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JASTAMPER11 SparkPoints: (57,593)
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12/24/12 5:11 P

I agree with the diabetic...just bring something or at least call and ask. When I had a toddler to 5 yr old, I brought food or we ate on the way there and so on.

Not everyone knows what the other guy will or wont eat. Whether it be diabetic, allergy or a belief. I work at Subway and we have been asked to change gloves and use a clean knife for those whose religion don't include meat or pork.

YELLOWDAHLIA SparkPoints: (94,861)
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12/24/12 4:04 P

I have no problem making vegetarian options for people when they eat at my house. In fact, I like doing it.

The last time I had people over I made enchiladas. It was very easy to make both meat and vegetarian options.

JEN_IN_CA Posts: 1,179
12/24/12 12:27 P

Hi everyone,

I thought I had this set to notify me by e-mail whenever someone responded - it didn't, so I just saw all the responses now! Thanks for all the comments, I am really curious as to how other people perceive or handle these issues.

Just to clarify, when we visited in the past, they wanted to go out to eat and we all went out together, it wasn't because I preferred to. They know I'm a vegetarian and the visit had been planned for quite awhile in advance, but I think you're right LUANN_IN_PA that a conversation is in order. Also LOVE4KITTIES, you sound like a great host emoticon

I think part of the reason I was so surprised is because I can't imagine doing that if I were the host! Guess it's how I was raised, and I'm a Northerner too emoticon I'm glad to hear many of you say the same, even if it's not the norm.

Lastly, I'm not trying to start an argument about the sustainability of meat, but my understanding is that it takes far more land area and plants to feed animals that will be killed for meat than to feed people directly.

ANARIE Posts: 13,185
12/23/12 2:02 P

I think a lot has to do with the time of year and how many people are involved. If the OP has married into a family that has traditional dishes involving meat at the holidays, she needs to learn to cope with that; it's not fair to ask the family to change traditions. For that matter, even if it's not a tradition, there's always a time issue around the holidays. If your hosts don't have a repertoire of vegetarian dishes, the holiday season isn't the time to start learning. They want to cook something fast and familiar.

Personally, I think it's always polite to TRY to make a few sides that accommodate someone's preferences, but the only real obligation is to inform the person with the special diet about the ingredients of what's being served. I would also always accommodate a special preference if only four or five people are being served, but if I'm cooking for 25, majority rules!

CAMEOSUN SparkPoints: (86,617)
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12/23/12 1:43 P

I'm shocked. That's inconsiderate. Our eldest son and fiancée' are vegan. Son has to be for IBS issues. We happily go out of our way, all family, to accommodate them. We do the same for in-laws who are vegetarian (religious reasons).

SHERRIE59 SparkPoints: (54,049)
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12/23/12 10:09 A

I am not a vegetarian so I have no expectations; however, I am hosting a send off party where I expect a vegetarian so yes, I am accommodating him.

12/23/12 10:00 A

Personally, when I host something, I try to accommodate all the attendees, especially if I know about dietary restrictions sufficiently in advance (say a week or five days). It won't mean attendees will be able to eat EVERYTHING, but they will at least have enough nutritious food that they will feel satisfied. I guess it is because in my case, I love to cook and I like the challenge. Apparently your extended family does not.

In my extended group of friends we have people with a variety of food needs: vegetarian, carnivore, diabetic, low processed carb (me, for one), low fat, allergies from everything from nuts to eggplant, lactose intolerance, kosher, etc. It's a challenge, but fun, frankly. (I guess if someone only ate junk food or TVP-laden stuff, I wouldn't be accommodating, but that's another story -- they could bring their own junk food if they take the leftovers home with them.)

Edited by: ARTEMISTHEGREEK at: 12/23/2012 (10:10)
ANDILH Posts: 1,543
12/23/12 2:31 A

I am lactose intolerant and end up with something similar to food poisoning from a single bite of cheese or drink of milk. It will last for days. As the current food trend seems to be adding some sort of cheese to just about everything, I ALWAYS inquire as to whether I can bring a dish or prepare something once there. I also ALWAYS ask about the ingredients, in homes and in restaurants as I found out the hard way a local take out restaurant had changed a recipe and added cheese to a previously vegan sauce.
I also am mostly vegetarian as I have trouble digesting meat and find fish disgusting. I do eat chicken. I learned a long time ago my family is not accommodating for me or my cousin who is vegan. We have a couple vegetarians who aren't accommodating as they always include cheese in any dish they bring. While it's always nice when someone is accommodating, and I attempt to make sure to include everyone, I know that others don't feel the same or just don't care so I don't expect it and make sure to look out for myself.

