With the Holiday season beginning I know my social calendar doubles with events. This is my favorite part of the year but the parties and events often take a toll on our daily routines and our health, especially if you have food allergies.
Learning how to avoid foods that could aggravate your allergies is important, but it is also important for the host to be aware of allergies without limiting other guests. You shouldn’t have to avoid parties or yummy home-cooked dishes because you don’t know the ingredients or don’t want to burden your host.
It is important to know some key steps to ease your nerves as a guest and to prepare ahead of time as a host. Alicia Woodward, Editor-in-Chief at Living Without Magazine, has some great tips. The number one thing for a guest and a host to do is communicate. Neither can prepare nor anticipate a problem if there is no communication.
One of the biggest concerns is the potential of cross contamination. Alicia instructs the host to be conscious of this major food allergy no-no while preparing the meal. It is important to use different knives and containers for different foods. However, I think diligence is still necessary once the food is set out. It is important to separate the food so people won’t have an urge to use the same serving utensils with different dishes. For example, if a pasta dish has dairy in it, put a pretty accent piece on the table between the pasta and the salad so the cheese from the pasta can’t accidentally get into the salad bowl. These simple steps will show your guests that you not only listened to their concerns but are actively addressing them, as well.
As a guest, it is a good idea to bring a dish to share. This way you can participate, help your host out and know that you have a dish you can eat. Taking this extra step will help you enjoy the party and leave with a happy, full stomach.
The main thing to remember is communication. Once your host and you are on the same page about your food allergies then you both can take the proper, safe steps to ensuring everyone is satisfied.