Pecan and Sour Cream mini muffins that both cousins were proud to have made gluten-free and swore even they could not tell were different from regular wheat ones. Then there was fresh fruit in beautiful ceramic bowls, and fine cloth napkins at hand. It was a feast for the eyes and the body. For our entire visit there, every meal, including a grand family Sunday supper, was safely gluten-free and absolutely delicious, as well as lovely.

Here are some tips when entertaining a celiac or gluten-intolerant loved one:

  • Ask if your loved one might have other foods to which she is sensitive; very often this is the case with gluten-intolerance. Then do a bit of reading on the web, just to familiarize yourself with gluten-intolerance. Simply being aware is a great blessing to your loved one.
  • Keep it simple. Most everyone can eat plain whole foods: meat, vegetables, fruits. Plan easy menus– you’ll be amazed when you think about it how wide a range are your choices. Plan menus and shop to have everything on hand.
  • Keep seasoning to a minimum and use whole spices. Usually salt, pepper, and garlic are fine. Mixed spices, such as a ‘chili’ spice may have wheat in it to keep it from caking.
  • Don’t try to use any regular wheat flour. Save biscuit making for yourself and hubby until after your loved one has gone home. Enjoying your toasted regular bread is fine, but keep it separate from the gluten-free food. Make sure you wash your hands when you’ve touched regular gluten-containing food. Do not toast gluten-free bread in the same toaster as regular bread!
  • Make certain every pan you use for cooking gluten-free is scrubbed clean from any burnt on gluten food.
  • Most of all, don’t fuss or worry. Do your best and let go. Your loved one will appreciate all your efforts at hospitality and wonderful memories will be made.

Pecan Mini Muffins
pecan pie in a muffin.

1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup melted butter**
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup gluten free flour mix
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a mini muffin tin. Mix brown sugar, melted butter, eggs. Add in gluten-free flour and then pecans. Mixture is thin. Pour into mini muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes. Allow to cool approximately 10 minutes before serving.
**I use canola oil to make dairy free.