A week or so ago I noticed that my post entitled Gluten Free Cocktail Party? had jumped dramatically to the number one read entry. I found this surprising, but it occurred to me that perhaps people were looking for tips on either going to or hosting a gluten free cocktail party.
And then a few days ago, coincidentally, I found myself at another work event that started with a cocktail hour. There were mac and cheese bites, crab cakes, fried zucchini, mini burger sliders, mini BLTs, lump crab on a cracker thing, and shrimp cocktail. It all looked delicious, but the shrimp were the only thing I could eat – and is cocktail sauce even gluten free?
So again I was facing the problem of eating at a cocktail party, and there was no solution but to eat first, bring a snack, politely decline the waitresses on those mac and cheese bites, and enjoy the cocktails. I wish I had better advice on attending these events, but the sad truth is that the vast majority of cocktail parties in our life will probably never cater to our gluten free needs. (Except, I decided, my own wedding one day. Dad, please start saving for the additional cost now.)
Less formal cocktail parties with friends or associates can be just as problematic. If you are attending one of these events and feel comfortable, call the hostess a few days in advance to explain your allergy and see if you can bring a dish to share. Then there will be at least one thing you know you can safely eat. If you are a very conscientious host and want to be sure there is food for a gluten intolerant guest at your party, the best thing to do is call them first to chat. If you do make something gluten free, make it first to prevent cross-contamination later. If in doubt on any gluten free matter, ask.
If you are looking for a gluten free caterer in your area, do a simple google search. I was surprised at how many I found. Good luck.