This Page

has been moved to new address

how to throw a gluten-free wedding

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
/* Primary layout */ body { margin: 0; padding: 0; border: 0; text-align: left; color: #554; background: #692 url( top center repeat-y; font: Trebuchet;serif } img { border: 0; display: block; } /* Wrapper */ #wrapper { margin: 0 auto; padding: 0; border: 0; width: 692px; text-align: seft; background: #fff url( top right repeat-y; font-size:80%; } /* Header */ #blog-header { color: #ffe; background: #8b2 url( bottom left repeat-x; margin: 0 auto; padding: 0 0 15px 0; border: 0; } #blog-header h1 { font-size: 24px; text-align: left; padding: 15px 20px 0 20px; margin: 0; background-image: url(; background-repeat: repeat-x; background-position: top left; } #blog-header p { font-size: 110%; text-align: left; padding: 3px 20px 10px 20px; margin: 0; line-height:140%; } /* Inner layout */ #content { padding: 0 20px; } #main { width: 400px; float: left; } #sidebar { width: 226px; float: right; } /* Bottom layout */ Blogroll Me! #footer { clear: left; margin: 0; padding: 0 20px; border: 0; text-align: left; border-top: 1px solid #f9f9f9; background-color: #fdfdfd; } #footer p { text-align: left; margin: 0; padding: 10px 0; font-size: x-small; background-color: transparent; color: #999; } /* Default links */ a:link, a:visited { font-weight : bold; text-decoration : none; color: #692; background: transparent; } a:hover { font-weight : bold; text-decoration : underline; color: #8b2; background: transparent; } a:active { font-weight : bold; text-decoration : none; color: #692; background: transparent; } /* Typography */ #main p, #sidebar p { line-height: 140%; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 1em; } .post-body { line-height: 140%; } h2, h3, h4, h5 { margin: 25px 0 0 0; padding: 0; } h2 { font-size: large; } { margin-top: 5px; font-size: medium; } ul { margin: 0 0 25px 0; } li { line-height: 160%; } #sidebar ul { padding-left: 10px; padding-top: 3px; } #sidebar ul li { list-style: disc url( inside; vertical-align: top; padding: 0; margin: 0; } dl.profile-datablock { margin: 3px 0 5px 0; } dl.profile-datablock dd { line-height: 140%; } .profile-img {display:inline;} .profile-img img { float:left; margin:0 10px 5px 0; border:4px solid #8b2; } #comments { border: 0; border-top: 1px dashed #eed; margin: 10px 0 0 0; padding: 0; } #comments h3 { margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: -10px; font-weight: normal; font-style: italic; text-transform: uppercase; letter-spacing: 1px; } #comments dl dt { font-weight: bold; font-style: italic; margin-top: 35px; padding: 1px 0 0 18px; background: transparent url( top left no-repeat; color: #998; } #comments dl dd { padding: 0; margin: 0; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


01 August 2007

how to throw a gluten-free wedding

food cards from teh wedding

Food is the stuff of life. And particularly of our lives.

The Chef and I thrive on food. We discuss what I might make for dinner on our drives to the restaurant in the early afternoon. And after a day of eating, we breathe sense memories between each other with every sigh. Creamy butter slathered on a slice of warm bread. A spoonful of savory pudding raised to the lips, the smell of thyme and fresh corn wafting in the air. A ripe-that-day avocado, so soft I am tempted to smear it on my skin, waiting to be eaten with just-warmed scrambled eggs.

We live and love through food.

"It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others.

So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it; and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied; and it is all one. "

— M.F.K. Fisher

And so, when we imagined our wedding day, months in advance, we knew one truth: the food had to connect.

Most brides and grooms-to-be hire caterers. Most of the wedding meals aren’t that good. Raise your hand if you have been to a big wedding and ate nearly inedible chicken or far-too-sugary wedding cake. No matter how good a kitchen is, serving food on a large scale requires sacrifices. We don’t like to sacrifice on our food.

I remember, when I was a waitress (for about six weeks one summer), working the worst wedding I have ever attended. The bride and groom sat at a long table, the bridesmaids and grooms strewn alongside them, all of them wearing Ray Bans. They were sullen and insolent, demanding of attention. They had also invited over four hundred people to their wedding. All of them sat, in tables splayed out in a field, demanding food be brought to them, that instant. I remember one horrifying moment, in which the bride and groom began pounding their knives and forks on the table, beginning a deafening stomping that extended to every place setting within a few moments, because the plates were late in arriving.

