This time of year is filled with social gatherings. And while food nearly always plays at least a small role in social events, now is when it often takes center stage. Special holiday dishes, elaborate baked goods, and candies which aren’t seen or shared at other times of year make their appearances. Many of the items on offer will likely not be gluten-free. Others will be questionable. Some may be gluten-free, but at risk of cross-contamination, especially in larger party or buffet settings.
Focus on the people and the occasion, not the food. You may be connecting with family from afar, friends old and new, or getting to know work colleagues at the annual office party. During this often hectic time of year, you might not have time to check in with hosts or restaurants in advance about gluten-free options. Have some satisfying gluten-free food before you go, so hunger pangs don’t get in the way of your enjoying the social aspect of the event. Stash some gluten-free crackers or a granola bar in your bag just in case. And remember that most holiday drinks (both alcoholic and not) will likely be safely gluten-free.
If you do have the time and are so inclined, check in with hosts and restaurants in advance about gluten-free options. Keep in mind that everyone is busy during year-end, so this isn’t the ideal time to teach a host about modifying their favorite dish to gluten-free. But you never know, there could be gluten-free items on offer, and you may just find out there are other gluten-free guests to connect with too.
Bring one of your tried and true favorite gluten-free dishes. Even when the occasion isn’t a potluck, what host wouldn’t appreciate a fabulous culinary contribution, especially this time of year. Do make it a special and personal favorite, so you can really feel “treated.” And of course, this is a great way to spread the word to others about how delicious gluten-free can be. To be safe, split up your dish into 2 serving plates – one just for you, so you don’t need to be concerned about cross-contamination from other dishes or shared serving utensils.
Celebrating Solo? This can be a great time to try out new gluten-free recipes, and experiment with new takes on classic dishes, or long-time family favorites. Cooking for your own enjoyment can be relaxing and creative, so make the most of it. And who knows, along the way you may discover new favorites to carry into the new year.