Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Food restrictions

Going out to eat with friends or family is one of life’s greatest pleasures. At least it should be. But it turns into an exercise in frustration and mortification when that loved one has food restrictions.

Being gluten-free is child’s play in the face of folks who are trying to work a menu when they are avoiding dairy, nightshades, high-fructose corn syrup or sugar in any form, prefer their water filtered, and are currently avoiding eight major foods as part of an elimination diet.

This is when I’d like to eliminate them. Or disappear into the floor of the restaurant, after giving the server a sympathetic look and a massive tip.

We all thought Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally was a high-maintenance diner. While she might be the patron saint of these picky eaters, her requests for salad dressing or ice cream on the side seem downright quaint.

It’s great that as a society we’ve evolved to the point that we can cut out major food groups and pantry staples from our diet. It’s a modern first-world problem. The Irish weren’t in a position to cut out starches or any other foodstuff when the famine hit the Emerald Isle, for feck’s sake. And I bet a starving child in Burundi would be more than happy to down that lobster mac and cheese you just poo pooed, dairy, gluten and shellfish sensitivities be damned.

If you don’t want to eat something, navigate toward a more palatable dish on the menu or stay home and roast an organic chicken. Don’t ask the chef to change a dish he or she spent considerable time perfecting. And don’t broadcast your laundry list of food issues to the table. This type of extreme self care just comes off as an attempt to pull focus from what really matters—that lobster mac and cheese, of course. I’m packing Prilosec.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

So with you on this one. Burns my butt.