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Accommodating Picky Eaters

I have a great diverse group of friends and we enjoy trying out new restaurants and hosting dinner parties. I hate to use the word, but we’re kind of ‘foodies’. One of my friends is a vegetarian. Most restaurants in our area also serve at least one vegetarian dish, and she is not a picky eater, so we rarely have to make special arrangements for her to join in group outings.

The problem is another friend who has the dietary habits of an american toddler. Nothing green, only chicken, no eggs, will send a dish back if a pickle is touching it…the list goes on and on (none of this is due to religious concerns or allergies). If it is just the two of us dinning out, I’m aware of most of her likes/dislikes now, but it leaves a limited number of places we can eat. I feel bad leaving her out of group outings, but often we are trying new restaurants that have nothing she will eat. I even feel bad even discussing group outings/dinner parties in front of her because I know she wont eat the food, though she is always invited.

I am planning on hosting another dinner party, but the menu is going to be “German style” for Oktoberfest. Sausages, sauerkraut, spetzle, and German beers. Unless I create another entree, she’ll only be eating the cheese & crackers I set out as hors d’ouevres. How far is a host supposed to go to accommodate guests when hosting an adults only dinner party? All advice is welcome. 0910-15

I host specific food dinners/parties such as an annual chili, cornbread and desserts harvest shindig in October.   I do not accommodate picky eaters.  It is what it is.

{ 125 comments }
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  • Kirsten April 19, 2018, 1:51 pm

    I am astonished at the number of people saying they would invite people to a dinner party and serve food they know a person won’t eat. And even for a less formal meal, some sort of buffet, is it that hard to make two or three of the dishes suitable for everyone?

    • Lerah99 April 23, 2018, 9:41 am

      Depending on your group of friends, yeah it can be “so hard” to prepare 2 or 3 dishes everyone can eat.

      In a gathering of my friends, we run the spectrum. In a group of us you might have:
      – Vegan (no animal products including honey, eggs, or dairy)
      – Celiac (no gluten), diabetic (sugar free & low carb)
      – Paleo (aka: cave man diet: no grains, no beans, no pasta, no artificial sweeteners, no cane sugar, no white potatoes, etc…),
      – Weight Watchers (needs to know the recipe so he can calculate the points)
      – Vegetarian (no meat, but might be ok with diary and eggs, or might not be.)
      – Pescetarian (no meat, but will eat fish)
      – Locovore (only eats food produced within 100 miles and is mostly vegan, though will make exceptions for backyard raised chicken eggs and local honey.)
      – Meat & Potatoes (does NOT want to try any sort of “exotic” dishes. Only Americana favorites and maybe some Tex-Mex staples like tacos.)
      – Kosher (No mixing of meat & dairy. Needs to be store bought & labeled kosher unless you made it in a kosher kitchen.)
      – South Beach Diet (low carb & low fat)
      – Keto (low carb & high fat)
      – DASH (Mostly plant based, whole grain, low sodium, only really lean meats)
      – Nut & Dairy Allergy (Peanuts could kill him. Dairy will make him wish he was dead.)
      – HFCS Allergy (High Fructose Corn Syrup gives him terrible, blinding, migraines.)
      – Tomato & Pineapple allergy (Raw tomatoes & pineapples makes sores open up in her mouth.)

      So, yeah, that can make things hard.

      Even something like a huge salad bar or taco bar with lots of different options can turn into a nightmare if someone moves the tongs/spoon from one container into a different container cross contaminating food.

      It’s a reason why most events with my friends are pot lucks where everyone labels their dishes really well.

      • NostalgicGal April 25, 2018, 9:10 am

        You forgot Corn Allergy. They react similarly to corn as celiacs do to gluten. One that can nail them is if their meat is put on certain Styrofoam trays at the store, there is cornstarch that will nail them. I have a few friends that have this (also means no corn syrup) and it’s every bit as nasty as a celiac, I can commensurate and I make sure that I go that extra step for them.

        I got a bunch of tags that can be stuck into food or clipped to the container side, colored, and for designating what a particular dish is-Vegan dark green, Vegetarian light green, etc. And using colored masking tape to mark the serving utensils and lots of little signs scattered about warning “Do not move serving spoons or tongs” and grouping foods so as to make that more difficult. At some things I or an alert other will actually stand on the other side and either serve out or be the serving police. Meat is almost last. Gluten is always last. Helps a lot.

