The Food Column: Gathering celebrates the gluten-free life

A conference on gluten-free living this Saturday, Sept. 28, will include six speakers, vendors selling and offering free samples of gluten-free products, and even screening bloodwork for those suspecting they have celiac disease.

The conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Four Points Sheraton in Mars. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted for a local gluten-free food bank. A $50 fee will be charged for blood screening.

In its second year, the "Celebrating a Gluten-Free Lifestyle" conference has grown since last year's event, which featured fewer speakers. Most of this year's speakers are employed by the Allegheny Center for Digestive Health, which is part of West Penn Allegheny Health System. The center collaborated with the Gluten Intolerance Group of Western PA to organize the gathering.

Attendees can choose between two tracks: one focusing on children and the other on adult celiac/gluten-free issues.

Speakers for the pediatric track are:

Amy Macklin, registered dietitian, who will speak on keeping your children gluten-free during school lunches and afternoon snacks.

Dr. Ram Chandra, pediatric gastroenterologist, who will address "Challenges of Celiac Disease in Children."

Dr. Scott Faber, developmental pediatrician with The Children's Institute in Shadyside, on gluten sensitivity in children who have autism.

For the adult track, the speakers are:

Barbara Nagrant, clinical psychologist, discussing "The Mind-Body Connection: Strategies to Lessen the Stress of Living Gluten-Free."

Dr. Kofi Clarke, gastroenterologist, discussing non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Dr. Marc Schwartz, gastroenterologist, on "Testing in Celiac Disease."

For more information or to register, go to

Tea and more tea

The fall temps must be encouraging tea drinking. Here are three local tea-focused events:

Tea Rituals Around the World: Learn about the many different ways tea is consumed around the world. 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Phipps Conservatory, Oakland.

Japanese Tea Ceremony: Tea Master Yuko Eguchi will provide a Japanese Tea Ceremony tutorial and perform a Kouta-burri geisha dance, and tea and sweets will be served. 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, at Christine Frechard Gallery, Squirrel Hill. $10 advance; $15 at the door. or 412-422-1606.

Little Ladies Tea: Tea for girls ages 6 to 12 (plus one adult to accompany each girl or group of girls), Halloween costume fashion show, games, crafts. 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 5 at Rock Lake Club House, Zelienople. $10; buy tickets by Friday, Sept. 27. 724-452-9457.


Harvest Moon Wine Festival: Wine, live jazz and local foods. 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Millvale Riverfront Park. $35 in advance or $45 at the gate ($15 advance or $20 at gate for designated drivers).

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Food Fair: Moussaka, tiropita, spanakopita, pastitso, soups, pastries and more menu items, plus cooking demos at 2 p.m. on Oct. 2-3. Festival hours are 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 2 to 4 at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Mt. Lebanon.

Charitable events

Spaghetti Dinner: 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at VFW, Brentwood. $6 for adults, $3 for children. Proceeds benefit autism awareness. 412-881-9934.

Turkish Food Night: Manti, cig kofte, tavuklu pilav, baklava and more. 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Turkish Cultural Center Pittsburgh, 1459 Crane Ave., Banksville.

The Art of Wine & Food: Wines, food from local restaurants, silent auction and live music. 6 p.m. Oct. 3 at Children's Museum, North Side. $60 per person or $85 VIP; proceeds benefit HEARTH's programs for homeless women and children.

Savoring Sewickley: Nearly 20 Sewickley area chefs and caterers serve tasting plates. 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 6 at Sewickley Public Library. $60 in advance, $65 at the door; open to ages 21 and up. Proceeds benefit the library. 412-741-3974 or

Cast your vote

Online voting ends today in the Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts category of the Pillsbury Bake-Off, and there's a local contestant: Whitehall's Donna Fogel, who submitted a recipe for Creamy Coconut Mocha Hazelnut Pastries.

Online voting is being used this year to determine which 100 finalists will compete at the event Nov. 10-12 in Las Vegas. To vote, go to

Rebecca Sodergren: or on Twitter @pgfoodevents.


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