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A Non-Offensive Universally Acceptable Meal

I was just reading the thread with the title "How to ask guest to pay for meal/drinks at dinner?" Among other things that the OP was called out for: acknowledging that not all of her guests might want to eat the food that she wanted to serve. I can't think of any subset of my friends that wouldn't have problems with any single meal that I wanted to serve.

In this day and age, I was wondering if there was any meal in America that a group of your friends would ALL be happy to eat. I ask this, because I think that breaking the same bread together is a powerful shared experience. Not having a separate children's menu. No separate entree that is gluten free and one that is vegetarian.

So imagine just 15 of your closest friends coming to a meal and eating at one long table with joy in their hearts. What single coherent meal and beverage could you possibly serve to all of them?

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    1. re: jpc8015

      LOLZ on steak.

      Not a chance.
      Ewwww. That was killed and was a cow once and if grilled, has waaay too many carcinogens. Do you know what that would do to my complexion and life expectancy? Hahahahaha,

      Heck even with water, you'd have to offer tap water, sparkling water , fizzy water and even a few brands like Fiji to keep everone happy.

      Could "I" do a univeral meal for 15 of my friends, even if those included two that have shellfish allergies and one that is diabetic nevermind the picky eaters?

      Sure.

      But while foodie is the new trend, the "isms" like no-carb/low carb, special diet by choice,religious beliefs, etc. is the other side of the bell curve. Add in picky eaters, those that fear foods due to "control issues" or parental rearing of non-adventerous eaters and it's gets REAL murky REAL fast.

      I expose people to new foods, flavors and restaurants all the time, but for some, it boils down to a lot of anxiety.

      I'd go on but I;ve got to go find some "free-range" bologna and gluten free charcoal for this weekends party.

      Oh, and thanks thinks too much for the thread.
      It will be a CH classic. I feel it already. :-)

        1. re: Chowrin

          If my "friends" don't like that I am serving steak they can stay home. By the way, my steak is not grass fed, organic, or locally sourced. I got it at Costco.

          1. re: jpc8015

            That would be my source, too.
            Excellent selection- for eg. their flap steak is fabulous and could feed a crowd quite economically.

            1. re: monavano

              I think you all lost the fact that I was being "tongue-in-cheek" with my response if you saw my posts in the rest of the CH fourms.

              I find Italian based cuisines and summer American BBQ/cookouts the easiest to apease 14 friends.

              I don't even find that a challenge in my world.

              Add in work associates, and "loose" friends and yes, it can get iffy.

              As for steak? Hellz yes for me.
              But I;m back to my post above. Lots of food-based "isms" and restrictions these days for folks- religious, medical, allergy and "self imposed" and others.

              It can get fussy to the point of exhaustion as others have stated.

              Sorry you missed my point.

              1. re: jjjrfoodie

                Oh work potluck is impossible. Last Christmas I contributed money to 1) a Portuguese chicken order and 2) a Halal chicken order; baked 3) rum cake with nuts and 4) rum cake without nuts (the Carribeans ask for my white girl, white rum cake every year; one is allergic to nuts) and made 5) taco dip for the vegetarian, non-alcoholic yogini (the vegetarian Indians think this dish is exotic and really enjoy it). Thank god the Jains left our group, lacto-vegetarian with no garlic or onion just pushed me past the point of wanting to accommodate anyone. Which is why I started making the rum cake.

                1. re: julesrules

                  Whoah! Your generosity with your coworkers is impressive! I suspect i would have just given up and just brought a non exciting fruit platter.....

                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                    there are fruit platters, and then there are fruit platters.
                    some are made up of the tired, cut-up fruit that has been sitting in the fridge at costco for half a day

                    others are freshly made, beautifully designed, include berries from FORBIDDEN FRUIT, and fruit from Polito farm, Mangos, Papayas, fresh coconut slices, . . . .

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      And my mother and daughter are both allergic to strawberries (like many many others on this planet), so back down the "rabbit hole" ya go about the "you still can't accomodate everyone all the time" premise.

                      Sorry. :-)
                      :-P

                      1. re: jjjrfoodie

                        How about them apples?

                        While they can be boring and diabetics might have to limit their apple intake, I haven't met anyone allergic to apples , and they're gluten-free. Organic will keep the organic people happy. Also Fruititarian friendly.

                        1. re: prima

                          Me. Red delicious in particular, possibly other varieties as well.

                          1. re: LMAshton

                            Oh, too bad. While I haven't met anyone with an apple allergy, I didn't mean to suggest that apple allergies didn't exist.

                            1. re: prima

                              our allergist said he had a patient that only reacted to green apples but not red. I developed a severe allergy to nectarines and peaches in my early 30's that required an ER trip and several epi pens and steroids up the ying yang. i'm also orally allergic to mangoes and pineapple.

                              1. re: trolley

                                Strangely, I started reacting to red apples first, then green later. Now it's everything. I'm allergic to peaches and nectarines as well, and several other fruits. Really miss fresh peach pie.

                                1. re: jw615

                                  oh me too jw615! i miss nectarine galettes! luckily i'm still ok with plums which is no substitute for a fresh peach but it'll suffice. i'm sorry about your apple allergy. it's a weird one like peach but oh wells!

                                2. re: trolley

                                  My condolences. Being allergic to mangoes, peaches, and nectarines (and i'm guessing apricots, too) would break my heart right in half.

                                3. re: prima

                                  Oh, I didn't take it that you were suggesting apple allergies didn't exist. I just thought I'd chime in as someone who was, well, contrary. :P

                              2. re: prima

                                Well, hello.

                                We haven't met in person, but I'm allergic to apples. Last time I came in contact with them (a preschooler accidentally got some applesauce on my face, and I inadvertently got a bit in my mouth) I got to stab myself with the pen and ride in an ambulance.