        • Laedyrose April 26, 2018, 6:18 pm

          You use that word, “commensurate.” I don’t think it means what you think it means.

  • JeanLouiseFinch April 19, 2018, 1:58 pm

    I can’t help but envision this person getting her own special plate from the chidren’s menu, you know, chicken nuggets and fries. Maybe the only thing to do for her is to explain that there won’t be much that she likes to eat and suggest that she either picks up a McNuggets Happy Meal on the way or get ready to feast on cheese & crackers.

  • Jane April 19, 2018, 2:12 pm

    I would say go ahead and invite her, but let her know the menu ahead of time. I am Catholic and during lent am unable to eat meat on Fridays/Ash Wednesday etc. I had several friends who were planning on attending a nice dinner a favourite restaraunt of ours was putting on, with a prefixed menu. My friends invited me but let me know that the prefixed menu was almost all meat based and as it was a Friday they wanted me to be prepared that I might just be eating sides. I chose to turn down the invitation as I knew I wouldn’t really be able to enjoy it, But was grateful that they thought to include me and wasn’t hurt that they were doing it anyway without me. I think it’s nice to try to include people in your invitations so that they don’t feel like you just don’t care about them, but giving a heads up on the menu is nice so they don’t find themselves stuck when they arrive.

    • Jane April 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

      (Also, wanted to add like others have said don’t worry about making her a special dish, but if she wants to bring something of her own let her.)

    • Daria April 24, 2018, 6:56 pm

      It is “prix fixe” as in fixed-price. A French expression. Not “pre-fixed” as in pre-arranged.

  • Princess Buttercup April 19, 2018, 3:18 pm

    When cooking meals for groups I try to consider what they are likely to want to eat. Then I tell them the menu plan ahead of time. If they don’t like the menu then they are welcome to skip the gathering, or bring their own meal, or eat before coming. I’m not going to make individual meals for every person in attendance. Part of being an adult is learning how to take care of yourself. That includes feeding yourself and finding ways to make do if you are too picky for your own good.

  • Miss-E April 19, 2018, 7:43 pm

    I’m in agreement that you should leave the menu as is and let her deal. I’m a vegetarian and I’ve been to many a meal where I’m munching on crudités and little else and it usually doesn’t bug me. I can always eat later, I’m not gonna starve.

    But I’m curious to know if the picky eater is a complainer? Will she complain to the OP if there’s nothing she likes to eat? The OP doesn’t make it sound like she is. If she has her issues and doesn’t whine to the group about it then I’d really just leave it all alone. Invite her out and let her be.

  • MelEtiquette April 19, 2018, 8:04 pm

    I’m a picky eater and I also have several food allergies, but I never expect anyone to accommodate either my preferences or allergies. I usually check on menus beforehand, and if there isn’t anything I will or can eat (or I suspect there won’t be), I eat beforehand and then enjoy the social aspect of the event sans food (or I eat the minimal polite amount, if the situation calls for it). Your picky friend sounds reasonable (perhaps with the exception of sending back food if a pickle is touching it…I’d just not eat that part of the food) and if she has always been a picky eater, then she is likely used to attending events where the food is not to her liking, and planning accordingly.

    I find some of the other comments, calling the picky eater “dreadful” or claiming that their own dietary preferences are for more “profound” reasons, to be a little judgmental, because it implies that picky eating is a choice or is something that people should “just get over”. In my experience, it’s not a choice. We would prefer not to be picky eaters, as it often causes great anxiety and embarrassment in social situations. For whatever reason (past trauma was mentioned above as one example), however, there’s a – I don’t know what to call it other than a mental block – with trying new foods or eating certain types of foods. I think if you were to put picky eaters on a spectrum, they would fall somewhere in between the two extremes of those with medical reasons for avoiding certain foods (e.g., food allergies) and those who choose to avoid certain foods (e.g., those who choose to be vegetarian, those who have dietary restrictions for religious reasons, those on low-carb or paleo or keto diets, etc.). I think because picky eaters are often seen as “unhealthy” eaters, they are judged more harshly than those who choose to restrict their diets in other ways.

    • Anonymous April 23, 2018, 12:26 pm

      Ooh……good point. Sorry about that. Yes, picky eating can sometimes be because of a sensory issue or an underlying mental block (for example, being forced to eat a certain food as a child, or being sick after eating a certain food, and then never wanting to eat it again). On the other hand, for me, going vegetarian, and then vegan, was definitely a choice.

