What to do about special diets? It is possible with a little research to prepare an individual meal to cater for a cluster of guests each with different special dietary needs and preferences, for example allergy to gluten, diabetes mellitus and preference for vegetarian food. There are also now many recipe sources for individual special diets, for example in the UK the BBC website (separate listings for gluten-free, nut allergy, egg-free, dairy-free, 'healthy', pregnancy-friendly, shellfish-free, vegan and vegetarian), the Coeliac Society for gluten allergy and Diabetes UK and other international equivalent organisations for diabetic recipes. But when more than one allergy is present in the same family, maintaining daily variety is much more difficult.
Xavier Ternisien in today's Le Monde [Sunday 14th August] has highlighted a blogger for francophones who has risen to this challenge. Bordeaux 'blogueur' Anne Lataillade worked in financial services after graduating from business school. Struggling for inspiration for meals for separate gluten and egg allergy in her 2 children, she has been blogging on practical recipes since 2005. Her aim is to provide simple to make recipes that work, with ideas for savoury foods and desserts compatible with both these allergies. She accompanies her blogged recipes with photographs of the dishes and information on the sources and properties of the suggested ingredients. Her website also provides information on archived recipes and on publications arising.
A further website worth checking is 'Cooking Allergy Free'. This site, after free registration, allows access to a large menu of potential allergies and then to a limited range of suitable recipes compatible with a a very complex range of needs and preferences.
Attractive varied suggestions are a good approach to complement other measures to encourage adherence to special diets for medical allergies.
US actress Zooey Deschanel highlighted the challenges of catering for multiple food intolerances and preferences by appearing on a 2009 US television programme in which chefs were asked to provide food suitable for vegans intolerant to dairy, eggs, soya and gluten.