James Miller - Coeliac Diary


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Marks and Spencer at Christmas


I was in Ipswich M&S today and was trying to get a gluten-free Christmas pudding. They were sold out.

I asked if they had any in the store and a manager said that they had had a very much larger response than expected for all GF Christmas foods. She thought that offices might have been buying GF mince pies to make sure they didn't upset anyone.

Let's hope that M&S look at the computer output and decide to up their output of GF foods.


Dietary Specials Chocolate Cake


Celia made one of these for me whilst I was out at the football today.

It wasn't bad at all. She even liked it!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Marks and Spencer Cocktail Sausages


Marks and Spencer have got lots of gluten free cocktail sausages in their Cook section of the BSE (Bury St. Edmunds) branch. If they stock them, then I suspect they'll be elsewhere too!


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Food Safety - The Government View


I've just read some of this and it makes interesting reading. So next time a restaurant gives you a blank look when you ask if a dish contains gluten, you can tell them the Government advice.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

A One Woman Food Revolution


This is an article about Patricia Wheway that appeared in The Times.

It tells of her problems with her son and how she wrote to Tesco's chief executive Terry Leahy to tell him how they should cater for allergy sufferers. This led to Patricia being employed to create Tesco's Free From range which has now been copied by every other supermarket.

So if you have a specific need, then be constructive and you might get a better job.

Patricia did.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Southampton West Quay Shopping Centre


I went Christmas shopping with my wife, Celia, our son, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter at the West Quay Shopping Centre in Southampton on Saturday.

They spent all of this money on the place and then they fill the Food Court with crap. They didn't provide a parking system that was fit for purpose either.

We decided to eat in the Cafe Giardino, because I had noticed I could get an omelette. However, in the words of that truly wonderful British catering phrase, "Omelette is off!" Oh! Well! I'll have the baked potato. But then I realised this was the same chain where I'd had a totally inedible one in Ipswich which may have glutened me! So I passed and had a packet of Kettle Crisps, which were stale, but still inside their sell-by date and a tasteless banana. The only compensation was that Celia's panini used cardboard instead of bread and was inedible, so she got less than me.

Still if we don't complain, then we'll get this rubbish. At least if you go to some of the slightly more upmarket chains, they at least know what gluten is and tell you where it's in the food. There was no chance in Giardino, as when I asked I got a totally blank look. I don't think the chef spoke English past the menu.

To make matters worse, we had to leave early as one of our basset hounds was unwell and didn't eat before we left. Would you believe that between Winchester and Newmarket, there is only one Service Area, Fleet, which is one from the Dark Ages without a decent coffee shop or an M&S Simply Food. The latter is always good for a salad with cutlery. They do have a large selection of amusement machines, so I can see they have got their priorities right.

It was good to get home!

It is unlikely we will be going to Southampton and the shops again. Bluewater, Bicester and Meadowhall are so much better.

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Finding Christmas Difficult


There have been a lot of posts on the UK-Coeliac Yahoo Group recently about how people find Christmas difficult.

One of the main problems is eating out. On the whole, I don't go to too many Christmas parties and certainly not any where there is a large sit-down meal with little choice. So luckily, I avoid compulsory stuffing and Christmas pudding, neither of which I've ever liked.

So perhaps my body knows more about what I can eat than I do!

When it comes to eating in, there are a lot more options as Marks and Spencer and others now have gluten-free stuffing, I like turkey and redcurrant sauce and even gluten-free mince-pies are common.

So my main plea is to all you caterers out there, do think of all those people out there who have various food intolerances and allergies.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Medical Books


I was in Waterstones and you obviously can see publishers priorities.

There were about twenty general books in their Health section on autism and Asbergers, fifteen on back pain, two on cancer and none on coeliac disease.

It sounds like they get their priorites right!




I went to this interesting restaurant by Kings Cross yesterday.

One of the things they do is source as much of the food from within the M25. For instance the blue cheese comes from Norbury and the honey from Tower Hill.

It was a very good meal and as they cooked everything in a kitchen on one side of the dining room, you could see what they were doing.