  • The-not-so-divine-Miss-M April 20, 2018, 8:30 am

    I am confused: do you invite people because you want to see them or because you want to cook specific foods?

    Perhaps I am influenced by the fact that I am coeliac and my husband is on the spectrum and gets close to panic attacks when being expected to choke down something cold and mushy (as an example), so cooking with restrictions and exceptions just isn’t that big a deal to me. I invite guests because I want to spend time with them in a happy setting. I cook for them because a full stomach helps with the happy mood. If somebody is a picky eater, I will cook something that they can eat, or – if I’m really stressed out or they’re a last-minute addition – ask them to bring something they can eat.

    Yes, it was very stressful organizing our wedding dinner that had to accommodate 2 coeliacs, 3 vegetarians, 2 pescetarians, 4 vegans, 1 obligatory carnivore, 1 not liking cold and mushy and seafood, 1 nut allergy, 3 meat n’ potatoes kind of folks, 4 foodies and every single combination of “I do not like brussel sprouts/cheese/etc” and the previous likes/dislikes. But, I worked with the caterer, and we did it, and not one guest was stuck pushing a cucumber around their plate for lack of possible foods to eat. It was a feast, truly, for every guest. It was magnificent.

    Never do I complain or ask for a medical certificate, because is it what it is. My goal with hosting is to offer hospitality. Not judgment.

    • Yolanda April 24, 2018, 7:34 am

      The OP is not passing judgement on picky eater. It’s OP’s choice what she wants to serve because she is the host. She is not obligated to accommodate Picky Eater at all her events. Don’t crucify OP because of her friend’s choices.

  • Angela April 20, 2018, 10:36 am

    I’m something of a picky eater myself and I would never ask a hostess to change or adapt a menu for me. If I attend, I eat what I would normally eat and usually try small quantities of other food. If the entree is something I normally wouldn’t eat, I put on my big girl panties and deal.
    Given that it’s a party atmosphere, I would eat before coming and then sample things as I wanted. Not at your party though. I’d eat that food!

  • Lerah99 April 20, 2018, 10:37 am

    I eat keto (high fat, moderate protein, very low carb).
    There are tons of things I can eat, but it can be tricky to navigate for people who aren’t used to it.

    No sugar, no honey, no grains, no pasta, no bread, no beans, low carb/low starch veggies, no milk but cheese and sour cream are ok, fruit limited to 1/4 or less of berries, fattier cuts of meat are preferred, etc…

    So when I get invited over for dinner I will say “Hey, I have kind of a specialized diet. Would you mind sharing your planned menu with me?”

    Then if there’s nothing I can eat, for example one friend was serving shepherds pie & broccoli casserole with carrot cake for dessert. Which is a delicious menu for sure, but nothing I can eat because of the potatoes, bread crumbs, flour and sugar.

    I will then say “Would it be ok for me to bring a hearty dish like: chili, pulled pork, beef panang curry, pork & shrimp cauliflower fried rice, mini cheesey meatloafs, mini Salisbury steaks, Swedish meatballs over zuccini noodles, etc… (I try to choose dishes that would complement the host’s menu) and a sugar free dessert like PB cookies, mini key lime cheesecakes, etc… to share?”

    Even better, if I know I can make a keto version of the same dish they’re making I might say “Do you mind if I bring an 8X8 dish of keto friendly shepherds pie (cauliflower mash, low carb veggies, and no flour/no cornstarch in the gravy) and a little ramekin of keto broccoli casserole (crushed pork rinds used in place of bread crumbs)?

    There are a few people in my group of friends with celiac disease so I’ll often make sure to say “Also, if Carol, Sarah, or Ben will be there, the food I’m offering to bring is completely gluten free so they’ll be able to eat it too.”

    Most of my friends are more than willing to accommodate that.

    And, if any of my friends said “Actually, I want this to be a really formal dinner party. I’m really excited to show my friend these dishes I’ve perfected. And I’m so stressed that everything go perfectly I really don’t want other dishes at the table or in my kitchen that night.” I would understand.

    I would decline the invitation with a “I hope we’ll be able to get together at a different event soon! Best of luck at your dinner party. I’m sure it will be a huge success and can’t wait to hear how everything turned out!”

    And I’d follow it up within the week with an invitation of some kind just so they knew there were no hard feelings.

