Hi, I’m Celeste Beck Sagi, and I envision a world in which restaurants proudly and transparently list the ingredients they use in their menu items – from soy sauce (which often contains wheat) to xanthan gum (which does not). Some blessed establishments, savvy to the growing list of food allergies, already do this. But until this practice is mainstream, I like to blog about the options available to the growing number of diners in the world who can’t tolerate wheat/gluten.
Born in Alabama, and having spent the greater part of my childhood in North Carolina, I am a Southerner. After attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I lived in Japan for two years. Returning to the States again, I completed my master’s degree in Arts in Education at Harvard University, after which I worked for eight years in the Harvard Psychology Department. During this time, I was diagnosed with an intolerance to wheat – not necessarily gluten, but I was told that if I stuck to the Gluten-Free path when dining, I would be safe. In October of 2009, I came home to North Carolina. Then in April 2012, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee and married my sweet husband, who dines Gluten-Free with me. In August 2013, we moved to Chapel Hill, NC and subsequently in 2017, to Hillsborough, NC.
Dining in the South presents a special challenge to the gluten-free diet. See post from 01/31/2010 entitled “Coming Home for Dinner.” In an effort to explore the Gluten-Free scene here, I plan to visit local restaurants, inquire about the menu options, and document my experience for others who have the same dietary restrictions.
My goal is to exalt what is available in these restaurants, rather than complain about what is not. I’m a firm believer in the old American proverb: “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” If we are the best advocates for our own health and happiness, it will behoove us to stay positive. There are plenty of writers specializing in the Genre of Snark; I am not one of them. The title of this blog conveys my philosophy – I’m serving up sweet tea – without lemon.
I sincerely hope that you will join me in this culinary adventure and add tips and success stories of your own. “Bon appetit!” Without wheat!