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16 August 2007

road food, gluten-free food

chickpea-walnut salad i

I’ve been spending a lot of time in cars lately.

Breakfasts on the back porch, long lunches at the picnic table, snacks when I feel hungry and can simply walk into the kitchen? Those feel like words on a page right now. These days, I’m eating in the car.

The two weddings required hours of driving. No onerous task, considering the end point, and the company of Tea, who made me laugh and think and want to sing along to songs on the radio. Still, there were some miles on the car.

Now that we have moved to our home, slightly farther away from the restaurant than the apartment before it, the Chef and I seem to spend more time driving down the freeway than I have since I lived in LA. We want to hold hands, but he grows nervous from the traffic. (Actually, I taught him the word gesticulate so he could say to me: “Will you please stop gesticulating when you tell that story? At least until we are off I-5?” Instead, he simply puts his hand on mine and pats it back to the steering wheel.)

And during this week and last, I have been teaching a creative-writing summer camp for teenagers at the Hugo House. This is my third year of teaching there, and I love the camaraderie of being in a room with twenty other beings, all of whom feel the need to press pen to paper. These students are fierce and funny, utterly themselves, and excited enough about writing that they voluntarily spend two weeks inside during August. (In short, they’re freaks, like me.) But the fact that this short-term teaching gig coincides with the worst construction snarl on I-5 in recorded history (if you believe the press) means that we are spending time in the car.

At least we can hold hands when we’re stopped in the fast lane.

Still, we have to leave the house earlier than usual to make it to Hugo in time for the 9:30 start. These past days, I have been eating gluten-free English muffins with almond butter as I wait for traffic to slow so I can chew. I don’t like eating in the car. It feels so rushed and defeating. Great food should be eaten mindfully, every bite a panoply of textures and tastes, memories rising past my face into the part of my brain that records good moments. Instead, I am listening to horns behind me. And the smell of exhaust does not lend itself to digestion.

The other night, at the restaurant, Suja (one of the waitresses) stood near the kitchen door, waiting for an order. She picked up a saucer with a mixed green salad, goat cheese, and champagne vinaigrette and started spinning it in her hands. “I’m driving this salad around town,” she said, and I laughed. That’s what my eating life feels like at the moment.

Sometimes, I love the inspiration of the car. The rhythm of the road matches the phrases in my mind, and I start to write by tapping on the dashboard. Stopped on the road, I see inside every car more clearly: that man is picking his nose, and not even surreptitiously; she’s singing to Sly and the Family Stone; they are arguing loudly, and she’s turning her face away from him. And sometimes, inspiration strikes from an unexpected flash on the road. Cut off by a man who insisted his car had to go faster, I jolted with adrenaline at nearly being hit. I could taste it in my mouth. Later that morning, in the safe confines of Hugo House, I wrote the start of this poem:

A First Course of Fear

Fear tastes like
Blackberries five days before ripeness
Battery acid gone dry
Nineteen tacks covered in vegemite
Heaping teaspoons of pickle juice
Two and a half cups of baking powder
Dusty dredges of shriveled cheese
Chewy crackers, gone flubby with mold
Prison bars in the cold of winter.

Fear tastes like twenty pieces of bubble gum
Shoved inside your mouth at once
And you can’t stop
The acid aching along your jaw.

It’s a first draft, out of fifteen minutes of writing with the students about synethesia, but it felt good. At least I could turn the frightening driving into something that felt like mine.

In another free write, inspired by my co-teacher’s prompt to write about America, these words emerged from my pen:

“…amazing grace and purple mountains majesty and in Wyoming the mountains really are purple and amaze me, and that spot, before the mountains, the Teton mountains, with Sharon, the Snake River winding and we are eating Screaming Yellow Zonkers and playing Mad Libs, putting the names of people who always make us laugh in all the blank spaces, and the rest are all fart jokes and dirty words and silly sounds, because we may be in our 30s at this point, but really we are 12. And the sun is coming through the windshield, and Sir Duke comes on the cd, and I say, ‘Blast it, Sharon. We have to hear this song.’ And she opens her hand to turn the knob and the music grows louder at the moment the sun bursts out from behind the Tetons. And we are dancing, my ass wriggling in the driver’s seat and she is singing and I am singing and there is this sudden surge of happiness, a pocket of air that expands in my chest and makes my head feel light. And even though I can feel the weight of the world in my shoulders, still, I can press it away from me, to just outside the windows of the car, where it flaps like my hand making cupped circles in the air, turning and open, everything motion, and my best friend is by my side, doing the same. The song ends. We play it four more times in a row.

