Attend Easter brunch without feeling scrambled
Easter's right around the corner and you know what that means - family gatherings! And ALL the allergens! Eggs, chocolate, candy, brunch foods, and if you're Italian like me, fried fish (because nothing says spring bunnies like a fried fish eye looking up at you from your plate). These gatherings can be stressful from an allergy standpoint when it's your own family, so what about when you're attending your boyfriend or girlfriend's family bash? And what if you don't know them well at all? It's easy to work up a sweat just thinking about it.
Here are our tips for how to handle it like a pro
1. Scope the scene ahead of time
Does your bf/gf's family follow a special cultural tradition for dinner/lunch/brunch? Does their nonna fry fish in the basement? Does their mom make homemade challah bread? Find out and do your research. What ingredients are commonly used and are you allergic to any of them? Ask your partner to help you sort it out. Maybe it's as easy as swapping out the oil used, replacing dairy with coconut, or some other simple substitution. You can even offer to bring something yourself if you're comfortable making an allergen-free version of a certain dish. Just don't leave it to the last minute or worse, the day of. Give everyone time to adjust, knowing there will be a learning curve. Offer to help, send an email clearly spelling out your allergies and common foods to avoid, read labels of products they plan to use. Help them help you. Teamwork is key.
2. Relax and work as a team
Let your bf/gf do some of the liaising for you, assuming they understand your allergies thoroughly enough to do so. After all, you're new! Take a deep breath and relax so you can spend time engaging. Just watch out for double dippers, sharesies-ers, and wrong-drink-grabbers.
3. Be friendly AF
You might have to offend someone, sweet and elderly or not, by refusing a food they're offering. If you can't eat it, you can't eat it. Say no with a smile, explain your situation, and thank them for offering. I've had people innocently offer me unsafe foods many times thinking they were being friendly or accommodating. Often times I've had to shut them down and I'll be honest, there have been many instances where people are offended. But you know the drill, you don't need to have an anaphylactic reaction for the sake of politeness and people-pleasing.
4. Show up feeling fresh
Present confidence. Don't be shy to talk about your allergies, hold yourself with pride, and don't be embarrassed. Yes it is nerve-wracking to explain your allergies to a group of people. Yes it might feel intrusive to ask them to change their traditions to accommodate you. But it's not. Wear that dress/suit/shoes that make you feel 100%, plan your responses ahead of time, and just bring it.