Every year at meal time, it's the same thing, What is this? Whats in it? Is this gluten-free? How about dairy, and, I am on the cave man diet, can I eat this? All legit questions to the consumer of food, but let's be honest, answering these questions over and over to people can become a bit, well, annoying. You as a hostess might not want to spend you meal time telling everyone else what they can and cannot eat due to their diet restriction. Then there is the people who feel the need to pile everything on their plate just to be nice, not really knowing what they are taking, then in turn waste half of that food. Or the people who jam up the buffet line by poking around the food, trying to figure out if that patty of brown is meat or actually a carob covered rice cake… I know the difference, but we can't assume anything with others.The solution is so simple and, in my opinion, a nice little visual touch to a food buffet. These hand-made(or printer if you wish) tags can be anywhere between a masking tape label to the most elegant explanations.I like the look if using a fork or some type of stick to display the tag, but taping or even making a sandwich style card works. It's up to you what look your going for.
Is the dinner shindig a pot lock? Make a food tag station. Have handsome little blank tags waiting for the creators of food dishes. When your are asked where you would like them to put their dish, directed them to the food tag station. Have a little example for them follow from. This also helps get these well-meaning people out of you hair cause you just gave them a job to do. It can also help break the ice between any unfamiliar guest.. A conversation starter. "Oh hey, you used oil and lard and butter in you crust..Me Too! Hi my name is…….".See what I mean, those people are now best friends.
So tag it and watch the flow of food and conversation. No worries about whether the nut free nephew is eating creamy cashew dressing or your vegan friend is actually eating reindeer jerky. Once the label goes up, your job is done. When its time to serve the food, grab a plate and pile on and watch you guest navigate their own food experience.
And yes, everyone is going to think that you are that much more creative and awesome...