Free week here and I had an idea for a post, but with it being the day after Thanksgiving, I know that most people are too busy to pay my usual Friday post a visit. So, I’ll not talk writing and books, but hosting.
I hope everyone in The U.S. had a great Thanksgiving. That is the one thing that visitors or newcomers from other countries find that they can really get into: A holiday of food, friends, family, and hopefully, faith.
I usually make a huge spread, plus have meal and snacks prepared for guests through the weekend, (even if they are immediate family members). However, this year I am still on the mend and no one is coming from out of town. In fact, few family members that are in town will make a showing.
That isn’t to say that I haven’t cooked this year; I have. I would have felt terrible if I had not made the effort and done something creative for the holiday. I cut way back, but something new has been added.
Son #1 has found that several of his less-than-perfect health problems are linked to gluten.
Where all of the gluten sensitivity has come from, I have no idea…GMOs?
Nevertheless, I made my grandmother’s corn pudding with corn starch instead of the tablespoon of flour that her recipe calls for. (I have the letter that she sent to my mother with the recipe on it. My father’s mother wrote two recipes, for the corn pudding and for sweet potato pudding; I have not made that in a long time, but corn pudding is always made for Thanksgiving and sometimes Christmas, too.)
I made an apple crisp with a walnut–oatmeal-cinnamon top, (while most others will have apple pie).
I made a small, rectangular pumpkin pie with an oat flour/almond meal pressed-in crust for him.
The one thing that this Son was sure that he would really miss was dressing, but I made a separate baked dressing, prepared with all of my standard dressing ingredients, however, instead of cubed bread I used quinoa. It seems to be pretty good, (if I do say so myself).
And so he can take some of the family-recipe spaghetti sauce home with him, I substituted firm polenta for pasta.
His diagnosis was quite recent, so I had to hustle, but it wasn’t hard. I’s never let it look difficult, anyway.
That’s the key to successful hosting: Never let it look hard, never let your guest, (or family), think that you are being put out.(This only holds for HOSTING. It they are putting you out or it’s too hard, tell them.)
For two Thanksgiving Wednesdays-Saturdays, I hosted an out-of-state cousin and her family. Her husband has multiple food allergies. Fortunately, I knew this, and I outright asked for specifics. That’s a major secret to making your life and your guests’ lives easier: ASK–“Do you have any dietary restrictions?” That way, you haven’t made cashew chicken if they have nut allergies. You won’t have them staring at your lasagna when they are gluten intolerant and they won’t need an EpiPen if they can’t handle seafood and you have put shrimp in your sauce.
(I once hosted an out-of-state boss of my husband’s, who had a heart attack and was on a completely fat-free diet. He sent Christmas cards for years afterward thanking me for my meals and the ideas I gave to him for his own food preparations.)
Never ask a guest: “Can I make something SPECIAL for you?”
Never let your guest feel like a burden.
Make as much of what you serve your family of the rest of your guests the same as what your guest needs, and have alternatives ready.
To have a little heads-up is a real help.
An old friend of my husband’s used to come in when he was passing through. He was an active man and a big eater, so I had a good-sized meal and heavy dessert ready, until I overheard him taking to my husband about his recent back injury, how inactive he had become and how he was now eating lean and healthy.
I had to hustle.
I don’t make fatty foods, so that wasn’t a problem, but I switched dessert to fruit and nuts, then I had to quickly think, change and repack the snack I had for him to take with him on the road.
Gluten-free for my son?
Piece of (flourless) cake!