Thanksgiving again food allergy style! Thanksgiving, this year, November 28th, is the one day that we relax, eat, drink and begin thinking about the Holidays. In my home it means a quiet Thanksgiving either with a few food allergy friends, or just our little family of three, and a 4pm dinner feast which I serve casually – in my pajamas.
Here’s my Thanksgiving menu from last year, it probably will not vary too much. My Thanksgiving menu is food allergy friendly, free from the top 8 food allergens as defined by the FDA, gluten free, and all sides are vegan. I hope this helps you plan your wonderful day for you and your allergic family.
A quick note on choosing a turkey. Choose one that is minimally processed. What does this mean? It has no allergens, spices or other non-food items that have been injected into it. Order your turkey from your local butcher or purchase one from your local health food store. You do NOT need to purchase a heritage turkey to get a good turkey, though you may want to, the cost is quite high. We will go with either Bell & Evans or a kosher turkey this year.
If you are cooking food allergy friendly for the first time in a kitchen that contains allergens, please remember to wash all surfaces between cooking or baking, wash your hands and ensure that all dishes are washed well. My default position is to cook food allergy friendly foods first, then foods that contain allergens.
Turkey (brined and roasted, I use Martha Stewart’s Turkey 101 recipe here; we brine in the bathtub in a clean trashcan)
Cornbread stuffing (Cooking light’s version with my home made gluten-free, top 8 free cornbread)
Rice (my family likes plain rice made in the rice cooker with water)
Gravy (gluten-free gravy) (I use Emeril’s recipe here and use rice flour or cornstarch for thickening)
Yams sweetened with cooked mashed pears & topped with safe Marshmallows
Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Epicurious interesting recipe – I’ll omit the fish sauce)
Roasted Cauliflower (Epicurious recipe here)
Turnip & Kohlrabi quick pickles – thinly slices root vegetables rubbed with kosher salt reference Mark Bittman’s book “How To Cook Everything.”
Cranberry Sauce (Cooking Light’s version – we use honey)
Apple Crisp (Kids With Food Allergies Foundation recipe by Kathy P.)
Pumpkin Bread (my recipe based on my grandmother Jennie’s)
Pumpkin pie with safe gluten-free crust (Kids With Food Allergies Foundation recipe by me, Heidi B.)
Thinking about dining out for Thanksgiving? Here’s an excerpt from what the AAAAI has to say to restaurants about how to keep your food allergic guests safe – click here for the entire document. It’s also helpful information for a host or hostess who has their first food allergic guest.
For the food allergic dining guest, alerting the establishment of allergies before ordering is an important first step in avoiding allergic reactions. However, although many members of restaurant staff feel confident they can safely serve guests with a food allergy, they may not have the knowledge or training to do so.2 A lack of communication coupled with false confidence is a dangerous combination. Here are some examples of possible cross contaminations that can occur if the restaurant staff does not have the appropriate knowledge or training:
• Picking nuts off a salad thinking it will be safe.
• Thinking the temperature of the fryer oil destroys allergens.
• Taking a spoon used to serve cream soup and stirring milk-free soup.
• Chopping nuts and a salad on the same block.
• Sharing mixers, pans, etc., in preparation of multiple foods.