Navigating a Gluten-Filled Holiday Party Buffet
December 3, 2011 2 Comments
At the downtown Seattle Sheraton last night, we had our annual company holiday party. As you might expect for attendance of several hundred people, the event was catered by the hotel in buffet style. It was basically like a big wedding! So take a look below to find out how I fared and read some tips I have for eating GF if you’re out and about this holiday season.
A few weeks back I had emailed our administrator asking if they could find out what food at the holiday party will be GF. They got back to me with some good information: “The potatoes are prepared from scratch and do not contain flour. The sauces/gravies contain flour. The carving stations, fresh vegetables and salads are all OK. The dressing is made in-house and does not contain gluten. You should avoid desserts.”
I usually assume buffet style food is going to be gluten filled, so before we left home for the holiday party, I had some snacks. Once we were at the party and ready to eat, I asked someone on the catering staff if anyone knew what food was GF. After a couple failed attempts, I finally found one guy who made a call and got some clarification for me. He pointed out pretty much the same things that were on the list from my administrator. I wanted to double-check with someone there since things can always change.
As you can see from the pictures, it was quite a large spread of food. Unfortunately, a lot of the best looking food was gluten-filled. Plus, a couple years back, I had been glutened at the party, so I eat pretty light at the event these days. Some things I had to avoid were: creamed corn, baked halibut, baked chicken breasts, pasta, soup and chowder.
I ended up getting some salad and dressing, steamed green beans and carrots, and mashed potatoes. I avoided the meat at the carving station even though it was supposed to be GF. For one, it’s always hard to get well-done or even medium-well done meat at a carving station. Also, if you do want an outer piece of meat, it’s usually filled with lots of seasoning, which I don’t like to chance. The food I did get was good, and writing this the day after, I don’t feel like I was glutened, so that’s success for me!
Here’s a few tips for navigating a gluten-filled holiday party (or any event really):
- Try to find out ahead of time what food will be GF by contacting the catering company (or anyone in charge of organizing the event).
- Use good judgement, and by that, I mean assume everything has gluten in it unless it’s obvious it doesn’t.
- While at the event, ask the caterers if they can help you understand which foods are GF. You may have to ask several before finding someone who knows.
- Stay away from sauces, dressings, and gravy’s. If you can add “flavor” to your food, that usually means adding gluten (in my mind).
- Bring some backup food or eat a snack before heading out.
Overall, the event was great and there was food available for me to eat, so I’m happy for that. There was just a lot that I couldn’t eat. Good luck with your GF eating at your holiday party. Hopefully my tips will help you out.