Guest with a severe allergy is coming over for the weekend. Want to plan a menu that doesn’t draw attention to it — don’t want her to think there was any imposition at all.

A couple with two small kids are coming over for a visit this weekend. Great friends we’ve met on the music festival circuit; first time they’re making the trip to our home. I love cooking and hosting, so want to make meals as low-key as possible from an “oh you shouldn’t have” perspective.

Does that make sense? As in, I don’t want to be all “and this is gluten free and that is gluten free and everyone, let’s focus on ME and the effort I made …” Kind of like when vegetarian or vegan friends visit, I just make food that’s more or less obviously okay to eat without making a production out of it other than a comment or two.

So for tonight’s dinner, I’m thinking of NY strips or rib-eyes with either roasted Brussels sprouts (olive oil and bacon drizzle) or asparagus with a hollandaise (egg butter, lemon, pepper) with mashed potatoes (milk, butter, cream, mushrooms, garlic). We have an ice cream maker so milk, sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla.

Tomorrow would likely be a stew of cubed chuck, potatoes, carrots and onions, maybe a bit of parsnip, dash of red wine, beef broth (will check the label, but if it doesn’t say, what to look for?). I was thinking of thickening it with corn starch. A bit different, but I think corn starch is okay, right? Having second thoughts about potatoes twice in a row, so is there a generally preferred gluten-free egg noodle? If so, I might switch out to a stroganoff, skipping the Worcestershire and again thickening with corn starch.

Breakfast is where I start to hit a wall. If I can find them ripe enough, I’m thinking plantains caramelized in brown sugar and cinnamon. I have a stock of steel cut oats and can make a porridge. Maybe gussy it up with blueberries or something? No need to always be fancy, but seems a bit of a drab brunch to serve oatmeal.

Lunches leave me flummoxed. A spinach salad with boiled eggs and avocado? Would a simple vinaigrette be safe? Maybe quesadillas? Are gluten-free tortillas hard to find? Any brand suggestions?

Another dessert idea was meringues. That’s just egg whites, cream of tartar, salt and a dash of vanilla. Is the tartar okay?

I should mention that there’s a seafood allergy elsewhere in the mix so adding a fish dish isn’t in the cards.

So that’s my plan. I’m pretty sure I’m okay, but don’t want to have a forehead-slapping moment as I overlook something that may seem obvious to you. Open to any and all suggestions about substitutions or whatnot.

Oh, and saw they drink “White Claw.” I think it’s a gluten-free hard seltzer? Is that going to be hard to find and I should call around first or is it likely to be in most big grocery stores?


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