I am having one of those weeks where I just feel icky.  From a constant, mild headache to a slightly irritated digestive system, I cannot seem to go more than a few hours before heading off to the nearest restroom. Unfortunately, this is not that uncommon. I often feel under the weather for a few days after a mega Celiac attack.

I know what is making me ill. It takes some detective work and a serious memory workout to retrace everything you have eaten or been around the last couple of days, but then DING! the answer is crystal clear. So, what made me sick?

A toothpick. Let me explain:

I went to a birthday BBQ in Berkeley this weekend and the group of attendees were a mix of colleges students and mid-twenty somethings. One of the main dishes was stuffed, bacon-wrapped bell peppers. These bell peppers were going on the grill and needed holding together. The team of gung-ho Cal kids were so excited to grill their bell pepper wrappers that instead of getting new, clean toothpicks, they grabbed the closest ones instead of making a run to the grocery store mid-BBQ. The closest were novelty toothpicks with little USA flags on top, that just so happened to be decorating the tops of some  freshly baked muffins.

I watched this scene unfold and after a moment of thought, I realized that I desperately wanted to eat one of those bell peppers. I went over to the production station and made my own pepper, sans toothpick. I told the group that this one was mine and explained why: Celiac Disease blah, blah, blah; muffins bad blah, blah, blah. You get the idea. So when everything was cooked and ready to be eaten, I was the first to choose my bacon encased morsel. I carefully inspected all of them, until I found my toothpick-less pepper.

Or so I thought.

Three bites in, and CRUNCH. I bit a toothpick in half, swallowing some tiny pieces in surprise. I spat out my mouth full (discretely by a bush), but then did something very stupid. I finished the pepper! Do not try this at home. My decision was a combination of irrational choices from the flavor of the bacon and the hunger I was experiencing. I also kept thinking that the muffin crumbs were just in that middle part of the pepper, which I already consumed so I would be all right.

I did not get terribly sick, but this incident sent me to the bathroom two times that night, and has since made me feel uncomfortable.

I think the lesson here is this: eat before BBQs or bring your own food. It is just too risky to eat what is being made in a large group. And do not get tempted by bacon in a recipe, no matter how delicious it is. You can always make your own bacon wrapped whatevers at home.

(On a sidenote, I highly recommend bacon wrapped figs stuffed with goat cheese. Recipe for that coming soon!)