Let me just start off by saying I understand that by being invited to a party, I’m already super lucky. Complaining about said party, is really bad form. But I’ve never claimed to have great form, so here goes. You know, party people, you don’t have to put flour in everything you put out on the buffet. You really don’t. Here’s a lovely list of options: Flourless chocolate cake, roasted vegetables, cheese trays with crackers optional, chicken satay with no flouring of the chicken parts. I could go on and on, and I will if anyone ever wants to consult me. I have a very reasonable fee.
I’ve already moaned about Wolfgang Puck and his crew, and now I’m going to moan about an American Idol party I was privileged to attend. (I know! I’m such a jerk.) Look at all this gluten:
That’s J Lo trying to get away from the gluten. And maybe annoying photographers like me.
I ate some meat chunks and called it a day.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to go to a fancy (or non-fancy, I’m not picky) party. Mostly because I love appetizers and gossip. I would just love to go to one single catered event that didn’t pull out the bag of wheat and dump it all over the table. Party planning people are already super tuned into the fact that there are many vegetarians in the world. Hence, the fantastic vegetarian options at any given event. This is progress. But don’t these caterers and menu planners know that gluten-free is the world’s biggest trend, right behind racist tweets? I’m pretty sure J Lo left the party without eating because she’s on the gf tip and she, just like me, was wildly disappointed in the offerings. Either that, or Jenny from the block is vegan.
Those poor home-bound vegans. Someone else is going to have to advocate on their behalf, I’m just here to get some nibbles without pooping my pants. Is that too much to ask for, along with my exclusive invitation?
So, caterers, what do I have to do to get you to go gluten-free?
Okay, you might hate me for this…but–just to play devil’s advogluten, is it really a caterer’s responsibility to tend to every potential dietary issue of it’s guests (who are eating for free?) And while it would be great, in theory, for caterer’s to have the kosher buffet, the gluten free buffet, the egg yellow only omelet bar, the vegan desert station, next to the table for people who just don’t like lettuce–isn’t there something to be said for being a gracious guest? Having been a vegetarian for over a decade, I never expected a party to cater to me. If there was a tofu square i could wrestle a server for, I considered myself lucky.
Do what Scarlett O’Hara and millions of other food-challenged folks have been doing for centuries, eat before the party. Party food sucks anyhow.
Well, BS, as a vegetarian, there are things for you. And if you’re kosher, should you really be out after sundown, anyway? And those poor vegans, they should never eat out. Ever. Of course the difference being, those are all lifestyle choices, not things that make you physically ill.
It’s more like, hey, why does everything have to have gluten in it, when — and let’s just leave the sickos like myself out of it — it’s clear so many people hate it? Even if those people are crazy.
It’s like cilantro. I personally enjoy it, but there’s no way I ever make anything with it because a lot of people want to throw it up.
This particular party had miles of gluten, and I was coming off the Wolfgang Puck Oscar party situation, where it was all gluten all the time. And it just makes one gluten averse gal wonder, “What’s up with putting flour in everything?” Let’s get creative here, shall we?
And by the way, plus 1, I totally saw you eating all of the cookie dough chocolate mousse, so I’m thinking you enjoyed this party food. Or you were just trying to save J Lo’s ass from the temptation. Either/Or.
Those who live in gluten houses should not throw stones. I beg you to tell an Orthodox Jew that being kosher is a lifestyle choice. And please let me be there to watch when that smack down occurs. Until then, Passover’s coming up. That’s your holiday! All gluten-free, all the time. Just make sure to grab a little “smooth move” with your matzoh, Pharoah’s bricks can be a little binding.
Well said, well said.
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I am an event planner for a catering company that holds events from corporate lunches to lavish wedding receptions and I have to tell you gluten free is a difficult task on our end- not because we are lazy but our clients do not ask for it! BUT a lot of my customers are learning to plan ahead and either ask for special plates for those gf attendees or ask for the gluten free options on the buffet. We are slowly learning about more menu items we can offer our guests and are always glad to accommodate them however we can. Unfortunately, when someone has one food intolerance it has a few other tag-a-longs like dairy or egg allergies- then we really have to work to make a meal for them out of the clients chosen menu.
Our chefs are working to learn more about gf options and meal preparation to help make it easier on me, the client and their guests. We are trying to make parties better for everyone; gf, kosher, halal, vegetarians and even the vegans!
Love your blog!
Thank you, Jena for your insight. And your coolness.
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As I struggle with food prep for another event at our house this weekend….. I’ve been gluten-free for two years now and it’s become an impossible thing to have get-togethers without becoming teary and frustrated.
I believe the reasons why caterers and party planners don’t offer gluten-free are 1) gluten-free has no cheap fillers, therefore it’s expensive, 2) gluten-free has to mostly be created from scratch, therefore labor intensive, and 3) if gluten-free foods are on the table the non’s flock to them, choosing them over the regular offerings.
I’ve tried making the usual stuff for everyone else and making a second meal for me (twice the work and makes me feel resentful), making gluten-free everything (way too expensive and no one appreciates it) and what we’re doing now which is I prepare my stuff gluten-free and they bring whatever. The problem with this one is that my kitchen is then not a safe place for me over the weekend. Many times I have to run to the sink and spit something out because I am chatting and not mentally evaluating every piece of food. And then the problem that everyone wants to try (and loves) my gf things so they get eaten up quickly and I have oranges to tide me over the rest of the weekend.
Has anyone else come up with a better solution for this? I hate to be the cranky one in the family but I have to know I have food!
What I do when I have a big gathering, more often than not, is go Mexican. No burritos, of course, and no fried fish for tacos. But that way it’s popular food that everyone will enjoy and I can eat all of it. Of course you’ve got to make sure your chips and tortillas don’t have any added ingredients, but if you’re clear there than you can do beans, chicken, beef, and lots of cheese and vegetables and you’re all set.
I never serve gluten-filled food in my home. The only time it even comes in is if someone else brings it, but usually no one will because they know my sitch. In fact, I recently threw an all gluten-free bridal shower for my sister-in-law and had someone else bring in the cake and kept it on their platter so it wouldn’t touch my stuff. And that was just because I didn’t have it in me to whip up a gluten-free cake or pie on top of everything else.
Another good solid option is to roast a chicken, have veggie sides and call it a day. Focusing on naturally gluten-free food rather than making two separate meals might just save your sanity.
If all else fails, keep a private stash of M&Ms and sneak them until everyone goes home.
Haha! You got me on the M&M’s! I stand at my freezer door and sneak them so the bag will last me through the weekend. I have two small granddaughters. You ought to see them scarf down my (tiny) loaf of Udi’s bread in their peanut butter and jelly creations. They will look for the Udi’s even if a regular loaf of bread is on the countertop!
I’ll try Mexican next time. Everyone brings non gluten to my events because they are sure I am just loony. My mom will say, “Oh, just eat it!” A family friend invited me over for supper – when I walked in she was frying pork chops and they smelled delicious. She said, “It’s okay, I just put a light coating of flour on.” I have a long ways to go yet, I’m afraid.
I’m very happy I found your blogsite!