Gluten-friendly?

glutenI’ve noticed that many restaurant menus indicate that certain foods are “gluten-friendly.” It is so wonderful that these places are trying to be inclusive of people of all allergy and intolerance levels — welcome to 2016! — but I just have to correct these menus. You do not mean “gluten-friendly.” You mean “gluten-free.”

Gluten is the item that these people cannot eat. So if the item is gluten-friendly, then celiacs should run as far as they can away from this food!

The term “gluten-friendly” would be more appropriate to describe, well, ME! I am very gluten-friendly because my favorite foods are pizza, pasta, and grilled cheese. I am the FRIENDLIEST to gluten! Gluten and I are more than friendly, we are besties! We hang out all the time!

Are the restaurants trying to indicate that their menus, their staff, their philosophies are friendly to people who cannot tolerate gluten? I love the warm, cheerful attitude conveyed by the word “friendly.” It just makes everyone smile. Who doesn’t want a friend?? But, come on, restaurants, let’s at least write, “gluten-free-friendly.” Or, “These items are friendly to people who are gluten-free.”

Some websites are showing me that the term is sometimes used to mean that items do not have gluten in them, but may have come in contact with gluten. Well, for someone intolerant of this substance, it does not seem very friendly to me at all. Maybe a better term might be “gluten-almost-free” or simply “may have come in contact with gluten.” Personally, when I open a restaurant someday, I may even list it as “gluten-frenemy,” frenemy being the word that describes a friend who is also sort of an enemy.

Gluten-free people, sorry that you have to deal with all of this! But, dear, gluten, I love you so so so much and I hope that I will never have to worry about eating you. You wouldn’t want to miss me, your friendliest friend!

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