I nearly quit in the middle of service.

We knew we didn’t want a wedding like that.

Wonderful caterers feed much more genteel wedding parties than that one. We thought about hiring someone here, someone dedicated to seasonal and local food, simple food done right, in that moment. But in the end, we knew whom we wanted to feed us.

Our friends and families.

* * *

You see, we wanted our entire wedding to be personal. Friends provided the music, the flowers, and the photographs, as gifts to us. Why not the food?

And the best parties I have ever given have been potlucks.

One of my friends told me recently that, until a few years ago, her favorite moment of a party was ten minutes before it, because the vegetable platters looked so pretty before anyone had touched them. Another friend revealed that she could not throw potlucks. What if someone brought an ugly dish to the party?

I’m sure that is how caterers keep their jobs.

But we are imperfect and thoroughly at home with the absurd. After all, we had whoopee cushions at our wedding. If it didn’t look good, we knew it would taste good. We have great friends, all of whom love food.

Feeding each other is an enormous act of love, without words. Think of those strained peas your mother patiently spooned into your mouth, even though you dribbled them down your chin, at first. Hands reaching for the pile of fried chicken on a table are not afraid to touch. And when someone who makes your heart throb, a little, makes you some sublime food, you realize how deeply in love you are with the first bite.

At least I did.

So, on the wedding website we built for family and friends, we put out the call.

“For months now, we have had this image: standing together in a room filled with people we love and the food they made for us.

If you wish, you can help feed us, and each other.

We are asking each of you to bring a pot-luck dish to our wedding.

Please bring food you love, and make the dish big enough to feed ten people.

This dish does not have to be ‘gourmet.’ A fresh fruit salad. Artichoke dip. Homemade sushi. A big plate of nachos. Potato salad. Roasted chicken.

As most of you know, Shauna needs to eat gluten-free. One bite of food with gluten in it, and she’ll be sick for the rest of the wedding. (No thanks.) If you can make your dish gluten-free, we will appreciate it.

(And if you have any questions about what this means, check out this article. You can make any of the recipes on her website! Or, feel free to email us to ask about ingredients.)

We are so grateful for your support on this.”

It worked.

People arrived bearing bowls of baba ganoush, plates of just-cooked collard greens, steaming piles of roasted asparagus with homemade aioli, and a platter of roasted green beans with caramelized onions, heirloom tomatoes, and a garlic-balsamic vinaigrette. Corn salad, minted fruit salad, and nine-kinds-of-greens mixed salad. Pork roast, cheese and onion bake, and a Moroccan lentil salad. The tables were laden with plates of food, beckoning and enticing.

One of my favorite sights of the day was seeing a line of people waiting to gather food onto their plates and another line of people who had just come from the tables, already eating, before they even reached their seats.

And everything was gluten-free.

No one went hungry at our wedding.

In large part, that is also because Don and Michelle, at Volterra (a restaurant everyone should visit, after Impromptu) roasted an entire lamb for our wedding. Grass-fed, raised by a local farmer, and fresh that week, the lamb came scented with fennel or spiced with chiles. A fava bean aioli was served on the side. There was also an Italian corn pasta salad with summer vegetables. And the Portobello mushroom caps came topped with fresh mozzarella and tomato relish.

What did they do to make those mushrooms so succulent I would have given up an hour of the wedding just to eat two more?

But — as grateful as we are for Don and Michelle’s food — we would have been fine without it. As we hoped, our friends were generous and fed us well. Trust people, and they will give back.

* * *

I knew, from the start, that I wasn’t the only one with a food allergy at our wedding.

One of our dearest friends has an acute allergy to fish. Salmon, halibut, cod — you name it, he cannot eat it. But he also cannot be in a room where fish has been prepared or sits on a table. That includes fish sauce, for those of you who might have been making an Asian-inspired dish. He will go into shock and stop breathing if he is anywhere near fish. That's no way to celebrate.

So we asked every guest to refrain from bringing fish to the wedding.

And who knew what other foods could be dangerous to the friends who filled our yard?

That’s why — thanks to my designer friend, Kayltyn Sanders — the Chef’s nieces and nephews handed out sky-blue cards to every guest.

