Time to reminisce
It's funny how some things jog your memory and get you reminiscing. My husband is keen to get rid of our Subaru because it's a money pit. It wouldn't be so bad if every time we paid for repairs at the local garage they actually fixed the problem, but they take our money, do half the job, and we have to pay again later on to get the repair repaired.
So I'm seriously thinking about getting another motorbike if we go down to just having the truck for motorised transport. Not having ridden for 6 years, and in the meantime having left the UK and settled in Canada I don't have a bike licence anymore so I'll have to do training and a re-test.
Anyway bear with me I'll be getting to the point soon.
Thinking about motorcycling then reminded me of the bike tour of Western Canada we did just 3 months after finding out I was going to have to be wheat free for the rest of my life. We almost cancelled the trip as it seemed like such a daunting task to spend 3 weeks in Canada eating out for all meals and snacks every day.
Anyway the then owner of the motorcycle tour company (Mike Ciebien - Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Holidays) reassured us that it was do-able, so do it we did. And most of the time it really was do-able, there were a couple of notable exceptions however, a restaurant in Cranbrook where they guaranteed me the Greek salad and fries were completely wheat free... and definitely weren't. Then there was also one in Banff, the handmade corn chips evidently weren't just corn. The saying "you might want to give it 5 minutes" was very relevant in both cases.
Apart from that, with the help of the tour guides, my husband and some very obliging servers and chefs I survived relatively unscathed. One chef really went beyond the call of duty, at the Delta Lodge in Kananaskis we all sat down for dinner one evening and the server checked with the chef what would be wheat free on the menu. The bad news was that everything on the menu was marinated, all containing wheat. Next thing I knew the chef had wandered off and I thought I was going to have a hungry evening. But after a few minutes he was back having been to another restaurant in the complex to get a piece of salmon that was completely unadulterated, which he carefully cooked. My goodness did I enjoy that meal.
Back in the UK at that time wheat free was considered a dirty word in restaurants, what a huge difference from Canada's acceptance. But 12 years later things have moved on both in the UK and Canada. Having lived in Canada now for nearly 5 years I was impressed on recent visits to the UK by the range of wheat and gluten free foods now available. I didn't however risk eating out having had some very bad experiences in UK restaurants... once bitten twice shy as they say.
Here in Canada food allergies are taken very seriously by the majority of people. 18 months ago I attended a staff dinner at a local restaurant here in Canmore. The restaurant was pre-preparing a choice of two main dishes, my boss simply told the restaurant that one person was bringing their own meal as I would feel more comfortable and safer than having them prepare something wheat free specially.
We sat down, the servers brought me an empty plate and didn't bat an eyelid when I off-loaded my packup. Now that I really can't see being accepted in a UK restaurant, not now, not ever.