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

Stephanie Ross hlaislinn at earthlink.net
Sat Aug 12 11:57:51 PDT 2006

Arwen wrote:
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 accommodates her without making the meal less fun for
everyone else.

I heartily agree with this. When I was veggie, I ate very few feasts
because there were only one or two dishes that had no meat or broth at all.
It wasn't cost-effective for me. When I cook feasts I try to make the
non-meat dishes completely non-meat. Vegans are very hard to accommodate
and I don't even try. Food allergies are a different matter. I am willing
to make separate servings if diners let me know their problems in advance.
However, I am not a short-order cook. I did one feast where most everything
had onions in it. I only got one complaint from a woman who had a food
allergy to onions. If she had told me in the morning instead of as I was
serving feast, I would have happily made her a serving of the dishes
without onions. It taught me a valuable lesson however. Out of respect to
food allergies, I try to make the offending food in one dish only and not
sprinkled throughout. Like making mushroom tarts as a course and nothing
else with mushrooms in the rest of the feast. Or making rice with veggie
broth for both veggies and gluten-intolerant folks. Making the meat plainly
roasted with a variety of sauces on the side (like Viandier de Taillevent)
will keep the calories lower and make the veggies and no carb people happy.
In fact, you could even use rice-flour bread for the breadcrumbs in the
sauce and cut out the gluten for the intolerant. I can't imagine it would
change the taste of cameline sauce appreciably. Serving a couple of Lenten
dishes with almond milk instead of cow's milk will lower the fat content,
be period and make vegans happy. Like AnnMarie said, if you work to balance
the menu, then you can accommodate most everyone without having to kill
yourself making special foods for those who request it.

Et si omnes ego non.

"The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the
first and only legitimate object of good government." --Thomas Jefferson to
Maryland Republicans, 1809.

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