Having a Child with Down Syndrome, Part XLIII: Dining with Celiac Disease

Copyright © 2012 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.

An open letter to Cracker Barrel.

To whom it may concern,

We have a number of interesting challenges in our family. Not the least of which is our daughter, Alice, who has Down Syndrome and Celiac disease. It can be a challenge, when we’re on the road, to find places to eat as she can be very fussy at times about what she will or will not eat. As you can imagine, it can be challenging to explain to her that she can’t have certain foods on the menu that she really wants as they have gluten and will make her sick.

Consequently, we make a point of traveling with certain staples that she can eat and provide them to restaurants to augment their offerings so that we can have an enjoyable meal. We like to go to Cracker Barrel because the food pleases our whole family and Cracker Barrel has been amenable to our needs and expectations. We usually bring some gluten-free bread to be made into French toast, which our daughter loves very much.

This past weekend, we stopped for the first time at your location in Wrentham and found that it was unacceptable to do so – quite a surprise to us and to our daughter who had her expectations set. I understand that each restaurant must comply with food handling requirements, but we were surprised to see inconsistent handling from location to location. To the credit of the Wrentham staff—and I cannot stress this enough—they worked very hard to make things right for us.

We would like, in the future, to patronize Cracker Barrel, but can we have a definitive statement as to how we can set our expectations? Can we bring gluten-free bread to be made into French toast? If not, are there consistent gluten-free options available at Cracker Barrel and can we dine there.

I appreciate that it is a challenge to appeal to all diets, but I hope that we can find away to patronize your establishment.

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