AL­LER­GIES: Med­i­cal is­sues should be flagged

Calgary Herald New Condos - - Week­end Life -

tells them she has di­etary re­stric­tions.

“I never as­sume or ex­pect peo­ple will cook gluten free for me be­cause it is chal­leng­ing and it is ex­pen­sive,” says Hnatiuk.

“I’m happy to come, but I can eat be­fore, or bring my own snacks.”

Even if a host makes an ef­fort to cook gluten free, by avoid­ing wheat pas­tas or crusts, it might not be enough.

Gluten is in many foods, from soy sauce to Worces­ter­shire, and there is a risk of cross con­tam­i­na­tion in the av­er­age kitchen — a risk that is too large for Hnatiuk to take.

“If they do want to cook some­thing for me, I ask a ton of ques­tions,” she says.

Carla Kelly, a ve­gan from Van­cou­ver who has just re­leased a new cook­book, looks at the is­sue from both per­spec­tives — that of the cook, and the diner.

“Hav­ing a din­ner party is about shar­ing food to­gether,” says Kelly, au­thor of Ve­gan Al Fresco, which is about sum­mer cook­ing with­out an­i­mal prod­ucts, in­clud­ing dairy, eggs or honey.

Eat­ing de­li­cious dishes to­gether pro­vides com­mon ground, and aids con­ver­sa­tion.

Gen­er­ally, Kelly just eats things she doesn’t par­tic­u­larly care for if they are served at the host’s ta­ble, but if some­one tried to fork a piece of meat onto her plate, she would refuse it, even though be­ing a ve­gan is not a med­i­cal con­di­tion.

Kelly’s cre­ative so­lu­tion is to tell peo­ple she’s ve­gan when she gets a din­ner-party in­vi­ta­tion, and to of­fer to bring a ve­gan dish that’s large enough for ev­ery­one to share — thereby in­tro­duc­ing new ex­pe­ri­ences all the way around. She says sum­mer bar­be­cues make it easy for hosts to of­fer choices by pre­par­ing a se­lec­tion of sal­ads served along­side grilled salmon, steak or tofu burg­ers.

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