And though this list began with a bunch of negative words, the usual suspects of complaints about this country, in the end, this run-on sentence, words tumbling all over themselves in a rush to be free of my brain, the exuberance and silly specifics — damned if that’s not America, too.”

Remembering those moments with Sharon, on our cross-country journey, made me sigh. Oh, if only eating in the car was that blithe anymore.

You see, driving and eating is more difficult when you have to live gluten-free.

No stopping at fast food places, which really isn’t a loss for me, but the convenience is what draws people in. Walking into a coffee shop is merely a demonstration of how overly reliant we are on wheat in this culture. Muffins, cookies, sandwiches, and pastries — nope. When I walk into a grocery store in search of a snack, most of the time I can’t go to the deli case and grab something for lunch. Even the turkey breast — was it marinated in something? Did they cut it on the same board where someone else made sandwiches? Did the employee change his gloves between the tortellini he pulled from the case and my baked chicken breast?

I have been eating a lot of gluten-free power bars and bananas these days.

Those of you who can eat gluten? I challenge you to walk through a typical workday and try to avoid it. Not just the obvious places, but all the cross-contamination and soy-sauce marinades and dustings of flour on the candies to make them not stick. Try to eat gluten-free for a day. Let me know what you think.

And those of you who already avoid the gluten? How do you deal with being out all day, running one errand after another without the time for a proper meal? What do you keep in your car for snacks?

I’ve been packing almonds, rice cakes, and fruit. But any suggestions would be fantastic.

The teaching gig at Hugo House ends tomorrow. Shame, in a way, since I have so enjoyed these kids. (They have portfolios due tomorrow, which is a way of publishing their work. And it is in the spirit of solidarity for that act of bravery they are about to commit that I included those roughest drafts of writing I have ever put on this site before.) But I’ll be able to go back to leisurely eating on Saturday.

Still, I have to find a way to deal with this gracefully. After all, there will be more driving to come. In just a few weeks, we will be bouncing around the Italian countryside in a tiny rental car. And it’s possible that part of the book tour will involve a road trip, the Chef and I. So I’d like to figure out how to be a gluten-free road warrior, soon.

After all, it’s easier to keep my eyes on the road when I’m feeling well-fed.

Addendum: The comments on this post have been helpful to me already. Of course, this piece is a bit of a conceit, because I am lucky. I can always ask the Chef to pack me up a lunch at the restaurant. However, this is a real problem for those of us who need to eat gluten-free, and I hope that all of you will turn to each other's suggestions as a resource.

Also, if you feel the urgency of this and wish to put it into poem form....Well, now you have an outlet. The good folks at Allergic Living are holding a contest for the best poem about dealing with allergies. You know you have it in you. >Go here and submit your words.

Chickpea salad with carrots, walnuts, and French feta

chickpea-walnut salad ii

The other day, I grew determined. I intended to find a place where I could buy a cup of something hot to drink, fire up the wi-fi to work on the computer, and eat something more substantial than a banana. Gluten-free living in Seattle is far easier than it is in other cities — or so I have been told — but still, this seemed like a snarl worse than the freeway in the mornings. It took a trek to four places, with parking delays at each one, before I found my new nirvana: Remedy Teas. This calm, green-walled place contains a hundred teas or more. Better for me, they have gluten-free carrot muffins in the glass case, as well as a salad of spinach, walnut, cucumbers, and chickpeas.

It’s amazing what we take for granted.

That evening, I invented this concoction. I love chickpeas. Truly, I could eat them every day. Most days, I just squeeze a little lemon juice atop them, drizzle a glug of olive oil, crunch some kosher salt between my fingers, and top it all with pepper. An afternoon of clean eating and a sigh of relief. If I am feeling decadent, I add in bites of fresh mozzarella. It doesn’t take much more than that to make me happy.

However, the next time you take out some chickpeas, you might want to throw in some carrots cut slim, a handful of raw walnuts, some crumbled French feta, and arugula leaves torn in shreds. Top it with salty, creamy French feta and a splash of sherry-walnut vinaigrette, and you might feel better than you have in days.

Particularly if you have been eating power bars and bananas in the car.

2 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup raw walnuts
2 carrots, julienned
handful French feta, crumbled
½ cup arugula, shredded into small pieces
kosher salt
cracked black pepper
sherry-walnut vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Combine the chickpeas, walnuts, carrots, salt and pepper.

Drizzle with s small spurt of vinaigrette and toss.

Compose in the bowl and add the French feta.


Sherry-walnut vinaigrette

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup walnut oil

In a blender, combine the sherry vinegar, salt, pepper, and mustard. Mix them well. Slowly, slowly drizzle in the olive oil as the blender is running. When the liquids have blended into a coherent mixture (known as emulsifying), stop the blender. Drizzle this over the chickpeas and eat.

Feeds 2.


At 11:31 PM, Blogger Daniela said...

I got diagnosed only a couple of weeks ago, so I am still trying to figure out how I can surrive Gluten Free. Some Snackfood I have on hand:

- Roasted Chickpeas
- chopped up, ready to eat Fruit
- Gluten Free Rice Chex
- Gluten free brownies (love your recipe!)
- Trailmix
- Shelled Edamame
- Popcorn
- Jello or Pudding

At 2:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salad sounds fab. Vis-a-vis eating on the road; what about a spanish tortilla/tortilla de patatas?Too yummy! Granted, in Italy it won't be all too easy to cook one up the night before and take it with you on your travels if you have no access to cooking facilities but maybe there would be a way!! And it's great eaten hot or cold. Tupperware, a pre-made vinaigrette,some salad leaves, carrots or whatever veg can be peeled and cut/grated.(bring the peeler/small handheld grater with you!)and some nuts and seeds. You'll have to pull over, and take a few minutes to prepare then but isn't that fun part?!

Thanks for all your inspiring writing.


At 6:41 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I went gluten free for a week on an elimination diet and it was interesting. It really shows how pervasive one ingredient wonder we get allergies and intolerances to it!

The whole experience made me thankful to live in an urban area where you can get gluten-free products without ordering them on the net. I always had to carry snacks with me to stave off the deluge of pizza and cake at work, which was really hard.

But even though I ended up not being celiac, I developed a new awareness of so much of our food comes from one source that isn't even that good for you. I have cut a lot of gluten products out now because I realize how unnecessary it is to have meals revolving around pasta and pizza and their ilk.

These days, if I'm going to have cheese and tomatoes, I eat them alone and I don't make pizza because really, the pizza dough is mostly a holding device.

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Gina Perry said...

That salad looks delicious.

If I could 'conquer' the chickpea, I would definitely try it. It seems every time I try a chickpea recipe the hardness of the canned chickpeas mocks me. This isn't what they taste like in prepared foods, is there a secret to getting softer chickpeas? I've tried soaking the dry ones and I end up with an even worse situation. Homemade falafel is the only thing that turns out well for me.

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Gaile said...

that looks amazing. I really must try dairy again and see if after all this time, my body will allow it. As for road food, invest in a small flexi cooler and some freezer packs, and good things would be lundberg rice chips, crispy cat bars (available at the sidecar for pigs peace in the u district and worth every cent), fruit, hard boiled eggs, a box of almond thins or marys gone crackers, smoked salmon, tiny cans or packets of albacore, hummus, olive tapenade. Hope that helps!

At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My standard is Larabars and water however, there is a company here in Toronto that has come up with FANTASTIC gluten free bagels and empanadas that are quickly becoming a take along for travelling. I recently travelled to Grenada and after Carribean airlines forgot my gluten free meal and a 9 hour layover in an airport where the only thing to eat was fried chicken these items saved me.

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Molly said...

I love the new thin rice cakes made into a little sandwich with almond butter and jelly. I also love making white basmati rice with lentils, adding in raisins, cardamon and cinnamon while it is cooking and then topping it with sauteed greens, carrots and onions in a tupperware. Yum!

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Clare said...

I am not allergic, but recently found these great nutrition bars called "Think Thin" that are sugar free, gluten free and very high in protein. I love the creamy peanut butter variety as well as their fudge brownie version. There are other bars in their line (Think Green is one) and I believe they are gluten free as well.

At 9:40 AM, Blogger Gab said...

I definitely feel for you. My almost 3 year old has a peanut allergy and it can be a real challenge to find things for her to eat outside of the house. You just need to be creative. I tell her, "no honey, you can't have that, but LOOK what you CAN have!"

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Redhead in the City said...

I make my own trailmix out of Craisins and Soynuts with sea salt and maybe a few chocolate chips if I need them...
I've also got a recipe for pumpkin muffins that is *amazing*.
Right now I'm a bit obsessed with snap peas, but only the ones so freash they almost taste like candy. And they come in their own little containers! Cucumbers taste really good to me in the summer with a little sea salt - they're so fresh and crisp.

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite kitchen tool right now is my Magic Bullet...I love making fruit protein shakes on the go! Keeps my stomach occupied until mid-afternoon.
The items I love adding are:
-Frozen cut papaya or frozen blueberries
-Kiwi or blackberries
-Plain/vanilla goat yogurt
-Liquid Vitamins
-Flax oil
-Hemp Protein Powder

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Carne Family said...

My daughter must avoid gluten and is also allergic to nearly all the grains (rice too), oils, eggs, all nuts, some of the legumes (chickpeas included) and a few miscellaneous fruits and vegetables. Cooking for her has made plain gluten free look like decadence! We are in the car alot and good snacks are a treasure. She is two years old so her snacks are "kid food" but I like them too. Here are some of the things we have found:
-Gorilla Puff cereal (tastes like
-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (the salted kind)
-Frozen grapes
-Vegetable Fries (sweet potatoes, red potatoes, carrots cut into sticks sprinkled with olive oil and baked till done. They are good cold, wrapped in a paper towel)
-cooked quinoa with tuna, olive oil and salt and pepper (she scoops it out with cucumbers)
-red/yellow pepper slices
-tabouleh salad(replace wheat with cooked quinoa or millet)

I love this blog and how positive you are about eating the way you have to. Thanks.

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Yaza said...

Hi Shauna

Love, love your site! Thanks for the inspiration.

My daughter with celiacs is six now. Road trips, as well as just having some decent snack food available in the car for on the way from school to whatever lesson or birthday party etc... is really a challenge! I am appreciating everyone's suggestions! For us - if its a planned day thing then I may bring perishables such as rouladin with rice/ gf bread stuffing; sausages or meatballs; olives; sesame wraps with nutella and a banana in the middle; wild game jerky; gf french toast jam sandwich; or a cheese stick (yes the prepackaged kind... yikes the poor environment!) As well as the usual banana or apple and sliced up veggies... I find I need to work to get enough calories and protein into her snacks so these are not low cal ideas.

I also try to keep a few relatively nonperishable items in the car for 'emergencies' as well. Trail mix (like daniela mentioned)homemade to her preference, yogurt covered raisins, gf crackers and a tin of tuna. Also, of course, a gf chocolate bar or treat bar for those instances where cupcakes or donut holes, etc show up unexpectedly for all the kids at where ever she may be.

Thanks, and I look forward to your book coming out!

At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I travel a lot for work as I cover 11 counties in Michigan and am on the road at least three days a week. My snackies of choice? Trader Joes Habanero spiced pistaschios (soooo addictive - watch out) or the Chile lime variety; apricots dried or fresh; a mixture of dried cherries (sweet and tart) and Trader Joe's cashews (salt and crunch); Lara bars; Michigan apples from the farm, when in season; homemade popcorn and occasionally for a long trip, Lays stackable chips in the tube - they are GF whereas Pringles are not.
Just make sure you bring along a container for the pistachio shells so you don't have to open your window ever 3 seconds.....

