Food Boundaries

by admin on September 26, 2012

A good friend recently came to my town and I invited her to stay with me for the week she would be here, I was excited as I hadn’t seen this friend in about 2 years. When she gets here I drive to pick her up from the airport and the first thing she says to me is, “Did you know I’ve become a vegetarian?” I am shocked but I tell her that we can stop at a local grocery store to pick up some vegetarian food products for her. She seems grateful, picks out her choices, I pay and we leave.

That night we get back to my house and I put on some dinner for us both, her vegetarian hamburgers and regular ones for me. During the cooking time we have a glass of wine and catch up, she seems a little upset about something.  I ask her what is wrong and she says nothing. I brush it off thinking it was homesickness. Then once we are eating our meals she looks more and more distressed. I ask her again what is wrong and she says that watching someone eat meat is upsetting her because a poor cow was tortured for it. I apologise and finish up my meal in another room.

The day I get home from work and she has made plans to go out for a couple of drinks with mutual friends that night, I agree and put on dinner again… vegetarian for her and non vegetarian for me.  When she offers to watch dinner while I jump in the shower and get ready, I accept. When I am dressed I come out to find her eating her dinner and my dinner nowhere to be seen. I check the microwave, the oven, the fridge, she finally realizes what I am doing and says she discarded my dinner because it was upsetting her. I am shocked so I sit down to a quick meal of instant pasta.

The next day I get home from work to find while I was at work she has put all the meat from my fridge and anything that was non vegetarian sitting in a bag next to the trash bin. I question her about this and her response is, ” You are an inhuman monster, I can’t believe you would eat another living creature. I can’t sleep at night because I think you are going to creep into my bedroom and eat me considering you don’t mind torturing innocent animals for your own selfish happiness.”

I was completely shocked but I managed to compose myself enough to say, “While I have enjoyed the pleasure of your company, I think you would be more comfortable at a hotel.” She then had the nerve to yell at me and call me a bad friend, packed up the rest of the vegetarian food we had and left.

Boundaries.  Boundaries are good.  Boundaries keep us from meddling in things we have no business meddling in.  Like someone else’s pantry and refrigerator.

What made it that little bit worse was that it was a week before my parent’s wedding anniversary and I had all sorts of frozen things in the freezer which she had thrown out.. I had to replace it all.. 0906-12

{ 146 comments… read them below or add one }

Kendo_Bunny September 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm

…. this stuns me to the core. I’m part of a small sub-set of meat eaters in that I have a medical reason to be eating meat. I don’t produce enough cholesterol naturally, and too-low cholesterol is linked with aneurysms (my grandfather died of an aortic one), heart failure, depression, lung problems, and suicidal urges. I was told by a doctor that I need a high-cholesterol diet – I tried giving up meat for Lent once and got so sick that I had to see her for a blood test, and that’s how I found out that I don’t have enough cholesterol to keep my body working without eating a lot of it. A vegan diet could literally kill me.

I’ve told all of my vegetarian friends about my condition, and some vegetarians who wished to debate. All my friends are highly sympathetic, and say as long as I’m cool with their diet, they’re cool with mine. A few of the more militant vegetarians I’ve told about my condition have asked if I can just eat a lot of eggs, which I respond that I theoretically could, but I really don’t relish the idea of eating eggs as often as I would have to to keep myself healthy (probably at least two-three eggs every single day), but they have generally been accepting. I’m trying to think what this nut would have replied if I had been the hostess in question… probably that I should just accept it and die for the good of the animals.

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whatever September 26, 2012 at 11:00 pm

i’ve been a vegetarian for 17 years. my friends know that and try to have something i can eat when i visit them, they are awesome like that.
when they are guests at my house, i usually cook an elaborate vegetarian meal, except when i have those over who wouldn’t eat anything but meat (there are two of them among my friends, and for them i’ll usually make meat that i don’t have to handle much, like sausages).
one thing i’d never do though is judge what nutrition choices anyone else makes. being vegetarian is my own joice, for my own reasons (most of them not having much to do with the animals’ well-being), as eating meat is theirs.

the only pet-peeve i have is non-vegetarian people declaring themselves vegetarian. somebody who eats meat occasionally is not a vegetarian, they just eat very little meat. somebody who does not eat meat but eats fish is a pescarian, not a vegetarian.
the reason that ticks me off is because it leads to a lot of people believing that vegetarians eat fish or don’t oppose of having their food drenched in gravy as long as there are no obvious pieces of meat in it, and that makes me have to explain why i can’t eat the food they might have prepared especially for me and put us both in an uncomfortable situation.

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BeenPlusAndBack September 27, 2012 at 12:13 am

I’m omniverous. I was raised a farmgirl, and yes I have raised what I later ate; I KNOW where that whatever on my plate comes from.

