Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Christmas dinner that pleases everyone: Dreaming the impossible dream

The family Christmas dinner will be at my house again this year, as it is every year. That means that once again I am stuck with trying to plan a menu that will have something to appeal to all my picky eaters. The task gets harder every year.

This year nearly everybody is on a diet of one kind or another and even those who aren't fall in the category of the aforementioned picky eaters. We have people who eschew bread or sweets of any kind. Then there are those who claim gluten intolerance and/or lactose intolerance. We have people who are following the Paleo diet. I have one guest who will eat any vegetable as long as it's potatoes or green beans - and nothing else. Some will not eat pork, so a Christmas ham is out of the question. But then I still have some who expect a traditional Christmas feast with all the trimmings!

How to reconcile all these conflicting dietary demands and ensure that no one has to go away hungry? Well, believe me, it ain't easy, but I'll try. The key is to find some compromises that everyone can live with.

Poring over my cookbooks won't be much help, as most of them are from places and eras that didn't worry so much about the extra butter or breading or cream. So, I turn to my good friend Google and visit various sites for Paleo diets and gluten-free dishes. In doing this research, I get some help from my two daughters who have searched out some recipes that I might be able to use. By this weekend, I hope to have finalized a menu. Then all that remains is the shopping and the preparation. Hubby does the shopping and I do the preparation.

There's one other limitation on the Christmas menu and that is the energy of the cook. I love having everyone here for Christmas and I enjoy the challenge of the planning and preparation, but it does wear me out. How wonderful it would be some year to have no responsibility except to sit and enjoy my guests. 

I think after next week I'm going to be ready for a nice end-of-year vacation.

   

2 comments:

  1. I hope all your food preparations go well. My DIL always insists on eating there, they are also gluten-free so that is great but I have a longer list of NO-NO's so can run afoul of something else. I would suggest if you make say, pumpkin pie to reserve some filling and bake in small baking dishes with no crusts. I suffered for 20 years with gut problems from food allergies, but now am symptom-free as long as I avoid triggers, but it does make it hard to cook for me, I am resigned to often taking my own food. Rice, meat, and cooked vegetables are safe for me. Paleo people probably like big salads? Nut/seed allergies make it so that I can't eat vegetarian oils, so I like the butter and cream, though I'm cutting down on them lately. I hope you have a happy time with your guests.

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    1. Like you, some of my thoughtful guests also bring some of their own foods and that certainly helps. It's really just a matter of preparing fresh foods without a lot of embellishments. Most people are able to eat that.

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