Foraging for Food at Formals

It’s almost the end of the spring semester, and as an involved college student, that means that its Formal Season.  My spring semester started off with one formal in February and then April brought two more.  I figured that since prom season is going on for those of you in high school, my stories about these will still be applicable.

The Honors Program winter formal was not too stressful for me since I was on the planning committee due to my position of being a Freshman Fellow.  I already knew the types of food that was going to be served and I knew that I would need to eat before coming early to set up, but it was no big deal.  When I approached them at the start of the event, the caterers said that they could get me something, but they never did.  I was glad that I had already eaten, but it would have been nice if they had gotten back to me.  Oh well.

The first April formal I went to was for the QUEST end-of-year banquet hosted by BHLP.  This event was held at an off-campus country club and featured buffet-style dining.  The food on the buffet had no labels as to what it was, which confused everyone in general.  But this was especially scary for me because after I talked to the staff about my allergies, they told me that all the dishes were safe except for me except for the pasta.  Once I got in line for the buffet, someone ahead of me asked what the dishes were and the employee stationed by the buffet said that the seemingly normal tortellinis with red sauce had crab meat in them! Imagine if I hadn’t asked and just assumed that the pasta was safe.  This just goes to show that you can never trust anything served to you if you do not get an explanation first.  Luckily, I was able to safely eat the chicken, potatoes, and mixed veggies, and all was well.

Then, this past weekend, the college youth group at my church had a formal at a local hotel.  Since it was from 8-11, I was not going there expecting to be fed a dinner so I was not too worried.  When I got there, there was a cheese tray and a fruit tray that were safe for me and then a dessert tray that I didn’t even attempt to eat anything from.  Then, waiters began carrying in trays of appetizers and eventually I decided to show one of them my allergy card, and a few minutes later she came back with a tray of safe appetizers that were baked specially for me instead fried in peanut oil like the others.  It meant so much to me that this hotel made that extra effort to provide me with something safe.

For all of you readers going to proms, formals, and other banquets as you end the school year, be sure to communicate with the staff running the event ahead of time and do not be afraid to speak up when food gets involved.  Everyone deserves a special night, and having different foods should not take away from that.


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