Hard to stom­ach re­quests

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS -

les­ley.hunter­nolan@news.com.au

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.

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