Feed Your Friends
You’ve had that sinking feeling. At least, I have, and if I have it’s pretty much a sure bet that you have too. Someone whose diet is completely different from yours is coming to dinner, and you’re in a slight panic about what to serve. You want to make that person feel comfortable and welcome without making everyone else feel deprived.
Relax, your mystery guest is not a vegan, although I could make suggestions for a vegan too, if you happen to have one in your life. What you’re getting is a low carb eater, possibly a diabetic, but not necessarily. Anyone who limits their intake of carbs will be thrilled to come to your house for this dinner, and the other guests won’t know the difference. They’ll think it’s delicious, and the words “low carb” will never cross their minds.
First off, for a starter, make this delicious spinach flan. I make this often, as it’s truly wonderful with impeccably fresh spinach. It might be good with old ratty spinach too, for that matter, but why waste your time? I like it made in small ramekins, since that way everyone gets an individual serving, which awakens a charming “mine, all mine!” response in most everyone.
For a main course, grill up a pile of vegetables, and serve them with grilled salmon, chicken, or meat. Your low carb eater isn’t going to want barbecue sauce, but you can serve it on the side and just use an herb or spice rub on the meat for grilling. Lots of people do want a starch, though, and I suggest getting a loaf of great bread and some good butter. I’m not sure exactly why, but I think it’s more inclusive if everyone eats the same cooked dishes, at least if I’m the one doing the cooking, so bread seems like the perfect alternative to something like potato salad.
And here’s a fun dessert platter you can riff on. A couple of great cheeses and some nuts, some good crackers (these are the excellent Mary’s Gone gluten free crackers), a little fruit, especially berries, which are the lowest carb fruits, and a bit of dark chocolate or chocolate cookies. With a platter like that, it’s a mix and match dessert for everyone, and everyone’s dessert plate will look different, so no one stands out as having a special diet.
Lots of people feel shy about making special dietary requests. Of course, the number of people who insist that you only serve them water that was bottled on a chilly Tuesday morning before the first crow call at an elevation over 7,000 feet, is also truly appalling. But with this menu you’ll make everyone happy, which is what counts, and those who count carbs will be the happiest of all.