On Dietary Restrictions

On Dietary Restrictions

Dec 20, 2006

From Thanksgiving through New Years, the holidays seem like one big endless feast - going to parties, baking, creating meals for friends and family. It's a time when many of us will be cooking for large groups of people, some of whom may not be able to eat many of the things we ourselves typically enjoy.

For example, when I was preparing Thanksgiving dinner this year, I had to take into account the fact that my mother is diabetic and both she and my father aren't supposed to have much salt in their diet. It was a little strange for me to not be able to just scatter in more salt when wanted, but I think I made it work. For New Years Eve, I will be joining some friends who I often cook with to make a big Greek mezze spread. One of the couples is vegetarian, although they do eat seafood however the husband is allergic to shellfish. So what to make?

I sort of like having restrictions of some sort, whether it's health issue, taking into account someone's food allergy, or even just trying to use only seasonal ingredients. It sort of helps me focus and tests the creativity. I have to admit though, I have less patience when someone simply doesn't like certain ingredients. It seems a bit childish and ignorant when adults refuse to eat, say bussels sprouts or beets.

So what do you do when you are cooking for a group of people and someone is vegetarian, can't have sugar, salt or wheat, or won't eat any dairy? Do you prepare one dish for that person and then something else for the rest of the guests? Do you see this is an opportunity or a hindrance?

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