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
12/22/12 11:25 P

Mom taught me that it's not polite to go to someone's house and tell them you don't like their food. It's one thing if you have an allergy. It's another thing if you just don't like it. If it's a matter of liking or not liking something, I think it's rude to tell people that you don't like their food. So, I would never think to go to someone's house and tell them that they've made something that I think is disgusting. Mom taught me that part of being a good guest is being polite and eating what is served, if at all possible.

On the other hand, Mom also taught me that a good host asks their guests before planning what they are going to cook so that they aren't, for example, making fish for people who hate it.

12/18/12 10:27 P

As the hostess I would have tried to accommodate guest preferences if I was made aware of them. I could never bring myself to send someone out to get their own dinner. If asked I would be happy to have someone use the kitchen, store food in the fridge or whatever. My mother has a special diet and brings some food with her every time she visits. I did the same when visiting while the kids were small and picky eaters. I didn't expect others to know or deal with special food needs.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,011
12/18/12 9:20 P

LOVE4KITTIES, if you 'choke down' the food and pretend that all is fine, there is no way for your hosts to know that you are having problems. You are putting on a face that all is well.

You need to TELL them your allergies/lifestyle choices.
They are not mind readers....

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
12/18/12 4:19 P

I'm not a vegetarian, but I do understand what it's like to show up at someone's house and find out that they are making something that I won't eat. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to someone's house and been shocked to find that the meal was made up entirely or at least mostly of things that I don't want to eat. It really is shocking to me that someone would invite guests to their home and not make an effort to find out what that person eats or, if inviting a lot of guests, at least make an effort to present a wide enough variety of foods so that people with particular dietary needs or food aversions will have a good amount to eat.

The last time I went to someone's house, practically everything they made was with fish or shellfish. I find both of these things to be disgusting. So, it was a very uncomfortable situation. I picked the two sides that had no fish in them and ate those. Of course, the host commented and tried to get me to eat the fish until I finally just told her that I had an allergy. Once, I went to someone's house for dinner and they had made lamb. Okay...also not for me. I choked some down. Another time, I was served mussels (some sort of a soup with the only side dish being an artichoke). I choked some of the mussel soup down and tried to pretend that it was fine with me. I felt like vomiting the entire time. The next time I went to these same people's house, they served me veal. There were a couple of side dishes, but there wasn't enough of the sides for me to make a meal out of them and still have enough left for everyone else. I knew that there would be a lot of comments if I didn't eat the veal. I choked some down...

So, I've pretty much had it with eating at people's houses and I try to avoid going to people's houses for meals, unless I know the person well and know that they are aware of my food preferences and are also willing and able to make something that I want to eat.

My mom raised me better than to invite people to my house and then try to feed them food that they don't like or cannot have. My feeling is that, when you are hosting people for a meal, you need to take into account their dietary preferences and needs. So, whenever I invite someone, I make sure this happens. If I invite someone and do not know about their dietary needs/preferences, I ask and then I make foods that they can/will eat. Sometimes, people with specific dietary needs/preferences will offer/ask to bring foods themselves and I am totally fine with this too, if that's what makes them comfortable (but I let them know that I am totally fine with making food for them and that they don't have to bring their own). If it's a situation where I don't know what someone will eat and I can't find out in advance (this has happened a couple of times), I make sure that I make foods that are the most ordinary foods I can think of (i.e. beef or chicken instead of veal, lamb or fish and some vegetarian/vegan dishes, just in case). In these situations, I also try to plan in advance for some of the most common dietary needs/preferences such as vegetarian/vegan and diabetic. If I didn't know, I would maybe do something like a bbq and have some portabella mushrooms on hand to bbq too, a salad station where people could add what they wanted, fruit salad, a vegan desert option (I make a mean vegan carrot cake), a low sugar/calorie desert option, diet and regular drinks, etc. If I found out that someone had needs/preferences that I hadn't planned for, I would offer to make them something that they would eat (or at least offer to help them cook something if it was a cooking style I wasn't familiar with). If I didn't have the ingredients on hand, I would offer to run to the store and get them or whatever else I needed to do to make my guest feel comfortable. I want people who I invite to my home to be comfortable and feel welcomed.

Anyway, yes, I do feel that people's dietary needs and preferences should be accommodated. It's the hospitable thing to do. People who aren't willing to be hospitable probably shouldn't be inviting people to their homes. Family should also make accommodations for other family members. I am shocked by just how many people will make what they want or like without thinking about their guests.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 12/18/2012 (16:48)
JULIA1154 Posts: 1,783
12/18/12 4:19 P

As hostess I certainly would have done my best to accommodate your food preferences, including discussing it with you prior to your arrival. I also would have offered you the use of the kitchen.