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have celiac myself, but the husband of a good friend does. When he told me that, when growing up and after being diagnosed, his family had never made an entire Thanksgiving dinner where he could eat everything, I was appalled... and our tradition of Canadian Thanksgiving was born (he's from Calgary). So every year (this will be the fourth), a group of friends gathers here in Seattle and cooks a huge, gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner, so that Tim can eat everything from the turkey to the pumpkin pie. I do most of the cooking, and for weeks before the event I am researching recipes, refreshing my memory on what ingredients in common off-the-shelf items he can't have, buying supplies, and planning. I clean my kitchen to within an inch of its life. And I have fun.

That's how I found your blog, actually -- researching gluten-free recipes for cornbread to make stuffing, if I recall correctly. (Though I seem to remember you posting a stuffing recipe last year, and I'm going to go back to that one for this year!)

So thank you. Thank you for the inspiration, and for your writing, which makes me cry, and for your happiness with The Chef.

Incidentally, I have just moved to the hill and Remedy Teas is one of my favorite hangouts. I'm glad you found them!

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

When my husband and I go driving, the passenger will rest a hand on the driver's leg. It's easy to quickly move out of the way, and doesn't interfere with driving. And the driver can give the passenger's hand a (quick) squeeze.

We're about to celebrate our 8th anniversary, and we still hold hands and do silly stuff :)

At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for all your inspiration! I do travel quite a bit for work(musician) and getting food on the road can be a hassle. I usually hit a grocery store before leaving whatever town I'm in and stocking up on nuts, raisins, other dried fruit, string cheese, maybe one of those Odwalla Super Food drinks. I have been known to buy beef jerky, too, although almost all of it is cured with soy sauce.

Hey! Maybe you and the Chef can come up with a GF version?

And for the times when all there is at the freeway exit is fast food and gas stations, I've learned to forage at the gas station. Yogurt, milk, peanuts, raisins and fresh fruit if you can get it.

Have fun in Italy! If you haven't read Lynn Rosetto Kasper's "The Splendid Table," I highly recommend that you pick up a copy before you leave. She's a wonderfully warm writer who shares as much culture and history as she does recipes.

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was gluten-free in NYC I discovered a few tasty international snack foods that are naturally GF:

Colombian or Venezuelan empanadas are made with masarepa, which is GF. You can make them yourself, or talk to your local restaurant and ask them about their processes. I know of 2 spots in Queens and one in Manhattan that are safe for sure- if there's one near you, it's worth asking.

Japanese rice cakes, filled with black bean paste and rolled in black sesame seeds, are GF. There's also a similar Chinese version with yellow sesame seeds that is fried, also GF and also extremely delicious. Again, get to know your purveyors and their safety practices.

Larabars are GF and very portable.

Also, head to your local Indian grocery store and check out the snack food aisle. Most of the snack-cracker items that are popular in India are made only with chickpea flour!

Spiced pecans are great too... will have to dig up my grandma's recipe because I can't remember it exactly, but they're really simple to make, and people will think you're a genius when you pull them out.

Good luck-- your writing camp and summer travels sound wonderful!

At 5:31 PM, Blogger Amy said...

My 5yr old daughter is gluten-free, and we just completed a road trip from MN to UT & back again. We had some stopping places where we could cook, but we also spent several days on the road. Quick snacks included:
Dry fruit
Nut Thin crackers
EnviroKids granola bars
Sliced apples dipped in peanut butter (a strange favorite in our family)
Vegetables dipped in hummus
String cheese

I also prepared a cold chicken pasta salad (with Tinkyada noodles) before we left that lasted a few different meals on the road. And we ate Applegate Farms sliced turkey with cheese & rice cakes.

Thanks for your wonderful blog! I have enjoyed it tremendously!

At 6:23 PM, Blogger Cate said...

Your first picture ... right above the utensil, look closely. A small heart. So quiet and unassuming, yet so perfect for you and your site. :)

At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For quick snacks I try to always have hard boiled eggs and carrots on hand. For breakfast a smoothy made of fresh fruit and yougurt with some nuts on the side.

When I am traveling I try to bring some of my homemade bread and either buy or bring sandwich stuff.

My dad who is GF but eats meat always has some beef or buffalo jurky with him when he drives up to visit me.


