[Sca-cooks] Minor rant - allergies and following

Claire Clarke angharad at adam.com.au
Tue May 8 19:32:25 PDT 2012

On Mon, May 7, 2012 at 11:25 PM, Tre <trekatz at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I copied this from my blog, because the final question is relevant here,
> and something I'm interested in some input on. When do I finally say "it's
> not my problem"?
> -------------------------------------------------------------

I would second (third or fourth perhaps) what everyone else has said. When I
design a feast menu I try to accommodate what I think of as the 'big three'
- meat, dairy and gluten/wheat. Not so that every dish excludes those
things, but so that people who can't/won't eat them still have a decent
range of dishes available in each course/remove (with the added note that
unless I'm catering for a camping event I am not, in a single feast, trying
to provide anyone with a balanced diet). Often I will make small
accommodating changes to particular dishes (someone mentioned cooking vegies
in vegie stock, I usually also substitute frying in grease or butter for
olive oil and sometimes rice flour for wheat starch). Sometimes I go a bit
further, but only where it is a case of straightforward elimination or
substitution (making some mushroom pasties with no cheese for example).
Serving foods and their sauces separately (where the one is not actually
cooked in the other) is another easy accommodation. Generally I also try and
have a range of flavours and types of food in the feast so that I'm fairly
confident if someone turns up with an unusual allergy that they can eat 95%
of the dishes. I get a list of allergies from the bookings officer shortly
before the feast and double check. I practice good kitchen hygiene and avoid
cross contamination within the kitchen. I also print menus with ingredient
lists (and 'big three' indicators). And that's about as far as I go. 

Anyone who shows up on the day and says 'hi by the way I'm a vegan' had
better be awfully fond of bread :-)

Mind you this has only happened once in any feast I have been involved with.

Now, if there are specific instructions about how to book for the feast and
people aren't following them, that is another matter of course. If this is
something you want to become routine then you need to enforce it at least
until people are in the habit of doing it. I lived in a barony once where
people had gotten out of the habit of booking. We ran an absolutely
catastrophic feast where we assumed 80 people would come and only 45 showed
up (wasn't the only problem, but it didn't help). The next feast advertised
came with a very stern notice saying that absolutely positively no one would
be let in who hadn't booked and payed at least a week beforehand, no excuses


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