It’s the holidays! Time for music, crowds, parties and food! As someone with food restrictions, going to dinner or a party at someone’s house is a bit of a gamble as to whether I’m going to eat or not.
I am gluten & lactose intolerant which restricts a lot of dishes and because I’m not comfortable asking the hostess to purchase or make special dishes for me I’ll ask if I can bring anything. But sometimes I’m told they have it covered and they go to the trouble and expense to make a gluten free dish that has dairy in it or vice versa and I feel like garbage for not eating a dish they prepared especially for me.
Besides intolerances, many people have chosen different dietary lifestyles such as vegan and paleo and it is confusing to others. Here are a few tips from me on what to do when hosting a dinner party.
1. Check with Guests when you invite them
Before you hit send on that e-vite or text, maybe just add “please let me know if you have any dietary restrictions”. This will make the person feel more comfortable telling you and it’ll get a dialogue going.
2. Ask them to bring something (especially dessert)
If you know someone has restrictions ask them to bring a dish for themselves. Chances are they won’t mind at all because they’ll know they can eat. And it’s hard to find a gluten free/dairy free dessert so if you’re planning a sugary spread, maybe ask them to bring something for themselves. The person will not find this rude in any way! Most people with dietary restrictions hate to feel like they’re being an inconvenience and don’t expect their hosts to go out of their way for one person.
3. You can’t fail with meat and vegetables
Stock up on lots and lots of veggies, salads with dressing on the side, etc and you will feed almost every restriction out there. And unless vegan or vegetarian, meat also works for almost every other common restriction.
4. Don’t tell them how inconvenient their restrictions were for you
Please don’t. Even if you say it jokingly “I went to the speciality store and got this just for you and it cost $XXX. Ha ha” or “It was so hard to make your special dish because I needed to use so many ingredients/it took so long, etc”. That just makes us feel like garbage for something we can’t control. Unless you’re my grandma, don’t give me a hard time.
Hope this helps a little! Merry Christmas!