Hosts struggle with guest’s demands
Dear Amy: Every year my husband and I host a holiday get-together for several of our friends and neighbors.
This year, with little notice, my friend “Barb” reached out to me, saying, “This year, I will need you to prepare my food differently” — due to her recent diagnosis of celiac disease.
She explained to me that “even a crumb of cross contamination” will result in her not feeling well. She instructed me to check all of my ingredients, and to thoroughly clean all of my cooking and serving utensils before preparing food for her.
My husband said that if the disease was so dire, she would need to pack her own plate of food.
Is our friend being ridiculous here, or are we being insensitive to her disease? — Gluten-free Hosts
Dear Hosts: You should not attempt to gauge whether “Barb’s” disease is as serious as she indicates. You should simply assume that it is. I agree, however, her requirements seem quite overwhelming and are coming off as demands. She is also attempting to shift responsibility for her health from herself onto you.
Instead of you communicating her needs to your other guests who are bringing food, you should suggest that she contact them. With such specific requirements, she should not trust anyone else to communicate her exact requirements.
You should assume that your best efforts might not be enough to completely decontaminate your kitchen to Barb’s standards, and you should tell her so: “Hi, ‘Barb,’ I worry that I can’t guarantee that all of the food and the kitchen area will be decontaminated the way you might need. It would definitely be safest for you to bring your own food this year. If you feel you also need to bring your own plates, silverware, etc., I assure you we won’t be offended. Looking forward!”