Friday, March 20, 2015

Hosting Guests with Food Allergies

 Do you or your family have any food allergies or sensitivities? It seems to be pretty common anymore. Our family doesn't have any so we are grateful but we do have friends and family that we enjoy having over from time to time that do have foods that they can't eat. I also try to remember if we are having someone over that we haven't hosted before to check and see if they have any foods we need to avoid.

  Dealing with food issues can make cooking for company a little more challenging but try not to let it stress you out. It sometimes become a good opportunity to do a little experimenting. :-) I have found that people with food allergies are usually pretty grateful that you have made the effort to cook something that they can eat and generally not to picky (maybe I have just been blessed with some pretty nice company!).

   I have found the Internet to be a pretty valuable resource when finding recipes without certain ingredients. I simply start googling Gluten free recipes (or bread, or dessert or pizza, etc) and there is a wealth of information out there. Or I might search for "Egg free recipes" or "Dairy Free Recipes". Often I have found that people have multiple allergies and so the recipes also tend to be lacking a lot of the common food allergies so often you will find a recipe that works in many ways. Otherwise you might have to do some substituting.

  We have some friends that we like to have over every so often and between two of their children they have allergies to Eggs, Dairy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Coconut and Tomatoes. So cooking for them does cause me to need to do a little bit of thinking. The mom always tells me not to worry about the allergy foods and she can just bring something along for the kids that have issues but I don't want her to have to do that (though if the idea of specialty cooking stresses you out then maybe you would be wise to accept an offer like that).

   This last time I made Chicken and Noodles over mashed potatoes with veggies made without adding butter (I just caught myself on that one!). I made homemade noodles without eggs and the chicken gravy I made with just broth and no milk. I had to remember to mash the potatoes without milk or butter too. It is interesting how much you need to notice what sort of things you often just throw in without thinking about it.

   We also made cookies - most of them were chocolate chip but thankfully I checked and there was milk product in the chocolate chips so I left them out of some of the cookies and put in raisins instead. Here is the cookie recipe as it is a good one for several allergies and we just like it anyway. Maybe you will find it useful... (I usually triple the batch as it is pretty small)

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 cup sugar (you can substitute honey if you like)
1/4 t salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 t molasses
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/4 cup oil
1/3 chocolate chips (or raisins)

Stir together (dry ingredients first with this one) . Drop by spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven until done. (maybe 8-10 minutes?)

 Do you have any tips for dealing with food allergies when having company? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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