Author Topic: Hosting a guest with food limitations  (Read 2112 times)

1 Member and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

sweetonsno

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1357
Re: Hosting a guest with food limitations
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2014, 02:19:30 AM »
First off, it's great that you are being so conscientious here! A huge number of people don't do their homework. Some get grumpy about making accommodations, or snark about it not being "real food"/insist that it would be better if they'd been able to include the offending ingredient.

Secondly, I think it's important that you realize that very few hosts are as mindful as you are. As a vegetarian, you can probably relate to people not quite understanding the restriction. I'm in the habit of double-checking on things like soups and sauces because most people don't even think about chicken or beef stock, let alone anchovies. (I've even had people try to tell me that a dish containing processed pork was vegetarian... as in an actual argument.) Don't be offended that someone is trying to do their due diligence about what they put into their body. It's taking personal responsibility, which is exactly what they should do.

Unless you're a flexitarian, you probably do a bit of recon when you eat out or at an unfamiliar person's house and want to check in on hidden ingredients. It's not that you think they are incompetent; it's that you know that they may not be completely familiar with your restriction, or have a different understanding of it than yours. (If you look around on this board a bit, you'll see people suggesting fish--or sometimes chicken--as a vegetarian option. My definition of vegetarian excludes all animal flesh and all slaughter products.) Heck, sometimes, it's just autopilot that turns the vegetarian risotto into a bacon-y no-go.

I think the truth lies (as it often does) in the middle path.

Mr. K is correct that you should give Marge more information than just the names of the dishes.
You are correct that you needn't account for every teaspoon of oil or cup of lettuce.

Send word with the Mr. to Marge. Use TootsNYC's and NyaChan's advice. Let her know what the meal is and how you are going to accommodate her restrictions.

"Marge, we're looking forward to having you. As Homer may have told you, I am also an ovo-lacto vegetarian. As I understand, you have a gluten sensitivity..." (this tells her that you are aware of her restrictions and also gives her a cue to give you more information if necessary) "I'm planning to make a vegetable alfredo lasagna with No-Gluten Brand rice noodles and GF-certified alfredo sauce from Local Co-op. I made it for my cousin, who has Celiac disease, last year, and it turned out very well."

"The salad will just be a simple green salad. I'll have a few dressings. We can read labels before dinner. For dessert, I'm making an apple crisp. I was going to use the same recipe I used with my cousin. We used Paddy's Rice Flour for the crumb top."

That will give her the peace of mind and the opportunity to let you know if the status of any of the products has changed. (Like the quesadilla stand finally using rennet-free cheese.)

bloo

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1152
Re: Hosting a guest with food limitations
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2014, 09:11:58 AM »
In this case, I tend to sort of, kind of agree with Mr. K. I've heard many stories of people who *think* they are cooking something without including an offending ingredient, only to have it hiding in something they believe is innocuous. Telling someone that the lasagna is "gluten free" might occasionally be misleading.

It's perhaps a little excessive, but I don't see anything offensive in, at least for the first meal, telling her exactly what ingredients you're using. Then she can say, "Oh, dear, Ingredient X actually has wheat extract in it. Could you leave it out or substitute Y?"

I'm not gluten-sensitive, so I might want to vet my recipe in advance with the guest, or at least someone who has experience in the matter.

POD.

Double POD.

I also like Toot's idea of 'earning trust'. That is exactly how I feel, so I would feel like your DH, Knitterly, and forward an ingredient list as well - but after establishing something along the lines of severe-to-life threatening allergy. A sensitivity might not trigger the desire to share the lists of ingredients, but if my DH suggested it, I'd go along with it.

I'd like to add that it's extremely thoughtful of your DH to feel concerned about your guests in this manner, and I'm sorry this devolved into an argument for the both of you. Your DH's thoughtfulness means more work for you that may be unnecessary so I understand your frustration.

Neither of you are wrong in whatever it is you want to do.

Knitterly

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1559
    • That other knitting blog
Re: Hosting a guest with food limitations
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2014, 09:41:38 PM »
Thank you all for your input.  It has been helpful.  The conflict came as Mr K and I had different expectations of what ought to be communicated to a guest.  I guess it is usually better to err on the side of caution, though.  :) 

Mr Knit passed along the general ingredients, though not the specific recipe.  Since Mr K is friends with Homer, he passed the info to Homer, not to Marge.  Homer know's Marge's food restrictions well enough to know if there is anything else I ought to be aware of.

I do admit to thinking that Mr K was going way overboard.  Handing the kitchen over to him, though, is hilariously NOT viable.

The menu is acceptable.

TeamBhakta

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2468
Re: Hosting a guest with food limitations
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2014, 01:33:27 AM »
In this case, I tend to sort of, kind of agree with Mr. K. I've heard many stories of people who *think* they are cooking something without including an offending ingredient, only to have it hiding in something they believe is innocuous. Telling someone that the lasagna is "gluten free" might occasionally be misleading.