                                1. re: prima

                                  I'm allergic to apples. A serious allergy in childhood, confirmed by an allergist. I can tolerate them to some degree as an adult, especially if they are cooked (apple pancake) or fermented (cider).

                                  And I have no problem whatsoever with strawberries, or any other berry.

                                  1. re: lagatta

                                    it's a weird one as it's not in the top 8 but it exists. my husband gets oral allergy with strawberries. my son is allergic to all nuts and peanuts. we are a fun bunch.

                              3. re: Ttrockwood

                                Yeah it was a series of bad decisions on my part including going along with my boss who feels obligated about the halal order and then downloads the obligation to his junior managers. I enjoy making the easy, crowd pleasing cake and dip so I'll stick to that next time. I make the dip primarily for one guy who can't eat the cake but has his mother make the most delicious punjabi sweet rice, which is mostly on my request because people mostly avoid it because either they don't know what it is or it's *too* familiar/ homey for them.
                                Yup, work potluck. Impossible.

                          2. re: jpc8015

                            jpc,
                            I love costco steaks. Lean is good!

                      2. Gluten free pasta with marinara sauce (vegan)? If you can expand a bit, you could always add a side dish of meatballs for meat lovers, and cheese for vegetarians.

                        Then again, if you go that route you can do so with a lot of other options as well. Taco bar, salad bar, etc.

                        I guess the only single universally accepted beverage would probably be water. Or maybe sparkling water.

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                          Along this line, grilling out where you can provide meat/vegetarian/vegan options along with various side dishes. But in terms of a plated meal - nope.

                          And with my friends.....I think we could get away with serving wine and water. But I'm not 100% sure.

                            1. re: biondanonima

                              Damn, bionda! I forgot about that. Well, the salad idea might still work.

                              1. re: biondanonima

                                if you serve ratatouille along side, many low-carbers can work with that.

                              2. re: ludmilasdaughter

                                This carbaholic has no interest in GF pasta or vegetables pretending to be pasta or gluten (such as the tragedy of the cauliflower pizza crust).

                                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                  Yes, I think that whole idea is idiotic.
                                  If you want gf, eat Rice.
                                  If you want fiber, eat oatmeal.

                                  Find foods that you like, that are doing what you want.
                                  You'll be happier than trying to say "I want to be Normal!"

                                2. re: ludmilasdaughter

                                  Just water for me, please -- I hate sparkling water. ;)

                                  1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                                    WATER?! As W.C.Fields said, 'Fish pee in it!'

                                    1. re: mwhitmore

                                      I believe the phrase was "fish f*ck in it" At least that's what my dad told me!

                                      1. re: foodieX2

                                        "fish f*ck in it"

                                        You are correct, sir. And even worse, my original answer that the only universally acceptable food would be water - is wrong for a reason I knew already. How could I even have considered a meal that excluded W.C. Fields???!!!!???

                                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                            "the fatal glass of beer."

                                            OMG that might be the greatest movie ever made. 'And it ain't a fit night out for MAN nor BEAST...."

                                  2. Honestly, probably nothing. I have vegetarian friends and vegan friends and paleo friends and friends with allergies.

                                    Closest we could probably do is a make-your-own taco bar type thing.

                                    That's why most social gatherings are informal and potluck style.

                                    1. I've got no vegans or completely gluten-free people in my closest circle, so Italian-American vegetarian (lasagna, eggplant parm) would probably work if I ever had to actually do this for some reason.

                                      1. Spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread and green salad. I don't think there's anyone who object to your basic spaghetti unless they're celiac...

                                        or else a good old-fashioned roast chicken and roasted root veggies... (I'm assuming that the attendees are not vegetarian)

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Kajikit

                                          " I don't think there's anyone who object to your basic spaghetti unless they're celiac..."

                                          or Paleo, or on Atkins or imagine themselves gluten sensitive - you are basically providing a carb fest - Public enemy # 1 is wheat lately so unless its quinoa pasta and spelt bread your in trouble in my hood

                                          1. re: JTPhilly

                                            I'm low carb because I'm diabetic., Wheat, quinoa, spelt all nfg and unsafe. My husband eats low carb because he has no health or weight problems and wants to stay that way.

                                          2. re: Kajikit

                                            Some of my husband's Sri Lankan relatives. His mother doesn't like pasta at all, nor do some of the others. Roast chicken would only work if it was super spiced up.

                                            1. re: Kajikit

                                              Sorry, I'd probably be sick the rest of the evening. Not diagnosed celiac. And please don't bother with GF pasta; I get the same GI response. But I'd come and hang out with you, and eat salad. And not make a fuss. So please don't be offended if I ask whether or not you used breadcrumbs in the meatballs, and merely nibble on the spaghetti and garlic bread.

                                            2. "just 15 of your closest friends"! There's the problem. When you can count your friends on one hand, life is immensely simpler. One of the advantages of being a misanthrope.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                I don't have '15 close friends' either...

                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                  I run with a pretty big crowd. When you actually love your friends, it's not that complicated.

                                                  1. re: LeoLioness

                                                    Unless they're the type to draw knives. In which case, caution about alcohol is recommended.

                                                  2. re: GH1618

                                                    That too. My friends tend to also be my family, with about 4 additions.

                                                  3. It's not the meal, it's the company.

                                                    In my family alone, there are people who eat "differently" for reasons ranging from severe allergy/medical condition to religious belief to lifestyle choice. For that reason, when I eat with extended family there are many entree choices instead of one.

                                                    My nephew made his First Communion last week. In attendance were folks who didn't eat meat in general (four legged; fish and eggs and fowl ok), some who didn't eat pork or shellfish, some who don't eat any wheat products, some who are low-carb. Everyone brought something for the communal table that they could eat and share. Kyle's mom and dad provided wine/beer/coffee/tea sparkling and still waters, and desserts of a cookie and brownie tray, a cake, and a fruit, nut and cheese tray. If you wanted something different to drink you brought it (one guest brought mixings for Bloody Marys). It was excellent, and what Kyle will remember is not only good food, but having all of his family around him.

