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So, last night I learned dd hates Thanksgiving...


bettyandbob
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She calls it going to relatives and not having anything to eat. I guess she's mostly describing my mother's house. Where there is usually a lot of food, an extremely limited selection for her. The thing I always hate is, my mother will put out multiple elaborate desserts, but the only thing dd can have is a dish of vanilla ice cream .

 

Dd is 18. She has celiac. She was diagnosed 14 years ago.

 

We aren't going to my mom's this year. We are going to SIL's. We didn't go to mom's last year. We went to neighbor's where there were multiple dishes prepared with her in mind. It bothers me that neighbor does a better job at welcoming dd than grandma. The reason we went to neighbor's had to do with a different family problem. I guess this reinforces not spending holidays with my family.

 

I know my mom thinks she's accomodating. The food that dd can eat is the same every year. I guess I thought grandma would try to learn how to feed one of her grandchildren (a long time ago). She didn't. I think she doesn't understand what dd has learned instead.

 

This is a much smaller issue than the reason we didn't go last year, but it's constant. It's really not fun to watch your cousins eat.

 

FWIW I do bring food. I do make desserts. I don't bring all I make with me because my mom doesn't want "too much food" and she already puts out a lot. So, there is food for dd at home after.

 

I used to try to explain this problem to my mom. Then I tried to work around it, with food at home. My mom would be really hurt if she knew dd felt this way. I don't see a way to fix it.

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My son has CD.  I would insist on bringing minimum a dessert and side that she can eat.  I would assume she'd be able to eat the main dish of ham or turkey, at least one of your mom's sides (green salad?  mashed potatoes?  sweet potatoes?), your chosen additional side dish, and your special dessert.  If your mom serves rolls, I would bring a generous portion of the equivalent for your dd.  I would tell your mom is the just The Way It Is.  How sad to not like Thanksgiving!  

 

But before I get too righteously indignant on your behalf... how many items is your dd really able to eat there?  In our family, my son would have to avoid stuffing and green bean casserole, but would be able to eat mashed sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, ham, turkey, green salad, cranberry sauce... I mean, it's not like he'd starve, even if I did nothing special on the side.  The dessert is really the only thing I would absolutely have to make special for him.  So is your dd really empty-plated, or is she just upset that everyone else gets to eat whatever they want but not her?  For my son, he seems to have waves of envy and sadness about his CD, and waves of calm acceptance.  This sort of event might just be bringing out her sadness over CD... not necessarily related to the holiday at all.  

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Dh has celiac, for a long time his mom would offer him stuff without thinking about it.  She has finally gotten better about that over the last few years.  She also used to make comments on how on earth do I put up with it and that hasn't happened in a long time...I am not sure what she expected to be the outcome of that.  

 

Do make a dessert to take for your dd.  Our friends all go out of their way when they invite us to dinner for Thanksgiving or any other meal to make sure dh has plenty of good food to eat.  Maybe you can have a year or 2 of Thanksgiving at your house and try to make it more fun for your dd.

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I have a dairy allergy and am visiting family this week. I eat salad, but sometimes I cannot have that because someone put cheese on it. I can usually have turkey, but they fry a turkey which is always dry. I will end up losing weight over Thanksgiving. It is really not a complaint but an observation. 

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Personally I would either stop going or I'd just let your mom know you are bringing a full array of GF foods. Yes it would be nice if grandma got it, but in absence of that I'd just let her know dd has been sad and disappointed with food related holidays where there isn't much for her and you plan to bring more. Even if grandma was trying, I'd be worried about cross contamination anyway if she makes pies, etc.

Edited by WoolySocks
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My kids dislike going to my in-law's for holidays for reasons not food-related.  We avoid holidays and visit at less emotionally fraught times.  It has made life a lot easier. 

 

But I know not everyone has the luxury of not going.  (My in-laws live 700 miles away so it's easy to say we can't go for whatever reason.)  I'd take food for her.  If your mother complains, explain that if you can't bring food your daughter can eat, you will have to stop joining them for dinner in the future. 