However, since that did not happen it was up to you to speak up and have a conversation with your hosts about how best to make the situation work for all of you. Next time, don't be shy - and do be proactive!

LOUNMOUN Posts: 1,334
12/18/12 3:35 P

If I was the host and I knew in advance that a vegetarian, diabetic or someone with a food allergy were going to be eating the meal that I prepared then I would plan to have food they could eat.

If I already had something planned or started and found out a person who couldn't eat it was arriving that afternoon I might do what they did and offer the choice for them to just eat out for that meal. And if the person asked about just eating side dishes, bringing their own food or asked to use my kitchen then I would be fine with that too.

As a guest, I would not expect people to automatically accommodate my food preferences.

YLLWROSE86 SparkPoints: (976)
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12/18/12 12:19 P

You could fill up on sides. my mother does not eat meat or much fats due to her body's unability to break the fats down well. Most of the time she just eats the sides or salads. If all else fails, she sits and visits while the other people eat, then eats later. I always try to accomadate for her with fresh fruits and veggies and always serve a leafy green salad.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,011
12/18/12 11:36 A

"In the minority here. I was raised on Southern Hospitality. I would certainly accommodate food preferences if I were able to."

No, you are not in the minority. Even us Northerners would accommodate preferences - silly to think that is strictly a southern thing!

But the OP was asking " Expecting some accommodation as a vegetarian? " which is different thing.
As a host, I would be accommodating.
As a guest, I would not expect to be accommodated.

The OP also states that she has eaten out every other time she was there. I would think it reasonable that the hosts figured she'd just eat out again... like she preferred in the past.

Sounds like a conversation is in order....

Edited by: LUANN_IN_PA at: 12/18/2012 (11:38)
RIET69 SparkPoints: (47,087)
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12/18/12 11:13 A

I have family members who are vegan. We get together for celebrations and there always is something for everyone to eat. It is not easy, but it is not impossible either.

MEG-NATALIA07 Posts: 679
12/18/12 11:09 A

If I were the host I would make a main dish and sides that are ok on everyone's diet. If that's not possible, then I'd make sure to have plenty of sides that work well. I would never want someone to feel like they weren't cared for in my home. That's hospitality. If someone invites you into their home they take on that responsibility in my belief. But, it's not always that way. I have a very supportive immediate family. I try and go prepared with snacks or a side dish that I can eat when I go to someone else's home if they haven't indicated what they will be serving. It's a good opportunity to be gracious as well and offer to bring something, one of your specialties, perhaps?

Anyhow, I'm sorry that hospitality isn't always what it should be. We do have to be prepared. And some people simply have no idea what they can serve us with specific dietary needs. It is an opportunity to be gracious.

Edited by: MEG-NATALIA07 at: 12/18/2012 (11:10)
12/18/12 10:34 A

If I'm "The Host" I'll do my best to accomodate. If I'm the guest I look out for #1 because no one else will.

OBIESMOM2 SparkPoints: (245,670)
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12/18/12 10:02 A

I appreciate people's efforts to accommodate my healthy food choices, but I do not expect it. I'm usually prepared with food of my own or offer to bring a side dish (as others suggested).

I'm not diabetic, but have several family members who are. I always bring low sugar desserts to our church functions.

anybody seen the movie "Midnight Meat Train"? It's a campy horror flick. There's a scene where one of the characters (who is a vegetarian) asks his buddy at the local bar & grill to throw some tofu (that the vegetarian brought with him) on the grill. His buddy says something like "do you have any idea how pissed my regular customers would be that I cooked THAT on the same grill as their food???"

HAPPYWRITER7 Posts: 9,723
12/18/12 9:54 A

When I was a vegetarian, I tried to always have some type of a back up plan. You cant often plan for someone else's kindness.

FEDGIRL4 Posts: 2,180
12/18/12 9:43 A


Did you ask to use their kitchen? If not, how can they know to say yes or no?

I was a vegetarian for 7 years and told everyone. It was my ethical choice. I ate around the meat or brought something myself.

Edited by: FEDGIRL4 at: 12/18/2012 (09:45)
ATHENA1966 Posts: 3,954
12/18/12 9:41 A

I am with BLUBEl on this. I know that we can't accommodate everyones food choices, but an effort to include you could have been made. Is there some history with these relatives? Telling you that you could go out seems kind of harsh. I was raised that if you welcome people into your home, you try to make them feel comfortable.

DIDS70 Posts: 5,368
12/18/12 8:48 A

Similar issues when you lead a raw lifestyle. At least most restaurants are more accommodating and have more selections for a vegetarian but not so much for a raw lifestyle. I went to a friends who knew i was raw and she prepared a simple salad. Knowing that she did not know how to prepare raw foods, I brought along a raw lasagne for one night and "spaghetti and marinara" for the last night. I ate the salad but had some of what i brought as well knowing the family is Italian.
Surprisingly their kids looked at mine and then at theirs and wanted to try what i brought. Not surprisingly they liked it. They were suprised that the marinara sauce I made really made the zucchini noodles taste like pasta.

As a treat, i brought along a raw "cheesecake". My friends were surprised how much they like it. I told them so many people wouldn't be living this lifestyle if the food tasted bad.

BLUBEL1 Posts: 1,003
12/18/12 6:57 A

In the minority here. I was raised on Southern Hospitality. I would certainly accommodate food preferences if I were able to. To me vegetables would be no big deal to make.

It sounds like they knew they had left you out of their plans since they announced their meal selection and said you could go out. REALLY !!! emoticon

LESLIESENIOR SparkPoints: (209,844)
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12/17/12 11:56 P

Nope! I am responsible for my own food preferences. However, when I make the meal, it is always flexible and adaptable to any tastes or food preferences. I also as people to bring their favorites.

12/17/12 11:50 P

While it is polite for people to accommodate peoples likes, dislikes, food aversions and lifestyles.. I have found they usually don' I don't. If I choose not to eat certain things or am allergic, diabetic or etc...I make sure I accommodate myself after all I am responsible for..myself! We avoid the whole mess and always have potlucks and if going somewhere we always offer to bring something and are never told not too!

Next time offer to bring something or ask to use the kitchen...I am sure they are not complete monsters and will allow you to cook something so you can get your grub on too! Don't wait for people to offer to accommodate you.....they wont unless you ask.

WARRIOR131 Posts: 10
12/17/12 11:32 P

sweety...I know the feeling! My guy has food allergies and i feel is i dont get some help he will starve to death!!! Most stores dont carry a very big selection for anything for him!!! im having a heck of a time!!!!!!!

ETHELMERZ Posts: 19,689
12/17/12 11:07 P

It's the same if a person is diabetic, you simply have to bring something extra along for yourself, and that's just the way it is. Except a vegetarian won't get sick if they eat some meat, where a diabetic has to eat a certain amount and at the right times, my husband is diabetic, and has to eat at certain times, and, when we go to people's homes, meal times are not regular, so I bring stuff along for him. The sustainability of meat doesn't make sense, because there isn't enough land to grow plants on for everyone either, just think if almost everyone suddenly became vegetarian, we already have to import veggies and fruits from all over the world, and most people barely eat 4 servings of plant stuff a day as it is, not enough land nor people to deal with all the plants, either. Population control would help more than people becoming vegetarian.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,011
12/17/12 11:01 P

I have some food allergies, and I never expect anyone to accommodate me.

Pity you did not ask about the available sides....

CANDICE293 SparkPoints: (4,147)
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Posts: 478
12/17/12 10:46 P

When I was a vegetarian, no one accommodation me at all. I was just a pain in the arse to them...

REBCCA SparkPoints: (408,243)
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12/17/12 9:21 P

Officially I am a pescatarian but most everyone refers to me as a vegetarian because it is so rare that I eat fish. My SO eats meat and when we go to friends there is usually a little something I feel ok about eating but honestly not much accommodation is made by most people. I think the reasons include them not being aware of the great options one can make that are meat-free. Sometimes I have felt a little resentment towards my healthy choices as honestly I feel they know that meat is not only unhealthy but unsustainable. It is a matter of education IMHO and that takes time.

JEN_IN_CA Posts: 1,179
12/17/12 9:13 P

Hi all,

I'm a vegetarian and my S.O. and I went to visit extended family last weekend, a trip I was really looking forward to. They know I don't eat meat, but other times I've visited we've ended up eating out and I was able to order to something meat-free. This time, right after we got there in the afternoon, they told us they were having a beef dish for dinner (no mention of sides) and we could eat with them or go out somewhere. Of course we immediately said we would go out.

I wouldn't have minded preparing something for myself if I had known, though nobody offered me use of the kitchen. I do feel a bit unreasonable expecting people to change or do something extra for me, but I thought people were more accommodating of vegetarians these days. Am I in the wrong for being a bit taken aback at this?

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