In November I traveled to Stamford, CT to meet my mom at the Gluten Free Festival, hosted by Gluten Free & More Magazine. It turned out to be a spectacular event! They had a multitude of booths set up representing gluten free living, bakeries, companies, food products, and health products including make-up, as well as good gluten free living tips. They held food demonstrations, as well as lectures to learn about different topics living the gluten free lifestyle.
I was excited to quickly meet Beth Hillson, the Food Editor from the magazine, as I enjoy reading her Ask the Chef section in each publication. She made some great little holiday appetizers that are featured in the December issue of the magazine. Quick, easy and tasty! I was also elated to hear Melinda Dennis (MS,RDN) speak. She gave one of the first lectures I attended when I started my gluten free journey years ago. As usual, she shared some great tips.
Overall it was a fabulous weekend meeting many others dealing with gluten free living. It was refreshing to talk with others and see how you can be quite healthy following the gluten free diet correctly. So many new products where displayed, handed out and tasted – all a great experience.
On the other hand, there were a few things that threw me during the festival. When approaching one booth set up for their bakery, I asked if they had anything Dairy free. Every product they baked, contained loads of cream and butter. Instead of being understanding, the representative of the company said, “Sucks for you!” I found that to be in very poor taste standing in the middle of this Gluten Free Festival. If I were a person just starting out my journey in living gluten free- that would have made me uneasy in dealing with the public on this matter. Not helpful at all.
The other thing that really left an impression on me was a couple talking at their booth. They had multiple snacks out for people to try. One young boy, probably about 10-12 years old, was going around the booths on his own. He was asking if certain products had dairy and other ingredients in them, to which I assumed he was allergic. When they said yes, he said, oh no, thank you. If not, then he tried out the product. As I watched him going about, I felt a sense of pride of this young man, taking his health in his own hands and speaking up for himself! Way to stand up and take care of yourself! As a mom, I was so pleased and proud of him! (It also made me wish my children were with me!) Back to the couple talking . . . . as the boy walked away- the couple commented- “wow, how stressed out are his parents making him! He has to watch everything, and ask for all of it himself!” First of all, this boy was not stressed out at all- he was having a ball trying out so many new products! And, secondly, I commend his parents for teaching their child to be able to stand up for himself and know how to keep himself healthy and well! Well done parents!! (Not so smart bakers! You have a bit to learn.)
If you ever have a chance to attend such a Gluten Free Festival- I highly recommend it. Great Experience!
(Even better for me as I got to spend the weekend with my mom and a couple of my wonderful Aunts! Thanks!)