Potluck is a scary word when you have special diet needs. I still remember our first family potluck outing after our son, Caleb, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. He had apples and peanut butter. The peanut butter was almost certainly contaminated.
I have learned a lot in three years and one of the most important things I have learned is how to continue to enjoy social outings that involve food. I initially went through a phase where we would go, bring one safe dish, and pack a lunch sack for Caleb. This was a lot of work and still meant that Caleb was singled out and eating something different.
Now for potluck events we load up a minimum of three dishes- one main type casserole, one side dish, and one dessert. In the photo above there was a cheesy hash brown and ham casserole, homemade pear sauce, and peanut butter cookies. This way, no matter what, there is something in every area of the table that Caleb can choose from. When we are accustomed to a group and the majority of people are well aware of contamination concerns and serving (or will allow him to go first), this is all I do. He is able to take a plate through (with help from Mom or Dad) and there is almost always a salad or fruit dish that is clearly safe in addition to our items.
When we are going somewhere new, however, I will actually pull out one serving for him to make sure that he gets something he likes. (He is a picky eater on top of his restrictions.) I also pull out servings if it will be a large group, like our Adopt-A-Student event at church this week. He still goes through the line in case there is something safe he can choose from, but he leaves room on his plate for the food from home.
Many people are surprised when we show up with so much food. This week, with the addition of the sling and Logan's sippy cup I had 2 bags of stuff! It is worth the work though to be able to continue to enjoy the food that so often comes with fellowship!
For Future Reference:
When photographing a pile of food, don't be surprised if someone comes to check it out.