At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm partial to rice cakes and peanut butter, but for neater eating, I make trail mix with cashews, dark M&Ms, and dried cherries. I hate Larabars - too sweet -- but I love the Think Thin bars. Especially the peanut butter flavors!

Another great portable snack (although highly addictive) are the Trader Joes Mini Thin Rice Crackers. Mmmmmmmm.

And of course, if you need quick protein. apparently the new Slim Fast Easy-to-Digest shakes are gluten-free. They're not great, but they will get you through a class without fainting.

At 2:36 AM, Blogger David said...

Did you know there's no such thing as French feta anymore? To be called feta, it has to be from Greece.

Now all us Frenchies are going to have to go back and change all our older blog entries ; )


At 5:32 AM, Blogger Sheltie Girl said...

We put in a fair number of road miles traveling with my husband. So I eat nuts, dried fruits, fruits, vegetables, rice crackers (Trader Joe's & Blue Diamond), homemade granola,taquitos, red pepper hummus, gf chicken tenders, quinoa salad, gf chocolates, homemade cookies, etc.

I have a Mr. Bento box (Zojirushi) that I bought from Amazon. I pack it when I have to stay fed all day. It has 4 containers that will hold everything from soup to salad. It comes with a spork and a carrying case. I throw in a pair of chop sticks, lots of different types of cocktail picks, and anything else I can find to make eating fun. Look at some of the Bento blogs/sites for more eating ideas, i.e. Cooking Cute.

Since you are going to Italy, you should be able to find the European brands of gf products. It actually might be easier to find them, since there is greater awareness of celiac disease in Europe. Look for Dr. Schar and Bi-Aglut, but watch out for lupine flour if you have a peanut allergy. You might be able to find restaurants that serve gf items too.

Happy Trails!
Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Gluten - Free Granny said...

I've been gluten free for over 2 years now and I agree with you- going places is always a challenge and as part of this lifestyle I must learn to pack food with me at all times. Cheese and crackers- rice crackers is a mainstay for me. I like to make curried chicken salad, tuna slad- with cranberries and dill and love fresh spring rolls with shrimp. I try to be as creative as I can so I don't feel "cheated" at not being able to "stop and shop" like everyone else does. And by the way- we did Italy last summer and I employed similar methods- except there it didn't seem as difficult. People were very understanding and restaurants didn't hesitate to cook my pasta in a seperate pot. Good Luck and enjoy- you will love the food experience there!

At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always carry around Larabars (in a variety of flavors so I don't get bored), Clif Nectar Bars (cranberry/apricot/almond, vanilla cashew), GF organic beef jerky. If I'm going on a road trip, I'll take Terra Chips (with paper towels, because they can be a little oily).

And some homemade GF breads are so wonderful that I would want to carry some with me.

At 5:44 PM, Blogger Ginger Carter Miller said...

I am also new to this GF lifestyle. I'm also a college professor and have class from 11 til 2 with a 10 minute break, and from 12:30 to 4:45 some days. I live on my snacks! My office is stocked with these wonders I can take with me:

Larabars (I SWEAR by these)
Wasabi Peas
Japanese GF Rice Crackers
Homemade trail mix or chopped dried fruit, nuts, and Bear Naked Granola (which has no added gluten product
The new Live Active chese sticks (with active live cultures)
Terra Chips
PLAIN OL Lays Potato Chips
Tiny little one serving containers of Macadamia nuts
Grape Tomatoes

I love your blog and would for you to visit mine!

At 6:41 PM, Blogger Ginger Carter Miller said...

P.S. Oh, as for road food, two places I like: Chick Fil a and Waffle House. I've had correspondence with Chick Fil A and although their chicken is marinated, it is marinated in a brine like pickle juice made with vinegar, salt, water. Their carrot raisin salad is GF *they use white vinegar, as is their colesalw. They have fruit cups, and their salads are fresh. They publish their GF guidelines on their website.Best of all, they are nationally consistent about their ingredients. Well regulated. I've not had any trouble there.

As for Waffle House, they make their eggs and omelettes in indivual pans (no cross contamination) and you can watch. I'm southern, so I love their grits which is made in a separate container. And of course they have all kinds of meat they cook on certain areas of the grddle, which are heavily cleaned in between. Best of all, you can watch your food and supervise.

