On Cooking With Restrictions

We threw a dinner party a while back for a vegan, a friend with nut allergies, someone who doesn't like vegetables, and several hungry omnivores. This menu required some pretty extensive juggling!

What do you think: is cooking with restrictions a creative opportunity or a headache?

For a while, we wondered what we'd gotten ourselves into with our dinner party. But the more we dove into the planning, the more fun our "dinner impossible" actually became!

We find that working with dietary restrictions sparks our creativity. Even if the restriction is simply that someone doesn't like certain foods, we want our guests to leave the table happy and satisfied.

We often end up cooking something that we never would have otherwise tried, or finding a new technique that we like so much that we start using it all the time (like the panko "nut" crust). We love the challenge of tweaking favorite recipes to accommodate the new rules.

When you find yourself cooking for friends with particular food needs, how do you respond?

Related: Good Food: Dinner Parties and the Etiquette of Ingredient Confession

(Image: Flickr member ToastyKen licensed under Creative Commons)