[Sca-cooks] menu planning for dietary restrictions...

smcclune@earthlink.net smcclune at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 11 13:38:10 PDT 2006

-----Original Message-----
>From: <tom.vincent at yahoo.com>

>'Balancing' out an oily, tasty dish with non-oily side dishes sounds alot like drinking a diet soda with a banana split. :)
>Also, an intoxicatingly fattening main dish that really isn't available to those trying to watch their calories is almost cruel.  Like having the best drinks be alcoholic while the flat, warm sodas are 'available' to those who avoid booze, if you will.

If that's "cruel," then I, as a low-carb dieter, suffer from massive amounts of cruelty at SCA feasts.  Breads, pies, frumenty, desserts are all paraded past me ... even meat dishes that would otherwise be edible are often served covered with sauces made with fruit or thickened with breadcrumbs or flavored with sugar.

However, there's nothing that says that *every* dish has to be made available to every person at the feast.  Heck, if we did that, between the low fat, low carb, vegetarian, lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant, and diabetic folks, there would be darned little left to serve!  And that doesn' t even count the people with allergies to things like mushrooms and nuts.

As long as there's a sufficient variety of dishes available, however, most folks ought to be able to be reasonably happy.  I like to think of it as a buffet, where I get to pick and choose the foods I eat.  So I eat and enjoy the ones I can, and let my friends enjoy my portion of the rest.  I think that's what AnneMarie meant by "balancing out" the dishes.

Knowing what to expect really helps, too.  If I can look at the menu ahead of time and find that there's nothing I can eat, then I can choose between going off my diet, bringing a little extra for myself, or skipping the feast altogether.  But it's my choice.

I think that's what it comes down to -- a matter of choice.  For most folks, a low fat/low carb/vegetarian diet is a personal choice, and shouldn't be inflicted on the all of the diners at the feast.  Folks with food allergies are less fortunate; their choices are usually far more limited.  That still doesn't mean I should be forced to cook an entirely gluten-free feast just because (for example) my mother-in-law will be there.  But if I can save a portion of the chicken for her that doesn't have the breadcrumb-thickened sauce on it, that accomodates her without making the meal less fun for everyone else.  

I believe that it's possible to accomodate most people by making reasonable adjustments, but that we shouldn't deny treats to the rest of the people just because some abstain (whether by choice or necessity).  

Besides ... I've got will-power, and I'm not afraid to use it!


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