Sunday, October 07, 2012

Pizza Party Rage

I'm sure it would shock people to hear anyone speak out against the ubiquitous and much beloved pizza party. After all, everyone loves pizza (well, my grandmother claimed not to, but I always suspected she said that to be contrary!) it can be cheap,  and doesn't require utensils.
But anyone who lives with food intolerances knows that sometimes pizza is no party. Two of the most common reactive foods are dairy and wheat... the two most important ingredients in a standard pizza. Ordering in pizza for a party can be fraught for many other reasons- it may contain soy (another top reactive food); it may not be suitable for people who keep kosher or halal, and  it sure to be unsuitable for vegans. I have several friends with allergies to nitrites and nitrates, which are in almost all the cured meats on delivery pizza.
Even if none of these are an issue, good pizza isn't cheap. People who like their food to actually be tasty  may not enjoy delivery even if they don't have food issues.
Of course, if you know everyone at your party is fine with the pizza you plan to order, go for it. If you aren't sure, or if you KNOW people with food issues will be coming, please give it a second thought. I can't tell you how many times I have opted out of a social event because I knew pizza ( or lasagna, or another thing I can't eat) was going to be the main course. I know I'm not the only person who has done this. I can always bring my own food, but truth be told, unless it's a potluck anyway, that kind of sucks. Pizza could be an option among many (I have some hints about feeding a wider range of people here )or, if you know one or two people with dairy or wheat issues will be at your pizza party, you could ask them what frozen pizza they CAN eat and offer to provide it to them ( at no extra cost, if there is a buy in) .
Better yet, plan an event around a salad or deli bar, where everyone can compile their own plate and make sure everything on it fits their needs.


At 4:57 PM, Blogger Lindsay said...

As a Host, this is perfect advice. But as a guest I would never, ever expect someone to tailor a menu to me. I choose to eat it or not, but not my house=not my rules.

At 6:14 PM, Blogger Jenna Carodiskey-Wiebe said...

I agree, but I also know that if my host didn't care enough to serve something I could eat, I'd stop accepting their invitations.

At 7:23 PM, Blogger Robert Smith said...

Oh please. You have GOT to be kidding!! There are literally thousands of allergens that a host would have to consider before they make a party. Are they allergic to my cat? Are they allergic to fish? Are they allergic to tap water?

The ridiculousness of the idea that everyone at a party should bow to the allergies of a single person is preposterous. I'm a diabetic...I guess hosts should offer only low carb foods? And if they offer pasta they should be hung on a crucifix?

So JOIN the world and stop looking to be a victim. Sure life sucks for people with food issues. It's not your hosts job to be your health care provider.

Now don't think I'm some troglodyte that grunts as my guests come through the door. I personally have hosted a "gluten free" thanksgiving to make sure my best friend can have a home cooked holiday meal.

At 8:25 PM, Blogger Aly said...

yeah, I pretty much disagree completely. As a family with food issues, it's our job to make sure our needs are met. Usually that means nibbling a side dish while claiming not to be very hungry. It's just part of being a gracious guest. One of my biggest worries is that people will feel so burdened by our dietary needs that they won't extend invitations to us anymore. Because it goes that way too. I do not want food to be socially isolating, so *I* choose not to let it become such.

It's hard enough for ME to figure out what to feed my family on a daily basis, the last thing I want to do is burden a newb with that job. I don't go for food, I go for friendship and companionship, and bringing something of my own or eating before I go does not interrupt that at all. Most of the time, the host does make strides to provide something my celiacs girl can eat- but when they don't know, or can't figure out an alternative- we're covered and we assure them that it's all under control, and we're just so thankful to be enjoying the day with them.

At 12:53 PM, Blogger Jenna Carodiskey-Wiebe said...

I think one reason it bothers me so much is that I always DO take steps to cater to the needs of my guests, and I have never not invited someone to my house because I didn't want to go to the bother of tailoring to them. I would never think of doing otherwise. I have scrubbed my entire kitchen with Brillo pads, figured out how to make a filling main dish that was vegan, gluten free, and nightshade free, I have bought new dishes so I could serve Kosher for Passover meals. I treasure those friends who take the time to ask,and if it ends up they pick something up off a shelf because it's certified free of my problem foods, that's fine with me. Or just do a potluck so that EVERYONE is bringing food. I WILL take the extra steps to accommodate my friends, or I wouldn't consider myself a very good friend.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Jenna Carodiskey-Wiebe said...