If you are my guest and you are vegetarian, vegan, or have a food allergy, I will very much try to prepare you food that is what you prefer to eat. I will try NOT to eat what you might find objectionable IF I know that you do have issues with it, but.

My food supplies are something that I expect to be left be.

I have also had various allergies that have come and gone, and diets mandated by doctors that were follow them or literally die… and I don’t expect you to eat what I choose to or have to.
*this is being tested at the latest developments in mandated diet, where my SBH (suffering better half) can eat many things I’m no longer allowed, so often two separate meals of radically different ingredients must be made for us to eat together!–by the same token I don’t expect him to eat what I eat or he expects me to eat what he eats, that is OPTIONAL*

This visitor was totally over the top and I’d have sent her a bill for the food she ruined….

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Fizzychip September 27, 2012 at 12:31 am

OP – I am surprised you lasted as long as you did. Not only did this person literally leave it until she was in your car on the way to your home to let you know such a fundamental dietary choice, she absolutely abused your hospitality and friendship once she was installed in YOUR home.

I’m pescatarian, but like a lot of people, I am not militant about it. I also don’t tend to mention it unless I’m going to someone’s home for a meal – and even then, I usually bring something along (apart from a bottle of wine) which I can eat so as not to inconvenience the host.

If people do ask me about my diet choice, I stress to them that it’s exactly that – a choice I am lucky enough to be able to make. If I was stuck on a dessert island and there was absolutely nothing apart from me and a chicken, you can bet your bottom dollar that chicken’s not making it to sundown. In no way in the world would I presume to dictate dietary terms to someone who had been gracious enough to open their home to me.

Discraceful & truly ignorant behaviour on behalf of the guest here.

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nk September 27, 2012 at 1:17 am

White Lotus, respect does go both ways. That means that if your friends cook vegetarian meals for you in their homes, you should be equally courteous about letting them eat meat in yours. I’ve met plenty of vegetarians who demand that their dietary preferences be met in the homes of others, but then refuse to accommodate non-vegetarians when the tables are turned.

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sweetonsno September 27, 2012 at 2:05 am

This really doesn’t seem like something that a normal person would do. (It sounds more like the behavior of an over-the-top caricature on a sitcom.) I can see a new vegetarian forgetting to mention it to a host. I can see a new vegetarian being a bit upset at being around the smell and sight of cooking meat. The comments and throwing stuff away just doesn’t seem like something that a normal, healthy adult would do. If this actually happened, these actions were clearly not due to her vegetarianism, but some sort of mental illness that resulted in extreme social ineptitude. Vegetarianism (due to strong personal convictions) does not automatically make you lose the ability to treat others with respect any more than any other personal lifestyle decision. (Obviously, as most of us manage to not destroy other people’s property and lambast them for possessing it.)

I must say that I am surprised (and somewhat dismayed) to have seen multiple posts that expressed anti-vegetarian sentiments. Not all vegetarians are jerks, and there’s no need to disparage our choices or beliefs simply because of a secondhand account of someone being a jerk. It really is no more appropriate than trying to disprove a religion (or imply that believers are bad people) in response to a secondhand story about an overzealous proselytizer.

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David September 27, 2012 at 2:43 am

The OP handled the situation well, much better than I would have. I do think that a bill should be sent to the nutcase for the cost of the food that she destroyed.

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Lex September 27, 2012 at 3:30 am

Regardless of her personal feelings on meat, she has absolutely no right whatsoever to violate your privacy by taking it upon herself to remove all meat from your home. It is your home, your food and your fridge. If she is uncomfortable with you eating meat or staying in a meat-eating home, then responsibility for either dealing with the issue or staying elsewhere lies with her. Not you.

You should pursue her for the cost of the food she ruined!

If I were you I’d ditch-and-delete – she’s a toxic friend who is not worth having in your life if she is going to behave this way. To suggest that you might creep into her bedroom to eat her is irrational, hysterical and downright offensive. You’re better off without that kind of evil in your life.

It is her choice to be a vegetarian and personally I couldn’t care less what reasons people have for being so – be it taste preference, moral or religious – personally I can’t abide any meat on the bone as it tastes like metal to me (chicken thighs, wings, Rack of ribs, etc) and hate the flavour of pork but I am weak for a good medium-rare Rib-Eye. My Aunt hates the taste of all meat, but she’s happy with a good quiche or risotto. Whatever a person chooses, it is not their right to force their beliefs or practices on others. It is their responsibility to handle the effects of their choices privately, or to assertively insure that their preferences are appropriately catered for but without aggressively causing an issue (if you visit friends and they offer BBQ, it is not unreasonable to ask that vegetarian food be cooked on a grill separate to meat products, for example, but to insist they buy a new BBQ because you may have cooked meat on the grill previously is a bit over the top – if you feel that strongly it is your responsibility to bring a disposable BBQ and politely explain the situation quietly to the host).

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NicoleK September 27, 2012 at 6:46 am

Ah, the fanaticism of the newly converted…

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The Elf September 27, 2012 at 6:51 am

I agree, Whatever. With all the misconception out there, people don’t need to complicate it by calling themselves something that they aren’t. This is why I say that I “Frequently eat vegetarian meals” or “Tend towards vegetarianism” when the subject comes up. This allows for the possibility of meat, while still acknowledging my dietary preferences. If I were a guest in someone’s home, I wouldn’t bring it up. I can, and do, eat meat so if my host wants to have meat every day and night, fine. That I frequently don’t eat meat when I’m at home is irrelevant.

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The Elf September 27, 2012 at 6:57 am

Anonymous, unless the sight/smell of meat sickens you, go to the next BBQ if you want. Chances are good there will be fresh veggies & dips, potato salad, chips, etc. I have yet to see a BBQ that didn’t have non-meat sides. You’d need to watch out for bacon as ingredient in those sides, like in baked beans, but it doesn’t take much to check. You might end up with a plate lacking in protein, but that won’t kill you for one meal! Vegetarianism is common enough that a plate without meat shouldn’t be an eyebrow raiser. Or you can bring a vegetarian dish (enough for everyone) and eat that, if the format of the party works for that sort of thing. Of course, a lot depends on how restrictive you are with your diet. But simply not eating meat can be worked around at most functions.

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amyasleigh September 27, 2012 at 7:41 am

“Religion [or devotion to equivalent secular ideologies] is what some people do with their madness”.

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Drawberry September 27, 2012 at 9:45 am

sweetonsno I think it’s a huge stretch and an unnecessary armchair diagnosis to assume that someone who behaves erratically to US is mentally unwell.

It’s easy for some people to assume that you clearly must be mad to do something so obnoxious, but that simply isn’t so. The world isn’t made up of manic vegetarians sneaking into peoples homes in the dark inky night.

BUT the world *is* made up of people who are selfish, arrogant, entitled and presumptuous.

We are raised in a society that teaches us that we are important and others must accommodate to our whims, taught by family and peers that we deserve everything and people are constantly going to be supplying that ‘everything’.

While it may sadden you to believe it, the world is populated far more heavily by the entitled then the mentally ill.

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violinp September 27, 2012 at 9:45 am

Eating animals that are raised to be killed =/= cannibalism. This woman needs to calm down before she gives herself an ulcer.

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Enna September 27, 2012 at 11:18 am

I like the comments that said this woman is a drama queen and a control freak. I’ma veggie and this woman gives us all a bad name. The OP handled it a lot better then I would! This is way beyoned the pale – talk about radical. She should pay for the meat – that is a complete waste of food and people are STARVING in the world. The only time I would throw away some meat is if I saw it was out of date or had green fluff growing on it.

At uni I had a firend of a firend who actually lived with veggies and he lied and said he was a veggie. He did say when several of us went back to his house not tell his hosuemates that he had meat at the resturant or they would kick him out – that could have been a joke. I woudln’t have dropped him in it but if being veggie was a requirement of living in the house he should have thought about that before moving in – he walked right into that one if he ever got caught. Have to say wasn’t too impressed with that, more because of lying.

@ Serena that firend of yours who is probroably and ex firend now is a bit odd – what she going to do next? Spike someone’s drink?
@ Compelled to Comment – you make a very good point: it wouldn’t be funny to knowlingly give a nut allergy sufferer nuts would it? That could be considered attempted murder.

@ Sazerac yes this woman does give vegeitarins bad names but there are some very short sighted meat eaters out there like in Serena’s case who are equally as bad and don’t need a veggie-nutter to make them behave that way. You get veggie nutters and meat nutters.
@ Annie I can have a healthy joke with some family members about food choices but sometimes ppl do take it too far – something like this it does work both ways.
@ Ergala I disagree with your comment about veggie cheese – all they manufacturers do is use vegetarain renet, not animal renent from a calf’s stomach. It is possible to have an unhealthy diet whatever diet you subscribe too – a fat free diet is unhealthy: human cells are covered in a layer of fat so some fat is required in a diet to be healthy.

@ Kendo_Bunny – I agree totally that some people have to eat meat for their health, anemia comes to mind but if someone told me they had your condition I would definatly be cooking them something meaty if they came to dinner. Wouldn’t want to make that person ill! It might be sausages or something simple.

