Who knew?! National Celiac Awareness Day was Monday. Now, why in the world would Ms. EE be talking about this? Because a question I hear a lot is …
“How do we handle dietary issues when hosting a dinner party?”
It does seem we are in a new era when many have dietary preferences, concerns, or restrictions. What to do?!
My personal strategies and thoughts …
My first tip …
I recommend asking guests if there are any dietary issues. Recently for a bridesmaids luncheon, one of our guests could not consume dairy. Given that I was serving the Spinach and Ricotta Pie — a dish loaded with cheese — I served her a different entree. In addition to dietary restrictions such as this, there are also dietary preferences such as guests who don’t eat seafood, pork, or meat of any kind. As a host, I choose to ask especially for seated dinner parties. For larger gatherings — cocktail buffets, for example — there are typically enough choices for all concerned so asking is not necessary.
My second tip …
I adjust my menu to accommodate the dietary concerns, but I may not modify my entire menu. For example, if I want to serve salmon, but have a guest who doesn’t eat seafood, I may also serve tenderloin. If I have a vegetarian guest, I may still serve meat to my other guests, but make sure I serve a vegetarian entree. If I have a guest who is celiac or gluten intolerant, I may still serve the Sour Cream Muffins. I will, however, choose a dessert that is gluten-free. If you feel you can’t safely accommodate someone with extensive needs, I think it’s appropriate to discuss if they would prefer to bring their meal. I know this sounds crazy, but truly one of our guests who is severely celiac offered to bring her meal. What a lovely gesture.
My third tip …
Finally, a note to guests. Try to be considerate of your hosts. Dietary preferences and restrictions are two different things. I prefer to avoid gluten, but it is not a restriction like it is for those who are truly celiac. For this reason, I never raise this as an issue with a host. Ed doesn’t eat lamb because he doesn’t like it, but I never mention it unless specifically asked if there is anything we don’t eat. Once when asked, our host who was planning to serve lamb, simply had Ed bring a ribeye and we were delighted! Try to be thoughtful in the issues that you mention to your host.
The bottom line is I want my guests to feel comfortable and I want to avoid any awkward moments for because someone can’t eat what I am serving. More than anything, I want my guests to enjoy our evening together. See the quote above.
A little effort on my part will create an effortlessly enjoyable time for all!
From our home to yours,
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