Monday, December 12, 2011

Allergies, Dislikes and Restrictions

We are already a group with a fair amount of restrictions from what most people are used to cooking. If you have never had to leave meat, dairy or eggs behind coming up with recipes takes some research. If people have only ever prepared veggies or beans as side dishes then it is often a learning process to make them into fulfilling main dishes. But I suppose that this is one of the strengths of the group; we are in essence sharing the research and work by sharing our food and recipes. Groups like these can be helpful for people transitioning to plant based diets.

In the formation of the group we did a couple things. First, I sent out the request to Please respond to this email if there is anything you absolutely will not eat or food allergies in the family.”

We had an egg allergy which since the group is vegan is not a problem. I get sick from cumin. This is a sad one since cumin is a really wonderful spice. What people have done is make the dish without cumin and take out and label a portions worth for my share and then add the cumin for the rest of the group.This may not be workable for all dishes and takes a little extra thought but I was extremely thankful.

Another option is to make two options to share. Michelle did this by making 3 meals harvest stew and 3 meals stuffed peppers in November. (Depending on the meal it might be more workable to do two different medium size batches rather than one huge batch.) Those with a aversion to a certain item or allergy simply take the option without.

For dislikes there is also a degree to which people just need to be willing to deal. It can be hard enough cooking to your own family’s tastes let alone cooking to 5 other families. So we just keep in mind allergies and absolute aversions. This kind of reminded me of being part of a community supported farm. During the season you get what has been given rather than precisely what you pick. Being part of a group like this requires you to give up a little control. For some this is not something they are willing to do but for our family it has been well worth experience. Would you be willing to leave what's for dinner up to another person?

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