 

I'd also be worried about cross-contamination as a pp said.  I have made food for people with CD and am happy to do so, but I do worry that I've cleaned well enough, kept things separate enough, etc.  Making a flourless chocolate cake is a breeze; keeping it safe in a kitchen where other baking is going can be a little harder.   (I don't bake other things when I bake gluten-free, but someone who doesn't understand probably won't think to clean the kitchen between regular pies and gluten-free baking.)

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Your mom is older, doesn't fully grasp how a person can NOT eat many things - some folks just don't understand something if they haven't experienced it themselves.

But she is also making the big dinner - having to adjust for others dietary restrictions might just be too much for her. I say this as the person who for years make the big meal myself, avoiding all corn products since MIL was highly allergic to CORN. You try making a feast without any trace of corn, even as a minor additive. Plus my son with autism and I are the only folks without lactose intolerance. And one of my SIL was allergic to eggs.

 

MIL would bring a milk-free, corn product-free, egg-free pumpkin "pie" for my poor SIL (who would have been happy to just eat chocolate) each Thanksgiving.

 

Anyway, work with your dd to figure out a couple dishes she'd like to eat that you can make and bring. If your mom doesn't like it, tough nuts. Your dd can still eat some turkey, can't she? As long as it has not been contaminated with stuffing or floury gravy?

Edited by JFSinIL
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I can totally understand why your DD feels this way but at the same time I'm not sure I would fault your mom.  Cooking for allergies is hard when you aren't familiar with them.  Even when someone explains it, it's still hard to know if you are doing it right.  My son has a friend with a nut allergy.  he stayed here for a couple of days (he's 17 by the way), I was paranoid I would miss some cross contamination and make him sick.  I made him read the labels on everything I used because I was afraid I'd miss something.

 

My youngest had a dairy and egg allergy was he was an infant.  My mom too was afraid to cook for him because she didn't really understand it and wasn't comfortable preparing food for him.  I always brought food for him.

 

Now I can see being upset if she doesn't make food for DD and doesn't want you to bring things for her.  I'd just bring stuff for your DD anyway and if she complains, say DD would like more food options just like everyone else has.

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For many many people, the holidays mean tradition, and that means doing things the same way that they have always been done.  Of COURSE it would be gracious to make changes to accommodate someone's special requirements but these folks are too tied to their traditions.

 

This makes some perverse sense, then, that your neighbor had less issue creating a menu to accommodate your daughter since this newly formed group for the holiday didn't have a set of traditions to follow.

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OP, that's rotten.

 

DS has multiple LTFAs.  He barely eats at Thanksgiving, because he doesn't care for the food, but he still asks that I prepare the entire feast for him.  We pack it up in single servings and take it with us.  We don't take enough to share, just for him.  And he has a plate of food he won't eat, but it makes him happy.  Maybe you could try that?

 

Or host?

 

Or travel on Thanksgiving?

 

And if you don't want suggestions, that's okay.  I'll just send hugs and lots of empathy.  It stinks.  :(

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I'm sorry your DD has had that experience.

 

I routinely bring a special foods that are just for those of us with food allergies and stick great big signs over all of it with our names and GLUTEN FREE.  Sometimes this still results in problems because someone opens it up and gets crumbs inside, but mostly it's fine.  Once someone managed to get frosting and cake crumbs inside and outside all of the food containers. At the places with previous problems we now keep the food in a cooler in a locked car so no one gets into it that shouldn't. 

 

She's 18.  She's old enough to help preparing her own food.  You could also make special things just for her yourself. 

 

ETA: don't use one of those plug in cigarette lighter coolers though.  It will drain your car battery, and they over heat and melt if you use them for 48 hours straight.  I've melted two of them in below freezing temperatures.  Old fashioned coolers with ice might be a pain in the butt, but they're worth it.

Edited by Katy
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That reminds me of my mil one time, she bought everyone pizza but then gave my kids a bunch of grapes and a package of ham to split, mind you we have gf pizza in town and she had sil pick up the other pizza not 5 min away. Ya, that's totally the same. Thankfully my kids are happy enough with a few favorites; ham, baked beans and some dessert is usually what they pick. I make dishes for me that I like as I want to treat myself, so I've started making abbreviated holiday meals and just taking what I want with me. My mom does try and my mil has started trying more as well but my tastes are just different so I just make it myself. It is totally diferent for kids and I can sympathize that it would suck to have an entire feast when you can't eat but a few things, especially when it is your own grandma that thinks so little of your needs.

