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Hosting a Successful Party for People with Food Allergies and Intolerances

In May, I finished my Master’s degree for Library and Information Science and moved to the East coast for my first librarian job, shortly after that. I was promoted and transferred to a different office of the company that I work for. Whenever anyone left my previous job, our department had a pot luck party for lunch. With all of my food allergies, I would not find much to eat besides cheese, carrots, or the crackers that I would bring myself.

When it was my time to leave, a friend of mine made sure to remind my supervisor that I had food allergies. She talked to me about it, and I sent her a list of my food allergies and recommended recipes that I can eat. She sent these sample recipes to the whole department.

Some employees asked me if they could make other recipes. I had them send me the recipe to alter for them. One person wanted to make a pasta salad. I explained to her that she could do so, but that I could not eat normal salad dressing. She would need to make the dressing from scratch with olive oil and vinegar. I also explained that she would not be able to put tuna in it because, most cans have soy oil in it even if it is one that says it is tuna in water on the can. There are some specific specialty cans of tuna that do not have soy oil in the ingredients, but they can be hard to find.

As an example of how to alter a recipe, an employee sent me the following recipe, which I could not eat. She wanted to make an altered version. The first recipe here is the original recipe:

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
1/4 Cup Applesauce
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Oil or Melted Butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 Cup Chestnut Flour
1 Tbs Cinnamon
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tsp Baking Powder (I like to use Double Acting)
pinch of salt
1 Cup Grated Carrots
1/2 Cup Raisins (optional)
1/2 Cups Chopped Walnuts (optional)
1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (Or lemon/lime juice)

This recipe was altered so that I could eat it as follows:

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
1/4 Cup Applesauce
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Melted Butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tbs Cinnamon
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tsp Baking Powder
pinch of salt
1 Cup Grated Carrots
1/2 Cup Raisins (optional)
1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (Or lemon/lime juice)

At my new job, we have monthly meetings in which we take turns bringing a snack for everyone. I made sure to communicate my food allergies. At the first meeting, a person brought in a pound cake with fresh blueberries and whipped cream. I was able to eat a bowl of blueberries. At any party, people will bring food that you should not eat. This is not a problem. If you make the effort to communicate with the guests, there will be enough food for you that you can eat.

Tips for successful office and house parties:
* Always communicate to those organizing the party and your guests that you have food allergies.
* Do not be afraid to make the first offer to alter the recipes for them. People will not necessarily understand your needs, so this will make it easier for them to be able to comply with your request instead of ignoring it.
* Ask people to label the dishes with the ingredients so you know what is in it.
* If this party includes children with food allergies, make sure the children understand that they can only eat certain dishes by communicating with them and the parents, as well as the guests and hosts, about the ingredients of the food.
* If you do not have an epipen, bring Benadryl with you incase you feel you have had an allergic reaction. Benadryl really does help to stop a moderate reaction from getting worse.
* If you feel that something even tastes wrong, or you are slightly itchy, do not continue to eat it. It may be made with something you are allergic to. Many times I can tell by the taste of a food, that it has soy or nuts in it that will cause a stronger allergic reaction.
* Always drink a lot of water. It will help to dilute the ingredients that you could be allergic to, if you have ingested any.

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Categories: Blog Posts, Health, Recipes
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