Sometimes it’s embarrassing to ask the question “is that gluten free” when you know you’ve already ordered a dish that is supposed to be just that.
But what if you have doubts about the safety of the food that has just been put in front of you?
- You don’t want to seem pushy
- You don’t want to be dramatic
- You don’t want to be that problem person in the restaurant, have people looking at you like your fussy.
Well, sometimes, you have to do that just that, you have to be that person that asks lots of questions as you don’t want your child to be ill.
I don’t mind asking questions, but, in normal fashion, I tend to blush and go bright red when doing so, it’s just one of those things. I didn’t like asking questions as a child because of it, but as an adult I tend not to worry, especially if it involves the safety of one of my children. But if I doubt a dish is safe as I did this weekend, I know I have to.
And worse still if I’m lunching in a well known restaurant that is particularly good at catering for Coeliacs. A place that I trusted & had specifically booked for being so.
Why would I question a dish that I’ve specifically ordered to be gluten free so that my child is fed safely?
But I had to as despite constantly stating my child was coeliac & required gluten free food, she’d been served a regular burger & chips.
What if I hadn’t questioned it? The family afternoon would’ve been ruined & my child would have been in pain and ill. And more worryingly, as she hasn’t had gluten in such a long period, would her symptoms have been stronger, different, worse?
It was only by chance as I looked at the dishes in front of us that an alarm bell went off in my head. I’d read on the menu that the regular burgers came in brioche buns. I’d forgotten, as we haven’t eaten out in so long, that any GF foods coming out of the kitchen normally have little flags in them. But I was definitely staring straight at a brioche burger bun on a plate sat in front of my hungry coeliac child.
As the waitress looked at me, I know for a fact that my face changed. I’ve an expressive face and a look can convey a thousand words as most mums can.
“Is that gluten free?” came shooting out of my mouth as I was about to say “tuck in” instead. The look on the waitress’s face told me all I needed to know. “I’ll check” she said. She was back in seconds & the plate was taken away.
How in the ordering process and me stating several times that my child was coeliac and needed gluten free food that it got missed I don’t know. Everything is automated once the order is taken & put through at the front desk and sent to the kitchen. One plain (very plain) gluten free burger & chips. No thorough explanation was offered as to the oversight. The meal was replaced with a suitable gluten free offering, but there was no reason as to why it was not as ordered in the first place. Even the waitress at the end apologised and said it shouldn’t have happened.
I understand human errors occur, but eating something that isn’t gluten free could cause your child much pain and damage it’s an error that shouldn’t occur, specifically when orders are taken electronically and checked again before going out. When it is your child you must question any food item that you don’t prepare yourself.
- Do question your server that they have the right gluten free dish
- Does the restaurant use a specific way to highlight gluten free dishes?
- Does it come with a flag showing its gluten free?
- Is it on a different coloured plate?
- Is it uncut to avoid contamination?
As I’ve learnt this weekend, it is always best to double check. I wasn’t being rude, fussy or awkward. I was being a mum, protecting my child, so that she didn’t miss out on the family event that afternoon by being made ill from a simple mistake.
So whether you are fine asking questions, or blush bright red like me, don’t ever think you’re silly for questioning anything, even if you are in a fully GF restaurant.
It’s always best to be safe & not sorry. It’s not worth the risk