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Apr 18, 2009 10:51 AM

How much should I be expecting?

I am allergic to eggs and fish. Naturally, this makes it very difficult for other people to feed me. I understand that, and I feel uncomfortable having people go out of their way to accommodate my diet. So instead of having people bend over backwards trying to find something for me to eat when going over to someone's house for dinner (not a fancy sit-down dinner or anything), I often just don't tell them and I'll just eat what i can eat. If there's nothing there for me to eat, that's fine too because I'll just eat something later and make sure I wasn't starving when I arrived (grab a light bite before).

When the inevitable situation arrives when people do ask me why I'm either not eating, or not eating particular items of food that has been prepared, I explain that I am allergic. There are many different reactions I get: sometimes, people feel bad and say they wish that they knew and then try to find something for me that i can eat and it ends up being a big ordeal. I really appreciate all the effort, but I really feel bad about making the host go through all the trouble. Sometimes, the host doesn't care. Other times, the host just plain doesn't understand/doesn't believe in allergies and I have to deal with the funny looks/rants. I'm deathly allergic to fish (I carry an epipen and wear a medicalert bracelet), but if I accidentally eat something that contains eggs, I'll just break out in hives in a few hours but otherwise have no other symptoms. So I guess that sometimes leads people to think that I am faking my egg allergy...

So, I guess my question is concerning what I should be doing and how I should be dealing with allergies? What would you want a guest with allergies to do?

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  1. As a host , I like to a fellow allergy sufferer, I do the same - eat what I can. I can't eat wheat, eggs or dairy.
    I think it depends, what is the event - how well do you know the host. With an allergy that causes symptoms severe enough for an epi pen. LET the host know. I'm not gonna die - just be sick for a couple of days so I find I don't speak up that much.

    5 Replies
    1. re: coastie

      Personally, I would rather cook food that a person would be able to eat it instead of wasting my time and pocketbook to just let it sit there.

        1. re: sharhamm

          Yeah, I completely understand that reasoning. But the kinds of events I always seem to go to have food served buffet-style for large numbers of people. Isn't it asking for a lot and having to go through more trouble than it's worth to accommodate one person only? For smaller sit-down dinners, I tell the host because everyone eats together and is expected to eat everything and the numbers for food is exactly planned out. It would definitely be unfair for me to not tell the host in that situation, I feel. But what about the other setting I described? Those are the ones I've always been most unsure about.

          1. re: focioncroci

            This is a bit confusing - in the initial post it sounded like you were asking about served meals, not buffet-style. In the latter case it's not all that obvious who's choosing what, and you're not expected to eat every single item, so I wouldn't expect you to be questioned. In the case of a sit-down event, as a host/cook it's my responsibility to serve you a meal you can eat, and also my earnest wish that you enjoy your food - so I'd feel awful if I learned after the fact that you didn't mention your allergies because you didn't want to impose.

            1. re: greygarious

              If they are casual affairs, you can always inform your host and in the same breath, offer to bring something that you can eat, to share with everyone. The host can always decline if they aren't comfortable with that idea.

      1. Hope for bread and butter and strategically push stuff around on your plate?
        When asked, look them right in the eye and loudly respond: Have I told you how AMAZING you look in that sweater? The green makes your lipstick just POP!
        I actually saw myself in your reply- if I found out as we were eating that one person couldn't eat- I would find them something to eat and probably cause them inner turmoil because (like in your case) they were trying to be 'kind' by not telling me so I didn't go out of my way. Blah!
        It's totally ok to let me know before you come over- we're friends, right?
        If you are over and you're not eating, I'll ask you if I can get you anything else and if you tell me no, then I'll make sure I corner you later and find out- not a big deal, I really only want you to be happy. And EAT. I can't help it, it's in my genes- everyone must eat!!

        1. "I often just don't tell them and I'll just eat what i can eat."
          If your hosts are asking you re allergies and likes and dislikes they care ...that's why we ask. You should tell them . I don't think it is a huge challenge to work around no eggs or fish. As a host I would want to know . although I once ( get the historical context) knew someone who claimed allergy to all but what seemed water and organic salad greens. The list which she submitted in writing was like the Library of Congress...we prepared as usual with no obvious killers like peanuts or shrimp and figured she would fend for herself which she did ( they were a couple of large buffet dinner parties) That I think is the genesis of the Doubtful ....

          1. It's pretty easy to work around fish and eggs. Dessert might be a bit challenging, but there's always pie!

            1. ALWAYS tell the host/cook that you are deathly allergic to fish and eggs in any form (ok so the eggs bit is a tiny fib...). Be polite, of course, but ask them if they can please work around that because you'd hate to ruin their party when the ambulance comes for you.

              Fish and eggs are VERY easy to work around. And if there's a host who won't work around you; decline any further invitations - "I'm sorry, we can't come to your party because it's too expensive. You always cook fish or eggs and I end up in the emergency room".