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My mom would be really hurt if she knew dd felt this way. I don't see a way to fix it.

 

Well, your dd is really hurt right now.

 

Personally, I see several "fixes." 

 

1) Bring all of dd's food. If your mom doesn't like it, too bad. Explain to her that your dd wants to have a complete Thanksgiving meal just like everyone else, and it simply wasn't happening before.

 

2) Have Thanksgiving at home. This can be with just your immediate family, or you can invite extended family over. Then you control the food.

 

3) Go to Thanksgiving with people who understand and accommodate your dd's diet.

 

We are vegan, which is a choice, but my dd is allergic to milk and used to have problems with soy (which is in TONS of non-vegan food, too), so we have experienced both the choice and the necessity issue. I have always brought food for my kids unless I am going somewhere where I am certain they will be taken care of (various friends and relations go out of their way to provide appealing options). My dh and I don't care so much if we are left eating a salad or whatever, but we have always made sure that the kids don't feel a lack of options. Now that the kids are older they are less concerned about it, but I still try to make sure they are always accommodated.

 

Food and family eating can be very emotional. I would do what I could to protect my child's feelings. 

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[quote name="marbel" post="6697444" timestamp="1448543612

 

I'd also be worried about cross-contamination as a pp said. I have made food for people with CD and am happy to do so, but I do worry that I've cleaned well enough, kept things separate enough, etc. Making a flourless chocolate cake is a breeze; keeping it safe in a kitchen where other baking is going can be a little harder. (I don't bake other things when I bake gluten-free, but someone who doesn't understand probably won't think to clean the kitchen between regular pies and gluten-free baking.)

 

Yes, this. I sometimes panic when people go out of their way to make me gf stuff. Most kitchens are a cc mess and many cooks overlook ingredients (heck, I stll mess up sometimes too after 5 years). would you really trust your moms cooking anyway?

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That reminds me of my mil one time, she bought everyone pizza but then gave my kids a bunch of grapes and a package of ham to split

 

At the summer camp my kids have been going to practically since they were in diapers (not really), I once gave the director money so that they could purchase a cheeseless veggie pizza for my kids on pizza night. What they did instead was order cheese pizza for everyone and give my kids slices of pizza with the cheese scraped off! Yep. Pizza dough with leftover sauce clinging to it. I was livid when I found out about it. Apparently the counselor who ordered the pizza muddled the instructions.

 

Luckily, the camp changed venues from a place that felt that beans and rice twice a day every day for seven days was an acceptable vegetarian/vegan meal plan to one that makes a full vegan meal alternative for every meal, every day. This is a camp for people with a specific medical condition, and many are veg*n for medical reasons, so you'd think the first location would have caught on eventually, but no ... not even after ten years of hosting the camp. It got to the point that I just sent food for my kids for the entire week. (They eventually changed locations due to bed bugs.)

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My kids have celiac. I take their entire meal to the extended family Thanksgiving. They are not going to sit there hungry and deprived, nor am I willing to trust anyone to get gf right, anyway. My mom always brings something special for them and I do trust her.

 

The family thought this was weird at first, but were not the type of people to admit aloud that the food is more important than the children, so they had to let it be.

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For many many people, the holidays mean tradition, and that means doing things the same way that they have always been done.  Of COURSE it would be gracious to make changes to accommodate someone's special requirements but these folks are too tied to their traditions.

 

This makes some perverse sense, then, that your neighbor had less issue creating a menu to accommodate your daughter since this newly formed group for the holiday didn't have a set of traditions to follow.

 

This is a good point.  My sister makes the same Thanksgiving meal every year, and it's the one our  mother made.

 

When I told her once that my husband despises celery so I don't put it in dressing, she flipped. She couldn't comprehend dressing without celery.  We weren't spending Thanksgiving together so it wasn't a problem. She just... and she's mentioned it to  me since, asking me if I can make my dressing "right" yet.  I make it right - just without celery!  :-)

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I can totally understand why your DD feels this way but at the same time I'm not sure I would fault your mom. Cooking for allergies is hard when you aren't familiar with them. Even when someone explains it, it's still hard to know if you are doing it right. My son has a friend with a nut allergy. he stayed here for a couple of days (he's 17 by the way), I was paranoid I would miss some cross contamination and make him sick. I made him read the labels on everything I used because I was afraid I'd miss something.

