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 Post subject: Your Dream Host/Hostess
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:19 pm
Posts: 207
Location: Halifax
Okay, pretend you get to create your perfect visiting experience. What are all the things you'd love your hosts to say/do, that they tend not to do in reality?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 6:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2948
Location: Toronto
I don't even have to pretend to create the perfect hosting experience. I had one recently.

My friend, Paula, who is a terrific cook, invited us to dinner along with another couple. After interviewing me about my allergies (soy, shellfish), and having me spell out my intolerance to things fermented (so no cooking in alcohol, no aged cheeses), she whipped up a gourmet dinner. From the 8-vegetable soup to start, to the organic lemon/garlic roast chicken, it was outstanding.

We all raved about the meal. By being so accommodating, Paula made the experience about great food and company. My allergies didn't have to be discussed at length because we'd covered that ground ahead of time.

It was delightful.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:19 pm
Posts: 207
Location: Halifax
Wow that's so fantastic. Your friend sounds like a real treasure. Especially since you didn't have to be the dinner table conversation.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 6:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:10 pm
Posts: 121
Location: Charlottesville, VA
The best thing a host can do for me is to not be offended when I provide my own food.

I don't expect my friends to accomodate me. Several do, and that's wonderful, but when I visit family, I try very hard to make sure they understand that they don't *need* to feed me. Providing board is a very big part of hospitality in some cultures, so it's difficult--some folks get quite offended, but I simply can't risk my health most of the time.

In some cases, there are small things I can do so that they feel they've done *a little bit* for me, but I know it bothers them when they can't do more. I can let my great-aunt fix me some unsweetened iced tea (they only have artificial sweeteners in their home). I can let her brother-in-law slice me a nice, big tomato from his garden. I can let my grandmother heat me up some green beans. But I don't expect them to find the foods I eat on a daily basis--I'd never expect them to find and prepare the Indian dishes I eat, or to go out and find GF bread.

But fussing constantly, worrying if I've had enough to eat--I'd rather they just sit down and chat with me.

ygg

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~*~*~ That which does not kill me only gives me hives. ~*~*~


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:19 pm
Posts: 207
Location: Halifax
That makes sense. I can see someone feeling like they've "failed", if a guest shows up with a cooler full of snacks. I would hope most folks would get it eventually, though.


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 Post subject: Perfect Host/Hostess
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6491
Location: Ottawa
When inviting us to dinner state what is on the menu. I still feel awkward asking.
My closest friends are great! They actively seek out items that dd can enjoy. They are reay starting to understand the concept of cross contamination. My best friend even stocks up on dd's margarine.
A perfect host/hostess would also accept the fact that while they don't think the food is harmful, you might be more comfortabe checking with the company to see how it was manufactured.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:46 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 9:56 pm
Posts: 13
Location: Barrie
Other than at my own mother's home, we can't let our son eat unless we bring our own food. My husband's parents are horrible about it. His father has stated outright that he just wants Jared to have one meal with him before he dies (so overdramatic) and just figures that if it doesn't have peanut butter in it then Jared can have it. I don't trust that he wouldn't make something harmful because he thinks the whole allergy-thing is nonesense. My dad and his wife aren't much better - for Christmas she served up desert with peanuts on it and when my dad said to put them away she said that maybe her grown son would like them so just leave them be. Now I know that I can't control everything and that we can't expect those that don't live like this to understand, but that is my son's own grandparents.You'd think they'd do whatever it takes to see him grow happy and healthy.
I agree - the perfect host/hostess is one who is not offended if I bring my son's own food, or if I question everything and read all the labels for myself.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 12:14 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6491
Location: Ottawa
Quote:
His father has stated outright that he just wants Jared to have one meal with him before he dies (so overdramatic) and just figures that if it doesn't have peanut butter in it then Jared can have it

Terri, maybe you shoud ask him if he means he dies or Jared! :(
Dh's parents were like this too. They are older than my mom (more set in their ways too). I'm sure they meant well but they'd serve corn on the cob with butter and there'd be all of these people with greasy hands and faces wanting to kiss or hold dd (24 months) :x .
I have learned to accept that they are at a different place on the learning curve interms of food allergies.
I always brought something dd could eat when we visited. We started to insist that they only put our margarine on the table. We tried to make it easy for them and kept informing them as to the reasons. We even left a couple of times when it was time for the big meal if it was too difficult.
They are much better now.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 11:21 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
I'm with ygg. :D The best host/hostess doesn't get upset that I bring my own food.