    If you and picky eater are actually friends, then give her your menu. That puts the ball firmly in her court. She can then come back to you with “Sounds great!” or “Hey, there’s nothing on here I’ll eat. Do you mind if I bring…?” or “Sorry, I’m just not going to be able to make it.”

  • Trichele April 20, 2018, 10:48 am

    My husband’s family is huge and they all follow strict religious diet restrictions that change, depending on the season of fasting they are in. I learned early on that when I’m hosting I let everyone know what I’m serving (I’m not that great of a cook and I have a small list of things I can cook well). I also let them know they are free to bring anything they need to in order to satisfy their requirements. I respect their right to practice their faith, but it isn’t my job to make myself sick running around trying to keep up with their ever changing requirements and attempt to understand it all. It’s their thing, they know their needs and they can adjust accordingly once they know upfront what is being served. It works out well for everyone.

  • Emma April 20, 2018, 11:01 am

    Like others have mentioned, there are reasons for picky eating beyond allergies and religion. If a picky eater handles their own diet and doesn’t complain or whine, then any judgement from other people is uncalled for, and frankly rude. I know personally I’m already nervous revealing my absurd list of restrictions, in part because I don’t want to be a nuisance and can handle myself, and in part because of the general attitude people can have, as displayed in some above comments. Not saying anyone above believes this, but sensory issues are one of those things that a lot of people like to brush off as being “just picky”, so the “toddler” attitude is off-putting.

    If your friend hasn’t been making a big deal over it, or been dramatic about it, then follow their lead on that. Invite them and let them know ahead of time what food will be available so they can plan accordingly. Personally, a German themed meal would be a nightmare (even the scents of sauerkraut and beer make me nauseous, and the texture of sausage casing has the same effect. Holidays in my predominantly German family can be rough), but I’m aware that’s on me. All I would ask is some warning in advance, and I’m sure your friend would appreciate the heads up, so they can plan accordingly. Like others have said, they’re an adult, and can either ask to bring something for themself, eat beforehand and just socialize, or decline to come.

    • Zhaleh April 23, 2018, 10:35 am

      Thank you, Emma. I hate the fact that because I have a sensitive palate, as well as a scent sensitivity (which I think go hand in hand, or nose and mouth) that I’m treated like a spoiled brat.
      I don’t ask for accommodations, I don’t complain, I don’t voluntarily put something on my plate I won’t eat, I just may not eat everything on my plate if someone has done it for me.
      I’m not unadventurous, I try plenty of things, my mother wasn’t indulgent, I barely ate at all as a child, it’s just how I am.
      Yet there seems to be a consensus that I’m the rude one if I don’t put at least one bite full of everything someone else likes in my mouth.

      I thought people invited friends for dinner to enjoy their company? So if I Love the salad, the sourkraut and the bread, why is it the host thinks I’m being rude?
      Should I eat tomatoes if I’m allergic? Should I eat sausage if it gives me a stomach ache? Should I eat fish if I’ve tried a plethora of varieties in my life and yet have never ever like it? Why?
      Why would you invite me over and insist I be so uncomfortable?
      If I’m polite, eat what I can, don’t ask for accommodations or substitutes and don’t waste anything, why, oh why have I so offended the host?

  • kingsrings April 20, 2018, 12:44 pm

    I love food. Dining out, eating at other’s homes, and potlucks are my favorite activities. Nothing spoils the joy of that more than having to accommodate someone’s food preferences, whether it be a personal choice or dietary restrictions. I dislike having to take extra time to find restaurant or dish that the person can eat.
    The way I see it – people with dietary restrictions are on their own for bringing what they can eat to an event. I just don’t want to take the chance of bringing something that could be wrong for them after all, as much as I’d like to accommodate them. Picky rates are also on their own. I’m definitely not accommodating someone’s personal choices in food. Ask ahead what’s being served, and if you don’t like it, don’t show up. Another thing about picky eaters – if you’re eating something I’ve prepared, please don’t discard a main ingredient of the dish if that means you’re throwing away most of the dish. For instance, a dish has a ton of onions in it, you hate onions, so you pick each and every one out. That’s a rude waste of food. The person who made the dish put a lot of labor and money into making it, so don’t waste it.

