Yesterday at the market I saw a sack of chocolate bark from a company I was pretty sure an (experienced) GF D-friend had recommended. I wanted to get in on that.
There were two varieties of the bark on display. One of the kinds had pretzels in it. The one I wanted had no pretzels, only almonds. But since [(pretzels in factory) minus (GF label) plus (experienced GFD-friend recommendation)] = a wash, I read the ingredients.
Dang and superdang. I wrote to the (E)GFD-F, in case she might be available, to ask: I can haz? She was available! She said yes. The ingredients list looked fine, and she thought the traces of wheat must be less than Xppmillion; her family had partaken of this bark heartily and no one got sick. So I bought it. We all ate it, loved it*, no trouble, fine. (*Well, Jack thought it was too dark, but his palate is out of tune from the Halloween candy he keeps in his backpack.)
Although it does not have a GF label, please know that this bark (magenta kind), (but doesn’t the aquamarine one look good?) has been tested by at least two (consistently unsickened) celiac families I trust. That’s even better than a GF label.
Which got me thinking: I wish I had a celiac-disease person I could always contact to ask, “Have you eaten this?” Of course, anyone can use the COC (celiac online community, pretty sure that’s pronounced ‘coque,’) this way, but I don’t know my way around that OC very well, so some person saying “You can eat that chocolate bark” is fairly meaningless. What I need is an on-call expert who I know I can trust. Who eats the things I want to buy, and tells it like it is. Someone like the (E)GFD-F. And I thought people would pay for this service.
Which led to its logical consequence: I should find a tycoon to hire my family to stay at assorted resorts that claim to have food that is safe for people with celiac. The tycoon could have celiac, or a child with it, or the tycoon could just be enamored with the idea of eating gluten free. So G. Paltrow et al could hire us to go as an advance team, and report back on what made us sick. (I know this is vile. Only Bubs would suffer! But how different is this from our real life? He tries allegedly gluten free things. He gets sick or doesn’t. The only difference here would be the creation of a gluten dossier for the tycoon.)
Which of course led to an idea for a three-part YA series: It’s about children with celiac escaping enslavement by wealthy people (as luxury resort food testers) by forming and underground alliance. Each child feigns illness after illness, in order to finagle trips to more and more exotic locations until they all wind up together on a paradisical island–with their families!–where they live communally on salads, chocolate bark, almond butter, and steel drums.
A lucky thing is happening. Our generous benefactors are taking us here, which we chose almost solely because of this (<—written by complete stranger three and a half years ago), this article (thanks, travel agent!), and this statement: We have implemented, in all our destinations, a procedure to take care of guests with food allergies, since celiac to those who suffer from nuts allergies. Contact us before your arrival we will explain how to proceed. I contacted them. This was the reply:
For their safety, normally, when we know that we will have in our Resort guests with celiac disease we buy same specific food for them, like brownies, pasta, tuna pie, pizza, bread.
This is either brave, or stupid, or a normal family going on vacation. I am packing a suitcase full of food in case it’s stupid.
What is tuna pie?