|Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons|
via the Dutch National Archive.
If I have invited you to dinner and you have dietary restrictions - and I don't care whether those restrictions are medically necessitated, religiously necessitated, you simply trying to do better in how you eat, or otherwise! - I will make. it. work.
I'm dead serious. No matter what your eating style, there is enough overlap between what you enjoy and what our family enjoys that I will figure out what those foods are, and I will make a menu that we can all enjoy, so when the occasion arrives, the focus is not overwhelmingly on the food, but more on savoring our time spent together.
One way I might do this is my favorite and most flexible ecumenical meal of all: DIY taco night.
If your religion has you fasting or abstaining from certain foods, I'll do a little Googling myself to get a ballpark understanding, and then I'll confirm with you which taco fillings and toppings you'll enjoy.
If you avoid pork, I'll avoid carnitas that night and use ground beef or shredded chicken instead.
If you are lactose intolerant or casein free, I'll see that dairy stays out of the mix.
If you're doing the GAPS diet or SCD diet, I'll do everything in my power to ensure that you have ingredients and dishes to enjoy based on the allowable food lists and where you are in those diets.
If you've recently announced you're Dukan-ing, I won't blink an eye if you want to only eat the meat and greens on offer.
If you're doing some kind of juice detox and you only want to bring and sip your juice, I don't care, as long as you come!
I. don't. care. how. or. what. you. eat. My interest in you and my affection for you goes so much deeper than that! I will do whatever it takes to make you feel comfortable and welcomed in my home - and part of that will involve home cooked meal that we all can enjoy.
Why is this? Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) When you are a guest in my home, my main mission as a hostess is uncoupling you from your burdens and worries - to give you comfort, to give you laughter, to let you relax and be yourself.
I am also required of Scripture not to cause my brothers and sisters to stumble (1 Corinthians 8). If you have arrived at dietary restrictions, I know that you did not do so lightly, and have done so based on any combination of reasons, including health, digestive comfort, and personal convictions. While society is not kind or accommodating on the whole to anyone who dares to eat differently from the norm, I want our home to be different for you - to show that you can freely enjoy an evening with us without worrying about compromising your eating habits.
Finally, 1 Peter says, "Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God...so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ." As I offer grace through flexible hospitality, I hope it might in a very small measure reflect the grace that God has lavished on me!
This post is dedicated to my mom and my mother-in-law, who have always patiently and graciously hosted us (and, since 2010, our paleo quirks, too).