You don’t realize how many people have special dietary requirements until you own a restaurant or run a B&B. After ten years of running a B&B I think I have gotten pretty good at meeting the dietary requirements of our quests. Thank goodness for the internet. It saves me from having to buy cookbooks that cater to a particular diet just to get the breakfast recipes. I have learned how to cook for vegans, diabetics, those with gluten and lactose intolerance and those that are eating only a raw diet (harder to accommodate than you might think!) What makes it really interesting is when you have two or more special diets in one group. One family of five had two vegans, two vegetarians and one raging carnivore. In that group the parents were the vegans, two of the kids were vegetarians and the eldest girl was the carnivore. That was an interesting breakfast!
Diabetics and vegetarians are pretty easy. For the diabetics I serve alot of fresh fruit, sugar free syrups and omit the sugar wherever possible. For instance I make strawberry sauce with no added sugar and omit the vanilla in my orange french toast. Vegetarians are really easy – no meat and you’re done. They get veggie omelettes with extra vegetables and I skip the meat side when making pancakes or french toast. Vegans are a bit more difficult. No eggs, dairy, obviously no meat or meat based fats. It’s oatmeal, veggie burritos or breakfast salads for them.
I am fortunate that I have access to a number of health food stores that provide me with a number of gluten free mixes and products. Therefore, providing a nice breakfast for those with gluten issues is not a problem. I have gotten pretty good about making gluten free pancakes and french toast. I’ve experimented with the gluten free muffin and cookies recipes and have been pretty successful with them.
Surprisingly, my biggest challenge was the couple who were on a raw diet. Nothing can be cooked so that means no eggs, no pancakes or french toast. Oatmeal is prepared by letting it sit in warm water overnight – not my cup of tea but I’m not eating raw. My biggest concern was feeding them for the nine days they were here without repeating a breakfast. I make it a rule to provide something different every day. I have a large enough repertoire for people without dietary issues to go for 14 days without a repeat. But I wasn’t that lucky with my raw people. They did get a few of the same breakfast meals twice during their nine day stay. And in case you are wondering what I fed them – here’s a sample. Kale salad with dried cranberries and raw almonds, oatmeal with dried raisins, raw honey and raw sugar, spelt bread with butter made form raw milk and raw milk cheese. On a couple of mornings I did a vegetable plate (varying the vegetables) with raw milk cheese and raw milk yogurt. Whenever possible I used fresh herbs to provide extra flavor. They seemed quite happy with the breakfasts. I was a bit surprised when, on the morning they were leaving, the husband described in great deal the fabulous fish and chips he had for lunch the previous day! But then who can resist a really good plate of fish and chips! After all, they were raw – once.
So a big Thank You to all my guests who have taught me so much about special diets and food issues. I would have never learned without you!