Q. I want to invite a friend to my upcoming cookie swap, but she’s on a gluten-free diet. What’s a hostess to do?
A. A gluten-free diet means no flour, which is the main ingredient of most cookies. You should invite her anyway, of course; you don’t socially ostracize a friend because she has a physical ailment. After all, she still likes a party, doesn’t she?
People who cannot digest gluten have are used to having to pick and choose among the dishes at a social gathering; the only treatment for Celiac disease is to avoid eating such foods as wheat, rye and barley. At parties, they are the guests who often bring their own “safe” dish to eat.
When you invite her, ask if she would like to actually participate in the “swap” part of the party. If she says yes, that means she’ll be bringing a gluten-free offering. When you send out the general invitation, let other guests know there will be a special holiday door prize for any bakers who do the same: “Some guests will be seeking gluten-free cookies to swap same.” (As the host, you will of course bake a gluten-free batch, too, to make sure your friend feels welcome. Meringues, anyone?)
Read more advice about your etiquette conundrums, and see our Modern Manners blog.