Robert, I would not suggest EVERYTHING be low carb, any more than I'm suggesting EVERYTHING a host makes if they invite me over be gluten/dairy/nut/soy free. But it's not hard at all to make sure a dish or two- something hearty, not just the veggie tray, will meet the needs of a person with known issues.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Jenna Carodiskey-Wiebe said...

I think if I were to suggest it's just fine to serve bacon wrapped cheesy shrimp when expecting a vegan Jewish friend, would people say, "Sure, you shouldn't have to accommodate people"? Or is it that the feelings of people with food intolerances are somehow lesser than those of people with philosophical food choices?

At 4:18 PM, Blogger Robert Smith said...

I think the problem here is the "me victim" mentality. Choosing to be offended that a mother throws a "pizza party" is VERY different than inviting a conservative Jew and only putting out "bacon wrapped shrimp".

The sheer selfishness of your thinking shows you think the world should revolve around you and your boys....but the reality is just the opposite...the world revolves around no one person in particular. If you choose to be offended by pizza party invitations then by all means, don't go, the people more than likely will be happy not to have the grumpy whiny parent in the corner disparaging her food choices.

As a type 2 diabetic I am regularly invited to "pasta" or "pizza" dinners. You know what I do? I actually feed myself something healthy before I go. Because in reality it's not about the food when I go somewhere, it's about the people, and why make a host work harder just to make me a "low carb" option while the rest of the people are good with a pile of noodles? So when I arrive I am satisfied and am still able to enjoy the company of people I like.

But seriously, a response to a blog will not change the "martyr" from continuing to be a "martyr". You point out dozens of reasons why people should second guess a pizza party. Sadly the real thing you should be focusing on is change in your attitude and outlook on life.

Our job as a human being is not to "educate people on how to accommodate the lowest common denominator." Our job is to carry our weight and ultimate lend a hand to OTHERS around us.

So here is my suggestion. Next time someone invites you or your kids to a pizza party. Instead of whining and/or rejecting the offer. Step up and say..."Sure! And I would REALLY like to bring a "soy free, nitrate free, gluten free, fish free, dairy free, low sodium, low carb, kosher, vegan, halal" dish!" Be a part of the solution instead of just complaining about the problem.

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Jenna Carodiskey-Wiebe said...

Oh, I certainly am a part of the solution. When my son's class's confirmation party looked to going down the pizza path, I told the coordinator I would love to help her plan and shop, and now it's shaping up to be something everyone can enjoy. I ALWAYS take something to parties. That doesn't free me and other people with food issues from feeling insulted when they plan a party they invite us to around something they know we can't eat. If it's all about the people, I certainly will be more willing to spend time with people who care if I can eat what they're serving. I absolutely view that as a sign of how good a friend actually is.
(What really cracks me up about the response to this is I wrote it on behalf of a friend who was invited to a pizza and movie night even though the other people knew she's allergic to dairy. She decided to not go to their thing, and instead went with me to have dinner with people she had never met, who had gone out of their way to make something I could eat )

At 5:40 PM, Blogger Robert Smith said...

Like I said. This is just about being the victim and having a victim mentality. It's good that you have found a friend in another victim minded person. You both can hang out together and look for ways to be offended.

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Jenna Carodiskey-Wiebe said...

By the same token, I feel sad that you don't have friends who actually care about you. Because if you were coming over to *MY* house, I would make damn sure to serve a meal you could eat.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger Nita Digirolamo said...

The crucial part of being the hostess is dealing with the menu. It is true that you have to deal with all the considerations with regards with the food. Well, I think the trick is to have a foresight on your attendees. From there, you can have a wild guess in what kind of food they want. Also, getting a caterer can help you provide all the kinds of food that you need for the occasion. BTW, I do love PIZZA! ^_^ [Nita Digirolamo]


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