Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Food Aversions

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This has undoubtedly been asked before, but I can't find the relevant posts.  Is it the host's responsibility to ask about a guests food allergies/aversions or does the responsibility lie with the guest to let the host know?  Does it make a difference if the host would reasonably expect to know the preferences of her guests, but those have now changed?

I've been invited to a few lunches/dinners at various friend's homes (these will be casual dinner parties - probably just us and the hosts) over the coming weeks.  I am pregnant so there are many foods that I usually enjoy that are now off-limits for the duration.  One couple have recently had a baby so they would know the foods that are not preggie-friendly, but the others either don't have children or had them many years ago (before current recommendations on diet).  So far, they haven't asked if there is anything I can't eat and I'm not sure if I should say something, or just pick and choose the foods I can eat once I'm there.  I don't want to be rude but I don't want to eat high-risk foods either.

I don't remember what I did when I had my dd, I think I just ate a lot of bread.

I think the host should ask.

What should not be happening:
1) Guests demanding that host provide special foods and then refusing to eat them anyway.
2) Guests bringing their own food that is for them only.
3) Guests making a huge issue of their special needs-it's okay for them to say, "I'm sorry, I can't eat this" but not to expect their hosts to have ESP about their dietary needs or saying, "Gross/yuck/disgusting."
4) Hosts coaxing guests to "try just a little" or playing martyr if the guest declines.
5) Hosts showing their disappointment if guests don't eat what they provide.

If I'm going to eat somewhere, I inquire about peanut products. When my cousin's got married, they each gave me the number of the food provider and the contact person, after telling the contact person I would be calling. Then I check with them about the peanut thing.

We've had a couple of family dinners out disrupted by ER trips after I was given incorrect information about the use of peanuts. I seem to pick up when someone isn't paying attention or is flat our lying (Hasn't happened since all the publicity about peanut allergies in the last couple of years), so the family always wants me to ask about the food.

I usually say "I'm planning on serving X, would that be okay?" rather than asking specifically about things they can't eat. I don't get into a lot of detail (i.e., I would say "we're grilling steaks" and not "we're having steaks, grilled zucchini, salad, and bread.") If there are children involved, I will be more specific in hopes of picking a vegetable that everybody likes, and will also offer alternatives ("will Bitsy eat a steak, or would she rather have a hot dog?")

As a long time vegetarian I tell people that I don't eat meat (or fish as some people seem to think this is ok for veggies).  All of my friends know I'm veggie so it's not usually an issue.  Sometimes people then ask "What do you eat?" and I say "Everything but mushrooms". 


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