Oops–I screw up and poison a guest

So, yesterday we had a family of five over for brunch and the mom and one of the kids can’t eat gluten.  I thought I had made it clear that my gluten cooking was not the best and asked if she could bring a muffin type thing that was gluten-free, so when we were serving ourselves (buffet-style), I did not mention that my scones contained gluten.  Usually, I would have and I have no idea why I didn’t.  Maybe because there were a bunch of kiddos around and it felt a bit chaotic (trying to beverage everyone etc).  We’re all eating the last few tidbits on our plates and an animated conversation and I notice that the mom has a half-eaten scone on her plate.  I say, I hope you didn’t eat that?  And that’s when I learn that she didn’t know it contained gluten and, of course, had taken one and had already eaten half of it.  I feel terrible!  I’ve always had this secret worry that I would somehow poison someone inadvertently.  We have people over for meals fairly often and I’m always super careful and, as far as I know, it has never happened (till now!).  As an aside, I once had a soy-based whipped cream that was on a pie when a guest brought it and I was up all night horribly sick to my stomach so I know how uncomfortable it can be.  So, I have certainly learned my lesson about alerting guests about what is okay and what is not okay to eat if they have something they need to avoid.

Otherwise, I think it went well.  The family has 3 boys and the eldest seems intellectually precocious.  And the younger ones are nice kids and everyone seemed to play well together.

If you like scones, and can eat gluten, here’s the recipe.  It is pretty easy and tasty too.



2 c. flour (can use half whole wheat pastry and half all-purpose)

3 T. sugar (sometimes I sub part xylitol)

1 T. baking powder

½ c. butter or margarine (I use Earth Balance because I’m allergic to cow dairy and goat butter costs an arm and a leg and isn’t always available)

1 c. dried fruit (good choices are currants, dried cranberries, golden raisins, chopped dried apricots)

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ c. milk (I use a mixture of goat milk and almond milk.  If I’m using dried cranberries, I might use half orange juice for my liquid or a Tablespoon of orange juice concentrate)

1 t. vanilla


Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare a baking sheet by either lightly greasing it or place a silicone may on it.  I use a Silpat.

Whisk together flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.  With a fork or pastry cutter, cut in butter until it resembles coarse meal. Add dried fruit.

Combine milk, egg and vanilla in a measuring cup.  Pour into bowl with dry ingredients and stir until just moistened and still pretty lumpy.  This is important.  If you stir too much, the scones will be tough.  I have a hard time with this, but I have learned.

With a large spoon, scoop out large lumps of dough and place them on the baking sheet with at least one inch between them.  I usually get about 9.  If loose bits are falling off, just push them back on their pile.  They will stick together once they are baked.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, till bottoms are starting to brown, lightly.  Let cool on a rack.  They are best eaten on the day made so I freeze leftovers.


3 thoughts on “Oops–I screw up and poison a guest

  1. From all of my experience with gluten-intolerant families or children, the onus is on them to ensure that what they are eating is gluten-free and most parents will think of a gluten snack to be a learning experience (to remind them to ask) rather than a poisoning on the part of the host.

  2. I agree with claireronin! The person who is gluten intolerant has the responsibility to ask about each thing that looks possibly suspicious. They have to assume that most people will have things they shouldn’t eat. But it’s awfully nice of you to make such an effort to consider their needs and have things for them to eat. I have a friend who keeps kosher, and I have a hard enough time making a menu for company. I try to have many choices, but I can’t manage to make all the choices what she wants to eat. She tells me not to worry, that there will be plenty of things she can eat. And there are.

    1. Well, yes, at the end of the day the allergic one has to look out for him or her self. However, since I’m allergic to soy and cow dairy, I know how dreadful it can feel when I get the bad thing inside me. Once, after eating some soy whipped cream (I didn’t know how I would react), I was so sick I was up all night with an upset stomach. So, I’m pretty sympathetic. Also, it was just so out of character for me. For my Harvest/Halloween/Day of the Dead party last November _everything_ had signs.

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