No complaints

I am leaving on a jet plane tomorrow, bound for California. There are a million things to take care of first, not much time for me to do them — and virtually no food in the house. It’s the curse of the gluten-free traveler. Airports and airplanes are not yet known as good sources of gluten-free food so we need to plan ahead, especially for such a long trip.

This makes me think of Bette Hagman, the doyenne of gluten-free cookbook authors. She had a little box she reserved for her travels into which she put food she had actually made for her trip. So I pulled out one of her original cookbooks to see how she did it. Here is what Bette wrote in her second book, More from the Gluten-Free Gourmet, which was published 16 years ago in 1993.

“Some airlines offer gluten-free meals, but I still carry some bread, cheese and a few cookies in my carryon in case the order for a special meal never reached the airline kitchen or in case I miss my connection, both of which have happened to me.”

Bette had a specific cookie she baked for her travels. I checked the cookie recipes and according to Bette, her Granola Cookies (p. 130 in More from the Gluten-Free Gourmet) “travel well.” She also recommends toting pretzels, crackers, granola, rice crackers, hard cheese and what she describes as “carefully selected” candies – all of which I can easily purchase nearby. Frankly, I have nothing to complain about.

Oddly enough I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for those “olden days” when celiacs across the country got to know each other without benefit of the internet or even a cell phone. Bette, who lived in Seattle, was a good friend. She went to as many meetings as she could and it was always nice to see her. We were thrilled to meet up and talk about all the challenges. Sure, we complained but we also forged ahead

Those of us who knew Bette still miss her. She lived to a nice old age but not long enough to experience a time when the airlines would not offer meals to anyone, gluten free or not. Nor did she get to experience the big deal gluten free has become. Bette would be thrilled. Without her lead, most of us might still be home complaining.

So, without complaint, I’m off to buy a few things to take along on my trip. One way or another, I’ll be fine.

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