Saturday, 2 May 2015

Guilt-free dining please

I got caught by a wave of guilt the other day. Alex was in school and I was out with Katya, who doesn't have Coeliacs. I'd promised her a treat and was starting to go through in my head the places where we could go, when I realised we could go anywhere! We could walk into any cafe we wanted and have anything on the menu with out checking every ingredient and cooking method. We wouldn't have to walk out again because they couldn't cater for us. We didn't have to explain anything to anyone. It felt liberating and a little bit naughty, like playing hookie from school. For about 2 minutes. And then I felt guilty because I was glad Alex wasn't with us.

However, it made me reflect on the recent (very limited) news coverage of Prue Leith, Albert Roux and other leading chefs complaining because due to new EU legislation on allergen labelling they will be forced to identify whether their dishes contain any of 14 specific allergens, including gluten. Apparently it will be a faff for them and will curb their spontaneity if they have to list on the menu whether the dishes contain these ingredients- they feel it should be up to the customer to find out, not up to them to make it explicit. Seriously guys?! It's a faff to explain to everyone, from the greeter to the varied waiting staff that your daughter has Coeliacs, and to wait for 20 minutes for them to check whether she can have anything and to realise that there's only one thing she can have anyway (jacket potato and beans) and to double check every item they bring to the table because there's a suspicious looking garnish on the plate. I suspect many people with Coeliacs stick to a few restaurants they are comfortable with and they know can cater for them safely. If you did highlight your dishes that contained gluten, you could make your life, your waiting staff's, and my life that little bit easier, and increase your client base. (Heck you could charge 3 times the price for GF dishes- all the food manufacturers do!)

So regardless of thoughts on the EU, referenda, elections etc, this is one piece of legislation that I hope gets enforced and we can eat out spontaneously with any/all of our children, without feeling guilty!


  1. Loved it Jen. Unreasonable but understandable guilt

    1. Thanks Dec- you've been so good with writing, I need to catch up! x