@ Whatever: I have the same attiuted – if you eat meat you are a meat eater: if you eat fish you are a presctiorian. I saw one “Vegetrain” tuck into geletine sweets quite happily – didn’t feel like saying anything to her as the ingrediants were clearly labeled on the pic and mix – she knew what she was eating.

@ nk: about cooking meat for meat eaters – depends on the situation. I am a veggie and I have cooked meat for my meat eating ex bf but that is because he liked it well done and therefore I knew it was cooked properly. Some vegetarians may not be prepared to cook meat that they can’t tell if it is cooked well or if the meat is good as it would be offensive/embrassesing to produce a meat meal where the meat has gone bad or tasted bad or wasn’t cooked. If someone who drinks alcohol went to a party hosted by a tee-totaller it would be rude to expect alochol: a nice surprsie if it was served. Meat eaters and alcohol drinkers (I drink myself) can go to a veggie or teetotal event and still remain true to their meat eating / drinking attiutdes. The only difference being is if it is a tee totoal party turning up drunk would be rude – whereas a meat loving guest could eat a portion of meat or two before going along or after.

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Calli Arcale September 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

WOW! That is absolutely the most stunning display of rudeness I have ever seen by someone with a restrictive diet. I mean, WOW! She’s waits till the last minute to inform the host of her diet, she is surprisingly finicky about even seeing meat being eaten, she is downright rude about what her host (and supposed friend) eats, she destroys her friend’s meal without telling her (she has to be asked before she’ll explain why her host’s meal has suddenly disappeared, rather than, oh, I don’t know, explaining the situation and cooking up a replacement, not to mention that she *agreed* to watch the meal as it cooked), she wipes out her hosts pantry, including things purchased for a major family celebration in the near future, again without telling and only explaining when challenged, and THEN she says she can’t sleep at night because she’s afraid her host might kill and eat her?

And is offended that the host suggests she’d be happier in a hotel? And steals what’s left of the hosts’ food on the way out?

Wow. That is truly staggering. Though you could sue in small claims court for the destroyed food, personally I’d just write the whole experience off and be happily rid of this horrible person. If I never saw them again, it would be too soon. OP has the patience of a *saint*.

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Kirsten September 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm

NK, there’s no reason at all for a vegetarian host to cook meat for meat-eating guests. Meat-eaters are perfectly able to enjoy a vegetarian meal, and many meat-eaters regularly eat meals without meat in them.

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Gina September 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm

There’s bad etiquette and then there’s crazy people.

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Anonymous September 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm

@The Elf–I don’t work at that law firm anymore; that was several years ago, and I was just a summer student there. But, I had other reasons for not wanting to go to the barbecue as well. Besides the meat issue, I didn’t want to socialize with the people I worked with, outside of work.

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Kendo_Bunny September 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm

@ Enna – that wouldn’t be necessary unless I was staying several days. If I know I’m going to a vegetarian’s house for a meal, I try to get my cholesterol needs met earlier or later in the day. I try to be considerate with my condition, as most vegetarians I’ve met do not like to cook meat (or in some cases, barely even know how to).

@ nk – I think it’s more reasonable for vegetarians to expect their visitors to accept a meat-free meal, because even people with biological/medical reasons for eating a high-meat diet don’t need to eat it at every meal. There are plenty of perfectly acceptable and filling dishes that don’t contain meat. If you’re visiting for a length of time, perhaps, but I view it like I view kosher rules. If I was staying several days at a Jewish friend’s house, I would not ask to use their cookware to make myself pork chops or shrimp scampi. If I had an unbearable craving for non-kosher food, I’d ask if we could go out to eat. Some vegetarians are truly disgusted by meat, and even the act of cooking it in their dishes would violate their ethical code.

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JeanLouiseFinch September 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm

She sounds truly mentally ill. Probably the statement about being killed and eaten was the center of some kind of paranoid, delusional fear. It has the feeling of what her real fear must be. I have to wonder what she does when she goes to the market or if she tries to pull that craziness at work. I would definitely advise her that I expect financial compensation if only to see the reaction. It may make her decide to get some help. With vegetarian fanatics, I tend to remind them that Hitler was a vegetarian too (not that I think that there’s any relationship – just saying that it does not make you a better person.) With my friends who are vegetarians, I cook them up my best Indian or Middle Eastern meal! Since even non-vegetarian friends often request me to make Indian dishes, I can only guess that nobody minds the meat free meal.

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helen-louise September 27, 2012 at 10:30 pm

I’m just amused that the crazy woman accepted a glass of wine. Didn’t she realise that many wines are not vegetarian? Finings are used to clarify certain alcoholic drinks, and include gelatine, isinglass (from fish), chitosan (from shellfish and crabs) – none of which are vegetarian. They also include casein (milk protein) and egg albumen, which are vegetarian but not vegan.