Along with a space for the name of the cook, and the dish, the cards had a checklist of foods that someone might need to avoid:

Tree nuts

Because of these cards, every person at our wedding had a clear choice for his or her meal. A friend with lactose intolerance simply skipped the dishes that had dairy checked. A relative with diabetes stayed away from the foods made with sugar or honey. No one had to worry. That makes food taste better too.

Since guests were told ahead of time about this, it seems that most everyone tried to make delectable dishes without any of the allergens. Those of you with multiple food allergies could have eaten here that day.

* * *

One of my favorite readings this summer is on the back of these cards. There, we left a space for friends to write a story about why they had brought that dish. Some of the ones that have caught my eye:

“This is my favorite summer salad. The ingredients are local, fresh, and organic. What more could you ask for? To me, this salad symbolizes all that is great about living in the Northwest. It simply tastes like summer.” (strawberry spinach salad)

“Because they were fresh from the orchard today.” (Lapin cherries)

“Well, I am French, so I thought the cheese would be just right.” (cheese platter)

“We wanted to bring something simple and summery.” (slices of cold cantaloupe)

“I really like pineapple. Explosion! Pow! Fruit….juice! Yellow. Rip-squish. Kambloom!” (pineapple)

“Because it’s gluten-free and yummy, and I love you.” (red quinoa salad)

“I wanted to celebrate Pacific Northwest berries and gluten-free baking.” (berry crisp)

“We just rolled into town and visited the Pike Place Market for the first time ever! Fruit represents fertility and sex and colors and wholeness and yes!” (fresh fruit)

I’ll be laughing over these, and marveling at the way we reveal ourselves (every one of these writings sounds like the person who wrote it) long after we have eaten the piece of our gluten-free wedding cake on our first anniversary.

* * *

What kind of food did we have for our wedding?

Summery as peaches so ripe they dent juicily at a thumb print. Far-flung as spices from Morocco and lentils from India. Bounteous as a mound of summer fruit piled into a bowl. And all of it, wonderfully, hopelessly delicious.

A gluten-free potluck wedding, with a checklist for food allergens? It may not sound romantic.

But believe me, it was.

Sweet Corn and Heirloom Salad

sweet corn salad

Our friends Amy and Paul brought a version of this to our wedding. Theirs was made with fresh mozzarella, which was smooth as the jazz that Kristin played for our ceremony. A few days later, desperate to re-create it, I used the French feta I had on hand. I think I may like this one even better.

Either way, or with whatever variation you derive, this is a silky symphonic celebration of the height of July.

2 cobs sweet corn, as close to fresh picked as you can find
1 fat heirloom tomato (try a lush Brandywine or Purple Cherokee for the color)
1/2 ripe avocado, cubed
1/4 cup French feta
4 leaves basil
dash of truffle salt (or fleur de sel, if you can't find the truffled salt)
a pinch of pepper

Shuck the ears of corn. Clean them of those pesky strings that stick after you remove the husks. Rinse. With a sharp knife, shave the ears of corn and let the kernels fall into a large bowl of your choosing. Set aside.

Chop the tomato, with a sharp knife. (A great heirloom tomato, at the height of season, will feel mushier than a typical store-bought tomato. Don't worry. The slicing reveals a tender firmness, like a parent with a little one who needs a nap. This is a real tomato.) Cut into small pieces. Add the tomato to the bowl of corn kernels.

Cut the avocado into small cubes. Add these to the corn and tomatoes. Crumble a few handfuls of the feta cheese into the mix. (please don't stand in the kitchen and measure out 1/4 cup exactly! That is meant to be a guideline.) Tear the basil leaves apart, roughly, and toss the pieces into the salad. Add the salt and pepper. Taste.

Add more or less of what you like. Try another taste.

Serve immediately.

Feeds 2, if both people are hungry on a summer's night.


At 10:19 PM, Blogger Tanaya said...

Oh, please do tell where you get your truffle salt here. I've been scouring the markets since arriving in town last month! I can't believe I forgot to pack mine for the trip from Chicago...

At 11:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, your wedding sounds absolutely perfect! There's nothing quite as special as having friends and family bringing their favorite dishes to share. It's so much more personal, and I love the recipe tags. What a great idea!

Our wedding was two weeks ago, and I wish I would've been able to read this post when we were planning for ours! Your suggestions are sure to help others who will be taking the plunge. Our caterer made many gluten free dishes and we had a small GF wedding cake for us to cut & eat, but truthfully, I could've made a better one myself. I love that everyone had good "safe" food available. Now that's a celebration! Congratulations to you both! : )

At 3:58 AM, Blogger Deborah Dowd said...

