Julie’s Note: Mom wrote this before she left (they are somewhere in Germany right now)…but if you aren’t familiar with their Bed & Breakfast (Anne’s Oceanfront Hideaway on Salt Spring Island) it might not make sense. Their B&B has four rooms, so they can have a maximum of 8 guests at any time. When they serve breakfast, it’s in four courses, and they cater to all diet restrictions and likes/dislikes. They put out an incredible breakfast each day. One guest described them as a real detriment to lunch!

Usually there are only one or two special diets at any one breakfast. It is not a difficult task, with a bit of planning, to cater to one or two special diets in a morning. But one weekend we were hit with the challenge of all time… for two days we had a Vegan (no animal products), a Vegetarian (no meat or fish, but eggs and cheese okay), a lactose intolerant (no dairy products), and a Celiac (Gluten Free – no wheat rye, oats, barley or derivatives like malt) plus four other people that would eat anything sharing a brekafast table. Two said “the more meat and sweet the happier we will be”.

When we sat down to plan, we were very worried we would make a mistake. To minimize the chaos and confusion we decided to use as much of the same foods for the special diets as possible to avoid cross contamination and to have each meal look similar to the other.

We separated the kitchen into seven different work stations:

  • two different stations for breads,
  • two stations for the cereal dish,
  • two different stations for the hot entrees,
  • and one for the fruit and juice.

We used:

  • Puffed Rice sweetened with juice from the health food store (no malt/no grains)
  • Flavoured Soy Yogurt (no dairy/animal)
  • Soy Cheddar Cheese Cheese grated (no dairy/animal)
  • Firm Tofu smoke flavor (no animal)
  • Rice Milk (no dairy/animal)
  • Almond Butter
  • Rice Soft Tortilla  Shells (no grains)
  • Rice Bread and Cinnamon Buns

We made up the four special diets first. We had made a name card for each diet in each course.

The individual cereal dishes (cereal, yogurt, pear half, raspberry syrup, sprinkle of almonds ) were put on the table with the water juice and fruit plate.

Two bun/bread baskets: Rice Toast and Rice Cinnamon Buns (celiac), Rick’s Milkless Muffins and Peanut Butter Tea Biscuits( all others).

The hot entree was a bit more of a challenge. We were serving salmon scrambled wraps (which normally has eggs, salmon, cream, cheese and a few other ingredients in it). We used the rice tortilla wraps so the Celiac became a non issue for the hot entree. The vegan had tofu and vegetables in his wrap. The vegetarian had the egg mix with cheese minus the salmon, and the lactose intolerant had the egg mix with salmon minus the cheese. The remainder had the full meal deal complete with eggs, salmon and cheese.

None of them knew there were special diets at the table as they looked quite similar at first glance and unless they checked up on what ingredients we used, no one knew.

It was also the only time in thirteen years that eight people had eight different hot beverages.  We had hot chocolate, reg coffee, decaf coffee, English Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey Tea, Decaf Orange Pekoe Tea, Peppermint Tea, Chamomile Tea, and hot water. Oh yes there was rice milk, 2% milk, half n half, soy margarine and butter as well.

On day two we were still vigilant but more experienced and calmer while prepping for the morning fare of Portobella Benedict.

TIP: We use name placards for seating at the table.  Needless to say this proved to be a saving grace during the two days.

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