Gluten Free in OKC

Gluten Free in OKC/Summer Cookout

By Cara McCarty / Photography By Aaron Snow | Last Updated July 01, 2015
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EDMOND-OKLAHOMA CITY-NORMAN

It happened.

You got an email. A group text (ugh). An Evite. “Hey friends! We’re having a cookout next weekend to celebrate _____________. Bring a side dish or dessert to share. Hope to see you then!” Oh boy...

If you’re anything like me, being gluten-free has made invites like this torturous. Do I bring something everyone can eat? Something gluten-free? Should I ask them what’s on the menu? Should I just bring my own meal and eat in the corner? That’s it, I’m not even going. I’ll just tell them I’m going to be out of town when really I’ll be watching Parenthood reruns and crying into my wine.

Well, never fear! I’ve worked out the kinks ahead of time so that you can RSVP with confidence. I’m going with simple, easy, and semi-cheap options so you can totally NAIL this cookout/potluck/BBQ you were formerly dreading. There are just three basic rules:

1) Do your research. If you know the host/hostess, reach out to them ahead of time and ask what they’re serving. Burgers? Chicken? Brisket? This gives you an idea of how to prepare. If it’s something that may need bread (think bun, sandwich, etc.) just bring your own and don’t make a big fuss about it. (Or if you’re feeling really generous, bring the $6 pack of buns to share with everyone at the event. #iamcheap)

2) Keep it simple. Choosing this event as the time to showcase your inner Pioneer Woman is probably not the best idea. Save that for a party on your home turf. Think boxed mixes, 5 ingredient recipes, or a gluten-free twist on an old favorite. You want a crowd pleaser that people won’t even know is GF.

3) Follow the directions. The best advice I can give you is to always read the packaging and always follow the directions. NO. MATTER. WHAT. If it says to boil your pasta for 13 minutes, rinse it thoroughly in ice-cold water, all while standing on one leg—DO IT. It’ll save you the sob stories of recipes gone wrong (please trust me on this one). GF food can be finicky and is more science than art.

Instead of choosing between a side or a dessert, bring both. This way you know you’ll at least have two things you can eat without tracking anyone down to ask, “Is your coleslaw gluten-free?” “Any gluten in your secret sauce?” “Hi again, just one more thing...that potato salad...do you know the ingredients?”

What’s your go-to side dish or dessert? What questions do you have? I’m here for you, my people! You can reach me on Twitter (@EdibleOKC_GF) or email: EdibleOKC@gmail.com.

Gluten Free In OKC/Pasta Salad

(Adapted from my memory of my mom’s recipe.)
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