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Today, we have our first-ever MarryThis! guest blogger. Brides, meet Marisa Voorhees aka The Food-Sensitive Foodie. Marisa is a Chicago-based health and cooking coach specializing in food allergies and helps individuals and families navigate the challenges of learning to live with food sensitivities, allergies, and intolerances.
I am loving this month’s MarryThis! Wine and Cheese Wedding. A reception like this is beautiful, delicious and affordable. Who doesn’t love those adjectives to describe their wedding? You get to nibble, nosh, sip and schmooze without having to stress about when to sit down or if that main dish is ever going to get on the table because you’ve got to get dancing.
Even this Food-Sensitive Foodie (who couldn’t get a lifetime commitment from gluten or dairy) can appreciate the delicate and delicious simplicity of a wine and cheese reception. I mean, it’s just so beautiful and practically effortless – especially when you’ve got a gorgeous spread on the table with the bread slices fanned around the edges of the silver platter, huge wedges of Brie and Manchego, bunches of grapes begging to be picked, and trails of nuts running through all of these delicious treats. Pretty, right?
But in this day of food allergy awareness, you might be thinking, “Oh. But Sally can’t eat gluten. And Missy is lactose intolerant. And isn’t Jenny dating that really whiny vegan? Ugh. I could never pull this off.” Turns out, with two simple food preparation steps, that Wine and Cheese Wedding that made your heart leap a little is still totally accessible. Here’s how:
Create separation. If you combine on one platter for aesthetics (which is a-ok), then put additional servings on a separate platter. A platter of assorted fruits is just as pretty as those grapes that are hanging out with the bread and cheese gang on the other platter. And separate bowls of nuts and baskets of bread mean that people can fill their plates with safe foods.
Double up. This adds an additional layer to the first rule. Now that you’ve got the individual platters, along with those aesthetically pleasing combined platters, make sure you have separate utensils. I can’t use a cheese-y knife to cut fruit and guests allergic to nuts won’t be able to scoop up safe foods with the nut spoons. Have double sets of utensils so that it cuts down on food contamination. It will keep your guests and their tummies happy.
A little note on dips and dressings: We all have that uncle who loves to double dip, stick his fingers in the hummus, or soak his bread in the juices to get all of the flavor. That’s all fine and dandy when it’s on his plate. If there are shared bowls of dips and dressings on the table, keep one to the side for your food-sensitive guests so that they can stick their clean spoon in a non-contaminated bowl of delicious and not have to worry if someone already dragged bread through it, leaving a trail of tummy-churning crumbs.
In the end, it’s your wedding day. You don’t need to accommodate everyone and the truth is, those of your loving friends, who already know how to manage their food allergies, should take it upon themselves to have some back-up snacks (I never leave home without a small pack of almonds or an energy bar). But these little steps will make it more delicious for everyone. Oh, and if you have a guest with severe allergies, share the menu with them ahead of time, and gently encourage them to bring their EpiPen. That nifty little lifesaver fits perfectly in any wedding-worthy clutch.
Have more questions about planning a food allergy-friendly wedding? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy planning!
Want more of Marisa’s great tips (and yummy recipes)? Follow her journey of living a life with food allergies at marisavoorhees.com.