Thanksgiving is just around the corner and your house will soon be filled up with guests. While it’s nice to adopt a ‘the more the merrier’ mentality to having people over for Thanksgiving, all the different dietary requirements can drive you crazy. Your daughter’s new boyfriend is a vegan, or your aunt is gluten free. Your nephew is allergic to nuts and your father doesn’t process dairy very well. And what about non-dietary restrictions, the guest that just hates paprika or mushrooms? Take a deep breath. With just a little bit of planning ahead, you can please even the pickiest of guests.
Sounds obvious, but this is the safest way to ensure you are being as diet friendly as possible for everyone. This may cause you to go back to the drawing board and get creative with the menu but asking about allergies and restrictions beforehand is a lot better than ending up with a bunch of hungry and unhappy guests.
Pre-Menu = Either/Or
No one likes surprises when you’re cooking for 8+ people. If you have some new guests coming this year or you have an inkling that some of your guests may be on the picky side, consider emailing out a pre-menu. This is not the same as asking your guests what they don’t eat because by sending out a predetermined either/or style menu, you are simply driving the conversation. It might even help you pick between the two types of stuffing recipes you had bookmarked to make and hadn’t decided between yet.
Make Vegan Options
Whether you like it or not, veganism does exist. That doesn’t mean you have to embrace the tofurkey, but there are great chances of someone having allergies, sensitivities, or those who have chosen to go dairy or animal product-free, who will enjoy having the vegan options available. This way, you won’t go crazy making two different versions of everything – one with meat, and one without – you just keep the baked beans vegan and move on to your next course.
A potluck is the easiest and greatest way to ensure everyone is eating something they like, and it might make you an even better host if you’re not stressing in the kitchen. You’ll have time to circulate appetizers, refresh drinks, and chat with your friends and family. If anything you’re taking it back to the beginning, since the the first-ever Thanksgiving was a potluck! Guests who also know they are picky may insist on bringing a dish and would feel more comfortable if you let them.
When In Doubt, Refill Their Glass
If you’re blindsided with a picky eater day of, there’s no need to worry and send a relative out to the store on an emergency mission. Just smile, nod, and pour their cocktail a little stronger or wine a little higher. Because at the end of the day, even though the food is the main activity, it’s really about the family, friends and enjoying your time together. Here’s to hoping your picky eaters at least do dishes.
– Guest Contributor, CR