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Allergy etiquette question

jmarya Nov 13, 2013 08:00 PM

I'm going to my BF's aunt's house for Thanksgiving. I have a nut allergy.

Last year, she made a stuffing with walnuts and cooked it inside the turkey, rendering it inedible for me. No big deal, I'm not a huge turkey fan and there were more than enough sides to fill me up. She seemed a little distressed that I wasn't able to eat the main dish.

Would it be ruder to have my BF send her an e-mail or FB message to remind her or ruder to not and not be able to eat her food again, assuming she makes the same recipe? If you were hosting, would you want to know, or would you want to make your recipes in peace and not worry about your nephew's girlfriend's allergy?

I'm perfectly happy filling up on side dishes (I tend to like the vegetable dishes more anyway), but I just want to be a good guest. :(

  1. almond tree Nov 13, 2013 08:18 PM

    I would want to know.

    1 Reply
    1. re: almond tree
      TeRReT Nov 13, 2013 08:23 PM

      I would definitely remind her as early as possible, but also let her know you are not picky and happy to eat whatever is easiest for her.

    2. k
      kitchengardengal Nov 13, 2013 08:22 PM

      I would definitely have your boyfriend tell his aunt. She'd feel much worse if she forgot than she had the first time simply not knowing.
      When I feed people , I want them to enjoy my food, and I don't mind at all having the opportunity to try new recipes.

      1. a
        autumm Nov 13, 2013 08:24 PM

        I think since you will be a more than once guest, I feel it is okay for you or your boyfriend to politely, quietly, let her know that you have nut allergies. Tell her (if you feel this way) you don't want to change her food, it looks lovely, etc, but that is why you aren't eating anything with nuts in it. Cause that would really add to the evening's entertainment, and not in a good way. And then go crazy with the mashed potatoes and all the other good sides.

        I'm a mom of a nut allergic toddler. "but it's just a little bit" from family members drives me Crazy!

        2 Replies
        1. re: autumm
          jmarya Nov 13, 2013 08:34 PM

          The worst is honestly my parents! It's a miracle I survived to adulthood...

          My mother freaked out once because she saw me eating a sesame seed bagel, but then gave me a container of pine nut pesto.

          Every holiday, without fail, my dad asks if I will bake him a pecan pie.

          1. re: jmarya
            Monica Nov 15, 2013 01:45 PM


        2. b
          bobbert Nov 13, 2013 09:24 PM

          Especially since the aunt seemed distressed that you weren't able the eat everything last year, it makes sense to let her know. As you suggest, your bf should add that you are happy with the sides and don't want to put anyone out. Proper etiquette IMO is for your bf to mention it with the caveat for her not to make special accommodations for you and then the proper etiquette for the aunt would be to make some special accommodation. Many times I've made a side meatless stuffing for the girlfriend of a nephew. Always want my guests to be happy.

          1. h
            HoosierFoodie Nov 14, 2013 07:36 AM

            I would want to know, too. I might make one with and one without nuts if that isn't too much. But for an allergy (or for religious reasons) I would have no issues changing the menu or recipe.

            I would not necessarily change it for the "I don't like _____" person though I might if I had any concern that there wouldn't be enough alternatives.

            1. cronker Nov 14, 2013 03:19 PM

              Certainly I would have the bf remind the host.
              And, if it didn't come across as presumptuous, perhaps providing the cook with a stuffing recipe that is nut free? There are many delicious stuffing recipes without nuts.

              1. k
                kcshigekawa Nov 14, 2013 03:51 PM

                I'd definitely ask the BF to remind her.

                1. l
                  lsmutko Nov 14, 2013 04:03 PM

                  I'd absolutely want to be reminded.

                  I understand you don't want to be trouble or perceived as picky, but I'd want to know and would find a way to work with it. I'd feel worse if I'd forgotten and made something you couldn't eat again.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lsmutko
                    cronker Nov 14, 2013 04:08 PM

                    Yes, this.

                    Think about it. One of the most pleasurable parts of cooking is the enjoyment your food brings to your guests.
                    No one who is passionate about cooking likes to see their food thrown in the bin.
                    I would worry and fret about any of my guests if I served a meal they could not eat.
                    And besides, which cook on this website wouldn't love and rise to the challenge of making a dish with specific dietary requirements?

                  2. girloftheworld Nov 14, 2013 04:46 PM

                    it is an allergy it must be said because if you are like mu cousin cross contamination can also be a problem and the hostess needs to know to be extra careful and not just pick out the almonds from the green beans..

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: girloftheworld
                      latindancer Nov 15, 2013 11:00 AM

                      <cross contamination can also be a problem>

                      So true.

