Tag Archives: party games

Thanks and No Thanks: A Thanksgiving Game (with gluten)

Here’s a twist on Two Truths and a Lie to play at your Thanksgiving get-togethers this year: provide everyone with slips of paper and pens and have them write, on separate pieces of paper, one thing they’re thankful for this year, and one thing they’re not.

Collect the papers after a respectable amount of time (once all the Mary’s Gone crackers are gone and a few people have resorted to the veggie platter), and take turns reading them aloud. The group then tries to guess who wrote it, and whether he or she is thankful or unthankful for it. If you’re competitive, you can award points to those who guess right, and make the loser do the dishes. That’ll net you some thankful guests.


Original image © woodleywonderworks | Flickr (cynicism is all mine)

To get you started, here are a few examples from me. This year, I find I have many things to be thankful for. But there are others for which I’m shaking my fist at the universe. Go ahead…see if you can guess which is which. (Highlight for answers—the whole page at once, if you’re lazy.)

Celiac disease diagnosis
  Thankful, I guess, though a miraculous recovery would’ve been better.  

That I stopped biting my nails

That I stopped being a slob
  Would be thankful, if it had happened.  

My totally GF NYC apartment
  Thankful. Although don’t ask me that at the bottom of the stairs.  

That my apartment-mate (Sprue Jr.) got stuck being GF too
  Not thankful! Boooo, universe.  

The 2013 GFAF Expo in Secaucus and other events

The way my stomach felt after sampling way too many things at said events
  Less thankful.  

Getting nominated as Rookie of the Year in the 2013 WeGo Health Activist Awards
  Super thankful! If you pop over and “endorse” me, I’ll be even more so.  

Bob’s Red Mill GF line
  Thankful: sorghum, flaxseed, amaranth, millet, cornmeal, brown rice flour, hot cereal, brownie mix, CHICKPEA FLOUR, and probably more make this one a no-brainer. 

Bob’s Red Mill GF chocolate chip cookie mix
  We all make mistakes.  

The weight I lost by going gluten-free

Amazon Prime
  Thankful, but guiltily so.  

Corn and Rice Chex
  Ask my coworkers about the 16-box cartons of each that arrived to my attention courtesy of Amazon. Call it thankful but ashamed.  

The gluten-free tax break
  Ten months’ worth of lost receipts say no.  

The FDA ruling on gluten-free labeling
  Thankful. So good of them to wait till I was diagnosed to do anything.  

The few restaurants I can actually visit without it being considered an act of self harm
  I guess I sorta gave you that one.  

Dunkin Donuts going gluten-free
  I’ll believe it when I see it.  

The miraculous power of the human body to repair itself
  Check in with me next Thanksgiving.  

Games aside (and not to get all sappy on you), I have more in this almost-a-year of being gluten-free to be thankful for than not. Oh, sure, would I give back the incurable disease, the copays, the media scoffing at my diet, the bagel crumbs in the office kitchen? Yup.

But I’m grateful to have loving and supportive friends and family members; to live in the golden age of gluten-free food; and to be here at my childhood home, surrounded with stockpiled gluten-free equipment and ingredients waiting to come together into a meal we’ll all be able to enjoy tomorrow (the low-carbers, veg-heads, hockey-puck cranberry saucers, gluten-freebies, and all).

Oh, and I know I said I wouldn’t get sappy, but one more thing I’m thankful for is:

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful and not thankful for this year?

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Gluten-free piñatas, and other celiac party games

I only just told you about the snacks at our last party, but we’re already menu-planning for the next. This one is in honor of the birth of a certain Libra you all know: my sister! To celebrate, we decided to channel our mom—an excellent themed-party-thrower if ever there was one—and make a piñata.

paper mache piñata in progress

Newspaper is gluten-free and also, unlike most printed products, often vegan.

There was a brief moment when we thought it wouldn’t work: paper mâché is made using flour, and our home is a flour-free zone. I’m also extremely averse to touching anything with gluten in it, inside the house or out. And our piñata dreams were not worth breaking out the sorghum flour.