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Unsinkable September 27, 2012 at 11:30 pm

My brother-in-law and one of his ex-wives announced that they were vegetarians, but we soon discovered that they would eat meat when someone else was paying for it. I’ll never forget walking into the kitchen to get more coffee (Easter Sunday), and they were huddled over the ham carcass, going at it like a couple of hyena’s! And to think, we suffered through the tofurkey on Christmas day. I would have gladly paid for the meat!

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Kate September 28, 2012 at 1:57 am

This reminds me of the old joke: “How do you know if someone is a vegetarian?”
“Oh, don’t worry, they’ll tell you.”

I have a couple of vegetarian friends, but fortunately they don’t impose their lifestyle choices on others, and have never taken exception to people eating meat in their presence. When I’ve had them over to my house, I’ve served vegetarian food for them and meat for myself and others. If they’d carried on the way OP’s guest did, they would be former friends.

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OP September 28, 2012 at 2:54 am

After this point she then went and stayed at another friend’s place who I only just came home from visiting..

Apparently while she was there she claimed I had been sneaking meat into her vegetarian meals.. I have had vegetarians in my house before and in fact many of my friends are so I even have separate vegetarian only chopping boards and a vegetarian only fry pan. Also she tried to pull the same stunt on that friend before the friend requested she leave.. I believe she went home 2 days before she was supposed to as none of our other friends would take her in and she would not pay for a hotel room.

She has tried to call me many times and I just don’t answer her calls.

I had 3 days to buy the replacement food and my parent’s anniversary was fantastic.. I have to admit, I told my parents this story before and they insisted I tell it at their anniversary party, which got a lot of laughs..

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OP September 28, 2012 at 3:04 am

also, the reason I had not seen her in such a long time was she was finishing her university degree in another state (I live in Australia)

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Sugaryfun September 28, 2012 at 3:51 am

Nk, I disagree. I don’t believe that a vegetarian has any obligation to cook meat for meat eating guests. If you believe strongly that eating meat is wrong you shouldn’t have to buy or cook it. Meat eaters can easily do without when they are guests in a vegetarian home. Would you expect your host to compromise on other deeply held beliefs when you are visiting? Should they, for example, refrain from praying for fear of offending you if you are a different religion?

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itwasadarkandstormynight September 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm

How would she feel if you went to her house and filled her freezer with meat products? If she expects other people to respect her dietary choices, she needs to do the same for other people.

Sadly, I’ve met many vegetarians who have the same sense of entitlement as the OP’s “friend.” They seem to think that being a vegetarian means everyone around them will magically stop eating meat as well. The truth is, one’s dietary choices are a personal matter (sometimes even a medical matter), and that means you don’t have the right to force others to change them, even if you think you hide behind an “ethical” or “moral” cause. Vegetarians would be horrified if their meat-eating friends tried to force them to eat meat, and yet some of them feel it’s perfectly acceptable to force their friends to abstain from meat. These “special snowflake” vegetarians seem to be the vocal minority who unfortunately give all other vegetarians a bad name.

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The Elf September 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Re: Vegetarian hosting a carnivore……

I don’t think it’s a matter of obligation per se as much as being a good host. But there’s a lot of leeway there, so I think it would depend on many factors such as how deep the vegetarian’s objection to meat goes. If this vegetarian cannot in any way feel comfortable with having meat in the house or purchasing it, well it’s his place, his rules. But perhaps the vegetarian host would be okay with someone bringing a meat dish to a shared meal? Or buying something that requires little preparation? Or getting meat take-out? Or buying meat that the omnivore prepares (i.e. meat burgers and veggie burgers on the grill). A lot would also depend on how long the vegetarian is hosting the omnivore. One meal, no big deal. A full week? That’s a long time to go completely without meat if you’re not used to it.

So, it’s really not so black and white. There’s no obligation to serve meat, but it would be nice if the vegetarian could meet the omnivore half-way.

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Kirst September 28, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Omnivore is not synonymous with carnivore. There is no reason at all for an omnivore to demand, expect or complain that they didn’t get meat, unless they have a health problem which requires animal protein. Omnivores eating vegetarian meals are not being asked to eat anything they can’t or won’t eat. I don’t believe that every omnivore eats nothing but meat at every meal, or that any omnivore has never eaten a meatless meal.

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whatever September 28, 2012 at 11:51 pm

The Elf: thank you for understanding about the importance of the use of the correct terms. most of the almost-vegetarians that i called out on that replied with a very annoyed “but i AM practically vegetarian! i spoon all the meat out of the chicken broth before i eat it!” no, no you are not.

about hosting omnivores for a week: i feel uncomfortable handling meat, but if i host guests for longer than two days, i will almost certainly take them to eat out at least once, and buy something like pre-sliced ham or bacon that they can put on their bread or on a pizza.
i do have two friends that won’t eat vegetables of any kind or rice or pasta and hardly any cheese (not for health reasons, they are just picky eaters), so when i have them over for dinner i’ll buy a pack of sausages to cook, which means minimum handling for me – slice open package, drop content in water, cook and fish out of pot with a fork, done. i don’t even have to touch them.