  • OP April 20, 2018, 4:06 pm

    Hi everyone, thank you for the feedback and suggestions. I submitted this post awhile back and the event has already occurred. I went ahead and invited my friend, the picky eater, and told her what was being prepared. I made a few extra appetizers that were easy to prepare ahead of time (like veggies and dips) so my friend could at least snack on something. She brought some fun German beers to share and was a perfect guest.
    I want to add, I don’t monitor what she eats, but we often hang out and grab food at some point; so I’ve become accustomed to her many menu modifications. It’s hard not to notice when one person spends several minutes ordering a chicken sandwich to make sure it doesn’t come with any surprises. I have to say, she’s very conscientious of asking if items not listed on the menu are included so she doesn’t end up sending back a plate if say, there is a pickle spear served with a sandwich or the cheese is white cheddar instead of yellow.

    • Mark132 April 23, 2018, 8:31 am

      That level of continued fussiness would drive me nuts and would be embarrassing to me as well. If I saw here send some food back because a pickle was touching her bread. I would be less likely to want to dine with her again.

      I had a coworker who did that but for him to find out the cheapest options. Watching him interrogate the server got old fast. He would at least on occasion get his food considerably after everyone else. I bet that happens to your friend as well.

  • sylvie April 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

    I hope Miss Picky Eater has some other redeeming qualities. I would never want to cook for someone like this. She is not 2 years old anymore

    • Zhaleh April 23, 2018, 10:41 am

      I don’t think OP is cooking for “picky eater” she’s throwing a party and “picky eater” has not asked for any accommodations.
      Just for the record, you never have to worry about it. Adults with taste sensitivity’s don’t ask for accommodations or replacements, they cope.
      If you have an adult that whines about food, it’s not because of their palate, it’s because they are a whiner.
      Not liking fish or asparagus doesn’t make one infantile. Behaving like an infant makes one infantile.

    • Airelenaren April 24, 2018, 9:13 am

      I’m sure she would prefer other company than someone who calls people names and ridicules them based solely on their food choices, too.

  • DancerDiva April 20, 2018, 9:37 pm

    I have some foods I can no longer eat due to a traumatic situation (gallstone attack in the Virgin Islands), but luckily my trigger is conch, so not something that’s served often or hard to avoid. It used to also to curry, but thankfully that one has passed. I love Indian food so I was determined to get over that one. I do have a couple of friends who are super picky eaters, and that can be hard, because I have a diverse friend group and we enjoy eating all kids of food. But I would have no problem with PE or someone with an allergy/restriction/diet bringing their own food.

  • Rebecca April 21, 2018, 1:06 am

    I wouldn’t feel bad about the restaurants, as the whole idea of your group outings is to be adventurous and try new foods. I’m not a Star Wars fan, so I am not offended if a group of my friends all go out to see the latest Star Wars movie without me. And I don’t enjoy running, so if a group of friends who love running all want to get together to run, I am not offended. The point of your restaurant outings is to try different food, not get together at some bland restaurant so that people who don’t like food can socialize.

    As for the dinner, I would issue the invite with “this is what I’m making” and she can take or leave it. If she came and then pouted over what was being served, then I would never invite her again. Or if she tried anything like, “But you know I don’t like that; why can’t it be chicken?” then tell her that’s a great idea, why doesn’t she host something with food she likes?

    Possibly she’d like to be included and would not be rude at all about it, but could offer to bring a dish she likes to eat. But be up front about what you will be making and if she says, “But you know I can’t eat that” then say “I know, but I wanted to offer you the choice to accept or decline.”

    I wouldn’t start making separate dishes for her .

  • Rucca April 21, 2018, 2:33 pm

    Hi all! I’m going to weigh in here as someone who normally eats just about anything–except during chemotherapy. When I’m doing that, most food smells and tastes disgusting. I still want to see people, I just can’t choke down much or any of the food. I don’t care if other people are eating it (if I’m so sick I can’t handle the smell of food I just don’t socialize at all) I just don’t want any. When I can’t just eat with everyone else I do exactly what picky eaters do….I eat something I can handle on the way, tuck something into my bag (okay, so it’s a bottle of liquid food) and maybe I consume that while everyone else eats the other food or maybe I pick at something that I can handle (like the cheese and crackers) until I leave. Also, due to some surgeries I”ve had, there are now other things that are off the menu for me now. Yes, if someone was having just me come over or wanted to go to dinner with just me I would be very vocal about my needs and expect more accommodation than I would if it was a group…and no, I don’t feel bad about that.

