I am planning my boys' birthday party for this Sunday. We have a small group of close family as guests, and it's always laid-back and informal. In past years, the menu has been mostly pizza, Stromboli, chicken fingers, meatballs or sandwiches. Last year, my aunt was diagnosed with Celiac's disease and must not follow a gluten-free diet.
Of course, this means I need to change our normal menu a bit, because she can't eat any of the foods I mentioned! After some research and thought, I decided to buy a whole ham which I will serve cold (I will offer breads and rolls for those who are able to eat wheat products). I will also have an assortment of cheeses, veggies, fruits, potato salad, munchies and, of course, cake and ice cream.
I've learned which brands and flavors of ice cream are gluten free so that my aunt can enjoy that as a dessert (the cake is just not an option).
But I am wondering, whose responsibility is it when it comes to special dietary needs?
As I planned my menu, I received different opinions from people. Some said that I should continue to serve what I normally would - my aunt is free to eat what she is able from the food I have provided. Others thought I should plan for a gluten-free "entree."
What's your take on this? If you know a guest must follow a certain diet (for medical reasons - not for weight watching), are you obligated as a host to accommodate that diet? How would you feel if you found out AFTER a party that one of your guest had dietary restrictions you were not aware of at the time?
I personally feel that I have invited my aunt as a guest in my home - it is my responsibility to provide her with a meal she can eat. I am fully aware of her restrictions, and I am willing to take a few extra minutes to change my normal menu (it wasn't hard, and I actually think this ham will feed more people and prove to be cheaper than some other options we have had in the past).
My aunt would never want to know that I am having this conversation at all. She will always say "don't worry about me - I have plenty I can eat." But I do think it's my responsibility as a host.
how do you feel?