Summers and BBQs are practically synonymous. We don’t BBQ here much in NYC, no lawns or yards really. Sure, there are events in public parks like the now annual BBQ fest hosted by Danny Meyer. Occasionally, an ambitious friend breaks out the hibachi on their tiny terrace, or illegally grills on their tar beach. If you’re lucky, you may get invited to a BBQ in Brooklyn where they do have back yards, albeit small and paved over. If you’re super duper lucky, you may be invited to a green place like Long Island or Westchester for some outdoor fun.
Or, if you’re like me, your cousin invited you to Stamford, CT for a birthday celebration. My cousin, he’s so smart, he had the BBQ catered so it was hands-free for the parents and more fun for everyone. For me it meant a quick chat with the cook/caterer.
Things looked up when I asked her if she could make my burger without a bun, thinking she might steam/grill the bread like White Castle, which she didn't end up doing.
“Do you have celiac?” she asked. Wow, a caterer in Connecticut who’s aware of celiac. Impressive.
“No I don’t. I’m gluten intolerant, gives me tummy trouble and I can’t have any.”
“No problem,” she assured me.
I had two patties right off the grill [bypassing the bun platter entirely], with undressed salad, onions, corn on the cob and all was yum.
Maybe it’s because I keep it simple: no condiments, no dessert, no overly processed foods like hot dogs that it’s pretty straightforward to be allergen-free away from home. I know it’s not like that for other allergic folks: Allergic Diner wasn’t so lucky at her husband’s BBQ; Gluten-free Guide fared much better at her BBQ.
For the most part, if I keep it simple, I'm okay. The real test for me comes when traveling farther a field.
I’m heading to Newport, RI this weekend. These coastal towns love their seafood which equals a major issue for me. I get spooked even ordering salad when I know it’s a fish/shellfish fest in a hectic kitchen. So stay tuned for the trip-prep plan a la Mrs. Zum.