OP: if you even own veggie-only cook ware that is more than i would expect from anyone! the only thing that i request from anyone that is willing to cook a meal for me is that they please use a different spoon for stirring in the veggie pot, not switch between the meat and non-meat pot without washing it.
the only pan that i have ever refused to have used for my veggie food was the cast iron pan one of my then roommates had. and that was because it was cast iron and therefore never washed, only wiped.

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Sugaryfun September 29, 2012 at 2:20 am

Re. BBQs yes, there sometimes is literally nothing for a vegetarian to eat at one of those things. Most of my friends eat enough vegetables anyway that there would be something for me to eat, but some don’t (I went to a party once where the snacks were all either meaty things like sausage rolls or sweets containing gelatin, no veggie sticks, no fruit, no bread, no nothing) so if I’m going to a BBQ I bring some veggie sausages with me. Even that’s no guarantee though since I have had inconsiderate meat eaters eat nearly all the one veggie dish before I had any because it was different and they all wanted to try it. And once I asked nicely if we could cook the veggie sausages first (they would only take 5 minutes) and was denied by the host and had to wait for them to cook all the meat, which took an hour and half, before I could clean the BBQ plate to cook them. Everybody else at the party was eating while I waited with nothing to eat since the only snacks provided were meat flavoured chips. So I can understand why some people might choose to avoid these things.

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Cat September 30, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Her behavior ventures into the realm of obsessive behavior for me. It’s one thing to decide on a personal diet whether for economic, religious, or health reasons and another to destroy someone else’s property and to accuse her of being a cannibal of Hannibal the Cannibal’s ilk. “Darn, I’m out of Fava beans!”
It’s one thing to believe in a certain philosophy or religion and another to try to force it on people who have different values. This house guest crossed the line and continued in the same behavior with other people as well. She didn’t learn from her experience and she didn’t change her behavior.
I hope she gets some help before she starts creating problems at her place of employment. Throw out the roast beef sandwich the boss has been looking forward to having for lunch, accuse him/her of being a cannibal, and someone had better be prepared for unemployment.
It’s true that we do raise certain animals as food. Who would consider keeping beef cattle or large pigs as pets? If not for their food value, they would be extinct.

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Aunt September 30, 2012 at 8:12 pm

My lovely DIL is vegan, and my son now eats a mostly vegan diet also. When we go to visit, she fixes lovely vegan meals, and if we’re there for more than two dinners, we go out to eat at least once. That gives her a break from cooking for everyone, and allows my husband & me to order something with meat or cheese, etc. if we desire, as well as a way to thank them for their hospitality.
When they are here, I fix vegan dishes to make sure they haves a good selection, although I sometimes will add a meat or cheese dish too.
They would never in a million years act like the OP’s guest!

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Cat Whisperer October 1, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I’d send this “guest” a bill for all the stuff she threw away. Not that I’d expect her to pay it; she obviously has a sense that vegetarians are special superior beings who are doing a favor by treating meat eaters like subhuman scum. But I’d send her the bill anyway.

FWIW, regarding the vegetarian/vegan vs. meat eater moral debate, I like something that Mary Renault said in her book “The Persian Boy”: “God made the bull to eat grass, and the lion not, and only God will choose between them.”

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Linnie October 1, 2012 at 3:19 pm

That’s psychotic, I hate vegans/vegetarians like that.
I’m a vegetarian now but back in the day when I still ate meat, I was good friends with this girl K who was a vegetarian. She was crazy about it though, she’d preach all the time and it got to the point where we were at the mall one day and she saw people eating meat and very loudly exclaimed, “EW! MEAT!”
It was sooo embarrassing, needless to say I ended our friendship shortly after that.

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Shea October 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm

What an absolute raving nutcase. I’ve known a lot of vegetarians, but only one has ever been an entitled jerk about it. Said jerk was unfortunately my roommate for a year at university. I didn’t eat much meat then (still don’t, actually; money’s tight and it’s a lot cheaper to get my protein from lentils, beans and eggs, but I have an endless repertoire of tasty vegetarian recipes so I don’t mind at all) but this girl couldn’t stand it when I would occasionally eat a meat meal. Every once in awhile when I’d indulge in a pork chop or a steak or chicken stir-fry, she’d emerge from her room at the scent of cooking meat, stare at me while I cooked, then park herself across the kitchen table from me while I ate and *glare* at me. I refused to be kicked out of my own kitchen, so I’d just pretend she wasn’t there (fortunately she never said anything, just glared at me), wearing headphones while I cooked and reading a book while I ate. She was a Special Snowflake in many other ways though, the glaring-at-the-meat-eater was but one manifestation of her Specialness.

