Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hints for surviving holiday parties

This is a collection of hints I've read in a variety of sources and ideas I've come up with myself.
  • Never show up to a party - even a dinner party hungry.  Eat something small, but filling before you go.  Then, you're just supplementing from the party food.  I've had horrible experiences when I show up and everything has been contaminated - dips with cracker crumbs, etc.
  • At a potluck, plan on only being able to eat your dish and consider it a happy bonus if you can eat some of the others.  Also, make sure you take what you want from your dish before adding it to the table.  Once, I put a lovely pumpkin risotto down only to see a man dip a cracker in it two seconds later.  If possible, get another friend attending the same potluck to also bring a dish the two of you can eat.
  • Keep emergency food in the car - a couple of bars or something more substantial.  Unexpected traffic delays, long trips to the mall, etc. can leave you stranded in unfriendly GF territory.
  • When attending a party, always bring something you can eat that other people won't notice is GF.  Either a naturally GF dish or a GF one that tastes really good - verify this by having non-GF friends who are painfully honest do a taste test.  This way you get to share your food and not feel weird by only eating "different" food.
  • If you're headed to a casual party where beer is the beverage of choice, bring a bottle of wine or a pitcher of fun mixed drinks to share.  That way, you're not left out.  Hard cider is also a good alternative.  It looks a lot like beer and other people might like it too for a change.
  • Don't panic.  You're really, really, not going to starve to death.  One of my worst food party moments was arriving starving at a house where they were serving pizza and birthday cake.  I simply slipped out the back, went to a nearby store and bought a couple of apples and some peanut butter.  
  • Remember, if all else fails, most gas stations carry the simple necessities for a GF meal.  Fruit, milk,  peanuts and cracker jacks.  OK, it's not perfect, but it will get you through the day.

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