Consideration goes a long way with me. Show me consideration, and I’ll love you forever. Here is a list of ways you can show the veggie or allergy-prone person in your life some love:
1. Ask them all the questions you need to, and prepare them a meal where they don’t have to worry about accidentally eating something that will hurt their system. Every single time a friend has prepared a meal for me is ingrained upon my memory as a moment where that individual clearly expressed their love.
2. If a whole meal is out of the question, pick up a few of their favorite things before the visit. For example, a small container of rice milk, if they do not drink whole milk with their morning coffee. This shows you are thinking of them, and will be met with much appreciation.
3. Sealed containers are useful. Say you are a carnivore, and your loved one is not. Keeping prepared meats in containers is one way to show you care. You can also make use of your lunchmeat drawer, and the veggie crisper. Most vegetarians will not like meats on top of anything they will be eating, so these little considerations will go a long way.
4. If you have an allergy-prone house guest, I believe it’s best not to have the triggers in the cupboards or fridge at all (after all, who wants a nice visit turning in to an episode of ER?), but in a pinch, you can place them in sealed containers to minimize the chances of a reaction.
5. If you’d like to invite your favorite veggie or allergy-prone pal to your next shindig, check with them before planning the menu. Serving foods that could send them into shock sends a mixed message at best. While most veggies expect at least some meat to be present, try to avoid major gaffes like setting up an entire carcass, face and all, as the center of your meal. Your veg may love you, but love cannot compensate for prolonged nausea.
6. Utensils and cooking just require planning. If your washer has a sanitize function, I suggest using it. Otherwise, using separate utensils is usually the best way to keep everyone happy and healthy. If you are hosting a BBQ, and have invited veggies, check with them first about sharing the grill, but always use separate tongs. For some, a separate, smaller grill would be ideal. They might even have one they’d be happy to bring over. For others, simply having a separate section on the grill and using foil will be enough. Some cannot tolerate the smell of burning meat, others will not be as affected.
7. That being said, try to cook meats when your veggie is not around, if you are omnivorous. Heating something up will generally not produce the kind of pervasive odor the original preparation would, and your veggie will love you for it. However, keep in mind, some veggies are so sensitive that preparing any meat may cause offense.
8. But if you’re talking allergies, it’s really best not to prepare these foods at all. This may sound dramatic, but consider the following: the molecules will remain in the air, affecting them for hours after you’ve had your meal. If you do consume an allergen in their presence, always brush your teeth after eating something your loved one reacts to. Understand that even so, the particles remain in your mouth for hours, and they may not be able to kiss you for a while. Not much fun for anyone.
In summary, even the smallest adjustments you make to show consideration will be met with deep appreciation. Speaking from experience, it can be difficult for others to adjust at first, but an open dialogue really does lead to better experiences for everyone. Once the conversation is over, you can focus on what you are there to do- enjoy!