There’s a story in today’s New York Times about approaching turkey day like a CEO. According to the article (written to the harried hostess):
The goal is to find what Dr. Friedman calls “a compelling image of an achievable Thanksgiving.” The crucial word being “achievable.”
I love goals that are achievable. And you know I’m all about advocating for your food needs. However, sometimes eating allergen-free during a Thanksgiving gathering is just not an achievable goal.
So, I say, think like a CEO. Change the goal.
Instead of focusing of the negative, what you can't eat say, focus on the real joy of the holiday which is about being together and giving THANKS. Reconnect with cousin Sue or spend more time getting to know your new in-laws; watch the game with Dad or play on the train set with junior.
Remember: food is just the conduit. Food is a good conduit, a yummy conduit, but still just the means, not necessarily the end.
OK, but what about that pesky dinner sitch?
Take Thanksgiving leadership and get what you need for your safety and peace of mind. There is no shame in taking care of yourself and your needs, in fact it can be a source of great pride! Speak up, bring a dish, talk with the hostess, advocate for your needs assertively, never aggressively.
If all else fails, bring your own safe meal with you. It can eliminate the anxiety that large gatherings with unknown dish origins can bring and help to refocus you, to give you the mental and physical freedom to really enjoy yourself.
I wouldn’t necessarily use BYO Meal as first resort but if you are here the day before and already really stressing because Aunt Bee said, “Gluten, that’s sugar, right?” then do what you need to do to stay SAFE on this holiday.