Complaint Box | Picky Eaters

by Susan Goldberg
from The New York Times

Having friends over for dinner used to involve a minimal and fairly unremarkable to-do list: There were groceries to buy, along with flowers and a couple of bottles of semi-respectable wine. I would put out some guest towels and a collection of fancy soaps that were off limits to blood relatives, and then — voilà! — dinner was served. Preparing for a dinner party these days is far more complex, thanks to a vast and bewildering array of dietary needs that seem to have suddenly overtaken everyone I know.

An unscientific survey of family and friends turns up one acquaintance who is kosher, two who are more like kosher-style, in addition to two vegans, a smattering of lacto-vegetarians and a couple who cannot digest gluten of any kind. Accommodations must be made for my mother-in-law, who is lactose intolerant, and a friend who is dangerously and inconveniently allergic to peanuts. I must know at least a dozen women who have declared lifelong war on complex carbohydrates. And then there’s my daughter, a wispy and tender-hearted flower child who prefers not to eat “anything with a face” (although she will sometimes make random and completely unreasonable exceptions for hot dogs and pepperoni). more

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