Food Allergies, Restrictions, and the like… Part 2

“…Michael and I are currently eating gluten-free for various reasons. Aside from that, we also have a celiac child, one child with reactions to dairy (cow’s milk, at least), one going through the GAPS diet, and we never give the 4 youngest anything with red food coloring or MSG. I think that’s it…”

Above is the example response we used in the first post about food restrictions. Though a host may likely find a similar note in his possession at some point, I would not consider this a particularly appropriate response from the guest’s perspective.

As the guest, you are being invited (in rough terms, of course) to “trespass” on the hospitality of your hosts. At least, you can think of it like that for now. That does not, however, mean that you should feel free to trespass without limit. The Smiths are not your servants-for-an-evening. They are your hosts. Your job, at this point, is to be as congenial, obliging, and “easy” as you can.

So, you received an invitation to supper with the Smiths. In it, Celeste has inquired about food restrictions. Immediately, you think of your child with the gluten intolerance. Do you tell Celeste? She did ask, after all. Sure. I don’t think there’s necessarily a problem with letting her know that little Jill has to eat gluten-free. However, there is a HUGE difference between the following two examples:

“… Jill has to eat gluten-free…” (This is the information that Celeste asked for, and there is nothing innately rude about the wording. But, compare it with the next option.) 

“… Jill does eat gluten-free, but don’t worry about cooking anything special! I’ll come prepared. You just make whatever you like!…” 

Can you see the difference? The first response gives the information requested. The second one gives that same information, but removes the stress from Celeste. When she reads that response, she can decide to cook gluten-free or not – or even, simply provide one or two GF dishes.

In the next post or two, I’ll continue to address this, as well as how to handle more severe restrictions that may even affect an entire family. Whatever the situation may be, it is good to remember Romans 12:10.

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.

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