A new phase…the celiac high schooler

Raising a celiac child really adds a layer of trial and error to an already full plate of trial and error.  And thus, my son and I enter a new chapter as he figures out high school and celiac disease.

The daily lunch routine is no big deal and his social life is pretty easy since all of our pizza places have a gluten-free option and Chipotle is every teenagers dream meal.  The movies do not present a problem and as far as I can tell, the drinking scene is not that appealing to him yet.

Where I am worrying is all the team bonding dinners around athletics.  He is a very good athlete so I never worry about him getting picked on or teased for his diet.  But, at the kick off BBQ for football, he literally had a plate of meat.  To me it was gross, I put a chicken breast on a salad and had a balanced meal.  He had a chicken breast, a bunless burger and two bunless hot dogs washed down with a couple of sodas.  Yuck.

The first team dinner was a carbo load, gluten-avoider’s total nightmare.  Three types of pasta, breaded cutlets, brownies and garlic knots with a small tray of caesar salad with croutons.  I volunteered to bring a tray of penne alla vodka and brownies so that he could eat something.

My son and my husband thought I was nuts to go to so much effort.  My son insisted he would just get a pizza later.  But what I explained is that the mom who was hosting would feel so bad if the kid who had three touchdowns the week before had nothing to eat and was just sitting there…even if he looked like he was having fun.  What I said was that he would stick out more if there was a huge fuss made around preparing something different from her kitchen that he could eat.

In the end, the hostess has two nieces who are celiac so she understood the whole thing and asked some great questions about keeping the spoons from the other pasta out of the gluten-free pasta.

Yesterday I stocked up on gluten-free brownie mix and gluten-free pasta.  I think I will just bring a dessert and a 1/2 tray of some sort of pasta to the team dinners.  I might even work out a special football order with one of the local pizza places so that whomever is ordering can just order the “GF Football Dinner” for one.

First dinner went off without a hitch.  He ate and had a blast with his team mates.  I will have this all perfected after a bit of trial and error.

Kendall Egan


Hard to Get GF Foods

There are a few succulent, mouth watering dishes, usually deep fried and battered, which are next to impossible to get in a restaurant on a gluten-free diet.  Onion rings, tempura and fish & chips are some of my favorite examples.  When I saw eggplant at the Farmer’s Market on Sunday, my brain went right to Eggplant Parmesan which is another one of those dishes that is hard to get gluten-free anywhere else but your own kitchen.

After I saw them, I had to have eggplant parm.  I went totally “Giada” and made everything from scratch, using some of the ripe tomatoes and herbs from my miniscule four planted pot garden!

First step was cutting and salting the eggplant to get out the extra moisture.  My mother used to tell me this was to drain the eggplant of some chemical that made your mouth itch…no clue if that is true or not.

My gluten-free bread crumbs worked beautifully.  I buy them from an Italian deli because they are “house made” gluten-free bread crumbs and are really better than anything else I have used.  But, any gluten-free bread crumb mixed with enough Parmesan cheese is going to form a savory crust.


The battered eggplant rounds are then fried up in a pan with hot oil.


I like to drain excess oil on paper towels.


Next up was preparing my extremely fragrant tomato sauce…we love garlic in this household.  I am so relieved that garlic is gluten-free because that would have constituted a real hardship if I had to give it up.


And the finished product ready for eating!


Ironically, the celiac refused to eat it and had a bowl of cereal.  My two pickiest eaters both tried it and my daughter had a second helping.  I am so excited because there is enough leftover for me to have it for lunch today.

No one needs deep fried foods on a regular basis, but it is so worth it when you prepare fried and battered foods as a treat.  Yum.

Kendall Egan


Make Room for Dessert!

We had a family dinner last week at Sam’s of Gedney Way in White Plains prior to my daughter’s departure for a semester in Australia.  This is a lovely restaurant with a gluten free menu and it did not disappoint.

At the end of the meal we were all pretty stuffed, but took a little look-see at the dessert menu anyway.  Right on the menu was a “Nutella-Gluten Free” option which was a “coconut walnut macaroon cake layered with nutella mousse and chocolate caramel glaze.” Whoa…it is not every day that gluten-free cake is a dessert option in a restaurant.  Typically the only gluten-free offerings are ice cream, sorbet and whatever custard that works with the style of restaurant….flan, creme brulee or panna cotta.

So even though my celiac had minutes before professed that he could not eat another bite, he said he could find room for this creation!

GF cake #2

This photo does not do it justice, but there were six forks attempting to dig in for a little taste. The cake was a wonderful mix of flavors and textures and the celiacs implored the group to order their own desserts.

I am not sure the other four people in my family appreciated the novelty of ordering cake for dessert in a restaurant but my son enjoyed every bite.

Kendall Egan