This so much. I had to tell customers one day "this vanilla ice cream is gluten free....this cookie crumble ice cream is not gluten free." One woman asked why and I gave her a quick rundown about what has gluten. She said "But I thought all ice cream was gluten free. It isn't ? :o" Oh dear!

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8433
Re: Hosting a guest with food limitations
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2014, 08:45:09 PM »

For someone with celiac disease, a complete ingredient run down is probably necessary - gluten can show up in the weirdest things (baking powder, for example), and the chances of a host accidentally including gluten and making the guest sick are actually quite high.

For milder sensitivities, or people adopting gluten free as a lifestyle choice without having celiac disease, a rough listing of the food you are cooking would be sufficient.


Dazi

  • like the flower
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4077
Re: Hosting a guest with food limitations
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2014, 06:50:51 AM »

For someone with celiac disease, a complete ingredient run down is probably necessary - gluten can show up in the weirdest things (baking powder, for example), and the chances of a host accidentally including gluten and making the guest sick are actually quite high.

For milder sensitivities, or people adopting gluten free as a lifestyle choice without having celiac disease, a rough listing of the food you are cooking would be sufficient.

Natural flavors, malt, and some vinegars as well.  Of course there are others, but those are the ones I run into a lot.  Oh, and some powdered sugars, marshmellows, oats, and popcorn can contain gluten (no movie theater popcorn for me  :-[).
Meditate. Live purely. Quiet the mind. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine. ---Gautama Buddah





peaches

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 721
Re: Hosting a guest with food limitations
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2014, 08:29:24 AM »
This thread has been eye-opening for me.

The consensus seems to be that it's better to give too much information than too little, at least the first time you entertain someone with a food restriction.

I'm glad you got it ironed out and can now host without worry. Sounds like you may be making some new friends.  :)

Jloreli

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 312
Re: Hosting a guest with food limitations
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2014, 10:25:16 AM »
My first instinct would have been to tell my DH what I was serving and to please pass along my email or cell number to Marge with the message to please call me if there were questions/concerns/stuff I need to know. That way I could get any needed information from Marge herself rather than playing telephone through the DH's. Any push back on that would have caused me to remind my DH that even with the best of intentions things get lost in translation......and would be far less complicated than his plan.

miranova

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1877
Re: Hosting a guest with food limitations
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2014, 07:11:02 PM »
I completely agree with the theory of needing to earn someone's trust first (both with this and in many many other real life situations).  Trust is something that is earned by observing someone's behavior, not their words.  I'm not saying people should assume you are lying, but as others said, many people do not understand these restrictions, and your guests have no way of knowing that you really do, until you show them the recipe and explain that you know not to use ingredient X, and of course it contains no ingredient Y.  Then they know to trust you in the future because you know your stuff.  I don't really blame someone with an allergy or sensitivity for wanting to double check ingredients if you've never cooked for them before.  I don't think it's an insult.  It would be an insult if you were long time friends and had done this for them a million times before and they still don't trust you.

saki

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 813
Re: Hosting a guest with food limitations
« Reply #24 on: Today at 05:45:39 AM »

   I don't want to feel nickel-and-dimed. So I might just say, "This dish has vegetables, rice noodles whose ingredient list I check very carefully, no soy sauce, and olive oil instead of butter. And of course, no eggs, cheese or meat."


Just because this is a misconception I see all the time (mostly from Americans - sorry to stereotype) - vegetarians are not vegans, they eat butter, eggs and cheese.  The OP specified that she and Marge are the standard type of vegetarians (lacto-ovo).

Knitterly

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1559
    • That other knitting blog
Re: Hosting a guest with food limitations
« Reply #25 on: Today at 08:50:12 AM »
I realized I never updated this thread.

Marge and Homer and their kids came over.

WOW!  I have never met a more pleasant pile of kids in my life.   :D  More on that later.

Marge is so used to people being able to truly cook gluten free vegetarian that she is simply used to bringing her own food.  She really appreciated the extra effort.  She really appreciated knowing all the ingredients and being able to relax and enjoy the same food as everyone else.  The lasagna was a hit! 

As it turns out, Mr Knit miscommunicated the situation a little.  Marge and I were talking about stuff and she mentioned her real reason for being gluten free.  It's a very serious health issue indeed.  I am very glad I made an extra effort for her.

She made dessert.  It was truly amazing.

Now, on to her kids.
They came and played with Little Knit who is STILL talking about them.
But the best part?  I went to tidy up the playroom when they left and discovered that not only had they tidied it up, they left it in better condition than they found it in. 

Marge turned out to be exactly the sort of person I would choose to be friends with, quite apart from our husbands being friends.  I will definitely be arranging to get together with her again. 

And did I mention how absolutely amazingly well mannered her kids are?
like...wow!!  lost art kind of well mannered.

First time I've been called Mrs Knit by a kid over 5 in like.... ever, I think.   ;)