Keep Your Holiday Guests Safe When They Have Food Allergies

Salmon Appetizers

If your goal is to take the breath away of your holiday dinner guests and leave them itching and gagging, you don’t need to read this article. Shortness of breath, itching, dizziness, and stomach discomfort, swelling and nausea are signs of food allergies. For some guests, avoiding allergic reactions can be as critical as life and death. To avoid these problems consider calling your guests and taking into consideration the food allergies of any expected guests. Organize a menu that accommodates all guests.

A cook who has given himself time to ascertain the needs of his guests gives himself extra time to look up special dishes within the parameters of guests’ palate and allergies. This might even include speaking to the companies that process meats, because though turkey may seem harmless to a gluten intolerant person, sometimes ingredients containing soy, wheat and even dairy are used to baste the turkey.

I recommend not making any dish with an item in it that a guest could have an allergic reaction to. This reduces the likelihood of an allergen lingering in the air, on serving utensils, on hands, or on the breath of anyone attending.

It might be tempting to just run to the store and buy an item that claims to be free of certain ingredients. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, food manufacturers only need to list food allergy items if they are a part of the ingredient used to make the dish. This means that there may not be any warning of possible cross contact!

If you are inviting over multiple families, it is best to do all of the cooking yourself, so that you can answer any food questions by guests and so that you can ensure their safety. This way you can also have ingredient labels handy, should anyone be curious. If certain guests insist on bringing something, you can have them bring non-food party items such as a video, decoration, poetry reading, music or packaged plastic ware.

With a little research and planning, you will help your guests avoid the problems associated with food allergies during the festivities at your home.

Here are some recipes you can use this holiday season for guests with common food allergies:

Note: Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish are more common culprits for those with allergies. Less common allergies include allergies to food coloring and certain fresh produce. Pet dander, scented candles, lotions and soaps can also cause certain people reactions. When in doubt, leave it out. 

Julia Simmons, M.Ed., Home Economist

 

Sources: allergicchild.com, MSN.com, foodallergies.about.com, mayoclinic.com,

 

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