gluten-free at the Christmas party

The Party. If we are lucky, we have reasons to celebrate all year. What differentiates holiday parties is often the number we attend and the size of the affairs. I find the bigger the event the more gluten-ous the challenges. I thought I'd address a few of the specifics around large scale events on this post.

For starters, anything being walked around on a tray by a server is likely to include pastry, or something sitting on bread, or a meatball full of crumbs. At the risk of offending, I'll tell you not to ask the server if you're itching to know whether you can eat something he's offering. If possible, go to where the caterers are working and ask if there are any goodies in circulation that are gluten free. I've been a server at many catering affairs in days of yore. We just picked up the trays and moved the goods. We had nothing to do with the food prep and often little knowledge of the ingredients we were presenting. Also note - those trays that now carry something you can eat, were carrying the puffed pastry 5 minutes ago. We all have our own comfort level with contamination risks.
Food is also sitting unattended on tables. Lovely platters heaped with delicious looking goodies. Often no one around who knows what's on the plate either. If it's catered - follow earlier instructions. If this is a pot luck affair... you could get lucky and have someone tell you who brought what - and ask.

Typically - I use my good sense. I eat things that obviously safe (sadly, this is rarely the fresh veggies - I often resent this option, even though it's a smart and virtuous one). I'm not proud to admit, I'm the person who wipes out the cheese platter. I also eat the nuts, potato or corn chips (watching that corn chips are not multigrain, and potato chips are plain to be safe). They make decent substitutes for the crackers. I eat the olives.

Two other very important tips: one, when appropriate, bring something for the potluck that you enjoy eating and that will satisfy your hunger. Tip number two: never show up at a party hungry, even if it means eating trail mix in the parking lot before you arrive. 

I find I'm happier if I don't attend large gatherings with a focus on the food. I go for the conversation. I'm there to catch up and celebrate with friends, and meet some interesting new people. That said, if there is a cheese platter - I meet most of them in its vicinity.

I'll add that these parties are often less about the food and more about the beverages. Those are easier to manage, and I've gone into some detail on the safety of alcohol in a post HERE.

Happy Holidays!!

1 comment:

  1. It sure is tricky, isn't it? At the latest party i went to cheesecake was offered to me with the explanation that i could just eat the top half!! I try and take something in my handbag to nibble on :)