Gransnet forums


Cooking for all needs...

(74 Posts)
ClareAB Wed 20-Feb-19 15:50:04

I used to love entertaining. It was fun to look through recipes, plan a meal, shop, prepare, cook, serve then relax with good friends, family and food. It was fun.
Now? now it's become a total drag. If I cook for my nearest and dearest, the following things have to be taken into consideration;
1 vegan, 2 vegetarians, another vegetarian who also can't eat anything with seeds in it. 1 sugar, spice, alcohol & dairy free (except for butter/cheese) 2 gluten free. I pork, lamb free. I red meat free except for wild game. 1 doesn't like nuts, another hates the taste of almonds, 1 doesn't 'do' chocolate...

This is just my closest family and closest friends. I love them all dearly, but...

Does anyone else look at the list of intolerances/dietary choices when trying to come up with something delicious and experience heart sink and a strong desire to crawl back to bed with a good book?

suzied Wed 20-Feb-19 16:07:07

But would you invite them all together? We quite often cater for 12-14 family members and there could be 3 vegans, I vegetarian, 4 kids who don't like anything too spicy, 1 elderly relative who doesn't want anything too chewy etc. We usually do a variety of curry dishes which can be a meat one , 3/4 different veggie dishes, a dahl, rice, chapatis, popadoms etc. Another good one for crowds is Paella - a traditional one plus a vegan one ,or a chilli which can be meat or vegan, maybe do one of each, with mexican sides - tortillas, guacamole etc. I wouldn't do a dinner party type meal for a big crowd, you could do a traditional roast with a vegan option like a nut or mushroom loaf plus a meat option which is fairly straightforward. Curries, chillies etc can be made a day or two in advance so not all last minute cooking. Enjoy the company! Or get in a takeaway!

grannysue05 Wed 20-Feb-19 16:08:21

Clare I sympathise with you and realise how lucky I am with my family who will eat absolutely anything.
It must be almost impossible for you to cook a meal if they all come at once!
I must admit that, although I love to cook the meal daily for GC's I now hate all the clearing up and washing pans etc.
Is your "fall-back meal" a salad?

M0nica Wed 20-Feb-19 16:39:04

I used to roll my eyes heavenward over those with eating restrictions, but then my first GD was born and within a year was being diagnosed with food allergies: nuts,sesame, salmon plus a couple items that she can now eat

Then DDiL developed an autoimmune disease. With that came food allergies: nuts, soya, fresh fruit and she carries an epipen everywhere.

So when we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary last year, I didn't bat an eyelid faced with the above plus 3 vegetarians and someone with IBS who could not eat anything spiced. I engaged a caterer and we had a vegetable slice to start with, folllowed by roast lamb and all the trimmings,for all but the vegetarians who had an aubergine dish, then an Eton Mess and DDiL had her strawberries poached carefully so that they did not lose their shape.

It was a lovely meal and, except for the main course, we all ate the same meal

Coconut Thu 21-Feb-19 10:08:39

I empathise ????? ! I live in a Granny annexe, my daughter and family are next door in the main house, and we always eat dinner together daily. I’m a vegetarian, my DD a pescatarian who is gluten intolerant, SIL eats anything unless it’s got “bits” in and GS is dairy intolerant ! Luckily we love cooking, but it’s very rare that we can all have the same meal !!

Tamayra Thu 21-Feb-19 10:11:51

Ask them to bring their own food !

Rabbitgran Thu 21-Feb-19 10:12:19

ClareAB I feel exactly the same about all the different dishes I have to cook when I have invited my family for a meal - vegetarian, vegans and food allergies. There's so much to prepare that the meal is always late no matter how much pre preparation I do and definitely not cooked as well as fewer dishes would be. Often overcooked good because I am waiting for a dish to cook to complete the meal. I have lost confidence, feel ashamed and anxious and don't enjoy these occasions like I used to do.

4allweknow Thu 21-Feb-19 10:12:46

Just wouldn't do it and would ask if any if your family would. Not taking away individual choice there is a recent theory that a lot of the food allergies around nowadays are due to babies being so late in being exposed to food. By the time they are weaned their immune system has kicked in and when given eg strawberry, nut,butter the immune system rejects them. My DM used to say babies may not be able to eat food but they should be exposed to most by just rubbing on their lips or tongue to let them "get used to it". Think she may have known a lot more than we do nowadays.