 

My youngest had a dairy and egg allergy was he was an infant. My mom too was afraid to cook for him because she didn't really understand it and wasn't comfortable preparing food for him. I always brought food for him.

 

Now I can see being upset if she doesn't make food for DD and doesn't want you to bring things for her. I'd just bring stuff for your DD anyway and if she complains, say DD would like more food options just like everyone else has.

I disagree on this. Before anyone in my family had food issues, my son had a friend with a peanut and dairy allergy. Any time he was at my house, I consulted with his mom to make sure what he could eat. When my son had a group of friends over, I only made things for everyone that were safe for his allergic friend to eat. It did stress me out a little, because I didn't want to be responsible for a reaction. His mom also showed me how to use the epi pen.

 

I think OP's grandma should definitely be willing to do this for her gd. I can't imagine not doing it. And I say this as a person with celiac who always tells people not to worry about what they are making, because I will bring my own food. I don't like people making a fuss. I'm also alot older than the OP's dd and it's not my grandma preparing food for me.

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 My mom would be really hurt if she knew dd felt this way.

 

Then hurt her.  You've tried to explain, now it's time for reality. "Mom, the reality is that dd hates TG, or at least coming here for TG, because she feel that you don't care enough about her to accomodate her illness."

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My mom was 61 when dd was diagnosed. My mom knows this is serious because before diagnosis dd's major symptom was seizures. She's had 14 years to adjust. Yes, dd is 18 now.

 

Is it unreasonable to expect a grandma to see things through the eyes of a 5, 8, 10 or 12 year old. All those years gave dd an impression of how she ranks among grandchildren. It was an impression Grandma had the ability to control the development of. 

 

Cross contamination is an issue. I think dd wants to believe she shouldn't have to worry about cross contamination with family who are all well aware of her restrictions and have been for years. I think after 14 years anyone should know that crackers cannot go on the plate of cheese and fruit, making food that requires little prep unsafe. 

 

dd brings her own food or does without in every aspect of her life. I think she would like to eat at Grandma's house without thinking at least without seeing the few things she can eat ruined through cross contamination. 

 

I really don't have the energy to fix this. We won't be spending holidays with them due to another issue. I'm sorry dd developed the impressions about family she has. 

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BTW, before my dd was diagnosed, I was always very careful accommodating others with dietary restrictions. For several years I did "helping hands" meals at my church. I was the person to be called if a dietary restriction was involved. The effort is not huge and it gives a message of acceptance in the community. 

 

I realize not everyone can do this, but making the effort sends a huge message to the person with restrictions. Just making the small effort of buying prepackaged that is safe makes an impression (I do wish my mother would do a little more than that though).  

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I'm so sorry your daughter is hurt, and even though she's technically an adult this year, I think it's still perfectly reasonable for her to feel hurt. I'm sorry people have not made greater attempts to include her! If I were having her at dinner, I would discuss with you what you felt the safest option was, whether that was cooking some things GF myself or asking you to bring them because of cross contamination issues. If possible, I'd have plenty of meats, veggies, cheeses, whatever that didn't need gluten, in hopes that she'd be able to eat the vast majority of the meal, but if you were still concerned about cross contamination, we'd work it out. I'm sorry Grandma doesn't feel that she has more alternatives. I vote for you bringing as much food that is safe for your daughter as you can and not worrying about whether there is too much food. (What is too much food at Thanksgiving, anyway? It just means more leftovers.)

 

Hugs to your sweet girl. It's hard enough to be unable to eat yummy things that everyone else capable, but especially hard on a child, and especially when eating is the main event.

Edited by happypamama
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I feel for your daughter!  We aren't doing Thanksgiving with the extended family, mainly because of the long drive, but if we were able to go, the thought of watching everyone eat all of the old holiday favorites and not being able to participate just doesn't sound like much fun to me.   Nobody there would think about whether or not there is something I could eat,  and it's too far of a drive to bring our own food.  If we were closer, we would just come over for dessert and bring a few GF pies.   I am making all of our holiday favorites here (turkey, GF green bean casserole, GF stuffing, GF sausage balls, GF pecan and pumpkin pies, etc), and we get to spend this short break getting to rest.  Too bad you can't send your daughter over here!  She would find plenty to eat!!

