Do you like playing games? Do you enjoy cooking? Do you like to occasionally have more than just soda pop and potato chips as snacks for game night? In this Monday blog series, game industry personalities will be sharing some of their favorite recipes for game night munchies. Welcome to Gaming Gastronomy! This week I am taking a break from the recipes to discuss dietary restrictions.
When you are the host for a game night, you should consider the dietary restrictions of your attendees. I have hosted numerous events recently and this topic has truly been on my mind and something I have had to account for. Here are just a few recent experiences.
- I have a student in my Writing & Editing for Gaming class with serious allergies. For class events such as my Class RPG Night, I have had to be careful what snacks people brought to the event.
- For my Upland Community Game Nights, I make sure not to have any peanut butter cookies or nuts as snacks. Peanut and nut allergies are becoming much more common. I want people to be able to come to our game nights and enjoy themselves, not having to worry about such an allergy.
- My brother-in-law is highly allergic to shellfish, so we have to be careful what restaurants we visit, and I would never have shrimp cocktail or gumbo as a snack or meal in my home if he is visiting.
Three things I highly recommend you consider when having your gaming event.
Celiac Disease – You have likely seen or heard about gluten allergies or the even more serious, celiac disease. This is a very serious health concern. And don’t assume every gluten-free snack or recipe will work. Food providers have various definitions of gluten-free. If you have someone with Celiac Disease or a Gluten Allergy attending your gaming event, talk to them ahead of time and ask them to give examples of what they can enjoy. If you have something you want to offer them, take a picture of the ingredients and sent it to them to ask. Don’t just assume if a box or bag says gluten-free that it meets the requirements.
Allergies – Food allergies are so varied, it can be hard to know what to prepare for. Peanut allergies are very common and can be annoying to the point of being deadly to people. Some people are lactose intolerant, others cannot have pepper, and there are many others. I encourage you to ask ahead of your players before preparing food. If you don’t ask ahead of time, then don’t be insulted if someone doesn’t enjoy your meal/snacks you spent hours preparing. Or even worse, they choose to leave before the event starts because their allergy is so strong they cannot be in the same room as their allergen.
Diets – Be considerate of your friends and families who are on a diet of some type. If they are vegetarian/vegan, they offer them appropriate snacks and meals. If they are on a diet for personal or health reasons to lose weight, then don’t tempt them with foods that will encourage them to break their diet.
The simple thing to do is ask your players what foods are acceptable and provide them. Your players will thank you for making the special effort to accommodate them. If you are having a public event where you cannot ask everyone ahead of time, then think ahead and minimize the risks so you offer the most friendly food options you can for the most people. Avoid nuts, peanuts, and peanut butter entirely. Offer gluten-free snack options like corn chips.
In the coming weeks, check back here on Mondays for more delectable recipes from personalities around the game industry.