This time of year is the time for office parties. If your office is like many, staff members are invited to bring food for a midday potluck. This year, ‘bring your own food’ parties are more common than ever, a sign of the times. Though office potlucks are meant as a chance to revel in your company’s accomplishments and relax with your coworkers, these parties can be stressful for those with food sensitivities.
Because the food on the table is often homemade, and isn’t usually labeled with the maker’s name or ingredient list, it can be impossible to know exactly what’s in it. A table full of potluck dishes might seem innocuous, but if you have food allergies, this presents a potentially life-threatening danger.
Jeff Seidel, a columnist for theDetroit Free Press,recently wrote about his office party experiences. He’s allergic to “tons of things,” including some unusual food allergies such as “squash and watermelon and cantaloupe and cucumbers and strawberries and pears.”
A delicious cheesecake topped with juicy fruit sounds delicious, right? “Not so much for somebody with food allergies. I passed” he commented. He also declined the squash casserole, because “Squash makes me break into a sweat and my heart races and I get extremely moody, right before I get a nasty headache.”
He reminds those partaking in holiday parties to be considerate of other guests who may have food allergies. Make a sign with your name, the name of your dish, and any common allergens included in the recipe.