That title sounds as if I’m going to write about foraging for food in the wilderness, something our pioneer ancestors did for survival. Actually I am going to write about finding food for Sarah, my celiac athletic daughter, at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, where she will be attending college in the fall and where she will be a coxswain for the University of Kansas Rowing Team. There are similarities: When food means survival, it’s a serious challenge.
The average freshman college kid doesn’t have to even think about food because they will purchase a meal plan from the college they attend: simple and convenient.
But Sarah, an incoming freshman with celiac disease, must first learn what (if anything) she can eat at the college foodservice facilities. Then, for sure, she will have to supplement by cooking for herself. So the second step was to locate convenient grocery stores that carried as many of the products as possible that Sarah is accustomed to eating.
When we arrived at our hotel we headed to our hotel, The Oread. Then onto their restaurant, The Bird Dog for a late lunch. Lucky for us Kyle, the restaurant manager, is gluten intolerant and he assisted us in navigating what would be safe for Sarah to eat at his restaurant.
After drilling him on the menu, we then asked him about grocery shopping. There are several local grocery stores: Dillons, Checkers Foods, Aldi, Hy-Vee, and The community Mercantile. We only had 24 hours on the ground so we couldn’t visit them all, but Kyle told us that of all these stores that he shopped at, Hy-Vee had the best selection of gluten-free foods.
Tired and somewhat overwhelmed (orientation is so packed with information that we were on overload), we couldn’t depart Lawrence without the security of this trip to the grocery store. Shopping at home isn’t always easy because we often have to shop at multiple stores to get the items we want and need. At college Sarah isn’t going to have time for that.
When we arrived at Hy-Vee, we began at the first aisle. As we sent aisle by aisle looking for familiar gluten-free products on the shelves (and finding none) we began to wonder if Kyle was confused, or if we were in the wrong store altogether.
But finally, at the back of the store, we saw a huge sign that read: Health Market. There were multiple aisles and shelves and refrigerated and freezer sections of foods that Sarah eats at home and even a few new ones we will try.
We discovered that Hy-Vee also has a service that enables one to order on line for either pick up or delivery. This is a great bonus for Sarah who will start training right away for her position of coxswain on the rowing team.
Our foraging trip to Hy-Vee reassured us both, and there is another viable option. There is a local Aldi, and this chain store has recently released multiple gluten-free products. So when we take Sarah to college we may also stock up at Aldi.
My next strategy, still in the planning stage, is to investigate cooking and freezing complete meals for Sarah and shipping them in dry ice. This involves which recipes to cook and freeze, what are the optimal size containers that will stack and take up the least freezer space, and will the shipping cost render this idea viable? For answers, tune in to a future blog!
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