I love the idea of a pot-luck wedding reception! And how likethe two of you all about food and sharing! I never heard of such a thing as truffle salt, but I'd like to get some!

At 6:05 AM, Blogger Krys72599 said...

I will most definitely be making this salad either this weekend or next week. Thank you for the recipe, and thank you for sharing your life.

At 6:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful! I love reading about your celebration, your friendships, and your food.

At 7:02 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

How beautiful! And what a wonderful way to include the celebration of food with the wedding. I love the idea of a potluck reception!
PS. I have some truffle salt that I've never used for some reason. Now there's a reason to break it out!

At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great idea! Since the list is long of things that my son can't eat, we've simply been bringing his food, or asking for very simple things; a grilled hamburger with no additives, potato chips. fresh fruit. And while at 5 he doesn't really care, it still pains me deeply to have to respond to his, "can I have some?" with "no, honey, I think that may have X in it."

M&Co. at MyOwnCircleofConfusion

At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooo that sounds just delicious. Might be the perfect recipe for my venture back to the world of dairy this weekend (crossing fingers). I was looking for something to do with goat's milk feta and this is just the ticket. Thanks Shauna, and again, many congratulations to you and your Beloved Chef.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Joey Robinson said...

The cards turned out gorgeous and I loved the color you chose to print them out :) It was a perfect idea!

At 12:38 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Mmmmm ... lovely salad. I am imagining using roasted corn, cooled til the next day and then cut from the cob. I love the blackened grill marks on it !! And you are SO right about tomatoes. I think you may have inspired me to plant some ...

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Ellen said...

A potluck...a great idea.
Though perhaps not always requires having people you love who cook living in the town where you hold the wedding! (Since both my parents have moved away from my hometown, & my partner is Japanese, we would probably get married in the town where we are graduate students...and not many of our grad student friends cook! Though my family & college friends all do...) Anyway, a beautiful idea, and it sounds like it worked perfectly. I love the idea of having a place for people to write what inspired them to bring a particular dish!

At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an absolutely beautiful piece of writing, about an absolutely beautiful wedding. Congratulations to you both on your marriage and on your creativity!

We recently had a gluten-free wedding too-- our dear friends banded together to arrange for catering from our favorite Indian restaurant, and we had a 'chocolate cannoli cream' cake from Mr. Ritt's GF bakery here in Philly. Everyone asked us if the cake was really gluten-free- it was delicious!

You have a wonderful attitude toward eating well and creatively on a gluten-free diet. I've had doctors taking me on and off the diet lately based on various diagnoses, and there's a chance I might have to go back to being gluten-free... I've been feeling very down about it, but you just made me feel like it might be OK after all. Thank you.

At 5:00 PM, Blogger Shauna said...


i love the truffle and salt that Ritrovo imports from Italy. Fantastic. It doesn't just taste of truffle, but it has little bits of truffle in it. Decadent!

We buy ours from them, but we have also found it at Metropolitan Markets and DeLaurenti's. It's worth the hunt!


Congratulations! Your wedding was around the same time as ours, so I assume you're feeling the same sort of exhaustion and exultations we are!

You know, I think we could all make our own wedding cakes, gluten-free or not! A big cake pan and a dear friend late at night helps, of course.


Thank you. Planning this wedding fell into place, because we agreed on all the food and love items (and the whoopee cushions!). I'm so lucky.

And find yourself some truffle salt!


Thank you. And this salad is a cinch to make, and memorable for days later.


I really appreciate this. What a crazy phenomenon this internet thing is -- not only do I have the chance to marry this man, but also people around the world want to read about it? Oh my.

Andrea Lynn,

Oh my goodness, break that truffle salt out of its prison! Try it on popcorn. You'll never stop wanting that.

M and Co,

I'm so sorry about your son. That must be heartbreaking for both of you. It's hard enough as an adult.


I just know this would be wonderful with goat's milk feta!

Kaytlyn (at Beneficial Design),

You did SUCH a wonderful job with these. Really, you could start another business, just selling these. (And now I have a link to your site, so people can find you!)


I would love to try this salad with roasted corn. (We don't have a barbeque, or I would fire it up right now.) As always, you inspire me.


