Hosting any holiday meal is an honor that comes with great responsibility. It is the job of the host to do everything possible to ensure all guests are content, well-fed, and properly cared for. Knowing guest’s needs ahead of time is one important component of a successful gathering. If an attendee is gluten-free, it is important to ensure that there are options for them and that the holiday is a safe environment. With some pre-planning and good communication, this can be easily managed.
Allergy Free Holidays
First, open up the lines of communication. If you are unsure of ideas, call them up and ask for suggestions. Listen to their thoughts and needs. Listen to how you can best help. Ask if they have a favorite recipe that you can prepare for them. Offer to label all foods with a tag and indicate if they are gluten-free. Listen to how you can best make them comfortable and feel welcome.
Simplify the menu. The focus should be the ones in attendance, with the food taking second stage. If the guests feel welcome and cared for, they will remember that much longer than they will remember what they ate. One suggestion is to only offer the favorite dishes instead of including all of the traditional items. Instead of turkey and ham, just have one main dish option. Desserts can be kept to a minimum as well.
Welcome Guest Dishes
Welcome your guest’s specialty dish ideas and if they offer to bring a dish to share, be sure to include it in your menu. If they offer to bring something similar to a dish you were planning to make, there are two options. You can offer both regular and gluten-free options or you can defer to your guest’s dish. Including others in the meal planning often introduces us to new favorite foods.
Prepare Gluten-Free Foods First
When preparing food for the meal, always thoroughly clean the kitchen and cook the gluten-free foods first. Once the gluten-free foods are all prepared, store them separately from the dishes that will have gluten in them.
Use Disposable or Dedicated Cookware
When preparing gluten-free dishes for the holiday, it is good practice to either use glass dishes or purchase disposable cookware specifically for the allergy-free dishes. Do not use personal wooden cutting boards or wooden spoons with any gluten-free dishes.
Following these steps will help your holiday will be enjoyed by all and will be talked about for years to come.
Tandy Hogate is a work from home wife, mom of four, and grandma to two. She lives on a farm in Alaska with her family and critters (her favorite critter being her rather large dog Fezzik). She enjoys traveling, writing, studying the bible, reading, hiking, working on the farm, sewing, and spending just as much time as possible with her family. Her favorite place is the river and her favorite sound is laughter.