When my son and I evacuated New Orleans to get away from Katrina, we went to the home of my cousin Dorsey and his wife Susan. Now, Susan hasn’t eaten anything that used to have a face for as long as I’ve known her. Even knowing this, I emptied my freezer – including a frozen chicken – when we left NOLA. After arriving at their house, I was putting the chicken in the freezer when I dropped it. Their burglar alarm registered the sound as broken glass and called the police. Uh huh. Karma.
Once, frustrated with the limited restaurant options compatible with the Adkins diet I was on, I told Susan that, although my restricting factor was the opposite of hers, I had a glimpse of how difficult it was for her to eat out anywhere. I thought I understood, at least a little.
These days, I’m not eating animal protein – with the exception of a little grated Parmesan on some of my roasted vegetables, and the eggs used as binding agents in many veggie burgers and sausage. I am also avoiding refined sugar, caffeine, and most wheat since it makes me feel bloated, gassy and achy. (Ezekiel bread is something of an exception; but, we’ll get to that another time.) These restrictions really don’t leave much on menus that I want to eat right now. Seriously, look over a menu next time you eat out. There’s not much there for gluten-free vegans. (I’m not really one of those; however, it’s the easiest description I can come up with at the moment and I’m feeling kind of lazy. So, there you go.) And menus at social events can be just as much of a wasteland as the ones at restaurants.
On Saturday, my company very graciously held a picnic for all facility employees at the Nashville Zoo. It was cool and overcast – really a great day to be out there, not Southern, sticky hot. They set up an enormous carnival in the middle of the zoo with lots of activities for children and with food and soft drinks for everyone. They grilled up hamburgers and hotdogs, had popcorn, sno-cones and cotton candy. It really was like a carnival! Great family fun and VERY generous of the company. (NOTE: I am in no way either complaining or criticizing this event, merely making an observation from a dietary viewpoint that is very new to me.) Anticipating a sugary, carnivorous menu, I took couple of apples and some water with me. That turned out to be a good thing. Although I was able to enjoy some of the popcorn, the rest just didn’t fit with how I want to eat right now to achieve how I want to feel. And that’s my issue, not my hosts’, let me make my thoughts on that perfectly clear, as well.
In years past, I’ve had people over for dinners and picnics, and I’ve served everything from homemade lasagna, jaeger schnitzel and moussaka to fried chicken and crawfish magnifique. As the hostess, I’ve served things that I wanted to serve with very little thought to my guests’ dietary restrictions. I really don’t even know if my guests had any! I can tell you that I will now be far more sensitive to that sort of thing.
So, Susan, it’s okay for you to come to dinner. Now, I truly do understand and I have some fantastic things on the menu that never once had a face.