The Best Time To Talk About Food Allergies As A Dinner Guest

Hosting a dinner party can be stressful. There's a menu to plan and cook, the drinks to account for, desserts, and the art of putting together a considered seating arrangement. Holiday dinner parties have an added layer of pressure due to special and elaborate dishes. And then, of course, there's considering special diets for any guests with allergies and food sensitivities.

The invited are not without their own fair share of burdens. There's the question of if one should and if so, what type of gift one should bring to the host or hostess. There's the question of attire: restaurants will have dress codes, as will certain special dinners like for weddings or engagements. But one of the most important things to consider as a dinner guest is to let your host what you definitively can and cannot eat. And like with all things etiquette related, there's a best time and place to do so.

Be upfront and early about food allergies

Most dinner party menus are planned well in advance, so it's best to let the host or hostess know about a food allergy in advance — or at least a couple of days ahead of the anointed party date and time. For hosts, it's always important to do your research on your guest's food allergies, as simply omitting ingredients from certain dishes may not be sufficient for those with severe allergies. For example, cross-contamination and ingredients that come from factories that also deal with peanuts can still be lethal for someone with an allergy.

For those with more severe and life-threatening food allergies, it's also important to be vocal about your food allergy and to ask other guests what's in the dishes they've brought to the party (if any). If your food allergy is dampening your dinner party experience, there may be help on the horizon, as new research points to potential treatments for food allergies.