Accommodating the non-gluten crowd.
August 11, 2014 10:58 AM   Subscribe

BurningManFilter: I need to buy a few prefab, gluten-free meals for a small subset of my camp. By Friday. What's good?

I'm prepping a huge amount of food for my Burning Man camp this year (~100 people per meal), but I have one or two gluten-free people signed up. I am inclined to just buy prefab meals for them, since it's such a nightmare (and not always possible) to ask all of my chefs to modify a week's worth of recipes. What can I buy prefab that's reasonably tasty and that can be heated up over a range? Price isn't much of a concern. I'm happy to mail-order as long as it can be delivered by end-of-week. (Caveats: Range only. No oven, no microwave.)
posted by mykescipark to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Could you buy a bunch of pre-made vacuum packed Indian meals, like Tasty Bite? You can find other brands of Indian MRTs at any Indian or Asian grocer.
posted by nerdfish at 11:05 AM on August 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

My fallback for disaster food: Trader Joe's Indian food packets. Heat up fine over a range. Bombproof enough for disaster recovery kits. Tasty. A spot check on the stash in my cube isn't showing any gluten bearing ingredients.

My guess is that these are the same thing as the MTRs that nerdfish mentioned, just rebranded.
posted by straw at 11:06 AM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

If either has celiac disease rather than a non-medical gluten-free lifestyle, you may want to avoid foods with lentils or oats. Both ingredients are commonly grown and processed with barley or wheat; even slight exposure can ruin the next week or two for a celiac sufferer.

This applies even to foods labeled gluten-free, in my experience.
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 11:22 AM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

My wife is GF. We prepared all our food at home in advance, vacuum-bagged it, froze it, and drove it out to Burning Man last year. Among other things, we made beef stew, curry (with lentils), eggs, rice, falafel (there is a GF mix that Whole Foods sometimes has), hummus, muffins, and smoothies all bagged and ready to go. Obviously the stuff that needs heating up is just boil and go.
posted by adamrice at 11:38 AM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Since it is only for 2 people and you don't mind buying pre-made, why not contact the two people and ask them what they prefer? You could even offer them a discount if they brought their own food.
posted by myselfasme at 12:34 PM on August 11, 2014

For lunch:
A company called Go Picnic makes pre-made, shelf-stable lunches that are GF and safe for Celiacs. They can sometimes be found at Target or ordered from Amazon. We love the Turkey Stick and the Sunbutter ones best.

For Dinner
A Taste of Thai makes noodle bowls. The Pad Thai and Coconut Curry are particularly good. While the instructions are for the microwave, you can make them in a small pot. We do when we're camping.

Thai Kitchen makes noodle bowls, too. The Spicy Thai Basil Rice Noodle Cart is particularly good. This is really good if you make it in a skillet and stir-fry some veggies into it!

For Brekkie: Udi's granola is certified GF and delicious. Also Rice and Corn Chex.

For snacks: Glutino faux oreos. Pamela's faux fig newtons.
posted by LittleMy at 12:37 PM on August 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Amy's makes some good gluten free soups, though that's not really hot dusty desert food.
posted by cnc at 1:27 PM on August 11, 2014

FYI - one year that I went to Burning Man, I brought several filet mignon medallions and packed them in dry ice (hint - dry ice + 2L soda bottle = explosion) and several potatoes and a tube of wasabi = grilled filet mignon + wasabi mashed potatoes.

Most meals for a group can be done GF. As you are likely a GF noob - watch out for Soy Sauce, oats, malt.
posted by plinth at 3:55 PM on August 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

My fallback for disaster food: Trader Joe's Indian food packets

This is like, the solution. They're tasty, it doesn't matter how you heat them up, there's several varieties, they taste just as good mashed into a big bowl while drunk/whatever and eaten like dog food instead of serving the bits individually, and most importantly they're cheap.

I'm definitely bringing a stack of them with me.

Also, as was said above, i'm suspicious that like a lot of other trader joes stuff theyr'e available elsewhere for more and they're just cheap at TJs because they buy 10,000 of them(or even more) at a time or something.

Right on the box it says they can be heated in the packets in water as well, And the outside of them is clean... so you can just save and reuse that water for something else.

I survived on those things and very little else that wasn't just snack food for a couple weeks in college. I still like them, and didn't hate them at the end of that. They're very filling and require no real monitoring to prepare. You can just throw them in water in their bags, turn the heat on 3/4 of the way, and come back whenever you feel like it.

Oh, and you could bring along some dry iced meat or paneer or whatever and chuck it in to make them more hearty if you like.
posted by emptythought at 4:19 PM on August 11, 2014

Trader Joe's indian meals are not on their gluten free list (as of last month when I checked) - whether they contain gluten or it is just an oversight is unknown, but I wasn't willing to risk it. Some, but not all, Tasty Bite meals are.

My camp's rule with people with food allergies is that we expect those people to step up and help take care of providing their own food. We'll work around food preferences and dislikes because it won't hurt/kill people if we mess up but we don't want the cooks to have the responsibility of other people's health.
posted by Candleman at 9:37 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Candleman, according to the website some, but not all of TJ's Indian Fare is GF. For instance, Punjab Choley & Palak Paneer are on the GF list.
posted by oceano at 1:27 PM on August 12, 2014

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