Edited by HeWillSoar
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Sigh.

My mother hates to cook, and I get that, so having to do something 'special' is horribly onerous to her.

But she won't try at all, and it's really rough.

 

For 3 years I had to eat an extremely low fat diet (gall bladder related) and she wouldn't even keep a can of baked beans in her house so I would have one thing to eat.  

 

My aunt, and my SIL, OTOH, would try to engineer the whole meal to help me not feel left out.  It's ironic that neither of these are blood relatives, but there you have it.  DD has her own food issues, and they are also medical.

 

Anyway, I hear you.  And I always would coach our DD before going there, as to what was likely to be served and when to eat heavily since the next course would not be edible for her.  I taught her to say, "No thank you."  And if someone pressed her further, I would divert them for her.  And in spite of that, her feeling is exactly the same--those are not gatherings that she looks forward to, and she usually leaves a bit on the hungry side.  I would never be that kind of host.  I don't know how people can feel good about that.

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These are my thoughts upon reading the OP -

 

I have multiple food allergies and thanksgiving is easy? Green beans, carrot sticks, some turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. So what if I can't eat any stuffings, rolls, casseroles, or deserts? It's actually a pretty allergy friendly meal?

 

I'm sorry she is so bothered by it - packing food specifically for her seems like the easier fix and maybe explaining in detail to your mother the specific hurt would help? But truthfully even if it was my five or eight year old who was bummed about the food I'd blink and explain to them that we don't have a right to eat everything that sounds good if it makes us sick and we do the best we can. Not every meal can be perfectly on point with allergies and sometimes it's okay to just pass the casserole dish instead of expecting a safe version of it for us.

 

Maybe I'm a hard ass that way, since I have the worst allergies in the house. But if every other home meal is safe and this one dinner isn't I wouldn't be too upset. Maybe she is elevating thanksgiving in her mind and bumming herself out unnecessarily?

Edited by Arctic Mama
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We aren't celiac but I do have two children who can't do wheat, one who can't do dairy, corn, soy, among other things. Three years ago I decided I wasn't going to have anything at the table he couldn't eat. It's not that hard and the meal is fabulous. Best part is no one feels left out.

 

The first year or two I could see grandma having a hard time. After 14 years, that's just blasting I don't care. Even if she tried and totally messed up it would mean a lot to your daughter.

 

Even my MIL who thinks my sons allergies aren't real tries to accommodate him. Even when she gets it totally wrong, he feels loved by the attempt.

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I get not preparing everything gluten free but I do not get not allowing you to bring food for dd. My friend who is coming over is gluten and dairy free. My dh who is cooking does not know how to make everything gluten and dairy free but he can make sure not to contaminate the turkey and the things that do not need gluten and dairy. It would also add significant expense to make everything gluten and dairy free and we cannot afford to make a large quantity of good like that. My friend therefore makes her own version of things to bring like rolls, pie and green bean cassarole.

Edited by MistyMountain
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Aww.  My kids don't have physical food issues that I know of, but they don't really like anything served at Thanksgiving.  I think the only exception is that one daughter likes the crust of my dad's pies.  Seriously.  In our case it's on my kids and they won't die of starvation if they pick at that one meal.

 

I'm sorry this is such a hard day for your kids.

Edited by SKL
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I have a dairy allergy. I could eat salad (luckily the cheese was on the side) and turkey. The corn, beans, potatoes all had butter or milk in them. Couldn't have the rolls - oozing with butter. I had no dessert. It sucks to leave a meal a hungry expecially Thanksgiving. I am an adult, and it still feels hurtful even though I know it is not personal. I thought about trying to cook something, but MIL's kitchen is tiny, and it would be disruptive to claim a burner or the oven for a time. We leave too early in the week to really bring something and with a stop by to pick up my son from college it was about 7 hours drive. I just smile and look forward to good conversation and fellowship. I am truly Thankful to be with my family. (I know it is not the same for a kid; I am not trying to make her or you feel guilty; just saying I get how it feels hurtful - and empty to not be thought of)

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These are my thoughts upon reading the OP -

 

I have multiple food allergies and thanksgiving is easy? Green beans, carrot sticks, some turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. So what if I can't eat any stuffings, rolls, casseroles, or deserts? It's actually a pretty allergy friendly meal?

