I'm just a social eater

Have you ever noticed just how much community life revolves around food?

I never realized just what a strong social adhesive food is until I found myself on the outside of it recently.

The two children of mine who are now old enough to eat socially (one still smears everything over hair, face and clothes) are currently facing food restrictions. One is gluten-free and milk-free, the other is milk-free. Both of them have been advised to avoid artificial preservatives and colours.

The trouble is: the list of foods without gluten, milk, colours or preservatives is a very short one. And now I find myself in the difficult situation of being the 'fussy mother', examining what is on offer at social occasions and restricting what they can consume.

The older child is being extremely good about it (the younger one is still oblivious) but I have found it an extraordinary experience to realise that food has the power to both include and exclude. And I've realised that it is really hard to be one of those people whose diet is restricted.