                                                    1. I think whole roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and a mixed green salad with a choice of dressing on the side is pretty non offensive to anybody I know.

                                                      20 Replies
                                                      1. re: alliegator

                                                        Those mashed potatoes don't have dairy in them do they? And they're organic right?

                                                        1. re: jpc8015

                                                          Who knows and yup. You don't want the taters, skip 'em ;)

                                                          1. re: jpc8015

                                                            they're still carbs - so is the corn... Double Carbs! How dare you threaten my paleo diet by temping me with double carbs.

                                                            is that corn GMO?

                                                            Is the butter on it from grass fed dairy or does is have RBGH?

                                                            oh, its margarine - you know I don't eat trans-fats

                                                            Are the greens Organic? I am pesticide sensitive.

                                                            There's no nuts in that salad are there? or berries?

                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                              Not having friends who are obnoxious about food is key, apparently.

                                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                                Is the chicken locally sourced?

                                                                Yes..and we even know her name!

                                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                                    I wonder how much funnier that joke will get when it's more than 2 years old?

                                                                    Perhaps it needs a dry-aging period during which it's not told every day? Hmmmm.....

                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                      No, I think it needs to be told each and every day until the hipsters in Portland abandon the extreme locally sourced trend. Every menu in the city lists off the name of the farm where a piece of chicken or beef comes from. It is absurd. As absurd as telling the joke every day.

                                                                      1. re: jpc8015

                                                                        I find it much less absurd than expending more fossil fuels/middlemen/cost to truck in chicken from some Big Chicken megaplant somewhere far away.

                                                                        And the local source 'trend' isn't just a 'hipster' thing.. I live in farm country and the local joints list the local sources of their eggs, sausage, bacon, chickens, cheese, maple syrup, etc. and these places are as far from 'hipster' as you can get.

                                                                        1. re: cringle22

                                                                          In the end, when it comes to consumption, isn't too much information better than too little?

                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                            When I go to a restaurant for the first time I don't care to know the names of all five of the children of the farmer who grew the asparagus on my plate.

                                                                        2. re: jpc8015

                                                                          jpc,
                                                                          I dunno about portland (it's a port) but in pittsburgh, I like local. it's way fresher.

                                                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                                                            Sure, I like local too. It just seems that Portlanders have taken it to extremes.

                                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                                              Some folks don't like to be low information, I guess.

                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                These folks who don't like to be "low information" are some of the most low information voters around. I would rather spend my time educating myself on things that matter opposed to the feeding schedule for the chickens whose manure fertilized the lettuce for my salad.

                                                                          2. re: jpc8015

                                                                            It clearly is an issue that is very dear to your heart.

                                                                            Keep up the good fight. It's probably *the* most important battle we face in this country today.

                                                                    2. re: jpc8015

                                                                      Of course! I raise them right here in my city condo. Keeps me popular with the neighbors!

                                                                    3. re: alliegator

                                                                      Roasted chicken only if it's super spicy!

                                                                    4. Since most of my friends are foodies and we always serve a diverse menu everyone always finds something to eat. OTOH if you couldn't you probably wouldn't be our friend for long.

                                                                      Perhaps you are looking at this all wrong and should take this as a way to weed out the wheat from the chaff, unless you love to hang out with a bunch of whiners. I know this is not PC but so be it, our rather large group of non-whiner, stress free friends have a whole lot of fun together.

                                                                      1. North America sometimes feels like in place of a "cuisine" we have a collection of food issues. I have largely given up trying to follow who's Paleo this week and who isn't vegan anymore, who just decided to become a pescatarian and who just watched Food Inc. and cant eat anything but spouted spelt seeds.

                                                                        As someone who can sit down and enjoy almost any meal I find it hard to wrap my head around so many issues - I try to tailor my dish if I am bringing something to the crowd as best I can and if I entertain have a variety of options.

                                                                        One thing I generally find is that the people who have real food issues - serious allergies or medical conditions or deeply held beliefs - vegetarian, halal, kosher, Hindu don't expect to be treaded special and know how to work around whatever is provided - its the people with BS "issues" that tend to flaunt and whine about how they can't eat this or that and make a scene both at home or dining out.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                          I feel exactly the same way. Real food issues, I get that. I just came off a restricted diet myself after surgery and it was a pain in the rear. Which is why is baffles me that people would choose to create food issues for themselves. But people have their reasons, I guess.
                                                                          And that's why if I'm hosting a group of people I don't know well, I'll just suggest a nice restaurant that has something for everyone and they can choose their own meal.

                                                                          1. re: alliegator

                                                                            It's called "being special" -- OH, I don't eat Greek Yogurt kind of special.

                                                                            Anal-retentive was invented for a reason.

                                                                          2. re: JTPhilly

                                                                            Americans don't take well to moderation.

                                                                            The thought reminds me of an old Saturday night live sketch with John Belushi playing Elizabeth Taylor being interviewed about her new "only-chicken" diet.

                                                                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvmEe...

                                                                            1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                              Yeah, I'm one of those with food issues. I have an allergy list longer than my shopping list. The husband also has food sensitivities and is Muslim, so requires Halal. And yeah, we work around what's available.

                                                                            2. I'm trying to think of just "one" dish everyone will/can eat. There can be no shellfish, nuts, ham or pork, and two of the guests are diabetic.

                                                                              Green salad and Insalata Caprese.
                                                                              Roast Turkey
                                                                              Meatloaf
                                                                              Green Beans
                                                                              Cranberry Sauce
                                                                              Bread and/or rolls (basket)
                                                                              Roasted Cauliflower
                                                                              Cheese and fruit platter
                                                                              Coffee/Diet Coke/Water

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: laliz

                                                                                Tamatar Khabli Chana Usal

                                                                                Rice on the side for the non-diabetics

                                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                  Chick peas or lentils, too, nfg for diabetics.