Ginger --

At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shauna- I can't believe we did it again! See my post from the 16th. Funny!

At 10:30 PM, Blogger jenA said...

Oh, yes,this is my life. I live out of my car. I'm more of a daredevil with my food choices, though, and while I cannot vouch for the overall gf safety of crispy tacos from Dairy Queen, I have mastered the art of eating such food on a trip into work.
My mainstays are mostly prep foods, like gf crackers, snack bars and fruit or spice cookies, or fruit and veggies I can eat from my lap or the cupholder. Wendy's chili is also a fave of mine; it's supposedly gluten-free but cross-contamination can be a curse among fast-foodies.
That's all I got for ya.

At 11:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prana Bars are WAY better than power bars... I'm hooked on them. The secret energy ingredient almond butter. Everything in it is raw except for the nuts and seed which are roasted to enhance digestibility. My favorite flavor is Apricot Goji.

At 12:28 AM, Blogger terry said...

like so many others here, i find myself relying on larabars when on the go... and there's another bar i've found that's nut-based and DAMN i can't remember the name. and i have none at home at the moment. i usually keep a few of both in my drawer at work, in my car, and at home. and when i get on airplanes, they're invaluable.

tonight, i found myself starving to the point of feeling a tad weak. i was in target at the time, and ended up buying some cashews to stave off disaster.

i can't imagine what it would be like to have celiac AND a nut allergy!

when i go visit friends or family out of town, i usually bring some of my own bread (foor 4 life!) with me, and even pasta and cereal. i've even shipped stuff ahead before, just to make sure i wouldn't be stuck without options.

it's amazing how much thinking you have to do before simply leaving the house.

At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When have bunches of errands to run I make "memory meals" each snack/taste evokes a memory for me. I.e. Le Garden GF bread (the absolute best bread I have ever eaten) and homemade strawberry jam. (summer when I was a youngster memory) GF GORP (granola,raisins peanuts etc.) (camping moments). It makes the errands fun and the snacks pleasant :)

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Laurie said...

I have long are trips several times a year, and as so many of you suggest, the key is being prepared. I like GF energy bars, rice cakes with all natural peanut butter, trail mix, and when I can find those Soy Crisps that are like seasoned mini race cakes but also have a lot of protein, I'm happy. I also like tuna salad I eat on rice crackers; all you need is a small cooler to keep it fresh.

Also, a lot of highway stops now have Fresh City, which is GREAT fast food for celiacs. Not only are their salads good, they have made-to-order stir fry with GF barbecue sauce--you pick the protein, veggies, and starch and they serve it hot and fast.
Good stuff, and a welcome respite from processed snack foods, even if they are GF.

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

I for one get tired of the snacky stuff and when I want some flesh make frikadellen which are German hamburgers you eat cold. The secret is to make them more like a meatloaf w/lots of onion, herbs, egg, the gluten free version of bread crumbs, capers, etc. With some crunchy raw veggies, a little mustard, you've got a real meal.

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Wow, I can see I still have a *lot* to learn about feeding my gluten free husband. He is newly diagnosed and still learning the ropes.

I know all the obvious ones. What I don't know are the more frightening hidden ones. I know how to read labels, I just need to learn what to look for in those hidden ingredients.

I've already ordered your book, though. ;) Can't wait to read it.

Thank you,

Tacoma, WA

Wife to celiac and food-allergic former chef, mother to food-allergic daughter. Reading labels is a daily part of my life.

At 9:42 PM, Blogger LoLo said...

We usually carry bumble bars, nuts, dagoba chocolate, fruit, soy pretzels and lollipops. If we are set to be out during mealtime we take leftovers from the night before. I've learned with having a 2 year old, and me breastfeeding, having snacks is a must at all times.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger beastmomma said...

Remedy teas really is fantastic! What a nice refuge that place has become.

At 7:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm seconding, thirding, nth-ing the LaraBars. They do work well in a pinch.

Raw veggies work...grain and veggie salads in a vinegarette work. I honestly really like cooked quinoa mixed with berries and powdered milk and whey or casein protein. When it's time to eat, just add ice old water and Ta-Da!

