Friday, November 13, 2009

News & Notes

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving and the December holidays are nearly upon us. I'm sure 2010 will bring even more awareness of celiac disease and gluten-free diets. As I wrote this week, early in the new year the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team will do its part, hosting a celiac awareness night at its January 19, 2010 contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets. On March 26, the 76ers basketball team will hold a similar event at its game versus the Atlanta Hawks. Discounted tickets are available for both events, with a portion of the price donated to support awareness efforts.

On Wednesday, I reviewed several of the many gluten-free options at Sazon, a Venezuelan restaurant in Philadelphia. The restaurant is hosting a fifth-anniversary celebration this Sunday, November 15, with a buffet dinner available for patrons.

Sweeties Pie Diner in Philadelphia (1822 Spring Garden Street, 215-988-0230) has gluten-free options on its weekly menu. Several of their "savory" pies available for Thanksgiving, including the polenta and sweet potato enchilada varieties, are gluten free. I was told by an employee there that the gluten-free pies are cooked separately and safe handling practices are used. Thanks to reader Annsley for the tip.

Casona, a Latin restaurant (and favorite of mine) in Collingswood, New Jersey, has posted on its website a separate gluten-free menu.

Campbell's Soup Company, headquartered in Camden, New Jersey, has a gluten-free FAQ page on its website that includes a link to a list of its gluten-free products. In addition to its namesake soups, the company makes Swanson broths, Pace salsa, Prego sauces and V8 juices.

Vineland, New Jersey's Conte's Pasta "tweeted" this week that the company is working on gluten-free garlic bread and pepperoni pizza that will be available at retail outlets.

Reader Meg emailed me about a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough that is being sold as part of school fundraising efforts. Joe Corbi's sponsors fundraising programs for schools, clubs and organizations, and among its offerings are tubs of gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough. The product can also be ordered directly from the company.

A company called Yes to Cookies has introduced gluten-free cookies that are also sugar- and starch-free and available for online purchase. The cookies come in chocolate and strawberry-banana flavors and can also be made at home with a mix.

According to a message thread recently posted on the Delphi celiac disease forum (registration required), the Great Wolf Lodge, a waterpark resort in the Pocono Mountains, has gluten-free dining options. One message included an email from the resort's food and beverage manager, who wrote that gluten-free pasta, stuffed shells. manicotti, chocolate chip cookies and hamburger buns are available. The kitchen can also prepare grilled chicken and steak with vegetables, according to the manager. Another poster wrote that she spoke with the chef, who advised that gluten-free pancakes and pizza also are offered. If you're planning a trip to the resort, call ahead to confirm available safe dining options.

On Wednesday, November 18, the Whole Foods Market in Marlton, New Jersey will host a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Tasting and Cooking Class from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The cooking class, which is free, will begin at 6 p.m. in the Cafe but space is limited. To register, contact Jen in Marketing by email or at 856-797-1115.

The Children's Celiac Support Group's next meeting will be on Sunday, December 6 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at CHOP's Specialty Care Center in Voorhees, New Jersey. Parents and children are welcome, and attendees should bring their favorite gluten-free cookies to share. Although free, registration is suggested by December 3 by emailing the Center or calling 267-426-6822.

Have a great weekend!
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