I have one particular aunt that I absolutely love visiting. While I'm there, someone ends up out in the garden - and I leave stocked up for my entire vacation. Whatever is ripe. She used to send me out to pick what I wanted - but apparently I never picked enough so now she doesn't trust me. :lol:

Although, my dad's widow does pretty good too. She will ask specific what brands I can eat and she will buy them. Anything additional that she picks up - she keeps the packages for me to read. And after the fudge with the *secret ingredient* incident - she no longer bakes for me. :wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 7:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:46 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Canada
Everyone I know knows I have a peanut allergy so they are very aware that there shouldnt be any food containing peanuts. None of my friends have food/peanut allergies and thus dont have a allergy free home. The problem I encounter is they fail to understand is the cross contamination that occurs on cutting boards etc.

My last ana response occured not because my host fed me a product containing nuts it was the tomatoes cut on the cutting board, cleaned earlier in the day after using it thje day before to cut her toast with pb on it. FULL reaction--911--Paramedics--epipen--hospital--the whole thang!

H.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 9:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
A few of my close friends and a few family members are good with the allergy issue, and I occasionally eat over at their places. They understand the hazards of cross-contamination and think of possible problems in advance...like crumbs in the butter.


Last edited by Helen on Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
Had a recent experience I'd like to share, that kind of fits in this thread.

My niece has been dropping in for visits a lot lately. She's pretty stressed out, and just calls and asks if she can come over. We usually end up inviting her for dinner - but she's not trying to time it that way. I joked that if she kept this up I was going to start charging her rent. :lol:

Well, she called and asked about this meat we had b-b-q'd one night - where did we buy it, what brand, stuff like that. Then, she asks if she buys that and brings it over, can we b-b-q again. She knows that going to her home is uncomfortable for me, and eating there is out of the question. So, instead, she bought the brands I eat, and brought it here for dinner. :)


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 Post subject: PERFECT HOST
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 11:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Nova Scotia
For me, (mother of three-year old ("M") with severe egg and dairy allergies), the perfect host is one who consults with you before the party (birthday/play-date/whatever) and plans out with you what she or he will be serving - i.e. brand names of each food and if planning to bake anything - brand-names of specific ingredients. My husband and I have a close circle of friends who all have kids around the same age. I started having play- parties for them at a very young age (first one when my daughter was only 7 months!), using the various holidays (Valentine's, St.Paddy's, etc.) as an excuse to have a party! Anyway after hosting several of these some of my friends started offering to do them at their houses, but I wasn't comfortable saying that was great but could you please make it all M-friendly? So I would just say no, that's ok, I love having them (and I really do). As it is, none of them had made any effort at their kids' birthday parties to make anything M-friendly. But finally this winter my close friend decided she was having the Valentine party and she pledged to make it entirely M-friendly and did! :D She just checked everything with me beforehand and got a bit of egg replacer for me (I didn't expect her to go out and buy a whole box herself) and did the whole thing. It was so nice to be able to take my daughter out to this party on 2 levels - first and most importantly - she didn't have to go through the whole "you can't eat that sweetie, here's your cake/cookie/meal/ etc. " thing while the rest of the kids are plowing into their food, (i.e she felt no different than the rest and her allergies weren't the topic of discussion throughout the course of the eating part of the party) and secondly, I didn't have to spend time preparing food for a party hosted by someone else - I just went and enjoyed myself. I thanked my friend profusely and loudly :wink: , in front of the rest of my friends at the party - first because I really appreciated what she did, and second because I hoped the rest of them might take the cue and make efforts too! (one has).

