The amount of events that include some type of food consumption are astounding. From birthday parties to wedding celebrations and everything in between, most hosts anticipate feeding their guests. Some events are snack based and others are five course meals. Regardless of the magnitude of the provisions, food allergies are something that every host needs to anticipate.
When I am hosting an event, I will always have options for people with food allergies. The irony is the people who eat the food are not just those with allergies. It turns out that you can create a lovely spread of consumables that the average non-allergic attendee will never suspect are free from gut wrenching allergens.
Unfortunately, most hosts don’t anticipate the needs of anyone who isn’t on a high-fructose containing, processed foods, high percentage of food dye diet containing gluten, dairy, eggs and peanuts.
Whether they are afraid of the unknown, find us to be annoying, expensive or just difficult to plan for, it becomes difficult to desire get-togethers knowing you won’t be able to eat. I don’t mind bringing my favorite crackers, bread or pretzels. I’m not offended if someone says they will have several dips that are gluten free and asks me to bring my favorite starchy items to dip. What better way to make sure you like the crackers. But inviting someone to dinner and telling them they must bring their own meal is truly something unacceptable.
Maybe they just don’t want to change up Aunt Mary’s famous meatloaf recipe. Whatever the reason, it’s perceived as offensive when you are left to plan your own meal after being invited as a guest.
Occasionally, I am pleasantly surprised by a foodie who has embraced the challenge as an opportunity to learn something new. These are the hosts that would never invite someone over without having satisfying food to make their guests feel special and equally provided for. In fact, they might be offended if you drag your zip lock baggie full of gluten free treats to their table.
While I have been known to have more snacks in my purse than a mother of two year old triplets, I prefer not to show up at a party and have to dig in my secret stash of snacks. “Hey, don’t worry about me, I’m just going to dig into my protein bars, smoked almonds and beef jerky. Could someone bring me a Chopin Martini?”
Who else is tired of bringing their own meal? Do you have suggestions that have helped you transition to an allergy free hostess?