Seek These Things

a blog discussing Celiac Disease, & the Gluten Free Diet, Books, Parenting, Politics, Religion, Pets, Product Reviews, and whatever else catches my interest

GF Airport Meals October 22, 2008

My husband C. was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue in September of 2007 while we were pregnant with our first child. We’ve been following the Gluten Free (GF) Diet ever since.

So my husband C., my baby M., and I recently vacationed on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Trying to find a GF bite to eat in the MSP Airport was nightmarish.

Anyone who has ever followed a GF diet knows that your choices are extremely limited. In a nut shell, living GF means no Wheat, Rye, Barley, or Oats, or anything that is made with ingredients derived from those grains. My husband planned to make himself a couple sandwiches to take in his carry on, but as it happens, he forgot. So the Carl Budding lunch meat (no wheat based ingredients) and the Great Value sliced cheese (labeled GF) got to chill in the fridge while my husband, tired and hungry from a long flight, set out to find himself a GF meal in one of the terminals.

Chili’s is a nationwide restaurant that boasts a GF menu. That seemed like the best bet at GF food in the Airport, but we were under a time constraint to board our connecting flight. We did not have the time to wait for a table, so we checked out the To Go selection and found one possibility…but would it be gluten free?

We asked the hostess for the GF menu, but she didn’t know what it was, so we asked for the manager, but he had just left on his 15-minute break! Would we be rewarded for our wait? We stuck around for 10 minutes before the hostess managed to unearth a copy of the GF Menu from the back kitchen. C. was able to buy the GF Chicken Cesar Salad from the To Go Kiosk and make our flight. One catastrophe averted, but another in the wings.

During our 90-minute layover on the way back home my husband left his GF Sandwich on the first plane. Shouldn’t have been a problem right? We’d just head over to Chili’s To Go and pick up another GF Chicken Ceasar Salad. But wouldn’t you know, instead of sealing the crouton’s in a nice condiment container away from the salad, the croutons were spread throughout the salad, cross-contaminating the last one on the shelf. And because we were flying so late, the Chili’s restaurant was closed. C.’s dinner consisted of Lay’s Classic Potato Chips from the vending machine.

You might not think that missing a meal would hurt a grown man, but would it be so hard for Chili’s to make it company policy that croutons are to be packaged in a condiment container in To Go Orders? I don’t think so. Besides being more GF Friendly, they would make non-celiac crouton-haters (like me!) happy too. I am contacting them to tell them so.

If you agree with me and would like to back me up, you can email Chili’s or call them at 1-800-983-4637, Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Central Time. Please Be Nice. You catch more flies with honey.

Thanks for reading my blog, be sure to tell your friends!

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