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Asking about food preferences and allergies

So you are hosting a dinner party but you don’t want to serve food that your guests either don’t like or can’t eat. How can you find out their preferences? Our resident expert, Mychael Chang, gives you the answer.
Your question:
Is there a tactful way to find out friends’ food preferences before having them over for dinner? Nothing is worse than finding out they have food allergies or serving a vegan red meat! 

The expert answers:
I think it’s always a smart idea to take the liberty to ask. I usually ask my guests on the phone if they eat meat, and if they’d prefer something lighter such as fish. I also ask if they have any allergies. Remember, if you’re entertaining for several people, it’s best to be on the safe side.

My experience is that you should use ingredients and flavors that please most palates. For example, most people like green beans, broccoli, butter lettuce, potatoes etc. You might want to stay away from things such as eggplant, peppers, mushrooms, brussel sprouts, cilantro and curry as they tend to be more acquired tastes.

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