So it's Xmas and everyone should be super happy, right?
That is, unless you're coeliac and have to avoid gluten. Then Xmas can become an absolute minefield.
You love turkey but...no! Someone's rammed some breadcrumb stuffing mix inside. The possibility of cross-contamination is high, especially when you're less-than-clued-up grandmother keeps touching everything with the stuffing spoon.
If you delicately manage to navigate the Xmas food by going first at the buffet, there's always the danger someone will dollop a load of gravy on top. While they may insist it's made with cornflour, you'll now have to check which brand of stock cube they've shoved in there because you just know it'll be Oxo.
Then there's the figgy pudding itself. If only it were just made of figs, then you'd be safe. But you'll either need everyone to have a completely gluten-free pudding (good luck finding gluten-free and vegetarian suet) or you'll have to have a miniature shop-bought one for yourself, and it's just not quite the same heating it up for a minute in the microwave when everyone else has a two hour steamed one. (Surely one of the joys of Xmas is putting a lot of effort into the cooking and reaping the rewards?)
Fortunately, the toppings for a Xmas pudding are usually all gluten-free. Someone cheerful will tell you Xmas should be about revelling in custard, cream and brandy butter. Hooray!
By the time the choccies come round, you should be full, but because half the food at lunch was contaminated, you didn't eat quite as much as you'd hoped. So you eagerly reach for the box, hoping the ingredients list will be okay, but then there's the dreaded "may contain wheat" warning and you have to give it a miss. An annoying cousin will bellow, "All the more for us, eh?!"
So unless you've got total control over your Xmas meal or incredibly understanding family, take a small amount of comfort in the knowledge that coeliacs the world over will be feeling your pain. And unless it's literally pain, there's definitely a bonus in knowing you made it through unscathed.
What are your experiences of a Xmas meal as a coeliac? Are they generally good or bad? Do share them below!