 

I'm sorry she is so bothered by it - packing food specifically for her seems like the easier fix and maybe explaining in detail to your mother the specific hurt would help? But truthfully even if it was my five or eight year old who was bummed about the food I'd blink and explain to them that we don't have a right to eat everything that sounds good if it makes us sick and we do the best we can. Not every meal can be perfectly on point with allergies and sometimes it's okay to just pass the casserole dish instead of expecting a safe version of it for us.

 

Maybe I'm a hard ass that way, since I have the worst allergies in the house. But if every other home meal is safe and this one dinner isn't I wouldn't be too upset. Maybe she is elevating thanksgiving in her mind and bumming herself out unnecessarily?

This is what we do with my 8yo (no dairy, eggs, or nuts). I bring stuff, and he eats what he can. Of course he's lived with this his whole life, so we've had a lot of formative years to work on a spirit of being thankful for what he can eat and not making hosts feel bad for what they don't/can't/won't accommodate. He's not prefect by any means, but we deal with disappointments a an opportunity to learn being polite and dealing with self-control...Even with family.

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I greatly dislike Thanksgiving.

 

I'm a picky eater. I don't want to be a picky eater. I don't do it to "manipulate" other people (which is what everyone says picky eater kids are doing.) Most food, and I mean most food, just tastes bad to me. Think of whatever food you really, really don't like--that's what most food is like for me. I don't like eating at other people's houses. It's inevitable that the food will be something that tastes like monkey brains to me, even though everyone else loves it.

 

I dislike Thanksgiving because everything boils down to this one giant dinner that I won't really like anyway. I feel for your daughter. I'm not sure she'll ever really like Thanksgiving. When food is the one thing that is a stressor in your life, a holiday that's all about food is like a bad joke.

 

If you were going to continue to go to grandma's house for Thanksgiving, you should just tell her, "DD feels left out that she doesn't have all the options as everyone else. We're going to bring stuff for DD to eat." But since you're not going there anymore, then be Thankful that you don't have to deal with it anymore.

 

And you know what? As a kid, your DD has wanted the family to accomodate her needs. But as she gets older, she'll just feel bad about it. I feel pretty miserable when I know people are trying to accomodate my stupid palate, because they often fail and then everyone feels bad.

 

Again--holidays that are all about food get on my nerves.

 

(I'm sitting here after eating a so-so early Thanksgiving meal and I'm really looking forward to a big plate of yesterday's spaghetti when I get hungry later tonight. All that turkey and stuff just isn't my thing.)

Edited by Garga
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Honestly I would stop going to extended family Thanksgivings.  Start doing a gluten free one at your house.  Others may attend, but nothing in the house that isn't gluten free on Thanksgiving.

 

That will send a clear message to both your DD and your mother that DD is more important than following old recipes.

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I feel like...No one needs to feel bad! Especially if intentions are good. People eat what they eat, and it doesn't have to be horrible unless people take offense unnecessarily.

 

I understand there are people who think it's an insult that I don't want my kid to eat their cooking, but we try to insulate him from that, just teach him to just accept, graciously, that sometimes he has to have his own food. You can't control other people. We teach him don't expect much from other people, because unless you do it a lot, cooking without multiple allergens is hard. Just say, "oh thank you, but I get sick if I eat that" and pass. Don't let it ruin your day or someone else's. Bring what you can or do eat and enjoy the day (this is what we do for him).

 

And, most of the time, we are really pleasantly surprised by how many people go out of their way to do something special for him. Sometimes this backfires, but it is usually just a really nice gesture, even if it's off base.

 

My idea is that the meal (any meal) is important, but the being thankful part, even under less than ideal circumstances is what we're aiming for.

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We did Thanksgiving yesterday to accommodate my niece. Today when everyone posted their turkey feasts they didn't look remotely appetizing. My suggestion is to do a big GF feast for dd the day before. She'll be bloated and happy with loads of leftovers to stock your fridge and take a plate or two to the family celebration where the company really does matter more than the food. The quality of the company is another issue entirely.

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