And yes, I do know where meat comes from. I was raised in a rural part of Oregon, raised chickens myself for many years and knew plenty of people who raised their own beef cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys. When I’m in a better financial place, I look forward to being able to buy my meat from local small farmers.

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Cat Whisperer October 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Regarding where meat comes from and the debate over morality of eating meat: many vegans/vegetarians cast the argument in terms of efficiency of protein production. To obtain a pound of beef, you have to feed a cow “x” number of pounds of feed, the argument goes, so why not cut the cow (or sheep, or goat, or pig, or fowl) out of the equation and eat the plants yourself? More efficient, less wasteful.

The problem with this is that it oversimplifies the issue. Plants that are good sources of complete protein (i.e., beans, peas, legumes, lentils, seeds of different sorts) can’t be grown on the kinds of land where you can grow forage crops (hay, silage, the green leafy grass or legume plants that herbivores eat). Herbivorous animals, particularly ruminant herbivorous animals (cows, sheep, goats, any animal that has a rumen or a functional caecum for bacterial fermentation and breakdown of cellulose, which is indigestible by simple-stomached monogastric animals like humans), can eat plants that can grow on this type of land and convert that kind of very fibrous, high-cellulose plant matter, which people cannot digest, into meat or milk, which they can.

It isn’t an accident that nomadic people in arid and semi-arid regions are highly dependent on production of meat and milk (mostly by goats) rather than primarily plant foods. In those kinds of conditions, there just isn’t enough of the right kind of arable land to grow enough high quality protein plant crops to provide adequate nutrition for the people living there.

Here in the industrialized countries, we’ve to some extent turned that paradigm on its head by choosing to feed our meat animals diets high in grain and protein concentrate feeds (e.g., soybean meal or cottonseed meal) to “finish” them for the table. This is done mostly to add fat to the meat, which is tremendously wasteful. It’s also a problem for the husbandry of the animals, because ruminant animals can’t handle large quantities of grain or protein concentrates without developing problems with their digestive tracts and becoming susceptible to infections, which requires the use of antibiotics for treatment.

Moral issues of eating meat aside, there are genuine economic arguments for the use of animals to produce high-quality proteins from meat and milk, although the “industrialized” and “factory” ways we produce dairy and meat products are questionable, at best. But many producers are making the move away from feeding high quantities of grain and protein concentrates, and back to feeding forage (either grazing or by feeding hay or silage). And that changes the equation greatly.

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JeanLouiseFinch October 1, 2012 at 8:33 pm

The next time you host or are a guest at a BBQ where you have vegetarian guests – I recommend getting some of those giant Portobella mushrooms, and marinating them overnight in a wine and garlic (and fresh herbs, if you can get them) marinade. These cook up really well on the grill and fit into a hamburger bun or taste great on their own. If you are a guest make sure to bring extras since all of the non-veggie guests will want to eat them too. The last BBQ we had, these were the most popular items we served.

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Mechtilde October 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Also- use a disposable picnic grill for veggies. That way they don’t have to share a grill with the meat eaters.

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BeenAndBackSomeMore October 3, 2012 at 1:13 am

It still comes down to, whatever a person prefers to eat is their own business; someone else coming in and raiding/tossing somebody’s food no matter what it is (unless yes, it’s green or white fuzzy or has worms or something) is crossing the line.

I’m glad the OP could get past it and recover in time for the anniversary. I would’ve sent the special snowflake a bill, and if it was for enough $$$ I would’ve invoked small claims court.

I’m a veggie right now because of Doctor Mandate, that doesn’t mean my hubby who isn’t, doesn’t get to eat meat. I often prepare both types of meals at the same time so we can eat together. It doesn’t make me special, if anything it’s more expensive and more work. I do reserve one part of our hibachi grill for ‘my stuff’ just as I save a place for just grilling/toasting the buns… I’d rather have what he’s eating. (In fact I have tests in the morning to see if things are ‘fixed’ enough that I can have some meat again or not)

If you are vegan, vegetarian, have an allergy, hate some particular food, I will try to cook what you need the way you need it IF YOU LET ME KNOW. If I know you have issues with certain food being around (aka you can’t stand the sight of others scarfing a steak) I will try to work the meal around it.

Lecturing me about food and diet, only my doctor has that right. Anyone else, it’s a matter of choice and none of your beezewax. Being militant and trying to ‘change me’ doesn’t work. Don’t ruin it for everyone else either. Only the obnoxo and the nutters get remembered. And often for the WRONG reasons, don’t go there.

