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Old 05-19-2006, 05:39 AM   #1
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Catered parties questions

One of the recipes that I want to make has 1/3 cup ground walnuts in it and I am not sure what the proper protocol would be.

Should I place a note on the tray stating that nuts are in the dish? The dish is a chicken nugget dish with parmesan cheese, nuts, etc. and the recipe really sounds good to me but am really worried about allergies.

Should I replace the nuts with something else? If so, what?

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Old 05-19-2006, 05:57 AM   #2
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I would make sure that the dish is clearly marked as 'containing nuts' - or just leave out the nuts altogether, if you are really worried.

If I was worried about nut allergies, I would also worry that if things had been zapped in a processor, some nut residue might have found its way into other dishes by accident and this might make me decide not to serve any dish with nuts as an ingredient.
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Old 05-19-2006, 06:34 AM   #3
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There's a huge debate about this in the 'industry'. Some folks are of the 'buyer beware' philosophy, feeling that if a person has allergies, it is up to them to ask if a dish has nuts in it. Others feel it is the food preparer's responsibility to either prepare all dishes w/o nuts, or label them, as you suggested.

Instead of labelling just the one dish, which would just 'point up' the fact that it contains nuts, could make little cards for each dish to describe them, like on a restaurant menu, that would give a main ingredients lits. Or - make up a pretty 'menu' using a nice font on your computer, maybe frame it and stand it on an easel 'frame' at the head of the buffet table - I've done that, and it works really nicely! That way, you're not calling attention to just one dish, but to all of your works of art!
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Old 05-19-2006, 08:59 AM   #4
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Whatever way you choose, I would definately make it known what dishes include nuts - especially if they are not visible, as your ground walnut recipe. I know you would feel awful if someone became ill or had a reaction because of something they ate at your party. Just my opinion, though.
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Old 05-19-2006, 09:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmalady
There's a huge debate about this in the 'industry'. Some folks are of the 'buyer beware' philosophy, feeling that if a person has allergies, it is up to them to ask if a dish has nuts in it. Others feel it is the food preparer's responsibility to either prepare all dishes w/o nuts, or label them, as you suggested.
I think that any responsible person in this day and age would want to make sure they pointed this out. Sure it really is the "buyers" responsibility to make sure they don't eat anything they shouldn't, but that does not mean that the preparer needs to make it difficult for them. Nut allergies are very serious and can and do result in death. How hard it is to point out that nuts were used?

OK I am off my soapbox

Will you be printing up lables for each dish? If so, maybe you could make the name of the dish something like chicken nugget's with parmesan and walnuts?
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Old 05-19-2006, 09:38 AM   #6
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I have decided since we will be having other people help plate the food that I don't want to chance cross contamination so I am going to leave the ground nuts out. I think I will just add a few more crackers to the crust and leave it at that. I would (and so would my niece) be horrified if somebody ended up sick because of something that I made.

Hmmm I wonder how sesame seeds would go with cracker/parm cheese crusted chicken? Would add the crunch that the missing nuts will take away.
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Old 05-19-2006, 09:43 AM   #7
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Sesame seeds would be a great addition.
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Old 05-19-2006, 12:42 PM   #8
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"[quote=GB]I think that any responsible person in this day and age would want to make sure they pointed this out. Sure it really is the "buyers" responsibility to make sure they don't eat anything they shouldn't, but that does not mean that the preparer needs to make it difficult for them. Nut allergies are very serious and can and do result in death. How hard it is to point out that nuts were used?

OK I am off my soapbox "

Most restaurants do describe dishes in their menus, GB, and they work really hard to ensure nothing slips by. The caveat is that sometimes situations do happen, like something getting processed in a food processor that has just ground nuts in it w/o being cleaned - not everyone in the kitchen is a food scientist!

When I was doing a lot of catering, I always asked the client as I was making up the menu, if anyone had allergies, and to what. We then tried to work around those, or make sure the guest knew which dishes had foods in them they shouldn't eat.

I agree with you - it is a serious issue - but if food preparers do what they can, outside of describing on menus, trying to keep other foods away from allergen causing foods, then it is ultimately up to the person with the allergies to ascertain if they can eat something or not. If you're in a restaurant, the chef or manager is always available to ask questions, and at most catering events, (unless it's a 'drop off'), the caterer or staff will also be on site to answer questions.

The flip side of kitchen irresponsibility is customer irresponsibility. I was catering a 300 person wedding reception, food was waaay over the top - one of the things they had set up was a $3000 raw bar it was totally awesome. Well, one of the guests had a shellfish allergy - KNEW he had a shellfish allergy, but 'just couldn't resist' sampling a shrimp. He ended up with a severe anaphalactic reaction, EMS was summoned and he went to the hospital unconscious. Ruined the entire reception for everyone. Should the server have refused to serve him the shrimp? Don't think so!

PS - Edited to say I'd be interested to hear IC's comments re the issue!
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Old 05-19-2006, 12:58 PM   #9
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I completely agree with everything you just said here Marm
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Old 05-19-2006, 01:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IcyMist
One of the recipes that I want to make has 1/3 cup ground walnuts in it and I am not sure what the proper protocol would be.

Should I place a note on the tray stating that nuts are in the dish? The dish is a chicken nugget dish with parmesan cheese, nuts, etc. and the recipe really sounds good to me but am really worried about allergies.

Should I replace the nuts with something else? If so, what?
I would not put notes/labels on dishes re ingredients, etc., or substitute anything - catered party or not. IMO, it's just tacky. You can't 'cater' to every individual's health/allergy problems. It's up to the individual with allergies to ask, what's in the dish. Prepare what you want, or call in a caterer and order the list of foods you want. It is not your responsibility to worry about allergies.

Not clear on why you chose nuts - as there are people allergic to seafood and on and on. You can't replace/sub out everything - or there will be no food/libations.

I've attended catered wrap parties on the studio lot, weddings, private parties & buffets -- no one puts notes/labels on dishes. I think your concern is well meaning, but overly concerned. Enjoy the party & make what you want. I would be more concerned about alcohol consumption & allowing guests to leave drunk, get in their vehicle and hold you responsible.
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