Author Topic: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?  (Read 9855 times)

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POF

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How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« on: December 16, 2006, 08:25:18 AM »
I am hosting XMAS dinner this year for 20 people. I am having Baked Ham, Scallpoed Potatoes, Sweet / Sour Wax Beans , Lasagana , Chicken Marsala and some salads, rolls etc.  Other family members are bringing desserts / beverages and appetizers.

BIL is on a low/no salt diet. ( and has been for several years - not a new issue )

I added Chicken Marsala to my menu so that I could save out a few pieces - make them with no salt and add a no salt tomato sauce/gravy. I also plan to bake a sweet potato and a regular potato for him and will have a low salt salad dressing available. . This is pretty typical of what we do at family dinners. On occasion SIL ( his wife ) will bring his food.

The lasagna is  my "special secret recipe holiday" lasagna - which includes homemade meatballs / imported sausage and cheeses from the Italian Market is a favorite with the family. I only make it a few times a year - because it's a trillion calories and takes a lot of work and is expensive to boot. 

So just checking in with SIL last night and I told her what I was doing for BIL in terms of his meal. ( He is also very picky - no fish, few veggies etc. ) and she said to me - Can't you make your lasagna with no salt ? I said - well no - it has cured meat and cheeses and they are full of sodium - plus I don't think it would be very good without any seasoning. It's not something that I can easily portion off a side and leave out the salt. So she got into a whine fest about how he LOOVES lasagna .... blah blah blah..

I just said very nicely - but sorry I can't do that.  ( Good advice from EHELLDAME )

It just irks the heck out of me that she expects 19 other people to go low salt because he has to...... I also think it's rude to hijack the menu..... I think I made a very reasonable - very typical accomodation - and all I get is whining and complaining.

I know - actually it's common knowledge - that BIL manages this restrictive diet by having a "regular meal" once a week - which is usually a fully loaded pizza. So I suggested - that since he really wants lasagna - can't he use XMAS dinner as his regular meal day ?

SIL replies ... Oh No - he doesn't want to give up pizza night........ it's too bad that your so inflexible .....


I know what is behind this is mostly sour grapes. When holidays are at her house - it's a disaster - dinner is late by usually 2 + hours, everthing is unorganized - not enough seating, place settings , usually no beverages and some rather unpleasant bickering and fighting among her grown kids. It got to the point where other family members made there own plans or did other things. 

When I volunteered to host XMAS this year there was a nice response and some of the farther away family members are coming in. In fact her own kids ( in their 20's ) are all excited because they said I will have some activites planned and they like my cooking.

I think I did fine to accomodate his special needs. I made several reasonable suggestions and there will be food he likes that he can eat.

Thanks for listening












Chartreuse

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2006, 09:03:21 AM »
I think you're covered on the etiquette aspect of this.  You made some reasonable changes that would allow him to have a full meal.  You're not expected to completely change the entire menu based on his dietary issues.  As you've pointed out to his wife, he also gets one "eat normal free" card a week. It's his choice if he wants to apply it to Christmas dinner or if he wants to use it on the pizza.

Well, one thing I'll give your SIL...  she's got a lot of nerve.   ;)
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BurninDinner

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2006, 09:45:07 AM »
Oh you're totally fine.  Good job, I'm proud of you.

POF

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2006, 10:23:36 AM »
Well - I learned my lesson once -  I went to a lot of effort to prepare no salt appetizers for a potluck. They were tasty - lots of crudites - healthy dips - crostini etc. At the party he scarfed down tortilla chips ( which his wife brought  :o)   and tons of salty stuff and rudely announced he didn't want any of that no salt crap. So I could very easily make a major accomodation and he will eat whatever he wants anyway .......

INLAWS and the holidays .........

Evil Duckie

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2006, 11:08:49 AM »
POF you did great in planning Xmas dinner with him in mind. You made an accommodation for him. You don't need to redo your entire menu just for him. He is an adult and can easily live without lasagna.

I know what is like to have to work around a dietary need. My youngest is allergic to dairy. He knows and understands just because he has a special dietary need that doesn't mean that doesn't mean that everyone will make all food safe for him. We let people know when he is invited to events, but that doesn't always mean there will be food for him. He will eat what he can and leave the rest without making a fuss.

Lunadiana75

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2006, 11:19:23 AM »
I think you did great making sure your BIL would have something to eat at the party. 

In the States my diet is vegan (can't do that here) and I never ever once expected someone to accomodate me and ONLY me whenI was invited to their house.  I always had very sweet friends who made sure there was something I could eat (and I would always thank them for thinking of me) but I certainly didn't expect everyone around me to change their eating habits just for me.  Everytime I had a dinner party I would ask people I had never cooked for if they had any allergies or diet restrictions so I could figure that into my meal planning. 

Of course I had one friend who eternally cracked me up, everytime I would invite her over for dinner she would say "Sounds great! Is it vegan?"  After the fourth or fifth time she asked I looked at her deadpan and say "No, it's cheeseburgers.  Hon, I'm cooking, of course it's vegan!"

supernova

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2006, 12:01:48 PM »
POF, you are being perfectly accommodating.  More than considerate, actually.

