It’s one thing if people are fussy about food and make a big deal about it when there’s a mushroom or hunk of broccoli on their plate.
But it’s really quite another thing when there are actual health concerns. Issues like allergies, lactose intolerance, high blood pressure, gluten intolerance. And so on. Or when someone has a commitment to vegetarianism.
To me, none of these is the same as being fussy. So if I have a guest at my table for, say Thanksgiving, I try to accomodate.
My daughter has a life-threatening allergy to fish and certain nuts. We discovered this early on so I learned how to change recipes and substitute. I also become more aware of and sensitive to other people’s health issues.
I never cook fish when Gillian visits. I never bake or cook with walnuts or pecans. I bake Hazelnut or Cashew Pie, not pecan pie.
On Thanksgiving we sometimes have guests who are vegetarians and some who can’t eat gluten. So I’ll make Mujadarah as an additional main course (that’s a bulgur wheat and lentil casserole) — it’s also a good side dish with turkey!
And I’ll bake a gluten-free pie. This year it’s Pumpkin Pie.
It can be a challenge to cook for people who can’t eat the usual foods you cook. But I have found it to be an enjoyable creative challenge.
In case you need dessert for someone who’s on a gluten-free diet, here’s one for gluten-free Pumpkin Pie. Everyone else will enjoy it too.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie
1-3/4 cups mashed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons molasses or pure maple syrup
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups half and half cream, evaporated milk or nut milk
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 9-inch unbaked gluten-free pie crust
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the pumpkin, brown sugar, white sugar and molasses in a bowl and beat with a whisk or electric beater set at medium for a minute or until well blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the cream until well blended. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat ingredients for a minute or until well blended. Pour into the pie crust. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for another 55-60 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven and let cool. Makes one pie serving 8 people
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup almond flour or garbanzo bean flour
1/4 cup cornstarch or potato starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
5 tablespoons cold butter or margarine
3 tablespoons cold water or milk
Place the rice flour, almond flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and shortening and work into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or your fingers, until the mixture is crumbly. (To use a food processor, use the pulse feature.) Add the liquid and mix until a soft ball of dough forms. Press the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. NOTE: instead of the rice and almond flours plus cornstarch, you can use Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour