On Halloween night, my son had his first trick-or-treating experience. My husband and I hadn't mentioned it until it was clear he knew it was a thing — honestly, we weren't sure we really wanted him to participate. As a child with food allergies, there are very few candies he can have. Plus, we aren't wild about introducing him to more opportunities for sugar. But he was fully aware that people would give him candy if he just rang the doorbell and asked. I was trapped.
I love the holidays. Yes, I love Christmas and Thanksgiving. But I even love the Fourth of July and Labor Day. Holidays are an opportunity for fun and traditions. But I have a beef with holidays where junk food is a key component. (I’m looking at you, Valentine’s Day!) And Halloween falls into that category.
Weddings, birthday parties, family gatherings and neighborhood picnics. These are events that should be fun, right? But for parents of children with food energies, they can be stressful — from both a safety perspective and a social graces standpoint.
Here’s what goes through my mind pre-event: Should I call and ask what they’ll be serving? Should I bring food for my son? Will they think we’re rude if we bring our own food? Would it be rude to call and ask? Will they feel like I’m pressuring them to change their menu? It doesn't matter; I just want to plan. Will they understand?
Then, at the event: Is that cheese on the floor? Is my son reaching for a doughnut? Does that bread have egg? I wonder if the host made these meatballs? Should I ask her what’s in them? Did I remember the EpiPen?
Congratulations! You have hosted a glorious and delicious Thanksgiving meal. (Or, hey, maybe you just barely survived — that deserves props too.) And hopefully, the dishes are almost done. If you are like us, it takes a few days to get caught up on all the dishes and cleaning and leftovers.
But you're not quite "done" with Thanksgiving.
If you hosted or cooked anything at all for Thanksgiving, there is one additional task that I'd like to recommend from one home cook to another.
I feel like I need to come clean: I've never really loved Thanksgiving foods. I like cooking, and I love to eat. But turkey? Blah. Cranberry sauce? Nope. Potatoes? I can live without 'em. Gravy? Please, go away.
So, yeah, I'm probably not your obvious choice for Thanksgiving dinner host.