Pass the Salt

It is always a good idea to ask folks who are coming to your place for dinner (or any meal for that matter) if they have any food allergies, concerns and generally if there is anything they do not eat.  As a host and chef I would rather know those things ahead of time, and not learn it when a guest doesn’t touch some of my food or worse yet, tells me as we are seated at the table that they don’t care for something.

Although, I am really not that hard to please (really), I am usually initially tempted to not invite someone back when they do such things as leave food on their plate, ask for salt before tasting their food, show up without RSVP’ing, or don’t say “Thank you for the wonderful party” or “Thanks, that was fun,” the next time I run into them (especially if we even stood around chatting for a while).

I learned once to be careful what I ask for, however.  It has been over a decade now since the event I am going to tell about happened, so I think the statute of limitations has expired.  Anyway, the chances of the individual I’m talking about reading this are about the same as my growing lemons from seed this summer in Wisconsin.

The event was a dinner to thank to a friend who had helped me with an important event.  I asked if he would like to bring a friend.  “Sure,” he said and I then asked if there was anything that person didn’t eat. He said he would find out and get back to me.  I can’t remember if my friend rolled his eyes as he handed me the sealed document, but I remember thinking “Huh.”  What I had in my hand was a typed single-spaced two page letter with the following categories listed.  Here are the high-lights:

“Foods I avoid to maintain my health

 I avoid foods with concentrations of sugar or sweets as I allow myself the occasional meal of waffles or pancakes and muffins or quick breads in limited quantities.

Foods that make me feel rather bad.

Crab- I can eat in small quantities, but I avoid large quantities.

Foods I avoid if I know they are there but may eat in small quantity if well-hidden.

Some beans …it’s a real guessing game. Green beans are tolerable.

Foods I don’t enjoy.

Asparagus, artichokes, beets, plain cooked greens, spinach or other greens (except as one of the ingredients in fried rice or some other dish, but not just a pile by themselves), squash but not squishy zucchini or yellow squash, eggplant, beans, soybeans, peas.  (I tolerate small to moderate amounts of peas in pot pie, fried rice, casseroles, etc., but will only eat a forkful or two by themselves.)

Generalized List of what I do eat.

All common meats and poultry, shrimp and lobster, and fish—except animal organs/parts, very gamey meats, rodents.”

“Darn,” I thought as I read that last one.

I have no memory of what I actually did serve.  I vaguely remember the person herself, as the dinner conversation was about what you’d expect.  I am glad I didn’t ask for a list of conversation do’s and don’ts.  But because I relish being a gracious host and it was a thank you dinner for my friend, I took it all with a grain of salt, since surprisingly that wasn’t on her list.

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