Something that is a bit of a thorn in my side is when people say they're going to do something all M-friendly "except for one thing" - example - same friend who did the Valentine party recently did a pinata when we were all camping together. She told me beforehand that all the candies in the pinata were going to be M-friendly. A few days later it was "all except the chocolate coins". "oh, and these creamy hard candies" . . . what is the point of that? Is it so important that the rest of the kids get the choc.coins and hard candies with milk in them. Just by adding those extra 2 things, it changed the scenario from M being able to be like every other kid there and just dive in and grab the loot, to me having to kneel down with her and point out the things she couldn't have/take them back out of her bag if she'd already grabbed them. That is the kind of thing that is just so hard to get through to people. It is the little things like that, that make a kid either feel included and normal or ostracized and different.

Another good friend who usually goes out of her way to accomodate M's diet, had a pinata for her son's birthday party. She told me beforehand that she wanted to make sure it was all M-friendly because she didn't think it was fair for M to have to pick through the loot and not be able to take whatever she wanted. She had already gotten the info (and ingredients) on how to make an M-friendly cake. So she asked me for example of candies that she can eat. I told her a bunch of stuff. Next thing, she calls and says she got all the loot - at a bulk food store!! (i.e. no ingredient labels on the bags), and could she bring it over to check it out with me. She brings it over, and none of it is anything that I had told her when she asked for suggestions. And I told her I have no way of knowing if M can eat it because there's no labels. So she asks for my list of ingredient names that I have to check for because she remembers "in her head" what the ingredients were in the 5 or 6 different bags of candies she's got in her hand. I'm thinking there's no way she can remember that so I give her the milk list which has about 20 different ingredients on it, and the egg list which has 15 or so, and she scans them and says they're fine. I didn't know what to say - I was flabbergasted that anyone would go to all the lengths she had to this point to prepare an M-friendly party, and then blow it like that. I didn't want to appear unappreciative of her effort but I also wanted her to realize that I couldn't just trust that she could possibly remember all the ingredients in the candies and know they were safe, so I just said "she's not into candy that much anyway (which is actually true, it's just the fun of doing the pinata thing with all the kids) so anything I'm not sure about, I'll just take away from her". I mean, she called me for suggestions, she bought the stuff sincerely wanting to include M, etc. etc. I didn't want to offend her. But she redeemed herself. She had actually bought the stuff at a bulk food store 3 hours away while visiting her parents on the weekend. So she called her father, told him each of the candies she got, he went to the store and recorded all the ingredients on a piece of paper which he then had sent express mail to her!!! One small leap for allergic mankind . . .!! :lol:

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Carrie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 3:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6491
Location: Ottawa
My friend did a piniata for her daughters birthday and I offered (read practically insisted :roll: ) on bringing the candies while she supplied the novelties.
As it was mid October I figured I'd see which of the safe candies my daughter actually liked and stock up for Halloween. :)


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 Post subject: party food and pinatas
PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Nova Scotia
Hi Susan, that is a great idea. The only problem is I still don't feel comfortable controlling the food at other people's parties. That's why I tend to be the hostess a lot - at least I can control the food that's being served in my own home. (though that has been a struggle too - I coudn't believe the friends who would show up with snacks for their kids that my own can't have, and let them walk around in my house eating them in front of her.) (I went through a period of total discomfort but unable to speak up in these situations, to speaking out (uncomfortably) and being labelled **** by a few friends (who aren't so close now) to now it being respected by my friends and a non-issue - your kids don't eat non M-friendly foods in my house. To me it's not a matter of the world should revolve around my daughter's condition. It's this:
1 - To bring these foods into my house is no different then bringing a loaded weapon into anyone's house.
2 - I have made the decision that her home will be the one place that is food barrier-free.

My comment to anyone who says "your allergic child should be taught about his/her condition; it's not the responsibility of the rest of the non-allergic world; etc. etc." is "your (non-allergic) child and his/her parent should be taught compassion".


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