So, I am a freaking celiac, yup, that’s me, Celiac. If you want to know what a Celiac is, search for it in wikipedia, you will get an explanation, one that is far more cohesive and scientific than I can give you. Basically, I can’t eat something called Gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and a bunch of other grassy things. It is basically a severe, internal allergy. The reaction is different though than other allergies, my throat won’t close up nor will I get hives, I get really really ill but I am sure we will get into that at a later date. Let’s get to know each other before we get too personal shall we? Bottom line, I can’t have a lot of foods that are considered staples; bread, crackers, pastas, baked goods, cereals or other foods that gluten hides in. There is no pill, no epi pen , or cure and despite my dreams, I will most likely have it forever.
Doesn’t that sound pathetic hey? But really, I am learning to live with it, laugh about it and in some ways, love it and I thought you might want to hear about my adventures in avoiding gluten.
So first thing first, I LOVE gluten. Like seriously, love it in a deep and creepy way. I am the girl who would go to places for the soup/salad/breadsticks deal and just go with the breadsticks, batting at the salad when it was offered. I was always the one to finish your bread if you didn’t, make my own ravioli and eat the whole batch myself, I used to eat spaghetti for breakfast! I used to look at the waif-like girl who says vaguely, “I haven’t eaten bread in two years, it’s fattening,” with horror and awe and mumble, with my mouth full of pannini, “how do you live?” Yup, I love my gluten BUT I have also always had some serious abdominal issues, a lot of (non-faking) stomach aches as a child, I have always been prone to anemia (refer to wikipedia to explain), have been told I had appendicitis and ovarian cysts to explain sudden bouts of severe abdominal upset. So really, gluten has been kicking my ass for years and I still loved it, very passive aggressive unhealthy, I know.
I first heard about Celiac Disease when I took a part time job serving tables in the evenings at Moxies. I have been working in the front of house of restaurants on and off since I was 15 and I was going a little stir crazy during the day with the stay at home mom gig and wanted some extra cash. Richard is one of my old pals from my University Earls days and was now the GM of a Moxies. Now, Moxies has one of the best allergy policies around, (I think) and Richard was explaining it to me and he spouts off this word “celiac”. And of course I say, “what’s that?” and Richard says, “basically, they are allergic to wheat.” To which, I take a long moment to laugh my ass off. No one could be allergic to flour? Surely it would be the equivalent to being allergic to air, or water I think as I eyeball a particularly lovely piece of garlic toast on line.
Now, I know a great many funny people, Richard is one of those people which is why I was immediately suspicious. It would be very entertaining for him to make some stupid disease up and when I requested a “no flour” meal and the kitchen could have a good howl at the new/old girl who fell for the trick. How many new servers have I personally sent to look in the nonexistent basement for a Corona lime remover? Classic and funny, but I wanted no part in this current Richard comical moment. However, after questioning several other servers, ones that I was fairly sure would have no part of a Richard-esque type scheme, I came to the baffling conclusion that Celiacs was a real thing. And man did I ever still think it was amusing. Really, really hilarious.
That’s right folks, let’s just own that ironic moment please. I used to make FUN of people with the disease that I now have. I certainly followed all procedures for the allergy, never take chances, someone dying in your section is generally bad for tips, but I really thought the flour thing was a little dumb. Peanuts, I could understand, even something like mushrooms, get it, flour? How could a beautifully made spaghetti, twisted in a pasta bowl into a mountain, of well, lets be honest, love, EVER do you wrong? And really, I figured, what would happen to these people if they ate flour? A little gas? An extra trip to the powder room? Seriously? Grow a constitution people!
Oh Murphy, you and your laws chafe my ass.
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