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FerrisW October 3, 2012 at 11:06 pm

When I was at graduate school, I made friends with a few vegans, and at first was very nervous about eating out with them, or discussing my omnivore status, in case it offended them or we got into a big debate. But they all assured me it wasn’t a problem. Of our group of friends one was a vegan for moral reasons, choosing to neither eat nor use any animal byproduct including honey and wool. Another was vegan but ate honey. Another was vegan but would eat fish once a month for her health. And yet another tried to keep vegan but if it meant having to pick cheese off her pizza, she’d shrug and eat it. And then there was me! We were all divided between three cities very close to each other (about a 1 hour drive) and my city was the one with several vegan restaurants, so they would all, individually or as a group, visit and stay with me. I made sure I had dried pasta and big jars of pasta sauce on hand, just in case, as well as some vegan sausages and bacon so that everyone would be fed, but mostly we would eat out as eating in restaurants without trouble was a treat for them. One friend said she felt horrible about dragging me along there, but I never minded and the food was delicious.

Only once did I experience a strongly negative reaction, and it was from another diner in our favourite vegan restaurant, who overheard a conversation that revealed I liked to eat cheese. She launched into me for a full ten minutes, then tried to get me removed as I ‘didn’t belong there’. Everyone else in the restaurant was bewildered and the manager asked the other diner to leave. Throughout the meal other diners came up to me and apologised on behalf of all vegans, which was nice but unnecesary.

All of my vegan friends have eaten in ‘normal’ restaurants with me when vegan food hasn’t been available and never have they asked me not to order meat, although once, having seen a friend turn green at the sight of me eating a very rare steak (just how I like it!) I’ve been sure to keep that for when I’m out with carnivores and will instead order something else.

My point being, I guess, that the world would be a much better place if everyone considered other people and didn’t make ridiculous demands on them, wouldn’t it?

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Cher630 October 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Whenever you are a guest in someone’s home, you are to respect THEIR rules and food choices. Yes, the hostess should make sure the guests are comfortable and if they have food choices, to make sure they are there. But for a guest to throw out perfectly good food because it was “upsetting her” is just rude beyond belief. The guest should have told her friend that she was a vegetarian BEFORE the trip so that the hostess could get food ready.

I would have told my “friend” that she owes me X amount of dollars to re-buy everything she threw away. Then I would tell her that since she threw out my meat, I have to buy more meat and therefore SHE killed one more cow. Yes, I would tell her this. I do not care if was rude. Throwing out perfectly good food while people in this world are starving sickens me. I certainly hope the OP isn’t friends with this selfish brat anymore.

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GleanerGirl October 12, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Fizzychip – if it came down to you and a chicken on a desert island, keep the chicken alive, and eat the eggs. If you eat the chicken the first day, what will you do the day after that?

OmNOMNOMivore! Love it!

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Nicole October 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Wow. I’ve been a vegetarian around 8 years now, and other people eating meat around me doesn’t bother me. I certainly wouldn’t go and waste food my friend had bought for herself by dumping it in the garbage. I understand the ethics thing of vegetarianism, but to be so crude about it!

OP, I’m truly sorry about your friend. Not all of us vegetarians are like that, trust me!

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NostalgicGal November 18, 2012 at 8:54 am

Some months into the battle, doctor mandated vegan…. (Astro-NOMICAL cholesterol) the numbers are down where they should be, I feel better most of the time and my weight is dropping (like it is supposed to). I was recently on a shopping trip through a large ‘complete’ natural/health foods grocery (chain) store with my cart full of my new diet staples and I stopped at the frozen meats to pick up some buffalo for my better half, he loves it. Two very militant type veggies stop and start reaming me one and I pulled myself up and stared them in the eye.

“The only person on this earth that can comment about what I eat or chew me out about my weight is my doctor, and since neither of you ‘ladies’ look like that gentleman, I’ll ask you to take it elsewhere. I share my house with the love of my life and he can certainly eat (hoist the nice piece of buffalo roast I’m holding) and I will lovingly prepare this for him probably for lunch tomorrow. I’d join him except for the words of my doctor and the results of my tests. Good Day.” and turned away from them and continued my selecting foodstuffs.

I think after their jaws quit swaying, they went off that way and I heard some words, they probably griped to the manager about me.

About the time that concluded, I was at the register so anything that notable did or didn’t do or promise to was moot. Sigh. There are a lot of tasty alternatives, they are quite creative with Tofu, but none of them are STEAK. Still, what you eat is your own personal choice and keep your nose out of my cart, (and my cupboard, pantry, fridge and freezer), thank you.

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