Q: How do I handle dietary restrictions both as a guest and a hostess at a dinner party?
A: If you are the hostess, you should ask your guests to let you know of any restrictions they have. You do not need to plan the entire menu around one person, but it is nice to have a few items they can enjoy. If they have an allergy to seafood and this is your main entrée, tell them you will be happy to prepare a chef’s salad for them. You do not need to bend over backwards. Make the substitution easy. Someone with an allergy (I know because I have them) does not want to be a burden to the hostess. They are typically easy to accommodate, and they just appreciate the effort. If you are the person with the allergy and show up to an event where food is being served you cannot eat, try your best to find something. I have attended parties where the only thing I could put on my plate was fruit. That is alright. Once I was at a gathering where there was truly nothing I could eat. I employed the tactic I talked about in a previous post (how to eat food you do not like). I engaged in extensive conversation with the other guests, cut up a few pieces of food on my plate, did a little shuffling, and no one knew the wiser that I had not touched my food. I have even pulled the “put your fork in your mouth while the hostess is looking” trick. Nothing was on my fork, but she never knew. I swallowed, smiled, and went back to talking to my table mate. Someone with allergies is trained never to leave home without some form of sustenance. I keep beef sticks in my purse which can give me a quick protein fix. I am perfectly fine until I can get home and raid the refrigerator!