The words I dread to hear someone from a restaurant say when you ask for a gluten free menu 'we don't have one but you can look at the allergy information book'. Yes because I have always wanted to study for a food technology degree before I sit down and eat a meal. It's not so bad if you maybe enquire a few days before the visit and they have a digital copy but to have to sift through every single food item in tiny weeny writing or in a table created by someone using excel for their very first time is not my idea of a good time when out.
I'm sorry but it isn't actually our fault that we suffer from food allergies or intolerances so it would be nice to go to a eatery place and know that they cater for different needs. Some places do have dedicated menus or symbols on the main menu which is great. It's like I've won the lottery or it's Christmas Day when these menus appear, I give a massive sigh of relief that I can actually pick something from the menu like everyone else. Other places have staff who just know straight away what is available to suit individual needs. Now these places need and awareness award or five star rating for not producing the dreaded booklet of doom, it also shows the restaurant may have had some training definitely worthy of big tip!
The other annoying thing is when I want something gluten free and actually do spend half an hour reading through the booklet at all the ingredients that go into all of the meals I realise I am limited to a grilled chicken sandwich with salad and there are no desserts available. That is just so cruel, I mean you would think most people have ice cream but no not always and to deny me pudding after reading all about the food standards industry and what the venue actually have to comply with. I could actually find myself qualified enough to pop on a lanyard and inspect the kitchen.
I'm exaggerating I know but that is what I feel like sometimes. I do actually start to memorise it all too to obviously save me having to read it all again, so I now know every piece of allergy advice for most restaurants now. I suppose you do only have to read it once unless they change their menu but frankly I'm not returning again after the mere mention of the allergy info book. Come on food places, I think there is a lot of cases now where you do need to know your menu and cater for people with restricted diets. It does make a difference, it looks impressive and people will come back and even sing your praises on trip advisor. I would want that if I was a restauranteur.
It's what puts us off eating out sometimes, I feel as though I should be able to just choose from a menu like everyone else and I'm sorry but any place who just offer one main meal and no options for dessert, not even a jacket potato in sight needs a serious word. A jacket potato is like the gluten free lifeline and a Slimming World wonder. It is the emergency security blanket of food when there is nothing else and also because they are nice and filling too.
I suppose there is also the chance that you could guess foods that may be appropriate but that isn't always easy as some sauces have flour in them, some fries and chips are coated in flour so it's a bit of a minefield to guess and not worth taking the risk. It could be life threatening for those with nut allergies or coeliac disease. So maybe a quick read of the information is what we need to do and we shouldn't moan but I do wish it could be easier.
Anyway I'm off out soon for a read of mentioned document so wish me luck, I hope it's in large print and screaming 'eat me eat me I'm gluten free' in big capital letters. A bit of wishful thinking there but I should be glad of having more knowledge than everyone else in the place. There should be a special badge or a sticker to say 'this person is allergy aware' or you can just tell as they are the ones with a lonely salad on their plate. Salad is good, low fat and very healthy so stop moaning Sue from the Brew!!!
Thanks for reading you lovely lot and I will be back tomorrow with Autism Support Saturday.
Take care for now.........
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