ALLERGIES: Medical issues should be flagged
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.