Your SIL is being passive-aggressive, and you are handling her beautifully.  "No, I'm sorry, I can't do that."  Lather, rinse, repeat.  You are being perfectly polite, in the face of rudeness.

Considering the information in your second post...  I'd bet money the BIL will have lasagna anyway, or else he'll complain about the special portion you've made for him being tasteless.  Be prepared for further passive-aggressive behavior, and remember to just smile and let it roll off your back.

Everyone else will have a good time, and that's all that matters.  :)

Have a wonderful holiday!  I'll bet that lasagna is fantastic; enjoy every bite!  :)

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2006, 02:28:18 PM »
I would say - most emphatically - you are NOT a restaurant.  >:(

If you have something he can eat on his diet, then that is all you are required to have. He can choose to come or not, and to eat it or not, whichever he feels like. And it sounds like he and SIL will be a pain in the behind no matter how much you try, so why go overboard? If she asks again about the lasagna, give her the recipe and let her try and make a low-salt version herself.
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kherbert05

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2006, 02:59:35 PM »
You did fine. Your SIL needs to grow up.

Your story made me fill better. We are having a faculty lunchon after the kids leave on Wednesday (1/2 day). The meal is catered, and each team is bringing a desert. I've had 2 different teams show me dessert they planned to buy from a bakery and ask if they had peanut products. One had M&M and plain M&M have peanut oil and may contain traces warnings. I told her go ahead and get it, I just won't eat it. It's not like the situation with the graduation ceremony last year. We won't be hugging each other. But they said no they won't be buying that one.

I feel guilty, because I won't most things from bakeries. They make so many things with peanuts or peanut butter, that crosscontamination is just so easy. I've landed in the ER several times because of this. Most bakeries now post signs saying they can't promise that products are nut or peanut free.

The main meal is safe - BBQ from a place I frequent. They should have the desserts they want. If the kids were present, especially the K-2 kids I would be more concerned. But this is an adult function.
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Lynda_34

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2006, 04:57:36 PM »
You are being more than polite.
My suggestion is put some lasagna noodles and sauce with cheese in a small separate dish.
Then make your lasagna for everyone else. 
You cannot make lasagna without using the "good stuff". 
There is an Italian market in a city near where I live that uses turkey as the base for their sausages, they are low sodium, and they are ok.  (The owner had a heart attack and didn't want to change his diet so he developed these recipes, they've been awarded something from the American Heart Assn.)  However, if you make a good lasagna keep on making it the rest of the family loves it, why deprive them.  It also speaks volumes that her children are visiting you and have been avoiding her holiday meals.   

gjcva1

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2006, 09:25:09 PM »
POF, i think your meal sounds lovely.  there are a few low salt/low fat dairy products that i will eat (mostly cottage cheese and yogurt) but i just can't imagine how you would make a delicious low sodium lasagna.  so make your special lasagna.  BIL is a big boy.  he'll have to make his own choices, and SIL will have to whine about it.  Happy Holidays!!!  ;)

Venus193

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2006, 10:09:33 PM »
POF, even diabetics eat the occasional normal dessert, and if your BIL will eat "normal" meals once a week, there is no good reason for you to make any more changes. 

I also consider SIL's attempt at hijacking your recipe to be incredibly presumptuous and unspeakably rude.  She is clearly envious of your successful entertaining and this sounds like an attempt at sabotage.

Suze

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2006, 10:10:43 AM »

I know - actually it's common knowledge - that BIL manages this restrictive diet by having a "regular meal" once a week - which is usually a fully loaded pizza. So I suggested - that since he really wants lasagna - can't he use XMAS dinner as his regular meal day ?

SIL replies ... Oh No - he doesn't want to give up pizza night........ it's too bad that your so inflexible .....



Gah - You have done more than enough to accomdate his needs, and if he wants to be a baby about HIS PIZZA night.  Let him eat what you have cooked for him or not come at all.

I know about restrictive diets - I have a friend who is allergic to EGGS, WHEAT, AND MILK plus should watch how much suger he eats.  Talk about fun trying to come up with anything like a normal meal! Let alone sweet anything (I can though)

And no egg beaters are still an egg product (just the yokes are removed and some food color put in) You would not believe how many people will not take that as a given.  I repeat -- Gah
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CynthiaBelle

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2006, 11:53:21 AM »
That's more than enough. I think that you did just a fine job on helping his dietary needs and special diet.

FoxPaws

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Re: How far do I need to go to accomodate special dietary needs ?
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2006, 01:27:17 PM »
Quote
If she asks again about the lasagna, give her the recipe and let her try and make a low-salt version herself.

Amen to this!!

And why is wifey-pooh the one asking? BIL is a grownup. He should be whining on his own behalf, although from the OP's description, he doesn't seem to have an issue with finding things to eat (whether they're on his diet or not). There are some weird little power plays happening here. Should make for an interesting holiday.

Keep us posted. ;)
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