                                                                              2. Salad Bar with fresh cut fruit and melon
                                                                                sparkling water

                                                                                1. I used to be part of a cabin construction crew along the Applachian Trail. We would take turns cooking for the group which was about 15 or so. I cooked a vegetable stew that was made for me when visitng friends in France. It contained potato, brussel sprouts, red pepper, lemon, and fennel. Along side I served slices of saucisson and camembert with French bread. Worked for everyone.

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                                    That sounds so good! Do you have a recipe?

                                                                                    1. re: thingmaker

                                                                                      No recipe, the vegetables and lemon wedges get put into a pot with some water in whatever combination you like, though usually there is more potato than anythign else. Also there is mayo on the side, and folks can add that / mix it in as they like. it's very much a simple picnic type of meal.

                                                                                    2. re: Steve

                                                                                      Yeah, I find a good hard workday makes anything taste better.

                                                                                      1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                        Yes, after a day of hard work they were too hungry and tired to be silly about food. And that was unusually good food for a working camp.

                                                                                    3. My friends love a traditional thanksgiving dinner with good wine.

                                                                                      1. Just to give you a little more background: in the thread I cited, the OP wanted to throw a party serving a special meal (crawfish boil). She acknowledged that not all people eat crawfish.; did not claim knowledge that any of her intended guests did not eat crawfish. But then, how often do you sit down with each of your friends to chow on crawfish? There were some posters who called her out on her insensitivity to the non-crawfish eaters.

                                                                                        When I entertain, there are always meat options, gluten-free options, vegetarian, alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. Most of my gatherings are potluck, but I start with a solid basis of food and beverage before people walk through the door. Even when it's not potluck, I don't get upset if people bring food.

                                                                                        However, after reading a few too many Not About Food threads, there is apparently a sizable contingent of chowhounds for whom potluck is anathema: contrary to the principles of quality food and quality hosting. I started thinking about a simplified approach while still practicing generosity. What can you possibly give that makes people happy rather than dissatisfied? The answers will vary from person to person depending on their group of friends.

                                                                                        I am not likely to change my hosting style any time soon. I like being hospitable and flexible to any guest darkening my door. I just thought of this as a mental exercise.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: thinks too much

                                                                                          It's a freaking crawfish boil. You Invite folks to a Crawfish Boil (it's not a dinner, it's it's own thing). Voila! Problem solved.

                                                                                          If it's weird, ask before people get there. Have a sub if you wish, but... eh. You can always invite them next time.

                                                                                        2. Well, it wasn't a plated meal, but I recently did food for a group of 8, two breakfasts, two lunches and snacks. It was for meals at an event where we had no cooking facilities beyond a microwave and a coffee maker. We had one celiac, one who eats mostly pescatarian (a little chicken every now and then) and the rest pretty much eat anything. I took grilled chicken tenders, steamed shrimp, a variety of veggies/dips, cheese and crackers, fruit, bread and rolls, a mixture of sweets and snacks - some gluten free, nuts and some breakfast pastries (some gluten free), coffee and juice. We all ate well and there was very little left over.

                                                                                          1. I have way more than 15 friends. They ALL know what to expect at Chez Cheflambo. The rule is ... if you cant eat it, don't eat it. No whining. There will be meat. Probably fish or shellfish (in season). A big salad. Lots of vegetables/crudités. Good bread. And a gluten-free option if my one gluten-intolerant friend can come (she's delightful and always welcome, because she doesn't complain about her issue). Plenty of wine and beer. Soda and water for the non-drinkers. If anyone thinks there is not going to be enough food to accommodated their appetite and special needs, they usually bring their own, and I am not offended.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                                              I even buy Coke (the junk beverage, not the drug) for a sober AA friend. The leftovers go down the toilet. Not a big deal, makes friend happy. After all, he has to put up with some of us imbibing.

                                                                                            2. I would serve whatever I wanted to and make a menu announcement well before the party. That usually forestalls any bitching.

                                                                                              Alternatively, I would just not make friends with obnoxious people.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. Perhaps it's my circle of friends, but there isn't a single coherent meal. Some don't drink cold water. Some don't like eating uncooked vegetables. Not everyone will eat the same dishes or drink the same thing.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: raytamsgv

                                                                                                  This is exactly why my wife and I stopped hosting meals for her family. One person was gluten free, another was doing atkins, another won't eat beef, another is diabetic, another does low fat, another won't eat fish or seafood.

                                                                                                  It wasn't worth the hassle.

                                                                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                    Wow, what hassle? Everyone of those folks could find plenty to eat at a meal of meat and veggies, salad.

                                                                                                  1. re: treb

                                                                                                    Bingo.
                                                                                                    Works great in a home, not so much in a restaurant.

                                                                                                  2. I keep my groups of friends very segmented, and small. Basically, there is no big group, and most of my friends do not know my other friends. Much easier that way, as I am a very private person. There's never been a group I've liked more than 10-20% of the people in it, so I pick the people I like and move on. I also write people off completely based on their food choices/knowledge. So I can safely say I could serve pretty much anything to my small group of close friends, may have 1 or 2 who don't eat land or air animals, so we eat seafood that night, so no challenge there. Damn, come to think of it, I don't even have any close friends who would want their steak cooked more than medium rare.
                                                                                                    I'm 24, that probably renders my situation a bit easier than older folks who've acquired friends over a lifetime and those friends have all evolved a lot. I've known my oldest close friends for like 10-15 years, so barely any time there.

                                                                                                    1. I can't even have any two friends over and cook a meal everyone will like. Vegetarian, meat and potatoes (hate veggies), low carb, gluten free...probably why we go out to eat. I haven't had people over for dinner in a couple of years.

