Here is a revised post that I write a few years ago. I hope you enjoy it and remember to have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving again food allergy style! Thanksgiving, this year, November 27th, 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. This year, we’re having a few very special guests.

Here’s my Thanksgiving menu for this 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. This year I purchased a turkey from Finger Lakes Farms in upstate New York. It’s a heritage turkey and I’ll be cooking it as instructed by Cooks Illustrated (current issue).

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.

My menu is below:

Turkey (brined and roasted, I use Martha Stewart’s Turkey 101 recipe here; we brine in the bathtub in a clean trashcan; I just love saying “The Turkey’s in the bathtub!”)

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) or Rissoto (depending on how much chicken broth I have left over)

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. which is the BEST apple crisp ever even if it is gluten-free)

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 or even eating at your relatives? 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.

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.

Remember to always take your injectable epinephrine everywhere with you along with any other medications you may need (asthma, etc.).

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

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