I am happy to see that the issue of gluten-free foods is finally being discussed in the Mountain Xpress [“Gluten-free Asheville,” Sept. 22]. I must say, though: Asheville has a long way to go in developing consciousness around gluten sensitivities, and food allergies as a whole.
My wife discovered her gluten intolerance in 2003. Since then, our entire lives have changed around the fear of accidentally consuming gluten products. The paranoia my wife has experienced because of the total lack of consciousness in the restaurant industry has not been eased, even as more gluten-free foods appear on the marketplace.
The list of restaurants that she will comfortably eat at has dwindled to less than five because of incidents [in which] she has [had] a reaction and cannot identify which restaurant was the culprit responsible for her two-day migraine.
The restaurant industry has some very simple lessons to learn about [gluten-free food]. The best part is that, if restaurants follow a few simple steps, they will increase their gluten-free offerings and their customer base as well.
The economics of purchasing some key gluten-free items to use in everyday foods is certainly in the favor of all restaurants that choose to pay attention because gluten intolerance is increasing dramatically.
So although I am happy to see this issue being raised in the Mountain Xpress, I must say that Asheville restaurants have a long way to go. There is very little competition here, and that impedes the speed at which restaurants take the helm and go out on a limb to serve gluten-free foods.
Gluten-free is now popular and "in," but that doesn't mean that those trying to capitalize from that term really see the full story in detail. Some are simply capitalizing without developing a deeper awareness.
— Rusty James