Fortunately, cornstarch seems to do the trick. I don’t want to speak too soon—the piñata is still hanging in our kitchen to let the first layer dry, where I risk puncturing it prematurely every morning when I forget it’s there and headbutt it in the dark; and we haven’t yet decorated—but so far, so good.

Making the piñata got me thinking about other classic party games that could be made gluten-free. I know by now you’ve all tried Celiac Sorry!, but if you’re itching for more, here it is.

Which sounds like the most fun to you?

Silent line-up

The classic ice breaker. In this version, players must line up in order of their date of diagnosis without communicating out loud. This makes the hierarchy clear early in the party.

Simon says

One player is anointed Simon and calls out commands to the other players. If the command is prefaced with “Simon says,” players must do it. If not, players must not. Disobeying, whether on purpose or by accident, is grounds for dismissal. Nice Simons do not make commands starting with “Simon says” that end in “Eat a pizza.” Mean Simons do.

boy chasing girl in duck, duck, goose game

What we’d all like to do to everyone who glutens us.
Photo © amanky | Flickr

Duck, duck, gluten

All players sit in a circle except for one, who walks around tapping people on the heads one at a time saying, “Duck…duck…” until bored. Then he or she whacks a random person on the head hard enough to daze the seated player and yells “GLUTEN!”

This person, now “the Glutened,” must clamber up and chase the original player around the circle as the remaining players still sitting, do their best to trip the unlucky Glutened—simulating the action of our immune antibodies after we ingest gluten.

If the Glutened catches the Glutener before the Glutener can sit in the Glutened’s original spot, the Glutened wins, and has a full recovery. But otherwise, the Glutened is so consumed by gluten that he/she becomes the new Glutener, spitefully paying it forward to another poor duck. (Two things: 1) that’s not really how it works. 2) Ducks with celiac disease would be sad. They’d miss out on all the bread crumbs.)

Pin the villus on the intestinal lining

If you misplace the villus under the intestinal lining, then your villus is blunted. You lose.

Hide and sleep

Besides one, all players find cozy hiding spots. Being typically fatigued, they take the respite from socializing as an opportunity to catch some Zs. The remaining player tries to find them until brainfog sets in, then wanders off in search of gluten-free cake.

cat sleeping under blanket

Cats are really good at this game.
Photo © Yuxuan Wang | Flickr

Scavenger hunt

Everyone is given a list and set loose in a grocery store to find items such as “gluten-free sourdough pretzels” and “gluten-free filo dough.” They emerge hours later, groggy and miserable, having not found any of the items and cursing whoever wrote that stupid list. To lift their spirits, they binge on gluten-free cake.


Like rock-paper-scissors. Gluten flattens villus; villus starves celiac; celiac eliminates gluten.

Bobbing for apples

It’s like the traditional version, except no one trusts the gluten-freedom of the other players’ mouths enough to stick their own face into a shared bucket of water. Everyone stands around looking at the apples for a while, then wanders off to find gluten-free cake.

Donuts on a string

Forget it. GF donuts are too expensive to drop half of them on the ground.

The flour game

I discovered this on a UK “traditional party games” site, and it is so not gluten-free. I quote:

“Firstly you need to make the ‘flour cake’ by tightly compacting flour into a medium sized mixing bowl. Then turn this out on to a board and top with a large chunk of Mars bar. Each child takes it in turns to slice away sections of the flour cake ensuring the chunk of chocolate remains at the top. The child who eventually topples the chocolate from the top has to find it with their teeth.”

Basically, it’s Jenga, gone oh-so-wrong (especially in an age of increased allergies!).


And there you go! With the exception of that last one—unless you substitute cornstarch—you’re ready for your next celiac-themed birthday party.

As for us? No, we probably won’t play these, and our theme isn’t really “gluten-free.” But the food, drinks, piñata, and candy will be gluten-free (and nut-free!), and those in search of gluten-free cake will not be disappointed. Cross your fingers for us that the piñata actually breaks.

What’s your favorite party or parlor game? Do you prefer parties with or without themes? Have you ever made a piñata, and what candy did you fill it with? (P.S. Are we too old for piñatas?)

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