Last weekend we held a milestone birthday party for DH, with 50 people RSVPing yes. Our group tends towards potlucks but I felt it important that this party be hosted fully by us and so I cooked up a big spread.
Appetizers during the afternoon: chips and dip, veggies and dip, cheesy bacon ball & crackers, pepperoni rolls, stuffed grape leaves, cheesy pepper dip. Main dishes: steaks, pulled chicken BBQ, hotdogs. Sides: Macaroni & cheese with tomatoes, baked beans, potato salad, broccoli salad, pesto tortellini salad. Desserts: Red Velvet Cake, homebaked cherry pie, mixed berry pie, homemade cheesecake.
We have a friend who says she's allergic to vinegar (call her PF for Picky Friend). Her husband told us behind her back that she's not actually allergic, she just doesn't care for the taste, and that if it's a hidden ingredient that she won't notice, just don't tell her. She also is not a very adventurous eater, doesn't like spicy food or ethnic food of any kind.
Standing in line at the buffet, PF was asking where the medium-rare steaks were, she'd asked for medium-rare. I couldn't tell if one of the plates had MR - maybe someone accidentally took the last one - but said there was a plate with steaks cooked medium. Then she said, "I just want my medium rare steak, there's so little I can eat."
Me: There's mac & cheese, that doesn't have any vinegar...
PF: But it has chunks of tomato. I don't like that. It's OK if it's sauce, but not chunks.
Me: I'm sorry, I didn't know that. Um, there's baked beans...
PF: <shakes head>
Me: Ok, um, I guess not the potato salad? and the broccoli salad unfortunately has vinegar. Wait, there's the pesto salad, there's no vinegar there, and the tomato chunks are very big, I'm sure you can avoid taking any...
Me: OK, I'm sorry. I think there's still some chips and veggies and dip out on the porch.
She then took a medium-cooked steak and left the line. I got my own food and nothing more was said.
Was the menu truly deficient? I hadn't known about her tomato aversion, though I don't know that I would have changed the menu if I had known. Should I have? I didn't think I should have to plan for each guests likes and dislikes, as opposed to medical needs.
Ironically, her own wedding had cold cuts and various picnic salads. With vinegar!