I also like making my own granola type bar with unsweetened coconut, honey, puffed brown rice, almonds,almond butter, and whey protein.

Chocolate chips just take it a little over the edge, but that's a good thing.

Alternatively, you could do the same with some homemade marshmallows and nix the honey and almond butter.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Randi said...

I dont have anything to contribute, although I thought you might. There is a thread on Egullet where a chef is looking for a good gluten free bread recipe. I thought you might be able to help him out.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger melanie said...

while I wouldn't suggest trying to eat it in a car, the Thai Kitchen noodle bowls are awesome for throwing in a suitcase because they're light and all you need for them is water. Between those, fritos, and larabars, I can usualy do a couple days travel and not feel too deprived. :)

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your blog. I've been following it for quite some time now. It gives me food ideas to play with when I don't have time to make anything myself and the story of you and the chef inspires hope.

Multi-day car trips are fun. I bring a cooler with real food/picnic type food rather than snacky stuff. For a meal I get out of the car, stretch and can eat in the car, but the break refreshes. I usually drive solo, so that's important for me.
The cooler will have a small cutting board and a knife, olive oil and vinegar. Food will include a loaf of sliced bread and sandwich fixings, makings for salads, chickpeas/fresh tomatoes, some dishes that will last a few days that can be eaten cold. Not too many pre-made dishes because you have to eat them within a certain time then deal with empty containers. Fruit. Yogurt. And Cheese!
For driving snacks I bring GF beef jerky (and dental floss), fruit (grapes and raisins), cereal, unsalted nuts (when you're sitting for a long time, it's amazing how quick you'll bloat from the salt...same with the beef jerky), a few baked goods that won't go bad like sorghum scones, cookies, crackers.
I pick up Organic food bars from Trader Joe's for emergencies. I like them better than Lara bars (did I just say that!).
If I want something hot I stop at Wendy's and get a baked potato w/broccoli, no cheese.

Once again, thanks for your writing, and good luck with your driving adventures!

Mary Ann

At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take a sheet of nori seaweed and brush it with olive oil. Then I sprinkle sea salt and cover it with another sheet of seaweed. Fold it in half and it makes a delicious snack. It solves all those cravings of crunchiness, fat and oil yet much healthier and safer for us then potato chips. I store a few of these in a baggie and eat them on the road.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

My goodness, everyone, I had no idea what a conversation I would start with this post! It's clear that many of us are dealing with this on a daily basis. The gluten world has no idea!

So many of your suggestions have encourage me to think about food, fresh. This is, without a doubt, a journey. And when you are on a long journey, it's good to have snacks, and great traveling companions.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Greg said...

I assume you meant "walnut oil" instead of "olive oil" in the blender instructions. Hope so, I'm trying it now.

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for a great blog and in particular, this post. I've gotten some good ideas for traveling snacks.

Not only do I have Celiac Disease, I'm vegan and must also stay away from soy, corn, sugar, and raw veg. Sugar in fruit is OK.

Apart from the usual snack foods from unfamiliar grocery stores like nuts, fruit and Lara Bars, I have found around Seattle anyway, some sushi can work. Don't choose any with sarimi (fake crab). There is risk of contamination unless of course you make it yourself.

Also, Flying Apron now makes a handy flat bread which is great with humus and PCC has a tortilla by Hemp (it's black) which if toasted, can be broken into chip size pieces. Both of these keep a long time in a paper bag.

I love Remedy Teas too!

You will have a great time in Italy. You can always buy your own veg, cheese, olives, and wine!

Cheers, Fellow Celiac doing much more than surviving in Seattle!

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for your post. I really liked the part where you challenge gluten eating people to go a day without gluten and the contamination and the soy sauce and the flour dusting. So many people who eat gluten comment on how easy it must be...I'm sure it is easier than it was years ago but it's not easy. I cook all the time, but I find being on the road a real challenge because I am so disorganized and I am trying to compensate for all the gluten filled treats my kids can't have.

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Clare said...

Mmmmmmm....Shauna, this salad is AWESOME. I am holding myself back from eating all of it, particularly because I made a double recipe. :)
What a perfect combination of ingredients. Thank you so much for posting this!


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