Why, hello Tuesday night. When did you get here?
Anyone else feel like the week is just flying? I mean, I know yesterday was just Monday, but people, tomorrow is Wednesday. And if you’re on the East Coast, like me, tomorrow is less than three hours away. Oy.
Last night, BF and I had a few people over for Torah study. There was talking, laughter, food, more talking, more food, and our friend’s daughter lying on our apartment floor, contentedly boasting, “I’m stuffed!” Though no real Torah study occurred, we talked Judaism, we talked G-d, and we ate. That’s usually Jewish enough for me!
I mentioned in my last post that one of our friends has a gluten and dairy intolerance, and how I was excited to be able to cook for her. The menu was, if I may say, awesome:
- Starter: fresh veggies: celery, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots
- Main course: Mushroom risotto, baked potatoes, and a spinach salad
- Dessert: Averie’s flourless peanut butter cookies
…and, of course, a delicious bottle of wine, courtesy our lovely guests.
I wish I had snapped pictures, but as our guests came early before any of the food was even remotely done, I didn’t want to be cooking and snapping pictures and attempting to converse, so you’ll have to imagine all the delicious food. My friends don’t know I blog, and I feel like there are better ways to introduce this fact versus “Oh hi so nice to see you SNAP SNAP I love that coat SNAP dinner is almost SNAP ready just a minute SNAP SNAP SNAP.”
If you ever need anything to lift your mood, I suggest good food with good friends. Even the not-so-great things turn out great: I completely botched half my batch of cookies, but friend’s daughter ate it all herself, grabbing a spoon and scraping the pan clean. Come to think of it, that may be why she was lying on the floor…hmm.
It was a great testament to the fact that food with restrictions (allergies, intolerance, kosher needs, dietary preferences) is not the end all of delicious food. Sometimes it takes a bit of work, a little ingenuity, and some patience, but everyone around may table last night – some carnivores, some vegetarians, some kosher, some with allergies – left full and happy.
Cooking for people with food allergies or special needs? A few tips:
- Ask and never assume – usually, people with special eating needs, whether through choice or necessity, will not be shy in telling you what they need, but in the event they don’t, ASK. Some vegetarians will eat fish, some won’t; some allergies can handle a bit of cross-contamination, some can’t. The point is that it’s highly individualized, so ask, ask, ask. If you do it mindfully, and while making sure you’re taking the other person’s needs into account, it’s an act of love.
- Try out a few dishes – before you cook for your friend for the first time, try out your possible dishes beforehand to work out any kinks. This is really true for any and all meals, but especially so for people with special food needs – it can be harder to throw up your hands and say “Oh, I’ll just get a pizza!” with gluten and dairy issues.
- Vary your offerings – have lots of different things to please a variety of palettes. You don’t need to break the bank by any means, but having small amounts of many different foods means you’re more likely to hit on someone’s “yum!” spot.
- Relax! – At the end of the day, you’re doing a labor of love for someone you love. There have been many a dinner where I had virtually nothing to eat, but at the end of the day, it was really the company that mattered more. Food, while delicious and something I love, feeds us, but our relationships are what truly sustain us. When it is all said and done, focus more on your friends and having a good time – there is always more food, but time with each other is what it’s really about.
Tonight, I’m eating leftovers, attempting real Torah study (my brand spankin’ new one just came in today!) and barricading myself in, as they’re forecasting snow tonight. Huzzah!
Sorry again for the no picture thing. Here to make it up to you is my cat:
Have a great night, all!