Hard to stomach requests
I HAVE no food allergies nor do I choose to omit any food group from my deliciously varied diet. I am lucky and I appreciate this, but I do not appreciate others putting their food choices – and I emphasise the word choices – on me.
As a largely lazy but somewhat polite bride-to-be I asked invitees to let me know if they had any dietary requirements.
Little did I know I was giving those with a penchant for culinary peccadillos the universal key to Pandora’s box.
Expecting, perhaps, the odd coeliac or vegetarian to let me know about their dietary needs I was wholly unprepared for what followed.
The first shot fired came from a longtime friend who I came to love through our shared appreciation for anything and everything alcoholic. Now though, as she explained in her lengthy RSVP email, she does not drink alcohol.
This is a move I admire but cannot fathom, and certainly didn’t expect to land on my list of things to do before the wedding.
Friend A let me know in quite a bit of detail that her preference is to be served de-alcoholised wine during the reception dinner. It had to be de-alcoholised wine mind you, not alcohol-free, apparently there is a huge difference in taste that renders the latter simply unacceptable.
Sparkling cider and alcohol-free beer were also named and shamed as sub-par offerings. I was even given the name of the exact brand and variety of de-alcoholised wine that would be preferable.
I was still reeling from Friend A’s newfound needs when Friend B dropped me a line. Friend B is also someone with whom I bonded over copious amounts of wheatbased alcohol.
Over the years we have also indulged in all manner of dairy-based delights. So you can imagine my shock when I was told that she and her partner are now wheat and dairy free.
At first I was confused. “Aren’t all humans wheat and dairy free?” I wondered. Then I realised she meant that they choose not to consume wheat or dairy. Again, admirable but something I cannot fathom.
Friend B does not have an allergy, aversion or intolerance to these things. As far as I know this is simply a dietary choice.
We will not need to have an EpiPen at the ready in case one of these items passes her lips. Yet, still, I will need to arrange – on top of the three existing options for each of the five courses on our menu – a fourth offering that is dairy and wheat free.
I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with catering for those with allergies or intolerance or those who have made an ethical decision to live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
I just can’t grasp the concept of expecting a host to cater to a preference.
If that were the go these days I’d be RSVPing to everything with a heartfelt request for lobster and vintage Champagne.
Now off I go to hunt down de-alcoholised wine and a few new friends.