  • Bridget Smyser April 23, 2018, 12:51 pm

    I grew up as one of the pickiest eaters imaginable. I am still a vegetarian. But I trained myself over the years to expect nothing. If I go and all there is I can eat is cheese and crackers, then cheese and crackers it is. Sometimes the host feels bad, but I always tell them there is nothing to apologize for. Now if they start haranguing me to try something I don’t want, I get testy. But otherwise, you eat what you want, let me nibble what I want, and if I am still hungry at the end I’ll pick something up on the way home.

    If someone tells me they have allergies, I will totally accommodate them. If someone is vegan, and I know ahead of time, I’ll make sure they have something to eat. If you’re just picky, then I plan to ignore your pickiness and let you fend for yourself.

  • Livvy17 April 23, 2018, 2:03 pm

    I think it depends on the kind of event. For a restaurant outing, I’d invite whomever, and assume that they could research the place, and decide if they wanted to go or not for whatever reason. If I were having a large, loose party, I would probably try to have a variety of items, but I wouldn’t be pouring over every invitee’s personal likes/dislikes. I would assume that most adults, particularly those with specific needs, would make sure they ate first, or had some sort of backup plan in the event my offerings were not to their taste.
    However, if I were having a dinner party, I’d make a concerted effort to make sure that each guest got a dinner, even if it wound up being a naked chicken breast and steamed veggies for one, and beef wellington with duchesse potatoes for the rest.

  • Ashley M April 23, 2018, 11:44 pm

    Wow, I used to check this site daily because my job was quiet enough that I could, and then I go away for a while and come back to SO MANY comments on this story. Not my story but a good reminder of how into it we get sometimes lol.

    Anyway…I’m part of a group of friends that comes with two of us who have allergies that we really do have to plan around. If I eat gluten, I spend the next hour hacking at people and I can’t digest it. Minimal contact gluten is about all I can handle. A friend of mine has a wide spectrum of allergies. WE plan for it. Not our friends. If they say “Let’s go here”, the two of us who have allergies bust out the allergen grid and figure out what we can eat. If someone brings something to a party, we read the ingredients and figure out if it’s safe for us or not.

    Picky eaters should be the same. THEY need to be proactive. THEY need to find out what is happening rather than fussing and making others uncomfortable. Like, I loathe pickles as well but the idea of sending a whole dish back because a pickle touched it? That’s embarassing. Move the pickle, dab the area with a napkin, get on with your life. If friend wants to come to this party with the German food, perhaps encourage her to try whipping up some chicken schnitzel.

  • MPW1971 April 27, 2018, 2:41 pm

    It really frosts my cookies when merely picky eaters elevate their preferences to being because of “allergies”. I’m 47 and I myself am only allergic to cats and ragweed – neither of which have ever made it on my plate – but I fully sympathize with those who really have allergies.
    I have had a lady-friend who was allergic to fish – not the life-threatening peanut allergy but enough that eating fish (but not simply having her food touch it) resulted in days of illness. If she can move a shrimp out of her fried rice, then I’m sure that people out there who don’t like cherry tomatoes, can just lift them away out of their salad.
    If a person is so traumatized by the thought of eating certain foods – never mind actually eating them – then I truly question their ability to get out of the house, to watch television (for fear of seeing a commercial with that aforementioned food), or to eat in a restaurant. Yes, such people exist – and I read about them having a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day of the year – but they know their preferences and avoid exposure rather than throw a hissy fit because the tomato, pickle, or something else is present.
    And it’s different for something – my old boss hated all condiments like mayo or mustard, and it’s a lot harder to remove said mayo or mustard sufficiently from your sandwich.
    Even my Muslim co-worker would simply ask for new cutlery and a new small plate if he found that he had inadvertently consumed pork – as would sometimes happen in buffets with poor labelling.
    But for the love of food, please do not claim a preference to be an allergy. Yes, it’s likely that your preference will be taken seriously, but if you don’t get sick after eating the wrong thing, you are really disingenuous to those who will.
    Lastly – I used to work with a very picky eater from another company. He was from a small town and had lived a rather sheltered life, having never eaten a shrimp or other shellfish until he was in his 20’s. He claimed to be allergic to onions. Highly allergic. Guaranteed illness. And yet, one of his favorite places to eat was McDonald’s. When I asked him if he got his cheeseburgers custom-made with no onions, he stared at me blankly. I asked then what did he think those little white squares are on a McDonald’s burger (they are dehydrated onions). Still more staring. Apparently he was just a drama llama – not enough to just not like onions – thus the allergy. And yet, hardly a week would go by where he didn’t eat some.

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