                                                                                                      1. The big, glaring difference, which makes this a distinction with a huge difference, is that you are talking about your home, not a restaurant, at which, you are "hosting".

                                                                                                        At your home, I would hope you can be sure that ALL of your guests can find something (or even bring something) to satisfy them and not have to PAY FOR IT.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                                                                          That's a good point about bringing something. I had a close friend when I lived on the S. Carolina coast who had and epi-pen worthy shellfish allergy. Lowcountry boils and things like that are very popular casual dinners. When she attended, she'd stop and grab a deli sandwich to take and or ate before. Then she would explain the allergy to the host quietly and express her thanks for the invite to the gathering.
                                                                                                          I thought she handled it quite well.

                                                                                                          1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                            Yeah. it's about the best you can do. And at least the host told her beforehand.

                                                                                                          2. re: monavano

                                                                                                            When one is hosting a specific, themed event, sometimes it is impractical to accommodate all food sensitivities. As a considerate host, I would probably include the menu in the invite for a themed event. As a GI sensitive diner/guest, I might eat beforehand, or have a meal-bar in my purse. Because it's not always about the food; sometimes (most times?) it's about the company. And yes, sometimes I'll choose to partake in the themed food fun, knowing full well the unfortunate GI consequences. But it's my choice.

                                                                                                          3. Water.

                                                                                                            You're not seriously expecting a real answer to this question are you? Because despite what you might have heard this isn't a new problem.

                                                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                              I was asking for people's thoughts on their set of friends. Not mine. Not the world in general. I was looking for answers, just not a singular one.

                                                                                                              One of the most profound meals I was served was fried eggs, plantains, avocado and salsa. We drank water. I was invited home by a former migrant worker who was working for an advocacy group. Before that meal I did not care for any of those foods except for salsa, which was very different from the grocery store version than I was used to. I was struck by the hospitality and generosity of that simple meal and, as a result, have loved those foods ever since.

                                                                                                              In the wake of various discussions about what constitutes gracious hosting, which often stray into acrimonious barbs, I am looking for a note of grace and creativity.

                                                                                                              1. re: thinks too much

                                                                                                                To this revised question - for me its 2 things if I am going to throw aside all sourcing, sensitivities and special diets and make a meal that is generally well received

                                                                                                                in summer - cookout

                                                                                                                bbq chicken, potato salad, coleslaw and grilled zucchini, corn on the cob as a base for a meal - add ons and modifications welcome - but this would be a baseline - someone up thread mentioned this - the other nice thing about a cookout (and I think of the hotdogs in Italy thread) there are no rules -and anyone can bring something to throw on the grill or as an additional side - you can add/subtract dishes at will - it is probably my favorite meal

                                                                                                                in winter - lasagna - people generally like lasagna, lasagna is good, even bad lasagna is usually pretty edible, it is also somewhat versatile and is easy to do a vegetarian version or no tomatoes version.

                                                                                                                1. re: thinks too much

                                                                                                                  I would eat that meal greedily. But you do understand that food allergies (although they have become more of a "first world problem" for reasons discussed at length on these boards) are not JUST a first world problem and people who can't digest one of these foods would have problems, even if they wanted to to fit in and be polite. Similar argument goes for religious food laws, really. It's not a rich vs. poor thing.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                    yes, I understand that very clearly, the OP was restating the question to more along the lines of "what meals do you find your friends generally like" I find that the above I can usually count on going over well with most people and can modify easily enough for most basic needs.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                                      <Similar argument goes for religious food laws>

                                                                                                                      If I'm having a dinner party I wouldn't, most likely, invite someone who's strictly kosher and expect them to eat anything. So, therefore I wouldn't plan my meals around them. They're not going to eat my food…I don't keep kosher.

                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                        I include some kosher take-out or packaged kosher foods for my friends who are observant.

                                                                                                                        1. re: prima

                                                                                                                          They'll eat off your non kosher plates? Depends on how observant they are.

                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                            Or she gets disposable for kosher-observant people. That would do the trick, wouldn't it?

                                                                                                                            1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                              Maybe, Maybe not. People keep Kosher at many different levels with different standards, customs, hiddurim and chumros. If someone doesn't already know the difference between Pas Yisroel and Yoshon it can be difficult to even explain.

                                                                                                                              Speaking only for myself as someone who keeps strictly Kosher with certain specific enhancements, the worst possible outcome for me is to have a host go to some expense and/or trouble to get food for me that they feel is Kosher but I can't eat. That can be very akward and uncomfortable. I would far rather bring my own food or eat before or after.

                                                                                                                              I imagine that a Vegan might feel similarly if their host goes to some trouble to provide a vegeterian course that includes eggs and cheese.

                                                                                                                              1. re: follick

                                                                                                                                Yeah, see, if it were me doing the hosting, I'd be having a conversation before hand to find out what the limitations were and how I could work around them, if I could work around them, in a way that worked for the guest. Or come to some kind of reasonable compromise.

                                                                                                                                1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                                  Sounds good to me. Communication is really the only way to deal with this well.

                                                                                                                            2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                              When I have observant guests, I use disposable plates for all my guests. I don't prepare any of the food since my kitchen isn't kosher. I buy foods that I know my friends can eat, from places they frequent, or brands that they purchase.

                                                                                                                      2. re: thinks too much

                                                                                                                        You may be too nice for this thread. ;-)

                                                                                                                        1. re: thinks too much

                                                                                                                          I was going to just let this stand because I also believe that intention counts for a great deal. But my serious answer to your question is that if these fifteen people are truly dear friends who are known to you, you should talk to them first and find out not just allergies and religious restrictions, but just what they do and don't like. I agree that this can make hosting a party difficult, but that's how it is.