                    2. a
                      amishangst Nov 14, 2013 05:08 PM

                      Instead of reminding her (or asking your boyfriend to remind her), I would probably call her personally, thank her profusely for extending the invitation to you for Thanksgiving, and then ask "Is there anything I can bring? I can bring an additional main dish or casserole without nuts so you don't have to do anything special for my nut allergy."

                      While it has the potential to backfire requiring you to bring something, most likely the end result is "Oh, no dear, of course you don't have to bring a thing. It's no problem to leave out the nuts so don't you worry." And you have the added bonus of appearing as a gracious and thoughtful guest.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: amishangst
                        kcshigekawa Nov 15, 2013 09:47 AM

                        That is a very graceful way of dealing with the situation; I would no doubt respond just the way you've imagined!

                        1. re: amishangst
                          LeoLioness Nov 26, 2013 10:11 AM

                          Agreed. I think this is the way to go.

                          (And I agree with the others that I would absolutely want to know about an allergy, particularly when it could be much more far-reaching than one dish).

                        2. s
                          Sherri Nov 14, 2013 05:18 PM

                          Something, as hostess, I had forgotten re: nut allergies is to also avoid nut-based liqueurs like Amaretto, etc. Learned this after a darling guest reminded me of her nut allergy when I was serving what I thought was a nut-free dessert. You might add this to the gentle reminder for the auntie.
                          I keep a notebook of "Guest Likes and Dislikes" with allergies highlighted in RED. They are a No Nonsense deal.

                          Hope that you have a Happy Thanksgiving.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Sherri
                            jmarya Nov 15, 2013 08:48 AM

                            Yes, I often don't like being a bit rude but I don't always trust when people tell me 'it's nut-free!' so I have to interrogate them a bit.

                            The liqueurs thing is a big one.

                            Or like when my friend made a pizza and I asked her what was in it. "Don't worry, no nuts!" "Okay, but what's in it?" "Vegetables, pesto and cheese!" :|

                            1. re: jmarya
                              Chowrin Nov 26, 2013 04:27 PM

                              It's not rude if it's for your health. really, it's not.
                              Look a bit abashed, but be persistent.

                              And be glad it's a nut allergy, and not an egg allergy or a gluten allergy!

                              1. re: Chowrin
                                chefathome Nov 26, 2013 05:38 PM

                                I agree. When your health/life is at stake you do what you have to do to eat safely. Since my celiac diagnosis I have grown more assertive out of necessity. Whenever eating somewhere other than my home, I practically grill people on ingredients, prep, cross contamination, etc. I have no choice.

                                Usually to peoples' homes I must take my own food, without drawing attention to it. The responsibility for my health lies with me and my life is valuable to me. Most people are very kind, even if they do not understand.

                                1. re: chefathome
                                  Chowrin Nov 27, 2013 06:45 AM

                                  I'd try to serve you /something/ at least... maybe some lentils and carrot stew?
                                  Then again, i don't do huge dinner parties.

                                  1. re: Chowrin
                                    chefathome Nov 27, 2013 04:58 PM

                                    Thanks for the effort! :)

                                    1. re: chefathome
                                      Chowrin Nov 29, 2013 07:15 AM

                                      It's just that it's sad to sit while everyone else eats.

                                      1. re: Chowrin
                                        chefathome Nov 29, 2013 08:46 AM

                                        But the food I make and bring is far better, anyway. I bring a few dishes to share and they disappear first. :-)

                            2. re: Sherri
                              Platypus3702 Nov 26, 2013 04:40 PM

                              I love the idea of keeping a notebook with preferences and allergies. At my wedding we actually opted to go with a wide array of appetizers rather than a sit down meal, because between our two families, there were so many food issues we couldn't figure out what entrees would be okay! Cooking holiday meals can be equally tricky.

                            3. j
                              jmarya Nov 15, 2013 08:45 AM

                              Thanks everyone!

                              BF and I called her last night to thank her for inviting me and to find out if I could bring anything (bf's family knows I enjoy cooking/baking). Managed to make a joke about how I'd make "anything but pecan pie!" and she laughed and told me that she remembered my allergy from last year and not to worry.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: jmarya
                                phofiend Nov 15, 2013 10:59 AM

                                Well done!

                                1. re: jmarya
                                  girloftheworld Nov 15, 2013 03:21 PM

                                  They are going to love having you a part of the family... my fake physic power say a proposal for chistmas :)

                                2. s
                                  sandylc Nov 26, 2013 04:13 PM

                                  It is so refreshing that you were all kind, polite adults in this situation. So many times people get nasty in these situations and that just isn't necessary. Good job.

                                  1. angelo04 Nov 26, 2013 04:36 PM

                                    A little late but you probably could have just emailed her this thread lol.

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