I know you're right. We are blessed with friends who love to cook (or at least know where to go to find good food!). That is, in some part, why we have them in our lives. (They also know how to laugh.) So, this was the perfect solution for us.

But I think that we can all find our way through this. No one should have a cookie cutter wedding.


Congratulations on your wedding! So many celebrations in one summer.

Yes, going gluten-free really doesn't have to mean the end of the world. In fact, it's a new one beginning.

Best of luck to you.

At 7:33 PM, Blogger TheGirlCan'tHelpIt! said...


Mare & David

At 2:09 AM, Blogger Gemma said...

This salad looks delicious and your potluck wedding reception sounds perfect. I think people used to do this kind of thing a lot more. My Mum and step Dad asked people to bring salads and dishes for their very small wedding, as did another friend of the family. But weddings have become so showy that people are often scared to ask people to do something so simple, I would rather have this feast given by friends than any number of gifts from a department store registry. Once again congratulations on your marriage and on having the guts to follow your dreams for your day. Gemma x

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Congratulations on a beautiful, gluten-free wedding. Thank you, as always, for sharing your life with us and bringing happy tears to my eyes.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger maggiegracecreates said...

I make a version of this salad with lime juice/olive oil dressing. We call it margarita corm salad.


At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your posts always give me a warm, fuzzy feeling! Thanks for sharing all the wedding celebration and food will all of us!

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Shauna said...


Thank you! I'm happy to see you here.


Thank you so much. I agree. I keep thinking this about the wedding — the act of standing up in front of people you love and professing your adoration and determination to stay committed and kind? It is the most profound act I can imagine. It seems to me, then, that everything else around it should be simple.

We feel really blessed.


My goodness, I'm honored that I could bring happy tears to your eyes.


That sounds scrumptious. I'll try that variation soon, since I can't stop eating this salad!


You're welcome! We really did feel everyone's presence there. It was such a beautiful day.

At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

.I LOVE knowing that there are no peanuts in things - and that's hard to do at a potluck (thank gawd the satay craze is going away). When I bring something to a 'luck, I make it veg, and a sign for the dish saying so.

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Tea said...

Aww, so sweet (and it was delicious!).

I've been on so many restrictions over the years that I try to make whatever I bring to potlucks okay for everyone--no gluten, dairy, sugar, eggs, etc. I even tried to accomodate the low-carb craze there for awhile (roasted vegetables were my go-to dish). It is wonderful when everyone can feel safe and well fed.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Ginger Carter Miller said...

I am so inspired by you, and your beautiful wedding reminded me of ours two years ago (also a wedding of family and friends, catered by family and friends, and filled with love and joy!)

I have a new blog, and I want to link your site to it. Is it ok?

P.S. Your brownies were the first things I cooked when I finally got the courage to bake again after my two month cleansing. I just want to say I love them! and can't wait for your book.

At 3:25 PM, Blogger Emily said...

You guys had some great ideas for the wedding. It sounds like a lot of fun.
The salad looks easy, fresh, and delicious.

At 7:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish the allergen cards would become the norm at large food gatherings. It is so simple and yet saves everyone (hosts/servers/guests) effort and frustration.

...and I hope eventually restaurants have menus available upon request with ingredients listed. *sigh* Wouldn't that be nice?

At 9:57 AM, Blogger maggiegracecreates said...

Shauna - because you have brought such an enthusiasm to my world and made me realize that helthy food does not have to deprive you af anything, I have chosen you for a rockin girl blogger nomination. Thank oyu for sharing your world with us.

At 3:46 PM, Blogger nicole said...

I made this the other night ... did not use truffle salt but it was still good :) Your wedding feast sounds absolutely fabulous.

At 4:26 AM, Blogger Balboa said...

what an excellent idea for a wedding, I am so glad your family is understanding about gluten free cooking.


At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was such a good idea to have cards to label any allergens in the foods. I'm diabetic, and it would make my life so much easier if more places did this.

I'm so happy for you and GlutenFreeBoy :-) The two of you would be such wonderful parents. I can't wait to hear if you'll be having children. They are truly a blessing.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Stiggly Holistics said...

we did this for our wedding and it was by far the best wedding food i have ever had and we heard this from all of our guests too. there was more than enough to go around, and even without any planning or announcement of what to bring, a perfect variety covered all bases - we had left overs for the visiting families and ourselves for days afterwards too. glad to see others had the same idea xx
many congrats x


Post a Comment

<< Home