How to Throw a Meat-, Wheat-, Dairy-, Gluten- and Pesticide-Free Party

Help is here for the dinner party hostess trying to please a roomful of picky eaters

by Lenore Skenazy • Next Avenue
lettuce on plate image

It used to be that the only people who had to worry about different meals for different dietary issues were hospital dieticians. Now it’s anyone throwing a dinner party.
Take my buddy Sara DiVello. This nice, accommodating Boston yoga teacher invited four couples over for dinner — all friends of her husband’s from college. “I asked if there were any allergies,” she says, “and no one had any.” So she got everything ready to make baked angel hair tibale, an Italian concoction of pasta, beef sausage, mozzarella, eggplant and assorted other tidbits. Something for everyone … to complain about.
“On the day of the party,” DiVello says, "the emails start cascading in. One person was trying to go wheat-free to see if it helped her migraines, another was lactose-intolerant and couldn’t stomach the mozzarella. A third ate chicken but not beef or pork, still another was vegetarian, and one was eating only organic.”
Solution? I mean, her solution? (Mine would’ve been to put a bunch of little cereal boxes on the table and tell the guests, “Go wild!” Or maybe I would’ve had the party catered by one of the many ovo-lacto-beefo-gluto-sugar-free vegan caterers out there who just roll in a giant rice ball and call it a night.)
But what DiVello, clearly a nicer person, did was this: “I ended up making the dish with chicken sausage, to pacify the non-meat-eater, with a version without cheese for the lactose-intolerant person, another version with the cheese but without the chicken for the vegetarian, and yet another with just the chicken and the cheese and eggplant but no pasta for the wheat-free-migraine sufferer.” And of course it was all organic. Because why pay the mortgage when you can throw a party for 20 of your pickiest friends? Make that your husband’s picky friends.
How to Deal With Fussy Guests

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