Kasey’s Culinary Water Cooler

By Kasey Clark

While entertaining a friend with food intolerances, our chief sub editor Kasey Clark is faced with her biggest culinary challenge yet.

Friends and family have told me I am a good tour guide. I lived in Boston for 19 years, and in that time, got to know the city quite well. When people would come to visit me, we would do a good mix of touristy and local activities. Many of said activities naturally revolved around food and drink. (Still missing that New England clam chowder!)

I have nearly three years in Sydney under my belt now, and I still feel I am in the early stages of getting to know this city, though working at MiNDFOOD is certainly helping me to broaden that knowledge. My husband (an Aussie) and I entertain a lot of visitors, and still, much of what we share with them centres on the gastronomic. We love to eat.  

My most recent visitor, however, has presented a unique culinary challenge: She’s gluten-intolerant, dairy- and egg-free, and allergic to fish. I, who gratefully suffer from no such dietary limitations, have been more or less at a loss as to how to feed her. The egg that sneaked its way (unmentioned on the menu) in to a Thai dish was cause for her to send it back. A number of meat dishes she would normally eat were cooked in butter, not olive oil. Others were marinated in gluten-laden soy sauce. It often took her 15 minutes to order food. We did find a number of gluten- and allergy-friendly menus around the city, but these still often conflicted with some of her other restrictions. 

Culinarily speaking, I have let my friend down on this trip, but I know that there are many Sydneysiders who could have pointed me in the right direction, if only I had gotten this blog post up sooner. Perhaps you can weigh in now, so I’m not caught so off-guard next time? 

Tonight is my friend’s last night in Sydney, and my husband is going to cook that oh-so-Aussie staple, spag bol (with gluten-free pasta, of course!). Then we’re hoping to take in opening night of Sydney’s Vivid, “a festival of light, music, and ideas” runs May 25 to June 11. As we wander around looking at the installations, we’ll have to find something for dessert!


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