Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It is coming....

The big day approaches.  In two months my four year old will be a new entrant at the local primary school.  It absolutely blows my mind the idea that I could have a five year old.  At school, even.  I'm going to be crying all over the place - starting school comes after leaving creche - The Sweetheart's home away from home these last two years.   Well, I'm getting weepy thinking about leaving creche so I'll save that for another post and get on with the party planning!

Kid's birthday parties today seem very different from parties when I was young.  The food given is I think, healthier than it used to be and there are a lot more food allergies to cater for.  When trying to think of friends with food allergies from my childhood I cannot think of a single one - the only special food arrangement was for my friend's diabetes.

This party has a theme of fairy princess (original, I know) and food requirements of interesting, party-like, dairy, nut, soy, meat and egg free.  When faced with a different list of allergies last year I completely freaked out about what to make (as you can no doubt tell, I'm a baker - everything has flour, egg and dairy) until calmer friends pointed out all the obvious food choices.  I'm ashamed to say I was almost annoyed with the need to avoid certain foods as I really felt as though I was cheated out of making the things I really wanted to have.  But the party isn't about me, it is about my daughter.  I want her to be a good host, that means that I need to be one too.  Now I see it as an opportunity for food creativity and fun.  I doubt the kid's even notice that the food omits certain items - particularly as long as there is at least a lollipop involved!!

Best low-allergy birthday party food ideas (check packaging very, very carefully)

  • Rice crackers
  • Plain potato chips (flavoured ones tend to have milk powder)
  • Plain popcorn and candy corn (icing sugar and food colouring)
  • Lollipops
  • Marshmallows *some brands still contain gluten
  • Corn chips
  • Bagel chips
  • Fruit kebabs
  • Salsa
  • Carrot and celery sticks
  • Some sausages (bit tricky to find those without soy or dairy) or use ham
  • Berries
If you have a birthday cake there are a lot of really delicious gluten free recipes (although my fav gluten free recipes tend to contain nuts) and baking without egg just requires a little science - use egg replacement or applesauce instead.  Egg replacement powder is actually a brilliant thing to have in your cupboard for when you have run out of eggs.  I've had good results with it and a pack of 50 'eggs' costs about $7.

I think if you have a child with an anaphylactic allergy then it is just good manners to avoid any of that food item (particularly with younger children who tend to take whatever food they can get/ smear food all over the place) at the party.  For food intolerance, or older children better able to manage food then it is quite common to have allergy free foods for the children and perhaps an 'adults' food table with some other foods.

For one birthday party a Mum brought along a piece of egg/gluten/dairy/soy free cake that I quickly decorated to look identical; this upcoming party we are having an ice cream cake with a rice milk ice cream option. 

It is complicated, but it can be quite invigorating working out a nice, safe menu - for me a different kind of food challenge.


  1. Nice work! I'm surprised you don't have to do GF too. Oh, no-tahini hummus is a yummy dip :)

  2. We did gluten free, dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free last year. It almost killed me. Jamie Oliver has a really nice chickpea and white bean dip without tahini that I've made a couple of times. Most time when I make my own hummus I omit tahini...can't be bothered buying it!

  3. Toffee apples is my new idea for party food. Haven't met any kids allergic to sugar yet!