I recently had the holy crap are you for real?! exciting opportunity to visit the General Mills facility in Minneapolis. Along with eleven other passionate gluten free bloggers, I participated in a General Mills Gluten Free Summit. Also in attendance was the dynamic Danna Korn, author of six gluten free books and founder of GlutenFreedom and Carol McCarthy Shilson, Executive Director of The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. This was an amazing opportunity to let our voices be heard! I arrived in Minneapolis ready to shout my gluten free opinions from the top of the Pillsbury Dough Boy (yes, there actually is a statue of that rotund youngster inside General Mills). Here is what I took away from this monumental gathering:
General Mills genuinely wants to listen to the gluten free community and is eager to learn more. Major win for us! I felt very empowered to have my voice be heard at the Gluten Free Summit. Feedback (good and bad) was highly encouraged. Put eleven opinionated bloggers in a conference room and we certainly delivered. Take a moment and think back to when you were first diagnosed with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance, there was so much to learn. General Mills is taking on the very same task and moving forward in learning all there is to know about life gluten free. What’s even more impressive is they are looking to the gluten free community to help teach them. As one of the first major corporations to step up to the plate in the gluten free realm, I give them huge kudos. What really struck me is that the CEO of General Mills has a gluten free family member. This is huge. It hit home for me because I felt as though the CEO could actually understand, sympathize, and identify with our gluten free lifestyle. So what’s the big news, you ask? General Mills is definitely listening to us and there will be more amazing things to come. Stay tuned in the coming months as I will have more information to share and will keep you posted on the strides General Mills is making in our gluten free community.
Now on to the food! Normally I am in hyper stress mode about where to eat when traveling. Can you even imagine if members of the Gluten Free Summit were glutened on their trip? It’s sort of amusing to think about. Okay, maybe notsomuch. However, much to my relief, we ate like gluten free kings and queens! From the mouthwatering dinner at Biaggi’s that included gluten free bread, pizza, pasta and (to die for) flourless chocolate cake to the wonderful breakfast baked goods from French Meadow Bakery, my belly was full of fabulous (and safe) gluten free foods. One food glitch did happen in the Betty Crocker Test Kitchen. The eleven gluten free bloggers had a friendly “bake off” in the General Mills Test Kitchen. I’ve never seen so many ovens in my life! Unfortunately, we could not eat any of our gluten free creations due to the fact that the Test Kitchen uses wooden spatulas and rolling pins. As you know, wood absorbs the evil gluten and no matter how much you wash it, the particles remain. So we decided to forgo the baked goods in fear of being glutened. That was a big bummer as I’m all about the baked goods, but the thought of being sick while on a two hour flight kept me away from the Snickerdoodles. On a positive note, this was one of the many important lessons learned by General Mills while we were at their facility.
I’d like to give a shout out to my fellow Gluten Free Summit attendees’ sites. Stop by for more fabulous information on everything gluten free: A Few Shortcuts, Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures, Hey That Tastes Good, Gluten Free Easily, Gluten Free Homemaker, The Savvy Celiac, Wheat Free Meat Free, Gluten Free Taste of Home, and Celiac Princess.
In case you were wondering, I sadly did not get to visit the Mall of America or the infamous Spam Museum, but I hope to return to Minneapolis again someday and check out these noteworthy sites!
Group photo courtesy of Jill Elise of Hey That Tastes Good.