Urmstongran Thu 21-Feb-19 10:20:34

I’m lucky as my family & friends only have preferences.

1inamillion Thu 21-Feb-19 10:30:57

Fortunately my small family like similar things and have no allergies etc.
My dil is vegetarian but loves sausage rolls and bacon in a quiche ?

Magi Thu 21-Feb-19 10:34:21

Go out for a meal instead, or just do drinks and nibbles, you can still enjoy the company!

1inamillion Thu 21-Feb-19 10:37:56

I never gave my DC bought baby food. I, mil or my Mum cooked a roast on Sunday and I put a meat ,veg and gravy into a liquidiser and kept little containers in the fridge for the week. They are now 36 and 32 and eat everything, no allergies.
It was no bother to do this and far cheaper than buying jars etc

kwest Thu 21-Feb-19 10:39:55

It is too much for anyone to have to do all of that.
It might help to say that you love them all very much and that you love to see them but you no longer have the energy to cope with such a complicated meal to suit everyone. Ask them to offer some solutions.
Start by saying, I have a bit of a problem and I need your help to sort it out.

nettyandmasey Thu 21-Feb-19 10:43:06

I understand completely ?
I gluten free.
4 vegetarian
I no red meat or chicken in a slow cooker !
I diabetic.

red1 Thu 21-Feb-19 10:48:52

too many fads in todays world,more of the me, me etc
In the buddhist tradition if you were invited to someone's home you would eat whatever was on offer with thanks,
now that makes you think!

bikergran Thu 21-Feb-19 10:57:29

Maybe you could buy ready made meals..most supermarkets have a range of something for everyone .

HannahLoisLuke Thu 21-Feb-19 10:58:15

I agree with redl even though I don't eat meat and never have I don't expect to have separate dishes made for me. I just tuck into all the vegetable accompniaments.
Don't give a fig if there are meat juices in the gravy etc.
Just happy to have my dinner with friends and family, and cooked by somebody else!

Aepgirl Thu 21-Feb-19 11:01:16

I think I would just invite them for drinks and nibbles. So much easier to cater for all these different ‘wants’. Or have a ‘bring your own meal’ evening so that everybody can taste each other’s dishes.

EllanVannin Thu 21-Feb-19 11:05:46

No picking and choosing with my lot growing up. Babies had the same meals, pureed, result--------no allergies and everyone eats anything. I've never had any problems. Even when my stepson decided to go vegetarian, he still insisted on the gravy ( did he never realise it was made from the meat juices ) I didn't let on and he was non the worse.

jocork Thu 21-Feb-19 11:33:21

I have quite a few friends and family with dietary needs - 2 coeliacs, a few pescatarians, a few dairy free and recently a vegan, but have rarely entertained them at home and certainly not all together. It is often easiest to go out to eat as most restaurants can cater for these needs quite easily. It is more expensive but at least everyone can have what suits them and we can all relax and enjoy each other's company.

Hm999 Thu 21-Feb-19 11:51:20

Clare's If you cook a wheat-free vegan meal with no nuts, that pretty much covers the rest.

Saggi Thu 21-Feb-19 11:54:03

I’m with you EV..... don’t tolerate all these odd-balls. Brought up same way, don’t like it ...go hungry.

Chino Thu 21-Feb-19 12:11:02

I now have one granddaughter who is 16 who calls herself a pescatarian but wont eat most fish and also a 15 year-old grandson who is now a vegetarian. Don't know where they are getting their ideas from. It is difficult to make sure they are getting enough protein and vitamins

pen50 Thu 21-Feb-19 12:47:36

Ah, this is the kind of situation which requires a return to 18th century dining. Make a variety of mains and vegetables which permit everyone to eat something. Put them all in serving dishes on the table with instructions about what feeds whom. Save the leftovers and eat them as family meals over the next week or so.

I'm gluten free by necessity and I find it deeply embarrassing to have to ask, but I have no choice.

Tillybelle Thu 21-Feb-19 13:08:18

Wow! It does sound incredibly difficult!

I haven't had a proper kitchen for nearly two years..... I just can't entertain.. It's getting me down now.