So you wanna cook for the celiac?

I’m re-posting this for those who are attempting a gluten free Easter dinner for the first time.   Your loved ones with diet restrictions are lucky to have you!  If you have any questions leave me a comment on this post and I’ll do my best to email you as soon as possible.   Happy Easter!

This is especially for those who are searching the web looking for how to cook a main course for the celiac person on the guest list.  Whether you’re used to the world of “cross-contamination” or host to the annual family gathering, this can serve as a handy reminder!  I’ve written these tips with a New Year’s Day celebration in mind, traditionally a rack of lamb or braised ribs.

GF Cooking Primer

Preparation:  Before you begin – clean, clean, clean: counter tops, roasting pans, knives, and utensils, (pay special attention to the cutting board and try to use one that isn’t porous in nature).  Use fresh tin foil if you’re wrapping the ends of bones (Who would have thought fresh and tin foil could go in the same sentence?)

Selection:  Use unseasoned meat cuts, and season with your own gluten-free (non-bulk) spices.

Seasonings & Sauces: Rub and roll(ie: rosemary), or tenderize and insert(ie: butter) your seasonings and spices for a truly gourmet taste!  Pre-bottled seasonings and sauces contain the risk of gluten so avoid these if you can.

Cooking:  The best tip for a main course isn’t reserved for gluten-free cooking only:  Buy the best cut you can afford and cook for the least amt of time required!

Gravy:  Gravy can be thickened with a mixture of cornstarch and water.  Mix cornstarch and cold water separately.  Add gradually to hot drippings, whisking continually, until thickened.  Do NOT use bottled seasonings without checking thoroughly for gluten.  Gluten is usually present in beef bouillion, soy sauce, and gravy thickeners.  Be careful to use fresh and non-contaminated ingredients.  Contamination is often present in the butter dish, and corn starch.

Serving:  Now if only you can get it onto the celiac’s plate without someone contaminating it!  If you have also prepared dishes containing gluten, be sure to provide unique serving utensils for each dish, and watch that children(& grown ups) don’t double-dip their butter knives. Also, if you are baking pies or desserts with gluten, be sure to cover the serving dishes and eating dishes for the celiac.  You don’t want flour to inadvertently ruin your careful cooking!

The Craziness of it all:  This may sound ridiculous at first, but that is because this reaction is often misunderstood. You know how someone with hay fever only reacts during hay season or when the pollen gets in his nose?  That is an allergy.  Celiac is NOT an allergy – it is an auto-immune disease.  One molecule (there is a particular name but who cares…)smaller than the human eye can see, is enough for his body to go on high alert.  The celiac’s body will misinterpret that one molecule as a threat – and begin fighting by breaking down its own intestines.  For most celiacs this is excruciating and can take days to weeks to recover from that single molecule.  So I’m sure your GF friend or relative will appreciate all your efforts immensely, but understand that they may or may not be up to taking the risk of eating in someone else’s home.

Anything to add?

About Cathy Tibbles

In 2007 Cathy's Hubby was diagnosed with celiac disease and Strawberries Are Gluten Free was born. The early days of SAGF are chock full of all the newly converted recipes. More recently the articles are trending to cool new products, events, local news and family tales.


  1. I printed this out for Bill.. we talked last night about how I needed to get back to at least get rid of the wheat… not so concerned about the gluten, but the wheat part is killing me…

  2. Thanks for this post! I have a hard time getting my extended relatives to understand how serious I am about gluten-free cooking and why it is so important. The description you provided in the final paragraph will be especially helpful in describing my dietary restriction to them. I always end up getting sick whenever we eat together, and I have become very reluctant to visit them as a result. Great post!

  3. What a great post! I really appreciate that you wrote this. I will bookmark it and pass it along!

  4. I like this!

    There’s a real balancing act between getting people to agree to cook for you and trying to convince them that they really do need to do some research about the best way to prepare celiac friendly foods.

    Thanks for this!

  5. im always on a Gluten Free diet. i really hate my allergy to gluten because i love the taste of wheat bread. oh well, you just got to live with it.

  6. Hi, its fastidious post on the topic of media
    print, we all be familiar with media is a wonderful source of information.


  1. [...] Cathy from the Strawberries are Gluten Free blog has written an article to help you called “So You Wanna Cook For The Celiac” that will provide you with some great pointers to get you started.  She also has many great [...]

  2. [...] you! If you have any questions leave me a comment on this post and I’ll do my best … gluten-free cooking – Google Blog Search This entry was posted in Gluten-free Cooking and tagged Celiac, Cook, Free, Gluten, [...]

Speak Your Mind