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Woman With Celiac Disease Angers Friend By Refusing To Eat ‘Gluten-Free’ Meal He Made For Her

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Food allergies are among the most serious conditions we have to be mindful of, if for no other reason by their sheer frequency of potentially occurring.

A person will a food allergy has to be careful to ensure, every day, that they aren’t consuming something with their allergen.

The whole process is so much harder when the person has someone in their life who minimizes that allergy, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor marzipanmanicotti had a difficult friendship with someone who had food allergies, all while she had physical conditions of her own to attend to.

When he reacted poorly to her when she stood up for her condition, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was too harsh.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for snapping at my friend over kiwis?”

The OP has to be careful about who cooks for her.

“I (30 [female]) have celiac disease.”

“My friend ‘Todd’ (32 [male]) is allergic to kiwis.”

“It sucks but most people really do not understand celiac, like at all.”

“They don’t understand just how many things have hidden gluten or they don’t get how huge of an issue cross-contamination is.”

“And since I don’t drop dead on the spot if I do get [exposed to] gluten, there can be a misconception that it’s not as dangerous or painful as it really is.”

“I have 3 people in my life that I trust to cook for me and I’m honestly lucky to have that many.”

Todd wasn’t 1 of the 3 people on that safe list.

“A few months ago, Todd bought his first house and had a housewarming bbq.”

“He came up to me with a big smile and let me know that he made gluten-free chicken for me.”

“I don’t want to sound ungrateful, I really do appreciate it when people try to include me. But at the same time, I wish they wouldn’t.”

“It’s so uncomfortable to have to question them about what they used and then still have to turn it down because they used soy sauce or something.”

“People take it personally. They hear, ‘You didn’t do a good enough job.’ It sucks to hurt people’s feelings.”

“So I knew what was coming, but if I didn’t ask, he’d expect me to eat.”

“I asked what the ingredients were and he said, ‘Just barbecue sauce and chicken. I made the sauce myself.'”

“I asked what was in the sauce and he started listing ingredients: one was Worcestershire sauce, which is often made with barley and/or malt vinegar.”

“I asked if he knew if it was gluten-free Worcestershire sauce and he rolled his eyes at me before asking if ‘I was going to make a thing out of this.'”

“I didn’t want to start asking to see bottles because this was awkward enough already, so I politely explained that I didn’t think I’d be able to eat it if I couldn’t be sure.”

“He was irritated but seemed to get over it.”

Todd didn’t take this well.

“Except he hasn’t.”

“He later told my boyfriend that I purposefully humiliated him by asking him questions that he didn’t know and I should’ve just eaten it because a little bit wouldn’t even hurt me anyway.”

“This is not true at all and my boyfriend told him so.”

“I see him maybe two times a month in group settings.”

“Anything I bring – potato salad, chips, even f**king bourbon – is met with a very dramatic, ‘I can’t eat that, there might be kiwis in it!.'”

“He never did this before the bbq and doesn’t do this to anyone else.”

“It’s obvious that it’s intended to ‘get back’ at me for not eating his chicken and not out of legit concern that I’m hiding kiwi in the guacamole.”

“I also don’t like to speculate on other people’s health, but I’ve watched him pick kiwi out of fruit salad before eating it, so it would seem that cross-contamination is not a concern for him.”

The OP finally had enough of this.

“He did it this weekend when I showed up at our mutual friend’s house with snacks.”

“I finally snapped and told him that no, there was no kiwi, because unlike him, I was willing to take a moment to read labels in order to protect the people around me.”

“He got mad and left.”

“Some people there told me I should’ve just let it go, but I just got so fed up in the moment.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some were frustrated by Todd’s ongoing reaction. 

“It stopped being an honest mistake when he turned it around on you.”

“I told someone I usually avoid Italian food because it often contains gluten. A few days later he said most of what he cooks is gluten-free because he makes Italian a lot.”

“I was so confused. It turns out he thought gluten was yeast. Yeast! Ffs (For f**k’s sake).”TitaniaT-Rex

“H**l, even a mildly obnoxious person would have sulked for the night and let it go. This guy is really something.”TheSilverNoble

“A normal person would go ‘omg, I didn’t realize, I’m sorry!’ Not basically act like a passive aggressive baby. He sounds immature.”codeverity

“NTA – He took what was an honest mistake on his part and tried to make himself a victim/martyr…”

“But I like to picture you hiding a single slice of kiwi in your potato salad, twisting your silent-movie–villain-mustache, and going, Muhahahah!'”FrinnFrinn

Others affirmed the OP had every right to worry about her celiac. 

“When I prepare food and someone with an allergy asks me what’s in it. I give them the recipe and let them make the call. I am not gonna be the one affected by that.”

“If someone expects you to hold their comfort higher than your health, they are the AH.”Icy_Appeal4472

“I worked with a woman who was diagnosed celiac shortly after we started working together.”

“I bought a gluten free cookie mix and made them and brought them to work for her.”

“I didn’t know much about celiac yet, but I told her, ‘I made me regular cookies too. But I made yours first and made sure not to cross contaminate the utensils or pans.'”

“She was so surprised at how I went out of my way to make her a treat.”

“I asked her what amount of gluten can she eat before having a reaction (in case she’s accidentally cross-contaminated somehow). She said, ‘It can be as little as a crumb…’ Yikes!!”

“People just don’t get allergies and celiac. Pretend it’s poison or something and act accordingly.”stitcherfromnevada

“My sister has celiac disease. She once described the feeling after eating something that was contaminated with even a small amount of gluten feeling like someone was trying to rip through her intestines with a chainsaw.”

“My family takes her condition very seriously, because we’ve all seen how sick she gets after ingesting even a small amount. It’s also a little scary to see someone’s fingernails fall off just because they were in an environment full of gluten without even having eaten it.”heckindancingcowboys

Though a few of her friends said that she was in the wrong for speaking out against Todd and his comments, the subReddit was quick to say differently.

Not only is celiac serious, but simply saying that he made a mistake would have sufficed, instead of turning every future event into a potentially awkward situation for everyone.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.