How to Host A July 4th BBQ for everyone
July 4th is the Federal holiday that celebrates America’s Independence from England. Part of this our national tradition is to get together with family and friends for outdoor activities and an annual July 4th BBQ! The menu usually includes burgers and hot dogs on grilled soft buns, steamed corn slathered with butter, maybe even some grilled fish or shellfish. And for dessert, sliced watermelon, fruit pie, walnut brownies and ice cream. That’s a typical July 4th.
But what if one of your guests has a meat allergy, or oral allergy syndrome to the fruit pie or is anaphylactic to the walnuts in the brownies? As over 15 million Americans are diagnosed with severe life threatening food allergies, both children and adults, odds are you will have a guest or two with some special dietary needs. perfectlyfree® is here to help!
Hosting an inclusive July 4th BBQ
- Keep the focus on the event not on the food. Remember: Food is simply the vehicle to be together, so keep that in mind. Yes, people will want and need to dine, but truly the reason to get together is to be together.
- Be honest with yourself: Do you know what cross contact is and how to avoid it? Are you a planner and can take some extra time to make modifications or learn about how to avoid allergen cross contact? It’s totally fine if this answer here is “Ugh no!” Simply be honest with yourself about what you can do in your kitchen and then then be honest with your guests about what you can do.
- If you’re going to cook, use these tips from FARE, for example: “…use utensils and pans that have been thoroughly washed with soap and water; cook the allergen-free meal first; keep allergen-free dishes covered and away from any splatter that may be caused by other foods that are cooking; once you have handled an allergenic food, wash your hands with soap and warm water before serving the allergen-free meal.”
- Communicate your menu to your guests: When you send out your invite, add your proposed menu with any major allergens in any of the dishes. The eight major allergens in the US are: peanuts, tree nut, fish, shellfish, dairy, wheat, eggs and soy. If a guest indicates they have an allergy, problem solve with them about how they might be most comfortable and most safe joining your BBQ.
- Pot Luck or bring a dish: If your guests have needs that you cannot handle, offer that they can bring a dish that works for them or even a separate meal.
- For dessert, serve some big 8 allergy-friendly and gluten-free frozen bites and pints, or even create your own recipe to share!
Reliable Patient Perspective Resources For More Information
- Allergicgirl.com (AGR)
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
- Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)
- Kids with Food Allergies (KFA)
- Safe food prep at home (FARE)
- Safe food prep at home (KFA)