There's nothing worse than having food allergies or restrictions on a food holiday, and there's no food holiday quite like Thanksgiving. From mashed potatoes loaded with butter to fancy salads sprinkled with nuts to pumpkin pie with eggs and wheat, who isn't allergic to something in the mix? Here's how we manage the festivities:
1.Whether we host Thanksgiving dinner at our house or join in on someone else's celebration, we always make a handful dishes ourselves, in order to have a measure of control. If Sophie and I make the things that she loves the most, we don't have to worry about whether those items will be safe.
2. We ask lots of questions about the dishes other people bring. Pistachio pudding and lime jello with Cool Whip can have a very similar look, and nuts can be hidden somewhere inside a salad. Honestly, there are so many variations on every recipe, I never trust something without asking.
3. Serve allergies first. We always let Sophie get her food first or as close to first as possible. That way, even if something happens in the serving process, such as serving spoons getting swapped or unsafe food dripping into a safe dish, Sophie has at least had one helping of everything beforehand. Even so, we try to place safe dishes at a distance from unsafe dishes and make sure every bowl has it's own spoon to minimize accidental contamination.
4. Make and enforce rules about consumption of unsafe dishes. Sophie is severely allergic to wheat, eggs and pecans (among other things), so pecan pie is Sophie death, but it's also a staple at many Thanksgiving meals. We haven't eliminated pecan pie, but we do require that it is eaten at the table and hands washed afterwards, no matter what. And we keep it as far away from the safe pies as we can.
What other things have you found helpful in coping with allergies at Thanksgiving?