                                                                                                                      3. My friends have their dietary quirks but if they are presented with a home cooked meal, they will put them aside and dig in with gusto. :)

                                                                                                                        I'm thinking of thanksgiving dinner which we host alternating with other friends every year. Even the people who say they don't like sweet potato casserole with mini marshmallows end up eating the whole pan. ;)

                                                                                                                        If there aren't serious allergy issues it's funny how dietary issues fall by the wayside when the food is really good. ;)

                                                                                                                        1. sparkling water and cigarettes

                                                                                                                          my 15 closest friends are all supermodels

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: cringle22

                                                                                                                            If that is true then you left out cocaine.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                              cocaine has gluten ... models wont touch it

                                                                                                                              1. re: cringle22

                                                                                                                                They like one of those things more than they dislike the other.

                                                                                                                            2. I guess I am lucky, my friends are pretty easy going. Some minimize gluten (or so they claim, they always seem to be eating it when they show up at my house, even when I have provided many other options...), and some carry lactaid pills. But if I avoid red meat, there's really no issue except maybe a few quirks on my mother-in-law's part around blue cheese and avocados. She'd eat around them and never say a word.

                                                                                                                              1. I am vegetarian and lactose intolerant (20+ yrs now) and I'm also potentially the only one who actually cooks with any frequency- most of my friends live off of meals that are either delivery, pre-made (albeit from whole foods) or are more assembly than cooking.
                                                                                                                                Therefore they are all thrilled when I cook- and I'm the only veggie in my circle of friends. A few months back I made a meal with a starter of raw and blanched veggies with romesco, and herbed olives, entree was a mushroom and white bean ragu over polenta and/or wilted greens. Dessert was spiced poached pears in port with dairy free coconut whipped cream.
                                                                                                                                No one complained about the lack of dead animals, or wistfully asked where the cheese was- in fact plates were cleaned and several had second helpings.
                                                                                                                                My friends all drink socially and brought some lovely wine we enjoyed as well.

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                    Seriously.... I love the cheese but, well, let's just say the cheese doesn't love me... :/

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                                                                    That sounds awesome, Throckwood! Thanks for a beautiful suggestion.

                                                                                                                                  3. It is way too difficult to cook for 15 people for a couple of reasons. A party that size should definitely be a potluck. Everyone brings a dish that they're comfortable with and can share while the host/ess doesn't have to spend a fortune on food or so many hours cooking and being too tired to enjoy the company and meal. Everybody is happy.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                                                      I do it regularly, and it's not a problem. Folks who don't want to make the effort to please everyone, shouldn't host such gatherings.

                                                                                                                                      It makes me feel good for everyone to know I've considered their personal likes and needs when they're guests in my home.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                        My mother fancied herself a fine hostess.

                                                                                                                                        Quotes from her:

                                                                                                                                        "If they don't like it, they don't have to eat it."

                                                                                                                                        "That's plenty (being stingy). When it runs out, they'll stop eating."

                                                                                                                                        Yet MORE lessons in how NOT to be.

                                                                                                                                    2. Ratatouille. Many of my friends are vegetarian, vegan and I have one friend that's paleo. I don't have 15 of them sadly.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                                                                                          Eh, I have an aversion to bloating and other effects...

                                                                                                                                        2. My cop-out is offering choice. I prefer a buffet format if at all possible, but even if the meal is sit-down afternoon tea I always offer choice. It seems respectful.

                                                                                                                                          1. Food from the subcontinent....dhal bat tarkari in Nepali. Rice, spicy lentils, and vegetable, pickle (achar), yoghurt. Gluten free, veg....but not vegan if you use ghee to cook, but using mustard oil would make it vegan as well!

                                                                                                                                            1. We host dinner parties at least 3-4 times a month, often with a group larger than that.

                                                                                                                                              More often than not (mostly due to party size/lack of finances and/or prep time), these are potluck events.

                                                                                                                                              One example is a farewell party we hosted recently before we left for our summer vacation. We provided the center piece, which was a slow-roasted pork shoulder (approx. 10 lbs. of it).

                                                                                                                                              We also provided a big bowl of cole slaw, bread, cheese, cold cuts, snackables.

                                                                                                                                              Our fairly large circle of friends consists of vegans, omnivores, a couple of gluten-free folks, vegetarians, pescatarians, etc. etc.

                                                                                                                                              The pescatarian brought potatoes au gratin. The vegans brought lentil salad. The gluten-free folks brought an Afghan pasta dish with yogurt (gluten-free pasta, obviously).

                                                                                                                                              A number of desserts were also on the table.

                                                                                                                                              Everyone ate and drank well, nobody cried or died. I really don't understand the issue, but having read any number of bitchfest threads on these boards about some of the more problematic folks people associate with, I realize we are damn lucky to associate with such a fine & easy-going crowd.

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                My crowd is pretty easygoing, too. I always offer a lot of different foods, rather than one meal, and haven't run into a situation where someone hasn't been able to eat. If someone has a dietary restriction, I make sure there are a couple things they could eat.

                                                                                                                                                I don't think there's a universal meal that will work for everyone. While many people could eat a gluten free low carb pasta with vegan marinara sauce, assuming they didn't dislike tomatoes/nightshade plants/ the texture of pasta, that would be one of the last things I'd choose to eat if I had a choice.

                                                                                                                                                I think pizza is fairly universally loved, as long as you're not dealing with low carb/strict diabetic/gluten-free/dairy free /wheat-free diets.

                                                                                                                                              2. For a universally accepted meal, one should offer a choice. And since I truly feel that we can learn a lot from history, I wish to put forward this thought. If it was good enough for Edward G. Robinson, it should be good enough for us.

                                                                                                                                                Soylent Green.

                                                                                                                                                And for the traditionalists, Soylent Orange.

                                                                                                                                                While quaffing soy milk.

