"There's no wheat in there. It's just regular flour." – Restaurant employee.
Let's face it, those of us who live with a gluten intolerance/sensitivity know all too well what gluten is and where it resides. We have also heard some crazy things while trying to secure a safe bite to eat. Mind you, the problems usually arise when people assume they know what gluten is but are actually clueless.
Just last week, I was at the doctor. The nurse was asking me about my medical history, and I told her that I have Celiac disease that I keep under control just by eliminating gluten from my diet. She asked genuinely, “So what exactly is gluten?” I couldn’t help thinking, “Wow, this is a medical professional who doesn't know what gluten is?” Putting aside any judgement, I said, "Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats. So some processed foods and anything made with flour, soy sauce, and beer contain gluten.” (A great guide to gluten-free diet basics can be found on the GIG website.)*
Here are some more common (and ridiculous) gluten misconceptions that I've encountered.
*Note: Many people are also easily confused by misleading gluten-free ingredients like buckwheat and glutinous rice. Both are actually gluten-free; buckwheat is not related to wheat, and glutinous rice, also known as sweet rice, gets very sticky upon cooking and called so for being “glue-like.” On the other hand, spelt and kamut are relatives of wheat and contain gluten. And yes, glue usually does contain gluten, so no envelope licking for those of us who are gluten sensitive.