The Noble Art of Dinner Party Etiquette

The Noble Art of Dinner Party Etiquette

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If you’re invited to one of my dinner parties, don’t dictate what I’m cooking.

I understand as well as the next person, people do have dietary needs. I struggle with drinking milk (but I can eat cheese and butter), and certain spices give me a dicky stomach. We all have things that bother us, but in the good old days, people would politely leave it to one side and not make a fuss about it. Actually, Alan Carr summed it up perfectly in his Toothfairy tour.

‘Does it have nuts? Does it contain wheat? In the good old days they used to just die! Slam the ambulance door, BON APETIT!’

Seriously, I don’t invite people round to cook for, for the good of my health, it’s all about the company, the conversation and the enjoyment. I will make exceptions to the you like it or lump it rule. For example, I’ll happily do a veggie portion for someone, or I’ll not serve nuts if I know someone has an allergy. But please, don’t email a list of dietary requirements because your latest fad diet restricts you from eating anything but air.

If you’re Jewish or Muslim, I won’t serve pork. If your Sikh I’ll serve vegetarian. This is out of respect. Same with veggies, but don’t expect the rest of the party to have to endure your diet. That’s not fair.

My mum had the right idea when me and my sister were kids, if my sister didn’t want Sausages, Chips and Beans, my mum would do her Fish Fingers, Chips and Beans. They take the same amount of time to cook and it’s not an inconvenience at all.

In our later kidulthood, when CJD was rife we HAD to have a pescatarian diet, simply because my parents were very worried we could contract mad cow disease. Now, I’m a lover of fish, my sister not too much, so my sister would still eat the same as us, just she’d either have quorn or solely veg. No big deal.

It drives me mad, people self diagnose (thanks Dr. Google) and then they suddenly become allergic to everything that isn’t organic, hand grown and juiced.

If you have a serious allergy, by all means, let me know, but I know the difference between a self diagnosed allergy, and a genuine life threatening allergy. If you’re on a diet, tell me, I’ll respect you more for letting me know before I pile your plate up 3 miles high.

If you do get an invite to a dinner party, do send your host a polite email detailing any REAL allergies you have or if you are Veggie, so the host can prep in advance, but don’t send them a list longer than my arm of what you can and can’t eat. If you don’t like something, push it to one side of the plate and leave it.

As for the hosts, don’t pander to everyones needs and likes, you’re a host, not a short order cook.

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