                                                                                                                                                Now who could have a problem with that? :-)

                                                                                                                                                1. Steak, chicken, BBQ, crab, pasta.

                                                                                                                                                  Among our friends and family we have two people who don't eat fin fish (they both love shellfish) and one person allergic to mushrooms.

                                                                                                                                                  We all eat bread, carbs.....no fads for us.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, diabetes, it's all the fucking rage. So fashionable and all.

                                                                                                                                                  2. rice or ratatouille. i did meet someone with a rice allergy tho. and our assistant director at school can't eat tomatoes or eggplants so there goes that one out the window.

                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                      And there are a quite a few people who don't like ratatouille, even if they don't have an allergy to its ingredients!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                        I love ratatouille, but it's a side dish, not a meal.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                              Why are you sorry? I make a kick ass rataouille! And it is pretty hearty but it's self. I can make it in my sleep and it's tasty.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: YAYME

                                                                                                                                                                So do I. But it's basically carbs and oil, doesn't qualify as a meal in my estimation. I had freshly roasted ratatouille in an omelet with cheese this a.m. Protein makes it a meal, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I think Laurie Colwin wrote about this phenomenon in Home Cooking. Back in the day. I think her proposed solutions were chicken with a chicken glaze for the meat eaters and vegetables with a green sauce (made from more vegetables) for the vegetarians.

                                                                                                                                                      1. This is a non issue for us as the kind of friends we invite into our home are pretty simpatico. If one is trying a new diet or whatever we make do.

                                                                                                                                                        We are having friends for dinner tomorrow night-8 adults and 2 kids.

                                                                                                                                                        I am serving Marconi almonds, assorted olives and goldfish with truffle salt with the cocktails. Dinner is burgers on homemade rolls, platters with toppings such as tomatoes, lettuce, onions, sautéed mushrooms and 2 kinds of catsup. The sides are mixed green salad and homemade steak fries. Dessert is blueberry pie with ginger icecream.

                                                                                                                                                        Not universal but universal for this group.

                                                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                          "....goldfish with truffle salt..."

                                                                                                                                                          As in, the actual fish??? Or fancy goldfish crackers you made..?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                                                                                            Just regular old pepperidge farm cheddar ones. My son started sprinkling truffle salt on them back in kindie and has been hooked ever since. Most of his friends like them this way too. They are great with cocktails!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                              i pictured platters of tiny orange fishies...

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                They are gluten free, after all.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                  True :D. fish is good for you, right?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                    Exactly. Plus, I think they get a "Best Choice" on Monterey's Seafood Watch.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                    yup, just going to Petco...I mean the fish store!

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                              What a great answer for your specifice set of friends, including a mention of why it works for you. Thank you!

                                                                                                                                                            3. Scintillating conversation.

                                                                                                                                                              That's the point of a dinner party. Food is secondary. It's a nice icebreaker though.

                                                                                                                                                              Good guests know how to graciously refuse food (for religious or health or dietary or whatever ) reasons, or at least how to push it around on their plates.

                                                                                                                                                              Good hosts know that it is impolite to "force" food upon their guests, or to publicly shame anyone who declines a dish/course.

                                                                                                                                                              1. It's not worth trying to please everyone at the same time. I just make a variety of foods and hope that everyone finds something they can eat.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I've told the story before here about making northern USA plains "hot dish" at a massive international-student saturated potluck party when in grad school. Everybody was to bring a food from the part of the world that they hailed from.

                                                                                                                                                                  Hot Dish is a Minnesota/North Dakota concoction mainly based around macaroni pasta tossed into a chopped onions and tomato sauce with ground beef, maybe some bell peppers, and Velveeta (though I used Colby not know how to find Velveeta).

                                                                                                                                                                  Far and away the most popular item at this party of about 75 people or so...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Foxeyblue

                                                                                                                                                                      My elder sister will not eat quinoa because she believes that the Peruvian natives who used to eat it are now being priced out by the growing consumption in the first world. She's from Berkeley.....

                                                                                                                                                                      I'd vote for mushroom soup myself.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                                        that Quinoa story is one of the most aggravating articles I have ever read - The solution there is not avoiding Quinoa it is fair trade and labor - someone is making money off of the Quinoa exports - it should be the people farming it - Also if locally produced Quinoa is less expensive to urban Peruvians than imported junk food this is because the US vastly subsidizes the base of the processed foods industry - corn and soy

                                                                                                                                                                        US govt chooses to subsidize corn and soybeans instead of leveling a playing field for diverse small farmers and fair trade- makes me think of this recent article

                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/opi...

                                                                                                                                                                        we've just got it all wrong on food production and we keep moving further and further down a very scary path

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                          It is starting to be possible for us to buy quinoa grown in Europe so slightly more ethical. Not sure about the USA.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                            Altereco foods has extensive info about the farmers they support and they are fair trade certified
                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.alterecofoods.com

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                                            I stopped buying quinoa after reading about that same issue, but I'd still eat quinoa other people have prepared for me, if it was part of a main dish at a dinner party.
                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/t...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: prima

                                                                                                                                                                              But not buying quinoa won't do anything to help Peruvians - if anything buy fair trade and boycott US Subsidized GMO Corn and Soy (an impossible task in reality)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                                                                                I live in Canada and mostly cook from scratch, so it's fairly easy for me to avoid US corn and soy, except when I'm visiting the USA. That being said, I haven't been boycotting US corn or soy. I'm more focused on avoiding farmed seafood from Asia and avoiding refined sugars. That's enough for me to avoid right now. Part of the reason I stopped buying quinoa was the rising cost of quinoa in S America, but truth be told, I like the flavour of freekeh, bulgur, farro and rice better.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I am offended by food that caters to vegans. How will you find an acceptable meal for both myself and a vegan?

