Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gluten-Free University Family Weekend

Across the country parents of college freshman are heading to campuses for Family Weekend. It's often the first chance they have to lay eyes on their newly independent children and make sure everything seems to be OK.

My youngest son is a freshman and so our family traveled to his university this past weekend for a tailgate, barbecue and football game. (The home team happily won). My daughter, who has celiac disease, went with us to see her younger brother. So I was glad to see that the university had posted information on foods at the barbecue that were gluten free. Even better, it turns out almost everything on the menu was.

It included hot dogs, sausages, pulled pork BBQ, BBQ chicken, baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, and fresh fruit. Only  the veggie burgers, cupcakes and buns weren't gluten free. We did not request gluten-free items and the university's decision to make the menu so gluten friendly was prompted internally. Many foods were also dairy and nut free and several were vegetarian or vegan. 

Ironically, this same university had only 11 gluten-free items on its entire dining hall menu when my daughter looked into attending about five years ago. That's not the reason she chose another school, but it was in the negative column. It was just another reminder of how much has changed so quickly.

And at the barbecue, it turns out there was even a dessert that was gluten free. My daughter was able to enjoy Rita's Italian Ice, which had set up a free stand nearby.

All in all, a very inclusive event.

And my son does seem to be doing fine as a new college student.

Amy Ratner

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