When does the Christmas season start for you? My husband maintains it’s the first time you hear the Pogues on the radio. Others might start to get that festive feeling when large department stores air expensive commercials. Maybe you wait until the tree goes up? But for me, there can only be one sign that Yuletide is underway – the allergy & free from community of twitter start to talk about fruit for pudding.
Let me explain. If you have a special diet, the office Christmas party might go something like this:
You gleefully RSVP to the invitation, plan your outfit, book the cab home. On the day you change into your best party frock in the office loos, chatting excitedly colleagues in a cloud of perfume. On arrival you take full advantage of the free fizz, tongue loosened enough to get jovial with the boss. Maybe you tap your toes to the festive tunes. Your stomach grumbles. Time to eat to offset the tipple! They didn’t think to do gluten free canapés, but no matter – there’s a sit down meal. It’s turkey with no trimmings. Then, whilst your colleagues inhale sticky toffee something…. you are served a plate of green strawberries and some hard, sharp apple. Your colleagues are indignant, or sympathetic. Maybe they don’t even notice. You console yourself with a large digestif and a squashed rice cake from your handbag, maybe make a tipsy faux-pas in front of HR, before retreating to home to (dairy free) cheese on (gluten free) toast.
Step in #fruitisnotapudding. Our little way of making light of what is actually quite an isolating experience – not being considered at the most inclusive of seasons. It may have escaped your notice, but this year has been particularly tricky for allergy, intolerance and coeliac sufferers to navigate when eating out. Whilst the increasingly popularity of veganism has opened up options for some; high profile cases of poor allergen labelling and management in restaurants and food outlets, far from resulting in increased safety for diners, has caused some venues to react defensively and make allergic diners feel unwelcome and even humiliated with precautionary labelling, complex disclaimers, and even signed waivers before eating out.
If there was ever a time to celebrate the good and draw attention to the bad of eating out with special dietary needs, its is now.
The #fruitisnotapudding (FINAP) competition is now on it’s fifth year! It provides a big group hug to those in the free from community unlucky enough to receive a fruit salad, or nothing, at their festive event, and a prize to the worst that we find. It’s our way of sharing a little Christmas cheer, and raising awareness about the need for inclusion through better free from catering options.
We also take the opportunity to give social media fame to those establishments who are pudding heroes and go the extra mile to be inclusive.
I am delighted that Pudology have agreed to support this year’s competition by providing a selection of their chilled puddings to the winner! This will include some of their newly launched products along with their other classic varieties.
I honestly couldn’t think of a more appropriate prize – their puddings are gluten free, dairy free, suitable for vegans and don’t contain any nut ingredients. Did I mention they are highly indulgent and delicious? Proof if it be needed that it is very possible to create a superlative ‘free from’ pudding to suit most dietary needs. The winner will be asked for their postal address which we will share with Pudology so they can deliver the prize early in the new year.
How do I enter?
Simply snap a picture of your fruit salad (or other below-par free from dessert) and post it on twitter, Instagram or my Facebook page with ‘#fruitisnotapudding’ between the 1st and 29th December 2018 to be in with a chance of winning. We’ll pick a winner over a Christmas tipple with the B family by a roaring fire accompanied by great mirth. We usually pick the person we feel most sorry for. Judges decisions are highly subjective and always final. You can view last year’s entries here.