Cooking for family is a freaking nightmare.

The brother in law and I have birthdays within a few days of each other. This year, we’ve decided to have a joint family celebration dinner, which Mrs H and I are hosting. You’d think that, with only seven of us, catering would be straightforward but, oh no, anything but.

There’s the family member who needs gluten free to consider. And the one who doesnt eat red meat. And the one who doesnt eat pork. And the one who doesnt like stews (or anything else with a lot of sauce) - or rice.

And we are trying to think of a single dish that we can serve to everyone. So far, without success. It is, indeed, a freaking nightmare.

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Roast chicken on a bed of sliced leeks. Another tray of roasted veg - spuds, carrots, cauli, whatever you like. Something green - salad, peas, whatever. Bought starter and cake. Done. :slight_smile: Good luck!!!

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Chinese!

You can fry chicken or shrimp using only corn starch for gluten free.

Do a chicken salad with rice noodles… Orange or General’s Chicken, or my S&P Shrimp which would all be a hit with most folks IMHO.

Do pineapple or shrimp fried rice and a veggie (snap peas, sprouts, water chestnuts, shrooms, etc.) dish.

Edit: Or if they really hate rice (even fried rice), an Egg Foo Yung or chow mein with rice noodles.

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Potluck.

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As someone who has had to plan Thanksgiving and other dinners for a group that includes GF, vegetarian, and a vegan, I sympathize. I try to have a variety of dishes so that everyone can have at least a few things to eat. They won’t be able to eat everything, but I want to make sure they feel welcome.

What about roasted chicken and a variety of sides, salads, etc. Also, I don’t know how you feel about tacos, but serving corn tortillas (GF) with a variety of fillings and toppings has been very successful for me. Everyone makes their own, and I have beans and rice that everyone can eat if they want.

After our vegan daughter’s wedding last year, we had a small family lunch with bagels (regular and GF), smoked salmon, cream cheese, hummus, sliced tomatoes, olives, and fruit salad. I also made a vegan cake which we were too full to eat.

It’s definitely a PITA but I look at it as a challenge! Good luck.

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Harters is in Great Britain.
I personally always agree with tacos but it sounds like his family might not agree :slight_smile:

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Oh that kind of thing would annoy me. I’d probably go with roast chicken (or even a turkey breast), grilled romaine salad (https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alexandra-guarnaschelli/grilled-romaine-salad-with-blue-cheese-recipe-2014747), carrots roasted with thyme, and maybe even something like polenta as a starchy side.

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Tapas? A few different things and everyone eats what they like.

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Well, most of us make foods from other cultures, so I figured it was a good suggestion! :grinning:

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Oh, I did too.
Perhaps @Harters will weigh in :slight_smile:

We had a 17-year old nephew who stayed with us one summer while his parents were divorcing. He was an incredibly picky eater. One of my most successful meals for us during his stay included a salad bar, a baked potato bar and grilled chicken.

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retrospek, you did a good deed for a young man in a very bad part of his life. Divorce is one of those everyday disasters we hear about, or experience first hand, and each one of them is horrible in its own special way.
But I have to admit that in my mind “guest” and “incredibly picky eater” don’t belong in the same sentence…

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Sometimes it is more of a PITA to cook for 7 than 70 as providing too large a variety just leads to too large an amount of leftovers. I like the idea of a nice roasted chicken (or two depending on the size of the chickens and appetites)–no red meat, pork or stew or
sauce ( :exploding_head: ) Some nice seasoned roasted potatoes, green beans sauteed with some garlic. This shouldn’t upset anyone’s preferences and can still seem celebratory. And if it’s still ungodly hot in England you can roast the chicken ahead of time and serve cold, make a potato salad and a garden salad. A nice cheese plate and some fruit for dessert (and maybe a few nice chocolates for people like me with a sweet tooth). And for summer, some lemonade and flavored seltzers and waters.

Whatever you decide, I hope you have a happy and healthy birthday :cake:

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Multiple “small dishes” are a PITA to produce.

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It always amazes me how baked mac and cheese not only disappears from a buffet table but is also requested by several (young) guests when planning a celebratory meal.

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Ah, but the trick is to find a flavorful gluten-free macaroni.

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I fall over lots of gluten-free pasta; corn, lentil, etc. Problem is making sure I don’t snatch one by mistake. I’m sure that the UK is similarly stocked.

Well, he was “family”…

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I suspect sometimes a teenager going through a rough time at home just wants to feel special and cared for.

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What about a “bar” of some type? Pizza bar w/ a GF crust option. Baked potato bar w/various toppings. Sandwich/burger bar (again w/ a GF bread option). Our favorite - roll your own summer rolls with rice paper wrappers (GF), veg, herbs, a few kinds of protein. I think people like interactive food? Especially if your celebration is more backyard casual than plated dinner. Assorted mezze could be an option too. Lots of dips and pickled veg, the meat can be chicken, the pita can be optional, you can do rice or bulgur as a starch, etc.

Otoh, if you aren’t looking for suggestions but simply commiseration, yes, it can be really frustrating to cook for a group where everyone has a different need or preference. Totally agree.

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