Today I went into what is known as "the other pizza place" in town. It's not terribly convenient for me normally, and I like the one I usually frequent. Since Lillie has had Celiac Disease, that should be changed to "infrequent", actually. But when we did go there as a family, Rosie's mainstay was french fries. There wasn't much else to eat for her at the pizza place, other than salad. But today I had just Rosie and Daisie with me, an errand to run a block or so away from "the other" and an hour to squeeze in lunch before dashing off to a doctor's appointment. So I went in, ordered pizza for Daisie and myself and fries for Rosie. As I was waiting I asked the owner if he carried gluten free pizza. He said that he just started making whole wheat pizza, then commented there are so many different allergy issues and shrugged. I thought to myself, I wish I could just shrug off allergy issues.
Daisie's and my pizza arrived first and I cut the steaming hot slice into small pieces for her. When the counterman brought over Rosie's fries I noticed they seemed to have a batter coating. That's a red flag for eggs. I asked if they were the "spicy fries", which I know has a coating, he said no, and when I asked if he knew what was on it I got a shrug. The owner didn't know either, as he had disposed of the carton they came in which had the ingredient list. The owner called the salesman for the french fry supplier, and he didn't know either. One big shrug! Rosie's fries sat on the counter for 40 minutes while we waited for an answer. No substitute was proffered, no refund suggested. This coupled with the fact that the owner didn't know what was in the food he served (along with not so great pizza) made me determined never to step in that store again. As I gathered up the children to leave, I debated whether or not to go Gordon Ramsay on him(who I'm sure would have rapped him on the knuckles with a wooden spoon), and lecture him about how an owner or chef must know the ingredients in the food he serves. But I just left, disgusted, and saddened that little Rosie had to sit there nursing a cup of pink lemonade while I tried to quickly prod Daisie to finish, so I could dash home and make her lunch before my appointment.
Today's episode reminded me of why we mainly eat at home these days. Restaurant dining should be a pleasure, a break from cooking, an enjoyable outing. It has turned into a hardship. A tense hour or so that I no longer enjoy.
Lillie misses our outings to the pizza place. I've tried different substitutes. Until now the best has been $7 a pop frozen gluten free pizza, which is the size of a salad plate. That hefty price tag for convenience food was on sale after Passover. Lillie liked it well enough until I tried a homemade pie from yet another serendipitously found cookbook purchased for $1 at the local library. The other day she told me that she wants pizza, but the one I make, not the one with the thick crust (from store bought mixes I've tried---not bad in my opinion), but the homemade one. I thank G-d when we hit on something she truly likes. The fact that it's easy is even better. This pizza crust is "pourable", so it saves "sticky hands" clean-up. The messiest part is measuring out the flours. What I've found to be convenient is to make my own mixes, so to speak, by setting out several Ziploc bags and measuring out the dry ingredients for the crust. Then I write the required remaining ingredients on the bag and cooking temperature, and freeze my "mixes". Then when pizza is requested I just dump the contents of the baggie in a bowl, whisk in the wet ingredients and we're good to go. In Italian pronto meets right away or ready right now, while presto means soon. So with food sensitivities we cannot have everything "pronto" anymore, I can at least have it ready "presto"!