Adapting holiday cheer

By Amber Hildebrandt, CBCNews.ca

'Tis the season for Christmas potlucks and parties. During this holiday, I have found myself more culinarily challenged than usual — having to whip up something for a few parties attended by people with dietary restrictions.

Gluten-free diets, lactose-intolerance and nut allergies are just a few of the limitations, on top of general lifestyle choices such as veganism and cultural dietary requirements.

I'm not used to tweaking my recipes. I indulge a lot and eat almost anything. But trying to find something edible for all was almost a welcome test of my gastronomical mettle. In the end, for my work potluck, I settled on a potato salad with green beans, marinated artichoke hearts and olives, covered in a lemon-Dijon vinaigrette.

But while I'd gone to the effort of keeping out all the most sensitive food items — meat, dairy and gluten — I wasn't near my dish, able to inform those passing by of the ingredients. It was only until near the end of the party that I remembered to tell a few of my colleagues with allergies.

A great idea I noticed was some conscientious co-workers placed lists of ingredients beside their dishes.

I still have a few more potlucks to go and was wondering what other people do to try to adapt to food sensitivities at get-togethers. Do you have any go-to recipes for potlucks that avoid most of the problematic foods? If so, please share.