Helping People with Food Allergies and Intolerances Dine Well

The number of people with food allergies and intolerances is on the rise. It’s hotly debated whether this is a result of better diagnostics or truly a greater number of people developing food allergies and intolerances — likely a combination of the two. And while celebrity diets that promote avoiding certain ingredients like gluten, soy, and dairy (and many more) may make you want to roll your eyes, allergies and intolerance should not be treated lightly.

A food allergy is an adverse health effect that occurs, reproducibly, on exposure to a given food that can show up as hives, tingling of the lips and throat, whole body flushing, difficulty breathing, or significant digestive distress — even from the tiniest crumb that can’t be seen. Many food allergies are considered life threatening and the the only way to keep these reactions from happening is complete avoidance of the offending food. Food intolerances and sensitivities, while are less likely to be life threatening, can still be life altering in that they can cause significant digestive distress, migraines, skin disorders, or joint pain, among other symptoms. One difference is that people with food intolerances can sometimes tolerate a small dose without significant symptoms, but it varies by person.

But if you don’t have a food allergy or intolerance, why should you care? It’s likely that you know people that do and at some point will dine with them — whether out at a restaurant or in your home— so it’s good to know how to keep them safe and feeling comfortable. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Know that this isn’t their choice: People with food allergies and intolerances don’t choose to have to avoid those foods — they do so for medical necessity. So don’t give them a hard time about it or try to coerce them into trying their off-limits foods.
  2. Accept the challenge: If you’re hosting a friend or family member for dinner that needs to avoid certain foods, don’t question it. Look at it as a creative challenge to cook something new. Also, don’t be offended if they choose to bring their own food — it’s all about the best way for them to eat safely.
  3. Ask questions: Not sure if a food is safe for someone to eat? Don’t be afraid to ask. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  4. Be flexible: If your dining partner requests that you eat at a certain restaurant because he or she knows it’s safe, just go with it — even if it’s not your favorite place.
  5. Do a little research: Do you want to go out for ice cream but your friend or family member can’t eat dairy? Find a place that serves non-dairy options as well, so you can both enjoy a treat.
  6. Understand the severity of their allergy: Sometimes allergies are so severe that steam from a dish can cause airborne particles to cause a reaction. If this is an issue for your friend or family member, modify your meal choices to avoid food that contains their allergen as well.
  7. Take the time to learn what to do in an emergency: If someone you know has a severe food allergy, they’ll likely carry an EpiPen. Understand the signs of an allergic reaction and how to get your friend the help they need should one occur in your presence.  

Today, nearly everyone is affected by food allergies and intolerances, whether you personally have one or have a friend or family member that does. Learning to respect the severity of these health problems and embracing them as part of life can go a long way toward making loved ones feel comfortable dining with you! To learn more about how Bon Appétit handles food allergies, read here.

ACADEMIC YEAR HOURS 2019 – 2020

Gordon Commons
Monday-Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Late Night @ Gordon Commons
 Sunday-Wednesday: 9:00 – 11:00 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday: 9:00 – 12:00 p.m.

Street Eats Food Truck
Sunday-Thursday: 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Express
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. –  6:00 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Retreat
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. –  4:00 p.m

Gordon Commons

Serving Light Lunch Til 5:00 pm
  • Breakfast Served from 7:00 am - 11:30 am
  • Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm
  • Light Lunch 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  • Dinner 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  • Late Night 9:30 pm - 11:59 pm

Weekly Schedule

  • Breakfast     Mon-Fri, 7:00 am - 11:30 am
  • Brunch     Sat, 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Brunch     Sun, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Lunch     Mon-Fri, 11:30 am - 2:00 pm
  • Dinner     Mon-Sun, 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  • Late Night     Mon-Wed/Sun, 9:30 pm - 11:00 pm
  • Late Night     Thu-Sat, 9:30 pm - 11:59 pm
  • Light Lunch      Mon-Fri, 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Students have unlimited access to Gordon Commons when it is open and must swipe their card each time they enter. Students will be able to eat as much as they like while dining in Gordon. Additionally, Gordon Commons offers Meals to Go, a program that provides ingredients for an individual meal that students may prepare on their own. Offered on Saturdays and Sundays, Meals to Go is offered as a meal exchange. Pre-order by 9 a.m. on Thursdays for Saturday and/or Sunday pick-up. To place a pre-order, click here. 999 numbers for each student must be submitted at the time of order.

DOOR RATES

  Vassar Guest
accompanied by Vassar student or employee
Children
ages 2 - 10
Vassar Employee Vassar Visitor
Breakfast $10.00 $5.00 $6.00 $12.00
Lunch $12.00 $7.00 $7.00 $14.00
Dinner $14.00 $7.00 $8.00 $16.00

Breakfast

stocks

root

home

the grill

coffee and sweets

Lunch

stocks

all you knead

root

home

lemon butter sauce

kosher

oasis

oil, salt and pepper
onions, celery, mushrooms, peppers, Italian spices and chicken simmered in a tomato sauce

brick oven

hudson valley harvest
hudson valley harvest
cheddar, mozzarella blend, lightly steamed broccoli
italian sausage, peppers, onions, mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce
hudson valley harvest

the grill

available upon request
please allow 15 minutes preparation time
mb food processing (murray's chicken)

the global kitchen

choose from:
chicken, shrimp or hummus
rice, orzo or bulgur
tzatziki, vegan tzatziki or olive oil
fried pita or roasted chick peas
assorted toppings; kale, carrots, feta, olives, tomatoes, cukes and red onion

pressed

pitt ham, beef bologna, genoa salami, provolone, pepperoni, leaf lettuce, tomato and italian dressing on a ciabatta roll

coffee and sweets

Dinner

stocks

all you knead

root

poughkeepsie farm project

home

Hudson Valley Harvest
Murray's Chicken

kosher

oasis

cinnamon spiced zucchini topped with stewed beef, tomatoes and spices

brick oven

hudson valley harvest
hudson valley harvest
cheddar, mozzarella blend, lightly steamed broccoli
italian sausage, peppers, onions, mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce
hudson valley harvest

the grill

available upon request
please allow 15 minutes preparation time
mb food processing (murray's chicken)

the global kitchen

pressed

pitt ham, beef bologna, genoa salami, provolone, pepperoni, leaf lettuce, tomato and italian dressing on a ciabatta roll

coffee and sweets