“Would you like a cookie or a muffin?” asked the receptionist brightly as I entered the dentist’s office. I gazed longingly at the platters of fresh baked goods displayed on the front desk.  They looked soft and chewy and delicious but as someone who is gluten-free, I suspected that it would be in my (and the dentist, hygienist and entire office staff’s) best interest to pass.

“Thanks,” I replied.  “But I can’t.  I’m gluten-free.”

“Oh!” she boomed.  “That’s no problem, these are all gluten-free!!”

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“Really?!?!” I exclaimed.

“Yes! We got gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free cookies because we know so many of our clients have different food allergies.”

“Are they taste-free, too?” I wondered.  In my experience, the more things you took out of a cookie, the less cookie-like they tasted.

“No, they’re delicious,” she assured me.  “Try one.”

I reached out and grabbed a cookie and popped it into my mouth.  Granted, it wasn’t like the homemade chocolate chip cookies my grandmother used to make with ten pounds of butter, but it was pretty darn good.  Plus, it was free… in more ways than one.

“Are they calorie-free, too?” I wondered, grabbing a second cookie without waiting for the answer.

“No,” she replied.  “But they are sugar-free!”

Feeling like I had won the dessert lottery, I grabbed a third cookie and went to sit down before I scarfed the entire platter.

Although I was thrilled to have this unexpected afternoon treat, the problem I’ve found with gluten-free, dairy-free cookies is that they tend to be dry. While I’m no pastry chef, I think the lack of milk and butter may have something to do with it.

“Do you have anything to drink?” I wondered.

“Oh sure, we have caffeine-free herbal teas and coffee,” the receptionist said pointing to a machine in the corner.

I went to grab a tea.

“Do you have any milk?” I wondered.

“No, but we do have some non-dairy creamer,” she replied, nodding to a shelf next to the coffee maker.

Now, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but even I was starting to notice a theme here.  The cookies were gluten-free and the tea was caffeine-free and the milk was dairy-free.   With any luck, the dental services would be free, too.

And with this thought, I suddenly remembered that I was at the dentist’s office for a reason other than to eat gluten-free cookies with caffeine-free tea.  Sadly, while I had arrived with a pristine mouth, I now had cookie all over my teeth.  I was pretty sure the dentist wouldn’t appreciate working on my mouth when it was like a Pillsbury factory explosion in there.

“Hey,” I asked the receptionist.  “I appreciate the snack, but I have cookies all over my teeth now.  Do you have a toothbrush I could use?”

 “Sure,” she replied.  “In the bathroom.  They’re two dollars each.”