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Mar 7, 2011 07:29 AM

In praise of picky eaters

People on 'special' diets get a lot of flak here - but I'd like to say a big 'thankyou' to anyone who eats a restricted diet.
Without them I'd not be cooking a dinner for 6 without meat, fish, seafood, bananas, eggs, wheat, barley, oranges, onions, cow-dairy, oats, buckwheat, gluten, leeks or tripe. OK, tripe is a meat, but one person said it was the only thing they wouldn't eat. And one person said they didn't eat 'creatures from the sea' - which I think I've got covered.
Without all the restrictions I'd not have done so much research and planning and would be cooking a much more mundane menu. I would not have discovered peanut-butter and maple syrup iced tofu (so yummy), I would not have made goats milk cajeta - nor would I have discovered a recipe for the most delicious coconut chutney.
So you have restrictions? Bring it on!

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  1. Well done of you. You rose to the challenge instead of whining about it (oh, right - that's me). Now you're an expert. You should apply to be on Chopped!

    1. Sorry, I completely misread OP's post.

      What did you finally come up with, menu-wise?


      3 Replies
      1. re: I used to know how to cook...

        The dinner guests just left and my gosh that was yummy.
        We started with an asian soupstock in little cups served with vegetable filled rice paper rolls, plum sauce and coconut chutney. Which was OK but the weakest part of the meal.
        The main course was griddled polenta (seasoned with coriander, garlic and habanero) with roast cherry vine tomatoes, spinach with pine nuts, griddled courgette slices, roast red peppers stuffed with feta and walnuts - and a pepper/tomato/mole sauce, plus a Rick Bayliss simmered chile sauce - there was also a habanero salsa that I did warn people about but no-one listened! The whole plate was total deliciousness. Meat eating guests said they'd happily pay for food that good in a restaurant. Which was nice.
        Desert was peanut butter/maple syrup frozen tofu, chocolate sorbet, goat milk caramel (cajeta), caramel and chocolate dipped physalis.
        Then some goat and ewe cheeses with walnuts, apples and grapes.
        Then chocolate truffles.
        The only restricted items were bread (the non bread eating person had rice crackers with the cheese) and the truffles (which contained cream - I had been unable to locate goat cream).
        All in all - I think it went rather well.
        Shame about the mountain of washing up....

        1. re: Peg

          Oh my! That sounds simply fabulous!

          Can I come to your house next time?? (I'll help with the dishes...)


          1. re: Peg

            Yes, the washing up is the worst part of a dinner party, isn't it! Fortunately I have very pushy friends who won't take no for an answer when it comes to the tidying up! :)

            It all sounds WONDERFUL. Well done you.

        2. Onya, Peg!! You're right, restrictions of nearly any kind tend to increase creativity. Necessity, after all, being the mother of ... something something... ;)

          1. Can you tell us more about that tofu? I'm intrigued!

            1 Reply
            1. re: darklyglimmer

              I found it here -
              I used goat milk instead of soy but stuck to tofu as the main ingredient. The tofu is 'invisible' - the ice cream tastes of sweet peanut butter. I'll be serving it as part of an 'assembled' dessert plate alongside chocolate sorbet, cajeta, caramel shards and caramel dipped physalis.

            2. I applaud your willingness to work around all those NOs. But I'm also curious to know if this group volunteered there eating issues or did you ask? I invited a woman to Thanksgiving dinner many years ago--before everyone and their brother had food issues--and it wasn't until we sat down to eat that she decided to mention she was a vegetarian...there were enough non-meat dishes and thank god she wasn't vegan so the mashed potatoes were a big hit. But really, either tell me early enough that I can plan the menu or don't tell me at all. Glad yours turned out well.

              1 Reply
              1. re: escondido123

                I asked.
                I knew one person has major issues, and that she never eats out because it is just too difficult - and rather than just working round her I figured I may as well cook food that everyone would/could eat. Luckily the person who doesn't eat vegetables couldn't make it, or we'd have been eating a bowl of plain rice or polenta!