Gluten-free booze-free dinner party gift?
May 20, 2023 8:08 AM   Subscribe

It’s not really a dinner party, more like a get-together before dinner, I think. But I’ve never been to this friend’s house, so I don’t want to show up empty-handed. Difficulty is, everyone gathering is traveling from at least an hour away, and host has celiac so: No booze because driving, and no gluten. It’s tonight. What should I bring? Additional difficulty: I can barely boil water, so no fancy cooking allowed. I’d prefer to just buy something somewhere.
posted by invincible summer to Food & Drink (19 answers total)
Best answer: Bouquet of cut flowers to put on the table and be beautiful.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:12 AM on May 20 [22 favorites]

I’ll be interested in hearing the other suggestions here - but if you have time and access to a semi-fancy grocery store, I default to olive tapenade and gluten free crackers.
posted by Silvery Fish at 8:14 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]

Fruit and chocolate dip tray.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:21 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]

Charcuterie board, if guests eat that kind of stuff.
posted by box at 8:26 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]

Nice box of chocolates.
posted by A Blue Moon at 8:29 AM on May 20 [6 favorites]

Best answer: By all means bring booze if you know them to partake - it’s a gift for the hosts to use as they see fit. There is no obligation on their part to open the bottle that night. The same goes for any chocolates, candy or such.

You don’t have to bring food to share/a platter unless they requested guests to bring something to share. Food intended to share may actually be a ‘problem’ for dinner hosts because it may not compliment their planned menu. It sounds as if dinner may be at a restaurant so assume they have nibbles and drinks for the gathering part of the evening covered. You’re aiming for a small token of appreciation, don’t overthink it.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:41 AM on May 20 [19 favorites]

Fancy salt, nice jar of honey, flowers (already in a container!!!), orchid plant, jar of fancy olives.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:48 AM on May 20 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Have you been specifically asked not to bring booze? Most adults can be in a room with alcohol even if they’re driving long distances. Some can even have one glass and be perfectly safe to drive. You could definitely bring a bottle of wine as a host gift that the host may or may not choose to open.

My celiac family members love fancy potato chips - that’s another option. Just check that they have a gluten free certification logo (this is not rare or hard to find).
posted by rodneyaug at 8:52 AM on May 20 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I like to bring breakfast-related host gifts so there’s no pressure to incorporate a potentially-clashing food into an established dinner or drinks menu. They can enjoy something nice for themselves the next day! In this case, I’d bring some combination of jam, tea, coffee, fruit, gluten free scones or muffins (buy them already prepared), or gluten free pancake/waffle mix. Pick 2-3 of those items and pop them into a cute bag and you’re done.
posted by corey flood at 8:55 AM on May 20 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Flowers are the default move here.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:32 AM on May 20 [5 favorites]

Olives, cheeses, non-gluten crackers. easy and not messy. I marinate green olives in gin to make martini-flavored olives and they're so good.
If you want to cook a little, deviled eggs. Add some capers on top to make them fancier.
I recently brought plain salted rice cakes, hummus, and arugula, was quite popular as an appetizer. I eat this as a snack or lunch frequently. Add some baby carrots on the side, too.
Guacamole, homemade or store-bought, gluten-free corn chips, fresh salsa. There's a layered dip - refried beans, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, shredded jack cheese - that is really delicious with corn chips. any salsa is better if you put some fresh cilantro in it.
There are many recipes for baked spinach-artichoke dip with cream cheese. I love it with bread, but rice cakes, corn chips, gluten-free crackers or veggies will work.
posted by theora55 at 9:52 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

Flowers in a vase so they don’t have to stop what they’re doing to find a vase and arrange them.
posted by bookmammal at 10:01 AM on May 20 [4 favorites]

Flowers in a vase, or alternatively, a potted plant. Extra credit: a potted plant like a live basil, rosemary, or lavender plant. A basil has a limited life span (it probably won't overwinter) and you ultimately eat it, so it's not a real commitment.
posted by blnkfrnk at 10:15 AM on May 20 [5 favorites]

Fruit! In season fruit. For me, it’s strawberry season. So a nice big carton of local fruit that the host can share or nosh on their own later.
posted by inevitability at 11:27 AM on May 20 [4 favorites]

It's hard to find nice pastries when you have celiac, so I would recommend a nice box of desserts from a local gluten-free bakery in your area. Your profile location says Boston, so here is a list of GF bakeries in Boston. Often these are also nut and dairy free, depending on which bakery you go to, so they could suit a bunch of different dietary restrictions, but definitely grab a card from the bakery to put your friends' nerves at ease because eating things other people brought you is FRAUGHT when you have celiac disease.

If you think that baked goods would be out of theme for this particular gathering, often those bakeries do prepared bake-at-home versions of some of their pastries and you could get something of that sort so your friends could have later.

I like flowers as an idea too but hesitate sometimes because people have environmental allergies or pets. I usually only get flowers if I know that they don't have allergies and I confirm that the flowers are pet-friendly (definitely no lilies - very poisonous and potentially deadly to cats).
posted by urbanlenny at 12:52 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]

As gluten-intolerant person, I love meat and cheese. A nice pound of coffee from a local roastery always makes a nice gift as well; even if the hosts do not drink coffee, they will have it for their guests.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 2:38 PM on May 20 [3 favorites]

My default, since gluten and I don't totally get along, is to bring a 6-pack of cider.
posted by limeonaire at 4:44 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]

Fruit flavored sparkling waters.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 4:56 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone!! I went with a nice wine and found that many of you were right - nobody but me felt shy about drinking it. I’m such a lightweight, I forget other people can have a glass of wine and not immediately like, fall asleep. :)
posted by invincible summer at 7:37 PM on May 20 [3 favorites]

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