The beloved children’s book character Amelia Bedelia wins over her angry boss with a tasty homemade pie. As Thanksgiving nears, it’s a reminder that food can be a small gesture of care, especially when accommodating dietary restrictions. Preparing gluten-free dishes shows guests you want everyone to feel included. Two recipes—savory sticky rice stuffing and pumpkin meringue pie—will please all palates with flavor and thoughtfulness.
In the first Amelia Bedelia book, the new housekeeper bakes a delicious pie before carrying out chores literally rather than figuratively. Her pie appeases her boss, who then vows to give clearer instructions. The story captures how a tasty pastry can turn frowns upside down. With Thanksgiving stirring up complex emotions, a little culinary effort towards those with dietary needs can smooth tensions.
Of course food alone cannot resolve deep issues. But it can demonstrate small kindnesses. Allergies and celiac disease require accommodation, and preparing gluten-free and dairy-free dishes for those who avoid them by choice or necessity shows care. These recipes modernize classics, delighting every guest.
Bread-based stuffing has an irreplaceable texture. But flavorful sticky rice makes a satisfying gluten-free alternative. Short-grain sushi rice has a soft, chewy bite unlike the dry wild rice in many grain stuffings. The technique adapts Chinese stuffed poultry, combining pork and mushrooms for a rich savoriness. Adding heaps of ginger—sizzled into crispy bits—introduces pleasant heat.
With cured pork’s salt and rice’s natural sweetness, the dish complements any spread. And as a stovetop recipe using just one pan, it saves oven space. The starchy stuffed rice evokes the best qualities of bread stuffing—comforting chew and savor—without the gluten.
This pumpkin custard pie opts for a press-in pecan crust instead of pastry dough. With coconut milk enriching the filling and a meringue topping, it reimagines two holiday desserts without gluten or dairy. The crust’s nutty crunch distinguishes it from a classic pie shell, while being equally delicious.
Even expert bakers are adding gluten-free options, like Stockholm Pie & General Store in Wisconsin. Known for their pie mastery, they recently developed a gluten-free recipe to meet growing demand. Co-owner Alan Nugent says requests increased fourfold in four years. Now gluten-free orders often accompany regular pie purchases, showing hosts want to accommodate diverse diets.
The meringue topping offers a light, pillowy contrast to the custard below. With its swirled peaks and toasted tips, it resembles melted marshmallows or whipped cream. The pie can be prepped days ahead, then topped just before serving. It brings tradition and thoughtfulness to the holiday table.
When hosts prepare a dish that enables everyone to participate, it fosters togetherness. In a polarized time, small gestures to make others feel welcome carry significance. Gluten-free guests often quietly avoid certain dishes, not wanting to be burdensome. But baking with care acknowledges their place at the table.
While food is not itself healing, warm hospitality can be. Creamy pumpkin pie, softly spiced and topped with meringue; chewy sticky rice speckled with crisped ginger—these are flavors of generosity. They say, subtly but surely, that there is room at this feast for you.
Perhaps such gestures cannot instantly resolve larger tensions, as Amelia Bedelia’s pie does. But they impart tiny kindnesses and thoughtfulness that remind us of our shared humanity. This Thanksgiving, bake the recipes that nourish everyone gathered in gratitude, wherever they come from, whichever foods they eat. The simplest of ingredients, transformed by care, become the building blocks of belonging. That is something we could all savor.