The New Food Etiquette …What to Serve?

by Diane Horn on December 18, 2010

Holiday parties and gatherings abound at this time of year.

We love them or we hate them but we all go to them. Most of the articles I’ve read about these events deal with how not to overeat or drink too much and embarrass yourself.

I’m bringing up a topic you may not have considered before, what’s the poor host/hostess supposed to serve? It used to be pretty easy to party plan. Just serve the standard food that everyone expects and have great drinks.

Well your nephew is now a vegan, your neighbors are kosher, your great aunt will only eat organic and your daughter is on a raw food diet. Your boss’ wife is lactose intolerant and your best friend is eating gluten free.

And these are just the people you know about.

What is the proper etiquette to deal with all of this?

Should there be a line included with the r.s.v.p. that asks about food preferences and allergies? Is it up to the host to accommodate each diet or should guests bring their own food?

Now, what about the social flow at the party?

Will the vegetarians be at one end of the room and the carnivores at the other? Instead of light conversation will people be asking each other about whether or not a food has wheat or dairy in it?

Will talking about dietary choices now be as volatile a topic as religion and politics?


  1. PurlPuttyTat says:

    I absolutelyl think that food style/choice/preference/habits/allergies/etc will be the next thing NOT to talk about like religion and politics. I know some people are incredibly passionate about their choices that I have personally heard such “conversations” turn aggressive pretty fast. And then there is the other issue of those who aren’t fully aware of what some of those differences are but they choose to identify with one title such as “I’m a vegan.” That can get alot of people up in arms too.
    One of my friends who is a catering chef often hears people say I can’t eat or am allergies to,say green beans or cilantro, and she obviously accomodates them but wisely says (to me at a later point) “that’s a choice not an allergy.” I know I prefer not to get into food etc. etc. conversations ’cause there seem to be alot of landmines.

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