                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                            My question to you: do you list vegans among your 15 closest friends? If not, the question is moot in this context. If so, the question is "How do you find middle ground when breaking bread together?"

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thinks too much

                                                                                                                                                                              I don't have vegans among my closest friends, but I am often the person who gets asked to make a special dish for a party that may have vegan or vegetarian guests.

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm okay with giving them alternatives, I just hate catering exclusively to their tastes and making everything vegan-friendly.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                              I wouldn't. I'd cook some fine vegan food, and if you didn't partake, well, you wouldn't be invited back.
                                                                                                                                                                              /not a vegan.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                So you would reject a lunch of Ottolenghi's (vegan) lentil salad?
                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/celeriac-...

                                                                                                                                                                                Saveur's (vegan) tuscan bean soup would be offensive?
                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                                                                                                                                                                                Your loss....

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not opposed to vegan options. I am opposed to having only vegan options.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, that's totally fair. Sorry for misreading you above.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. The only meal that all my friends could get on board with and everyone would eat is pho. At least this way they can customize it to their taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Whenever I have a large crowd with a known vegetarian I do grilled slices of eggplant layered with a fresh, anchovy-free puttanesca, and sprinkled with a chiffonade of fresh basil. Romano to grate at the table is provided for those not averse to cheese. However, my more typical crowd gets steak frites (skirt with highly peppered red wine reduction) or crab cakes, depending on the season. If it is a really large crowd I am smoking a brisket, sausage, and ribs. This is Texas and they can just deal with it!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. We have a friend with several food allergies. He and his wife entertain almost every weekend, and the guests all bring a dish or two.
                                                                                                                                                                                    The host is a pro at smoking and grilling, so he smokes a lamb or pork roast, and grills some salmon and/or chicken. On his other grill, he cooks up sweet onions, asparagus, mushrooms and whatever is in season.
                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll bring a cold salad, a bean dish and some cheeses, another guest bakes a baguette of spelt and a loaf of sourdough bread, and brings cheeses, too. The hostess makes polenta or a rice dish. My husband makes eggless ice cream and somebody makes a GF baked dessert to serve with the ice cream.
                                                                                                                                                                                    We cover GF, egg free, poultry free, nut free and chocolate free, along with no bananas. And we have great meals. It's all in how creative you can be.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. " What single coherent meal and beverage could you possibly serve to all of them?"

                                                                                                                                                                                      Ain't no such thing. Anytime we have more than four people for dinner, we have to have at least two main course. Two many variations on what people can/will eat to have one single meal satisfy that large a group unless I was deliberately inviting people based on food preferences. I get vegetarians at my bbqs and I make sure there is something for them to eat other than sides and salad.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Anything I decided to cook. I am lucky enough (or discriminating enough) to have friends who don't chase the latest ant-food fad.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. For occasions when it's just a dozen or two of our closest friends, my (now "ex") husband and I would have pool parties for his cohorts at UCSD. Some "personal" diets ran from "kookie" to "bizarre," but a "Do It Yourself" taco party ALWAYS worked! Everyone had free choice on what they turned the ingredients into. The assortment regularly included:
                                                                                                                                                                                          shredded beef (rez deshibrada)
                                                                                                                                                                                          shredded chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                          slabs of grilled eggplant
                                                                                                                                                                                          abalone steaks (if you've never had an abalone fish taco...poor baby!)
                                                                                                                                                                                          asadero cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                          grated cotija cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                          Greek olives
                                                                                                                                                                                          Mission olives
                                                                                                                                                                                          diced red onion
                                                                                                                                                                                          diced green onions
                                                                                                                                                                                          shredded lettuce
                                                                                                                                                                                          Mexican pickled carrots
                                                                                                                                                                                          shredded lettuce
                                                                                                                                                                                          diced tomatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                          cilantro sprigs
                                                                                                                                                                                          guacamole
                                                                                                                                                                                          pico de gallo
                                                                                                                                                                                          soft warm corn tortillas
                                                                                                                                                                                          soft warm flour tortillas

                                                                                                                                                                                          and a gas hot plate for frying and a fire in the firepit for whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, lots of stuff to make S'mores.

                                                                                                                                                                                          People made their own favorite taco variations, burritos, salads, low carb dinner plates, quesadillas, there wasn't much that couldn't be thrown together from the assortment.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I strongly believe that eating together should be great fun. For formal meals, I do NOT want help in the kitchen! Arrive on time, dress nice, and use your napkin! But an "assemble it yourself" party is a whole different ball game and my only rule was, "You are welcome to eat in the Jacuzzi, but if you drop your taco in it, YOU clean it up!. '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. TTM, this is a very interesting thread, but it just depresses me. Not because of the people with honest food sensitivities, but the others.
                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm very thankful that in my husband's family, the only food allergies are kiwi (brother-in-law) and bananas (son).
                                                                                                                                                                                            If you have convinced yourself that you need to live gluten-and-lactose free, I think that's a tough choice to make, because it's going to change the way you do a whole lot of things, it involves a lot of detective work and big changes in cooking and lifestyle. It's a hard choice, and if it makes you feel better, that's great.

                                                                                                                                                                                            But don't go to my department pot luck and then tell me two days later that it made you sick, and don't expect me to invite you to dinner- I cook for fun and celebration, and walking on eggs (figuratively speaking) for fear of having you tell people that I made you sick just spoils all the fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry for bringing you down EWS. I was curious if other people's friends were more uniform in dietary issues than mine were, like having a whole crew of people eating Atkins, or if everyone had gone gluten free. I was trying to avoid this thread derailing into mockery of other people's diets.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I was also hoping that people would eschew the knee-jerk responses of "But I can't eat your menu !" to other people's posts unless they were real time friends who would likely be on the invite list.

                                                                                                                                                                                              In the mean time, I am planing a gluten-free vegetarian dinner party for this weekend. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup!