A Lack of Confidence Fuels A Rude Mouth

by admin on February 19, 2015

A little while ago some friends introduced me to “Mira”. She is a lot of fun, very intelligent and well read, and quite outgoing. Several months ago a mutual friend hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for some of us who could not go home for the holidays. They provided the turkey and dinner staples, and the guests were encouraged to bring a dish to share. The couple slaved all day over the meal and when we arrived at the house the smell of the turkey was absolutely amazing.

I was aware that Mira was a strict vegan. The couple, also aware of this, provided several vegetarian dishes for their guest (a few others were also vegetarians, though not as strict as Mira). Mira also brought her own dish. While Mira was quite outspoken about her dietary choices, and her moral reasons for them, this was the first time I had ever been in a social situation with her where food was involved. She commented more than once on the “stench” from the kitchen. When the turkey was uncovered, we all commented on how good it smelled and looked, Mira made loud and very rude gagging noises, and made comments like, “I don’t know how you can eat that!” I was astonished that this intelligent, mature woman would make such rude comments to our gracious hosts. Since they were much more familiar with Mira than I, I thought maybe it was some odd inside joke. Surely nobody would be that rude as an invited guest.

Fast forward to this past week. Some friends decided to have a pot-luck gathering and I agreed to host. I made plenty of food, and while I am not a vegetarian, I prepared some dishes for friends who are, including a lentil soup and some beautiful vegan rolls from a nearby bakery. Mira was among those invited, and when she arrived she went straight to the table and proceeded to point at dishes she didn’t approve of, saying they looked disgusting, turning up her nose, and in general being unbelievably rude and obnoxious. I was hurt that my culinary efforts didn’t meet her standards, but I mostly felt embarrassed that my friends, who had taken such care to prepare delicious food to share, were being insulted by this woman. I tried to quietly hint to Mira that her comments were probably hurtful, but she either didn’t get the hint, or she simply didn’t care.

Once the meal was over we played some games and Mira returned to her usual charming and gregarious self. By that time, the mood had been altered and I found it hard to enjoy her company, knowing what a bore she was when food was involved.

I have no problem with anyone’s dietary choices, or whatever reasons they have for making them. I would never force Mira, or any of my vegetarian friends to eat something they didn’t want to eat. I would expect the same courtesy in those friends to refrain from making an issue of my choices. I do wonder if I should have said something to Mira about her behavior. She certainly will not be invited back to my home for a meal.   0217-15

The subject of today’s post is not about the merits of vegan eating so don’t waste your time defending/criticizing that culinary option.   What I will use this particular story is to illustrate how self confidence, or the lack of it,  shapes behavior.

Mira’s comments reflect just how insecure she really is about her own life choices.   She issues forth with critical comments and snide judgements about non-vegan food choices as a way to bolster her own very shaky, weak foundation for what she believes to be right.   There is a considerable amount of emotion that Mira is using to express her negative opinions which reveals, again, how weakly she holds her convictions.   People who are at peace with their life choices and their convictions are not likely to rely on emotionally charged, rude comments to others who may believe or act differently as a means to strength .   It’s as if rude behavior is the concrete that shores up their foundation.   We’ve all seen this behavior before…think back to middle school where girls rate, judge and express a critical judgement on the looks of others and all the while demonstrating just how insecure they are about themselves in doing so.  (And therefore I would disagree with the OP’s assessment that Mira is “mature”. ) This does not excuse Mira’s behavior but as the observer, it is useful to realize that Mira has inadvertently exposed a weakness in her armor and frankly, is to be pitied.

Likewise, confident people who are secure in their choices, their beliefs and convictions walk through life not being affected emotionally in the least by opposing opinions.   Guests at the above dinner parties who are happily and confidently secure in their omnivorous dining and cooking choices are not going to be emotionally drawn into being offended at anything Mira has to say.  They may acknowledge that she is quite rude but her proclamations have little effect on their emotional well-being or how they react to her.   In response to Mira’s gagging noises (very juvenile) and demand, “How can you eat that?”, I would have replied, “With great relish!  Watch!  Yumm…nom, nom, nom!”   Sometime during the dinner I would have effusively complimented the turkey chef for providing such a splendidly roasted bird.  And then I would have mentally dropped the issue because it is not worth my time to fret over whether Mira dislikes my food choices and I have better things to do, like enjoying my meal.

If you happen to be an observer of the “Mira Effect” (negative commentary) you have the power within you to change the mood by offering positive feedback.   An example of this happened just last week when the husband and I went to dinner at a Japanese steak house for our anniversary.   While grouped in the lobby waiting to be taken to our table, both DH and I realized that one diner was a blowhard and we were secretly wishing he would not be seated beside either of us. Fortunately we were at one end of the long table and he at the other and predictably he began to act like the arrogant blowhard we suspected he would be.   He was jibing the chef and griping about very minor things in  aloud, blustery manner and I had a momentary second of realization that this man had the potential to create an unpleasant dining experience for all us by making our chef unhappy and tense.   Time to take action!   My plan was to engage the chef one on one with compliments, pleasantries and gratitude because of where I was seated I was actually the closest to him.   The very first time I put my plan into action, the chef caught my eye and there was a non-verbal understanding almost immediately between us because the man was looking for an ally and I was communicating to him that I was on his side.   Every time a new menu item landed on my plate, I thanked him and smiled, there were times I held up forkful of food and told him, “This is delicious, you did it perfectly”, I laughed at his jokes, applauded the knife tricks he did and made sure I set the tone for the table, not Mr.BigEgo.  It worked.   We had a great meal, one of the best I’ve had at that restaurant, Mr. Big Ego got quieter at the meal progressed because his negativity was being drowned out by positive happiness and the chef ended his food preparations in as good a mood, or better, than when he started.   Mission accomplished.  Etiquette once again empowers to take control of the situation.

Be the force for good with calm, non-emotional, positive affirmation that tells the world you are a confident, secure person.

{ 133 comments… read them below or add one }

onlyme February 19, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Sounds like you shouldn’t invite her next time there is food involved. You were in a tough spot as rude as she was, it would have been rude to call her out.

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Jewel February 19, 2015 at 1:38 pm

Yes, be the force for good, but also take Mira aside next time she starts up and tell her flat-out (no hints this time) that her negative comments are not funny, not charming, and are ruining the enjoyment of the meal for everyone within earshot.

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admin February 19, 2015 at 1:50 pm

You don’t get it. Confident people won’t let the Miras of the world ruin anything for them.

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Airelenaren February 19, 2015 at 2:07 pm

i suppose then that there is a majority of unconfident people, because this site exists and bad behavior does evidently effect the mood of many of us.

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admin February 20, 2015 at 7:55 am

Recognizing that particular behaviors are rude and insulting is much different than not allowing those behaviors to determine your response. I would agree that where there is considerable level of emotion to a differing opinion, there is a corresponding lack of confidence.

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MPW1971 February 19, 2015 at 2:26 pm

I don’t get that either. I may be confident in my dietary choices, and I am aware that there will always be critics of my lifestyle choices, no matter what they may be. But I don’t have to listen to it when being entertained, and especially not in my own home. Never mind “the next time”, I’d have shown Mira the door with such a display in my own home. I was always taught that as a guest, one does not criticize the decor – and that this goes doubly true for being a guest among many other guests. The invitation was not exclusive or in Mira’s honor – she had no right to grandstand like that. Think of her as a radio with objectionable music – either the volume goes down, or the radio gets turned off – especially in my own home.

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Goldie February 19, 2015 at 2:42 pm

But, if I’m a hostess, isn’t it my responsibility to make sure, to the best of my ability, that my guests feel welcome and comfortable? I’d think that it would include not inviting someone who I know will insult my other guests. As far as not letting Mira ruin everything for *me*, I agree with you. But why unleash her on my guests? Even if one or more of my guests do not happen to be all the way there yet in terms of confidence, is it really my job to train them?

What I’m saying is, I agree with each of your suggestions to defuse Mira *when she’s already there*. But I also agree with the OP when they say that they won’t invite Mira over again.

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Brenda February 19, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Confident or not, anyone who is acting in a way to ruin the mood for others at a gathering may not need to be told flat-out that they are ruining things, but refusing to invite them to any event going forward and if they ask why explaining it simply and clearly has to be done.

Your example of dining out was a different situation. The blowhard was not an invited guest. You did not know him. You chose to go along and sit at the same table with him, and you made the best of a bad situation, and actually did something quite brave, standing up for the chef.

Mira is a known friend who is behaving in an unacceptable way. Friends don’t let friends act like jackasses.

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Jewel February 19, 2015 at 3:46 pm

I’m a very confident person, but that doesn’t mean “Debbie Downers” can’t cast a pall over the evening. Confidence doesn’t mean that others can’t be irritating, so I stand by my advice.

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B February 20, 2015 at 4:37 am

But maybe not all my guests are confident people. Maybe some of them would be made very uncomfortable.

As a hostess, my duty is to ALL my guests, confident or not.

And, of course, Mira may genuinely think she is just being funny, in which case a confident person would surely be kind enough to tell her discreetly that she is mistaken.

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Miss-E February 19, 2015 at 8:49 pm

The problem is that she feels she has a righteous cause on her side and if the OP were to pull her aside to talk it would only be inviting further argument. Mira would feel the need to defend her actions and it would only make things worse. Plus she would be showing the OP that her comments had their intended effect: she has successfully made everyone uncomfortable.

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Calli Arcale February 20, 2015 at 12:20 pm

I guess it depends on whether Mira is a bully or just being defensive about her own dietary choices. Since she seems to be a lovely guest in non-food-related situations, I don’t think she’s bullying. I think admin is right that this is probably a case of insecurity being expressed badly. Mira may not realize how it’s backfiring on her.

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Miss Marple February 19, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Thank you for sharing your story on how to handle people that can bring the mod down.

I have started working with someone like this who unfortunately it one rank above me. After reading I learnt that I was allowing her to affect the mood of our entire team and my staff with her aggressive mood and petty demands.

My team are tense and on edge when she starts with her aggression, I have escalated it to my boss who understands the situation. Unfortunately the boss above him lets her get away with her behavior, as she is sensational at her job and has a skill set he lacks (Luckily so do I). Thanks to your timely reminder I now know I cam affect the mood of my team in a positive way.

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Raven February 19, 2015 at 1:43 pm

Stop inviting her. If you end up at the same event, ignore her pointedly. People like this thrive on attention. Shower the hosts/other cooks with sincere compliments and let her talk to herself.

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Liz W. February 20, 2015 at 8:38 am

Isn’t that what Admin effectively did in her example about the steak house blow-hard?

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sean February 19, 2015 at 2:07 pm

if she’s your friend, call her out for thinking that food in any social function should suit her likings. wtf. if she’s down to earth and likeable, she should be able to take that level of honesty.

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NostalgicGal February 19, 2015 at 2:07 pm

I have survived many a rant about food and what I eat; as I had finally to cross that line to vegan. I’m medical, not moral. That means if meat is about I don’t care, and if my food got ‘contaminated’ by meat, egg, or dairy it’s not a major deal (I’m talking traces not gobs, it’s cholesterol I fight). I have met many a militant vegetarian or vegan; or ones that claim such but are eating things they shouldn’t be. (one health food store I must frequent for some of my dietary staples, I get mine first then shop for my DH who can have anything and when I select his meat is when I’ve gotten it from many a righteous V)

Mira, either quit inviting her to where food is involved, or take her aside and talk to her. One I use for those that have to give me the riot act for meat in my cart, is to pull up to full height and intone “The only one that can give me grief for what I eat or how much I weigh is my doctor. You certainly don’t look like him so I refuse to entertain any more words on the subject. Until I start seeing you for my medical issues and health, I don’t give you that right.”

Those that are not comfortable with their choices, whether it be religion, sex and sexuality, or food; tend to be loud, militant and proactive when that comes up. Not all of them, but more than not, out of the many people I have crossed paths with in my life.

Take Mira aside and point out that if she doesn’t like the food offered, don’t take any. Other than that she has the right to not participate. If SHE is the hostess, then what she wants goes, and I’m sure that everyone that knows her will know they better bring V food or else, in that case. If she’s not the Host/hostess then what the H wants goes.

(I have such restrictions now dietary wise that I can’t expect anyone else or anywhere else to accommodate them, nor do I try. I just bring my own as needed and carefully and politely explain if needed why I did so. If it’s a catered club event I will be having the meal packed to go, and feed it to my DH, otherwise I have my own. And if it is in a restaurant I order a ‘safe’ beverage at least, probably a meal to go, and at least pony up tip for the server. It’s the what life deals me and I do not expect the world to bend to me, I accommodate IT instead) I hope OP, you and the others can educate Mira into a better state over the food. Else quit inviting her to food/potluck events.

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hakayama February 22, 2015 at 7:04 pm

NostalgicGal: Did you, by chance, catch the latest govt’ linked “food police” saying that eggs were OK? 😉 Janet Draves does fix HEALTH and dietary issues of all kinds. Remotely, too…
Best wishes for recovery.

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NostalgicGal February 23, 2015 at 2:05 am

Thank you, hakayama.

One week something is forbidden by the studies, next week eat it as it’s the new superfood, then it goes back the other way… if you eat food, someone will have a study about it. Take it with a truckload of salt, remember when someone gov’t-type declared women didn’t need mammograms?

I am on my road to recovery and my quality of life is improving, slowly. I was told it would take years and I will be patient for I feel the corner is turned. So I will not let the Mira’s of the world rain on my parade either 🙂 as life is too short for that. Admin had right idea with that diner, and the Mira lady the OP mentioned, just needs to learn that the world doesn’t bend to her, she had better start adapting to it, or she’s going to end up alone and lonely and wonder why…

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Laura February 19, 2015 at 2:44 pm

This is the type of vegan that makes everyone else look bad. I usually feel for them since it is hard to find food you can eat during group gatherings (I had someone I know ask me to make one of my desserts Vegan. The substitutions are out there but hard to get in the suburbs. Couldn’t do it in the snow) but her behavior is beyond childish.

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Enna February 20, 2015 at 1:46 pm

One of my firends is a vegan and she quite likes soberts.

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hakayama February 23, 2015 at 8:17 am

@Enna: Yes, sorbets, or frozen flavored water, are quite a yummy treat in the Summer. My favorite was raspberry, but we had to part company quite a few pounds ago. 😉

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AnaMaria February 19, 2015 at 2:50 pm

I have a LITTLE bit of sympathy for Mira- I have trouble keeping weight on like most people have trouble keeping it off. Unfortunately, I also deal with a dairy allergy, and when I turn down ice cream or pizza, people think it’s perfectly acceptable to start with the accusations that I am anorexic or at least that I am trying to loose weight when I’m already thin. I don’t know what Mira looks like, but I’m sure she’s dealt with similar accusations when turning down meat or dairy dishes.

That being said, I have to respectfully disagree with the admin- even if Mira’s comments aren’t hurtful, they must get ANNOYING, really fast. It’s like when someone of a different religious background starts putting down Christianity, or when someone goes on a rant about how corrupt today’s teachers are. I am confident in my Christian faith and proud of my career choice as a teacher, but I don’t want to listen to someone else’s mindless trash talk (or be so consumed with trying to counter-compliment that I don’t get to have any real conversation all night!) I think it would be fine to flat-out tell Mira (once), that she is not going to convert anyone to veganism and that her comments are rude and annoying and need to stop if she wants to continue to be invited to hang out with your circle of friends. If she makes an effort to change, give her grace. If she continues, than I see no need to continue to invite her to dinners and bend over backwards making vegan dishes for her if she’s going to be so annoying the entire time.

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Lex February 20, 2015 at 7:40 am

I have plenty of spare weight, you’re welcome to some of mine 😉

The admin made a point of saying how this wasn’t a debate about Food preferences, and it’s true. As you point out, the TOPIC can be varied but there are always those who use their personal preferences as a moral soap box. I was brought up in a Catholic family and recently found the courage of my own convictions to decide that, for me, atheism is my preferred choice. I’m not agnostic because I hold very specific beliefs (or lack thereof) regarding deities or ‘higher powers’ of any kind. Having thought deeply about my choice and having made a decision to identify as an atheist, I have found strength and courage in my convictions that have totally changed my outlook on life for the better. When I was at university I was in a class with a very outspoken and offensive atheist who took every opportunity to bash religion and to talk about how stupid it was. This story reminds me of that. I have to question now whether he indeed had the courage of his convictions. For me, my belief (or lack thereof) is a personal and private thing and I do not need to ram it down people’s throats. When people around me start arguing or debating religion I don’t get involved and feel nothing but a sense of calm serenity that I have found my own niche and am happy there.

Food, religion and jobs aren’t the only things – the cars you drive, the towns you live in, the sports you do/not support. I think it is human nature to try to find and promote conformity. People aren’t comfortable being the ‘odd one out’ and will either lie to fit in with the herd or try to stamp their own preferences on the group. It sounds like Mira is one of these.

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Cat February 20, 2015 at 11:18 am

Lex, I share your pain. I became the first Catholic in my family in four hundred years and my father told me I was a disgrace to the family. Breaking out of the family mold is somehow seen as a rejection of one’s heritage. For a country that values diversity, we seem to have a hard time handling it.
We all have to deal with those who are set on “improving” us by insisting that their religion, food choices, work ethnic, political theory, whatever, is right/the only intelligent choice possible, and we need to join them. Our task is to remain polite while they are doing it.

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hakayama February 23, 2015 at 8:30 am

@Cat: You might give things a wicked twist by stating that you “are giving up your rebel ways”, 😉 and returning to the truly “old mold”.
I was raised by “believers”, more spiritual than ritualistically religious, so the lighter side of religious practices was always at the fore. I guess that recognition of a Superior Power is what should be enough to unify people.

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Cat February 23, 2015 at 5:41 pm

Considering that my generation was the one that was into free love, LSD, and moving to communes that believed in Flower Power and Pot, you’d have thought they would have been happy that all I did was to join a very conservative church.
My parents went to church (Disciples of Christ) twice a year: Mother’s day, because Mom wanted us all to wear a red carnation for her, and Easter, because it was a chance to show off new clothes. I never got the new clothes bit. No one had seen us since Mother’s Day. How did they know we had new things?

vjcole February 19, 2015 at 2:51 pm

I have to disagree with Admin on this one. I know several people that are very committed to their lifestyle choices, but have exhibited this same type of behavior. Fortunately, most of them have learned to dial it back because they can see how offensive it is to other people. It’s one thing to try to encourage others to eat (or behave) in a healthier fashion, but quite another to actively insult other people’s choices. That being said – until Mira learns to tone it down, she needs to NEVER be invited to any occasion that involves food.

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Dee February 19, 2015 at 8:17 pm

Encouraging others to eat or behave in a healthier fashion is interfering; unless a person asks for advice it is wise to keep one’s mouth shut. Mira is a vegan with a mission and that makes her poor company. OP can let her know this and give her the choice of leaving the evangelizing at home or not being invited anymore. Then the ball is in Mira’s court and nothing more needs to be done. Admin may be able to turn a bad situation into a good one but that is a chore that people don’t need to take on unnecessarily. Getting together socially should be fun. If one person makes it unpleasant then eliminate their invite. Simple as that.

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SororSalsa February 20, 2015 at 12:13 am

I have a few friends that became vegetarians (one eventually became vegan), and they were a bit hard to take at first because they went overboard trying to get everyone else to follow suit. They eventually settled down. Perhaps when people make a radical change of any kind, they feel like they have to defend it, and sometimes behave defensively.

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Nannerdoman February 19, 2015 at 3:04 pm

I completely agree with Admin that Mira is bolstering her own shaky beliefs/ego structure by her obnoxious behavior. If I had been her hostess, would it have been rude of me to smile and say, “Mira, I completely understand that the meal I’m serving is offensive to you. I won’t be hurt in the least if you decide you need to leave. Now, where’s your coat?”

Because I don’t think etiquette requires that you permit someone to insult you in your own home.

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Mary-Anne February 20, 2015 at 3:16 am

Nannerdoman is 100% correct. What anybody chooses to eat (or not to eat) is nobody else’s business, but to be insulted in one’s own home? Oh no. Time for that person to leave.

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The Elf February 20, 2015 at 8:44 am

I agree. I get it from family. Not from a vegan (in fact, this relative never eats vegetables). This relative doesn’t like a loooooooong list of foods. Anything that isn’t on his extremely narrow view of “good food” will be met with gagging noises and rude comments. While he does so in a joking fashion, it’s clear that it isn’t really a joke and that he can’t take the return “you’re so picky” comments. I could just ignore it, but he’s teaching his children that same narrow view. My husband made a wonderful seafood dish, and we asked the kids if they’d like to try a taste. Before they could say anything, that relative said “you wouldn’t like it”. Well, how do you know if you don’t try it?

It doesn’t occur in my house, so I can’t boot him. But I do pointedly ignore and do not respond to such comments.

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hakayama February 23, 2015 at 8:42 am

@The Elf: Too bad that eugenics gets such a one-sided interpretation. If testing and licensing for would be parents were to be implemented, your &%#* idiot relative* would not have offspring. Just a thought… 😉
* Alternately, we could have something along the lines of elections: folks could get nominated, and if enough votes were garnered, then “zippo kiddos”. Of course, I know that we have the right to the pursuit of happiness and all that. But what of the UNhappiness that is visited upon the innocent children?

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Guin February 19, 2015 at 3:27 pm

I was a vegan for two years (after being a vegetarian for 6 years) and I knew that my lifestyle choice was going to make it awkward for dining out and going to friends’ for dinner. It is definitely lovely of the hostess to provide a vegetarian/vegan option, but in my experience I was always the one offering to bring that, since likely no one else would be eating it. Why make the hostess go through that extra effort?

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Ergala February 19, 2015 at 9:44 pm

I love it when there are vegan and vegetarian options! I eat meat but man…a good lentil soup or tofu stir fry can blow the socks off a pan of meatloaf!

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NostalgicGal February 20, 2015 at 10:18 am

mmmm lentils… I can never make them right (still trying) and I love running into ones that are. Viva La Legume !!!!!

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hakayama February 22, 2015 at 7:13 pm

Yay, Ergala! Lentils yes. Tofu &(#@! no way. Read up on it to catch onto the nature of the bad bean. It needs lots of processing to detoxify it, and the fitohormones are not to be messed with. It’s the stuff that (among others) just might speed up puberty in girls and also might give boys breasts that could require “man bras”.
The Japanese use only fermented soy, not the tofu…

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NostalgicGal February 23, 2015 at 2:16 am

TSP not TVP. Bob Mills makes it, and the TSP is not processed with Hexanes. Tofu is easy enough to make from soybeans if you can get some from organic sources. If you are a post menopausal woman, soy seems to help with ‘personal summers’. As for messing with developing children, look to some of the growth hormones fed to chicken and beef and dairy cows.

Now, getting off that tack before I pull a Mira. We’re here to discuss how to handle a Citizen From The Planet Booron not foodstuffs… that goes to a holiday themed gathering knowing full well the majority of the attendees will be looking forward to eating food selections that are not what this Booron eats, and she continues by complaining about a STENCH in the host’s house… which is nothing more than a well prepared main course for most of those attending. A) she knew this was probably going to be the case- Thanksgiving is traditionally turkey
B) she complained loudly and made noises- thus disparaging her host. And the food the host was providing.
C) as someone has said, Mira proceeded to gaslight on this…
D) Host knew previous track record of Mira.

I think that as host I would not have invited Mira, I certainly wouldn’t again unless she changed a few things on how she acts, no matter how nice she is other than the topic of food. I certainly would have taken her aside and talked to her for doing what she did. I certainly wouldn’t invite her to anything again until I had proof she’d mended a few ways.

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hakayama February 23, 2015 at 8:49 am

@NostalgicGal: It’s the nature of the “beastly bean” not the method of cultivation that makes it toxic. A bit like skunk cabbage… only worse. And a menopausal friend after a mini-encounter with the Big C, was “medically ordered” to stay away from her fave. To think that she used to brag about her “virtuousness”.
I do promise to drop this now. 😉

Cat February 19, 2015 at 3:30 pm

I applaud you for not handing her her coat and showing her the door with the comment of, “Oh, I can see that this is making you ill. Don’t feel that you have to stay. We understand completely. I’ll see you later. Bye now.”
My cousin brought her uninvited, twenty-one year old son I had never met to Christmas dinner at my house. He told my aunt he wished her best friend, a lady he had never met, was dead with a stake through her heart and then he told my uncle he should defecate on the gift I gave uncle for Christmas. I know the effect such a person can have on a happy occasion.
You do not come into my home, insult me and my guests for any reason, and expect to be invited back. There are always those who want to spread their own brand of discontent. Bigotry comes in many flavors, but it is all born of discontent with life. They can sow their seeds elsewhere. I don’t need weeds in my garden of life.

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mark February 20, 2015 at 3:33 pm

I’ve heard of the whole angsty teen/tween thing but wow.

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mommawhopper February 19, 2015 at 4:03 pm

My thoughts exactly — I am so tired of the constant “I’m offended” and “they’re so rude to me” blah blah blah — if you chose to be an omnivore, why would anyone offend you with their comments? I wouldn’t stop inviting Mira because of her opinions, but I certainly would over her childish actions and immature remarks and guttural noises 🙂

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Rebecca February 19, 2015 at 11:49 pm

I think that is exactly the point though. Nobody is offended that Mira is a vegan. They are offended by the gagging noises and negativity about something that actually, nobody is forcing her to eat. I would have been furious, and not only would I not invite her to anything involving food again, but I would also start distancing myself from her altogether and not invite her to anything, period, because she is a rude boor. If she wanted to tell me about the advantages of veganism, fine (though a bit tiresome, as is anyone who goes on and on about what they do or don’t eat) but to go into someone’s home and refer to the “stench”…well fine, feel free to leave and don’t come back.

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catherine February 19, 2015 at 4:13 pm

I had a friend who was this obnoxious when it came to her veganism. Even the plates and cooking utensils had to be kept separate. She loved to lay on the guilt trip that we were supporting the murder of animals by eating meat. There is a park by the river near where I live, and it happens to be beside a KFC. While my friend and I were walking my dog, guess who is sitting on the bench, scarfing down extra crispy chicken? I made a point of going over to say hi. She just looked at me, all embarrassed, because she was busted. I didn’t mention the chicken she had been eating, just stared at the bucket for about 5 seconds. I was thinking about all the times she tried to make people feel bad and I just walked away. I haven’t talked to her since, and that was 10 ish years ago.

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ketchup February 19, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Ha! Delicious story.

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nannerdoman February 19, 2015 at 6:36 pm

Oooooh, SNAP! And you did it without being rude!

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mark February 20, 2015 at 3:36 pm

I might of asked for a piece of chicken.

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hakayama February 22, 2015 at 7:15 pm

Oh, Catherine… Was that before phones with cameras?
You could have used the image for noble purposes… 😉

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David February 19, 2015 at 4:46 pm

It would probably be kinder to both your guests and Mira if she wasn’t invited to any food-related events.

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hakayama February 19, 2015 at 4:47 pm

And Mira continues getting invitations because…
Since it appears that her behavior cannot be made civil over the course of usual social interaction, the logical conclusion should be to NOT invite her over for any occasions where food is served. OK, let’s modify it a bit, actually a lot: only for coffee, tea and crackers. I’m saying crackers, because in the past I’ve come across one badly “touched” vegan, one that went blathering on about the “thou shalt not kill” bit*. He took his coffee black, would not butter toast or bread, BUT when the egg rich layer cake with mocha (butter!) made an appearance, vegan principles disappeared. Ditto with Old World style rice pudding that was made with enough eggs to make it cream colored. 😉
So OP, if you’re in the mood for fireworks, you could also gift her a copy of an old bestseller** “The Secret Lives of Plants”, either in book or video form.
* He followed commandments selectively, also very conveniently forgetting that most plants and seeds die in order to feed us.
** It may be available through antiquarian sources.

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Cat February 19, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Did he not realize that the eggs sold in stores are not fertilized and will never grow into chickens? I have chickens, but no rooster and many people are amazed to learn that chickens can lay eggs that will never become chicks.

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hakayama February 22, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Cat: To a vegan, the issue is not the fertility of the egg. Cow’s milk will not sprout a cowlet ;-), but it is of animal origin, and that’s what makes it “tref” or unclean. Wool is out too.
I hope your hens don’t go broody on “empties”.

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Cat February 23, 2015 at 5:46 pm

I see; I thought it was all the “anything with a face”. If a hen gets broody, I get fertilized eggs from a friend. One time all she had was Peking duck eggs. When the hatched babies went for a swim, Mother Hen got very upset. I think all mothers will understand how upsetting it is when your kids start doing things you don’t expect.

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NostalgicGal February 19, 2015 at 7:16 pm

Yes I’ve met a lot of the ‘Convenience’ V’s and it can be hilarious at times what suddenly is okay. I’m medical not moral, and I can’t decide to selectively forget the rules when I want, that has surprised a lot that the Devilled Eggs, Bacon and Cheesecake are totally safe around me…
(and I’m still laughing @ Catharine’s story above… about catching the purist in action. I have to segregate my cooking and eating stuff but that’s because I must be gluten free also and my DH can eat the stuff so we have a mixed wheat-flour/no-flour kitchen situation. I wash my own and store it separate so I can trust there’s no shred of something wheat that got missed) I agree hakayama, that Mira doesn’t need to be invited to food situations until she learns to tolerate that others eat things she won’t for one reason or another. Take Mira aside, have the discussion with her, that it’s the host or hostess’ decision on what’s being served; and if she’s so offended then she Mira should host. At least those who know her would know to bring only V dishes or else. Mira isn’t hosting? Then she needs to deal. Quietly.

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NostalgicGal February 20, 2015 at 3:05 pm

“The Secret Lives of Plants: A Fascinating Account of the Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Relations Between Plants and Man” by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, 1989.

Can be had on secondhand market for under $20 in either hardcover or paperback, several sources.

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NostalgicGal February 20, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Addendum, publish date is 1974, and you can get brand new paperback copies on Amazon for under $14.

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hakayama February 22, 2015 at 7:27 pm

@NG: Thank you. And as I followed up, I realized that it’s not “Lives” but “Life”, as in “one life per plant”. Get thee to Janet Draves.

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NostalgicGal February 23, 2015 at 2:20 am

Unless you’re buying or I win the lotto, my budget or insurance will not afford her. Yes I looked her up the first time in another thread some time ago that you mentioned her. Glad you live near her and she can help you. My doctor and I have been peeling the onion layers on what’s on in my life and I can say I’ve turned a corner. There is no short term miracle for me and I know that. Thank you for recommending her.

Ms. Mary February 19, 2015 at 5:17 pm

“The Secret Lives of Plants” – wasn’t that a Stevie Wonder album? 🙂

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hakayama February 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm

@Ms. Mary: Who is Stevie Wonder? 😉

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Angel February 19, 2015 at 5:23 pm

I agree with the admin in principle–yes, it is absolutely important to set the tone of the evening and in a situation where you are just thrown together–you don’t know the obnoxious person, they don’t know you–it is much easier to steer the atmosphere off in a better direction. In a situation where it’s a guest who is invited to your home, everyone knows everyone else it can be difficult to simply steer the evening in a different direction. I would say definitely, attempt to set a positive tone first and foremost–but what if the Mira in the room just will not let up? If they don’t let up then as a host you are obligated to say something. You just are. It needn’t be calling her out in front of everyone, but certainly, pulling her aside and telling her that she is being difficult isn’t out of line. And obviously not inviting her back for food-related occasions would also not be out of line. And realizing that some people just live to be difficult–doesn’t have to be food choices it can be anything–and when you realize this it can make dealing with people like this easier. Because if you know they are going to be unhappy no matter what, it takes a lot of the pressure off IMO.

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Cat February 20, 2015 at 10:54 am

It is not only in social occasions that these things happen; I had a situation at my school that was very like Mira’s diatribe. I worked at an adult education center that had three campuses. One counselor, “Ann”, worked at the main campus and I at one of the satellites. Both were large centers.
A report came out once a semester which listed all the students who had been placed in wrong classes. The school lost money for each placement mistake a counselor made.
During a meeting with the three counselors, the assistant principals, and the principal, “Ann” brought up the current report although it was not on the agenda. She began to lecture me as to how much mistakes cost the school and how I needed to be careful when placing students…on and on.
Not wanting to made an unprofessional situation worse, I agreed that it was important to place students correctly, not only because of the money involved, but also because our job was to see to it that every student received a proper education. Ann refused to stop; she was beating the subject to death while I nodded, agreed and smiled.
Our principal finally ended it by turning to me and saying, “You did not have any mistakes in the last report, did you?” I nodded and said, “No, I didn’t. We at “X” are very careful about placing students correctly.”
“Ann” turned beet red and had the sense not to continue. Sometimes someone has to step in because the miscreant just cannot bring herself to stop.

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Angel March 1, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Cat, if Ann brought up the current report even though it was not on the agenda, the principal was even more justified in putting a stop to the diatribe. That is one of my pet peeves–bringing up a subject that is not on the agenda and has nothing to do with the subject matter you are discussing. Sometimes this happens at PTA meetings. It is a complete waste of time and energy! Some people just love the sound of their own voice I guess 🙂

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girl_with_all_the_yarn February 19, 2015 at 5:58 pm

There are two types of vegetarian/vegan in the world: regular vegetarians/vegans and “Oh Crap” vegetarians/vegans, as in “Oh crap, they’re coming. Okay, nobody make eye contact!”

In fact, everyone is at risk for becoming an “Oh Crap” something if they become too zealous about a cause. If you think about it, that is an incredibly selfish way to live. It automatically hijaks every conversation and presumes a great deal about a lot of people, not to mention being uncomfortable for everyone else!

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H. Vane February 19, 2015 at 6:37 pm

Would it be rude to pull Mira aside after the fact, or perhaps call her after the dinner, and let her know how tactless and rude her comments were, and that they offended several people? I’ve certainly been unintentioally rude before, and I would have welcomed a friend telling me how badly I’d been behaving so I could fix it.

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Jett Jaguar February 19, 2015 at 7:18 pm

Sadly it’s the Miras of this world that get all vegans/vegetarians tarred with the same brush. I’ve been vegetarian for most of my life, vegan for the past 15 years. It gets old really fast when others (often loudly and vocally) assume:

1. I’m on some fad diet and will go back to eating meat eventually;
2. I secretly scarf platefuls of meat at home alone, with the blinds drawn;
3. I’m damaging my health;
4. I’m offended by meat-eaters and/or meat dishes served in my presence;
5. I’m “difficult” to cook for (about as difficult as tossing some cut veggies in a steamer and putting out a fruit bowl);
6. I forced my husband to turn vegetarian (not true, he eats veggo at home because he loves my cooking);
7. I’m only vegan for religious reasons – I do practice Buddhism, but there’s nothing in our tenets that demand a non-meat diet and the two are unconnected;
8. I’d feel much better and see how silly I’m behaving if I just ate some animal product (this has more than once resulted in someone sneaking meat or dairy into a dish I was served, then after the meal proudly announcing what they’d done and telling me I didn’t “need” to be vegan);
9. I’m purposefully behaving this way in public to make others feel bad about themselves and their life/dietary choices, and the worst –
10. I’m one of those militant, “political” vegans who’s out to turn the whole world vegetarian. Which is what it sounds like Mira is trying to pass herself off as.

I’d never make disparaging comments about the smell of cooked meat. How unconscionably rude to my host/ess! Plus, I live in a country where BBQ’ing is practically the national pastime, I’d have to move if that smell offended me. So, please, don’t judge all of us by the Miras of this world. We’re actually a pretty fun bunch who enjoy a very varied diet. And we’re not out to “convert” you.

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Ergala February 20, 2015 at 8:12 am

I love BBQ, but I also love when someone teaches me a new recipe. Especially a vegetarian one so that later I have more options. Grilled Polenta is one of our favorite things to have in a sandwich btw!

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hakayama February 22, 2015 at 7:36 pm

Wow, Ergala! Carb between two slices of carb… unless it’s a club sammich.

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Margaret February 20, 2015 at 12:49 pm

How did you deal with #8? I would be livid. And I would never trust that person about anything again.

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Lera99 February 20, 2015 at 4:43 pm

I agree with Margaret.

People slipping things they know you don’t eat into your food is WAY over the line. You are an adult. You have to right to choose what you eat or don’t eat. You have the right to say what enters or does not enter your body.

To have someone tamper with your food like that is such a betrayal of your trust.

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hakayama February 22, 2015 at 7:40 pm

@Lera99: I’ve read of instances where people did sneak in an ingredient that someone was extremely allergic to, and the intent was to prove them to be wrong. I cannot see why they were not prosecuted for attempted murder, just because they felt that a new in-law was exaggerating.

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MamaToreen February 23, 2015 at 9:24 am

It is legally actionable, since it meets the definition of attempted poisoning. This is especially the case with allergies. Someone tried to tell my husband his allergy to parmesan and romano cheeses wasn’t real. He told them that if he got his massive migraine (his reaction) to their food, he was going to have them arrested for malicious mischeif. Stronger allergies can get into felony territory

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Amanda H. February 21, 2015 at 1:41 pm

If I were Jett, I wouldn’t trust that person, certainly.

I don’t drink alcohol. Ever. If I ever found out that someone I’d previously trusted had decided to spike my drink with alcohol just to prove that I could have it just fine, you can bet I would be cutting ties with that person for violating my own choices that way. Same for my sister with a peanut allergy. Her allergy is nowhere near life-threatening, and in small amounts she might not even notice the allergic reaction. But if she ever found out someone had been tampering with her food to add peanut products to prove a point, you can bet that person would not be allowed to prepare food for her ever again.

Having someone slip non-vegetarian/vegan products into what is supposed to be a veg-only dish may not have the same weight (no one’s going to end up drunk or with an allergic reaction), but that doesn’t make it any less of a personal violation.

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Samantha C February 22, 2015 at 11:54 am

Actually, a vegetarian who’s avoided meat for long enough can get sick from eating meat products. Sometimes the body loses tolerance to food that it isn’t exposed to. So you absolutely can make someone sick by playing these games. (Just for the record. Not that it’d ever be okay even if it were perfectly benign.)

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Amanda H. February 22, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Well there we go. Even more reason not to prove a point by tampering with food, regardless of the level of tampering.

Guin February 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Kudos to you, Jett! I only did vegetarian for 6 years plus vegan for 2. I encountered people who would reply, “Oh yes, I’m also a vegetarian. I only eat fish and chicken.” …… Um, what?

People are so judgey when it comes to food – I never understood how people can get offended by what is or isn’t on my plate. Worry about your own feed bag! 🙂

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NostalgicGal February 22, 2015 at 8:33 am

That used to be the definition of a vegetarian; you could eat chicken and fish. Some religious orders adhered to this into the 20th century.

Modern definition is no meat.

pescetarian. An omnivore who excludes poultry, beef, and pork from their diet but
includes fish (and usually other forms of seafood like shrimp, oysters, scallops and the like)

I have a friend who claims vegetarian, and also calls themselves a pescetarian, and does eat fish and seafood.

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NostalgicGal February 20, 2015 at 3:18 pm

#8 if someone put the ‘right’ stuff in my food can either make me very sick for hours or days, or instantly sick

(someone that made it their life goal to feed me bananas because they thought that I merely hadn’t TRIED them and if I just TRIED them I’d LIKE them-repeated tells that no I’ll ralf them up instantly-they succeeded and I upped right on their feet at their party and killed the party)

I would say that anyone that did succeed in #8 shouldn’t be trusted ever again about what they make and serve…

They don’t get it. And some despite being warned that food could be deadly lace something with something on purpose and people have died for it (peanut or shellfish allergies can be serious or fatal) True you don’t get the same righteousness with most that have an allergy; but.

Most vegans and vegetarians are by choice; and by choice the others have the right to eat what they want too!

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Pinkiu February 19, 2015 at 8:11 pm

“Likewise, confident people who are secure in their choices, their beliefs and convictions walk through life not being affected emotionally in the least by opposing opinions. ”

This hits the nail on the head. Just like politics – whether liberal or conservative – if your position on an issue causes you to call people with opposing views/beliefs insulting names, or “intolerant”, or you write or say mean-spirited things all in the name of your issue, well then, you are not strong in your own convictions.

I would respond by not inviting her to my functions. If asked why, I would politely state the facts of what happened and say that you were hurt by it.

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Miss-E February 19, 2015 at 8:47 pm

If I were at that table I would have followed every one of her comments with variations of “wait, Mira, do you eat meat?”. I’ve always felt the best way to deal with bullies is to just load up on good humor and never let them get you down!

And, yes, Mira is totally a bully. I am a lifelong vegetarian and I’ve had the opposite happen to me a thousand times. People comment on how I’m not eating meat, wave half-eaten hamburgers in my face, etc and I just laugh and make comments about murder (which I only do when provoked in such a way, I’m not a Mira-type lecturing vegetarian). When people like that see that they can’t bother you, they back off.

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NostalgicGal February 20, 2015 at 10:47 am

I don’t comment about murder as I’d eat it if I could… I was raised farmgirl and I raised my food, processed it, cooked it, and ate it. I do get the out of ‘doctor mandated diet’ and that usually makes meat wavers go away.

“I just choose not to eat (what’s waved) today, thank you anyways. Looks good. Enjoy.” has usually derailed in a situation where I and my issues aren’t known. A little enthusiasm on the last three words goes a long ways. On the rare time someone does plop something on the plate, I can just go unload what I can’t (usually give it to my DH as he can eat anything) and go find a new plateful.

Mira’s of the world haven’t learned that they’re not going to get the world to bend knee to them. No matter how loud and rude they are. Learning that is going to make her life better, hope she and her kind learn that one. Else she’s going to get rather lonely as she gets onto ‘non-invite lists’ of everyone that runs into her.

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lakey February 19, 2015 at 9:40 pm

I agree with Administrator that people like Mira are insecure. The sad thing is that if she generally acts like this, many people will stop inviting her to meals.

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Ergala February 19, 2015 at 9:43 pm

Is it horrible of me to be reminded of the gluten episode of South Park?

E have the elders from our church over quite often for meals and I must say, they were raised right. Even if they don’t like something or how it looks they still will eat it with a big smile on their face. Usually if something isn’t wonderful I’m the one to speak up and apologize for my failure. They tell me that it is still good and they appreciate the effort. One of them even ate scallops….and he hates seafood with a passion.

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Amanda H. February 21, 2015 at 1:45 pm

I must say, I have thankfully never had the missionaries complain about any food I or my husband has prepared for them. They’ve only ever spoken up if they were allergic (and I usually try to ask in advance anyway), or politely declined something if it was not to their preference, but they’ve always been polite about it, and we always try to have at least a main and two sides when we have guests to provide options.

I try to raise my girls this way too. No one is allowed to say they don’t like something unless they’ve actually tried it, and they should always be polite about declining any food they don’t want to eat. We’re still working on it (they’re only 3, 5, and 8), but I aim to raise children who don’t behave like the Miras of the world.

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Ergala February 22, 2015 at 9:40 am

I wasn’t aware one of ours was allergic to eggs and I made a quiche…I felt horrible! But the poor guy picked around the egg and wouldn’t allow me to make him something different. He did end up getting a horrible upset stomach. I felt horrible! But not once did he complain or demand I make something else. I was already jumping up to make him something and he made me sit down and said “You made dinner, there are plenty of sides, I’ll be fine! Thank you though!”.

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Ginger February 19, 2015 at 9:53 pm

Maybe the next time she loudly comments on the “stench” of non-vegetarian food, someone comments that perhaps she needs to go outside for some fresh air, or if it offends her that much, to leave so she’s not offended by the smell.

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crebj February 19, 2015 at 9:56 pm

Mira’s convictions or lack of confidence in them don’t matter. What matters is that she’s rude, and not a guest you want to invite again. I suggest you drop her.

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MaryR February 19, 2015 at 10:18 pm

Argh! As a vegetarian, people like Mira really upset me. Mira makes the choice to eat how she wants to eat, as do I. People who love meat make their choices. I have much better things to do with my time then lecture or berate people over what they put in their mouths.

Had I been there for such a wonderful Thanksgiving feast, I wouldn’t have said a word about the turkey, but I would have complemented the food that had been prepared with my dietary preferences taken into consideration.

I also would have brought a desert that we could all share and that I can eat. Chocolate is a vegetable 🙂

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NostalgicGal February 20, 2015 at 10:50 am

[LIKE] Yes, Chocolate is a fifth food group!

Someone else sent me one, that said ‘Tomatoes are fruit. So does that mean ketchup is a smoothie?’

(tomatoes are a fruit, but by act of Congress are considered a vegetable for commerce reasons)

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frost February 19, 2015 at 11:12 pm

Making gagging noises at the dinner table? Who *does* that?!

Perhaps an offer of tummy meds for Mira and her icky sound effects, with a murmured, “Oh, I’m sorry you’re not feeling well; perhaps another time when your tummy’s not troubling you?”

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MamaToreen February 20, 2015 at 10:38 am

Who does that? Toddlers, mostly. My son is a picky eater, but we’ve taught him to just say “No, thank you” and if pressed, “I don’t like it, thank you anyway”

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Sharon February 20, 2015 at 1:20 am

I don’t care how confident the host/hostess might be, if a guest asked what the “stench” was coming from the kitchen, I think I would have shown her the door. She comes to a Thanksgiving dinner and then is offended by the turkey? Sounds like she was just trying to be the center of attention. Insulting other guests, their contributions to the dinner, is just downright rude. She was an awful guest.

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Ai February 20, 2015 at 1:07 pm

I agree. The fact that Mira was insulting the food the OP cooked and insulting her in her own home is what bothered me the most. My husband is the one who cooks in the house and anyone who would’ve called the smell of the food he made in our home stench and started to make gagging noises and rude comments would be kicked out as soon as possible. It is extraordinarily disrespectful to behave that, confidence issues or not.

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Mamaof 3 February 20, 2015 at 1:49 am

It’s bizarre that Mira is a charming, well-read person when she is not discussing food. I work with teens and young adults who are struggling with eating disorders (I’m absolutely not saying that she has an eating disorder…) that become fixated on discussing food and what one should eat and what one should avoid at all costs. I have had several clients present a completely different personality when they talk about food. Many become angry and judgemental of people who enjoy the foods that they will not allow themselves to eat (due to fat, sugar or calorie content). They also view themselves as total experts in nutrition and 9 times out of 10 will state that they want to be a nutritionist or dietician.

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Green123 February 20, 2015 at 3:50 am

“Mira made loud and very rude gagging noises, and made comments like, “I don’t know how you can eat that!”

If anyone (friend, family, or otherwise) made gagging noises at my dinner table they would be told to leave.

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Cat February 22, 2015 at 5:14 pm

I, too, would have shown her the door if she began to make gagging noises.
The comment about, “I don’t know how you can eat that” would be am excellent introduction to a lesson on how to utilize devices known as forks and as spoons. “Grasp it firmly by the handle, tines side up, and…”

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just4kicks February 20, 2015 at 6:00 am

“Mira” wouldn’t be invited to my house again anytime soon!
What did she think? That her rude comments would prompt anyone to declare “My God! You’re right!”

Once I was trying out a new recipe with chicken, and one of my kids had a friend over, and had asked me earlier in the day if “Joey” could join us for supper?
I said, “Yes! There is plenty for everyone, and in fact, am trying a new recipe Grandma gave me….you can all tell me if you like it.”
About half an hour into preparing supper, I hear “Joey” from the living room say to my son, “What on earth is that AWFUL smell?!?”
I poked my head in the living room with a big grin and said, “That awful smell is supper! Who would like to help me set the table???”
“Joey” turned about five shades of purple and then jumped up and said “I will set the table for you Mrs. K….I wasn’t …..Ummm…talking about ….Ummm….dinner. I meant the AWFUL smell coming from OUTSIDE! Don’t …uh…you smell that…what IS that?!?”
I actually felt bad for the kid, and at some point during dinner, after the 15th or so, “Mmmmm….SO GOOD, Mrs.K!!!!”, my son said, “Give it up, Dude….She gets it!”

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AS February 20, 2015 at 8:05 am

Joey is such a sweet kid. How old are they?

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Tracy P February 20, 2015 at 10:22 am

Awww! Joey sounds like a great kid who is being raised right! He might have stuck his foot in his mouth, but did his best to correct it.

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Rebecca February 20, 2015 at 11:20 pm

Too funny. Furious backpedaling. Poor kid’s most embarrassing moment.

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just4kicks February 21, 2015 at 11:04 am

He really is a sweet kid, he is 16 now, and this was maybe three years ago, give or take.
I’m a “hugger”, and when he went home that night, I gave him an extra big hug and told him not to lose any sleep over it, I’m not angry.
It’s a running joke now, that whenever he comes over he asks, “What’s for supper, Mrs.K?”
“Oh, I’m making the awful chicken….just for you, kiddo!!!”

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Amanda H. February 21, 2015 at 1:49 pm

I think you handled that brilliantly, and quite likely taught Joey a very important lesson about putting his foot in his mouth. I’m glad to hear he tried to correct his gaffe as well, unlike other teens I’ve heard of who just go full-tilt on the insults when called out on it.

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just4kicks February 22, 2015 at 6:39 am

@Amanda: Thank you for the nice compliment!
“Joey” is more like a son than one of my kids friends.
He is a great kid, and is always polite (except for that one slip!) and when he is over is very respectful and helpful.
There have been over the years a few kids who wouldn’t know good manners if they jumped up and bit them, but “Joey” isn’t one of them.
This past summer, he tagged along with my son to a baseball game and spent the night, because his mom worked late. The next day, his mom came down with something and could he please stay one more night? Sure! The more the merrier!
The boys had a game that night as well, and around noon, “Joey” asked if he may please use the washing machine to wash his baseball uniform?
I said I was just about to wash all my son’s gear, I’ll just throw yours in with the load.
The next day, I was checking my kids media accounts (I do that every few days, just to check out what my kids are up to), and saw a re-tweet from him on my son’s account saying how lucky he is to have two wonderful mother’s….the one who gave birth to him, and his “mother from another brother”, who treats him like family when he is at our house.
I may have shed a tear or two over that, I thought it was sweet, and next time I ran into his mom told her what a wonderful boy she has!

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hakayama February 22, 2015 at 7:52 pm

@just4kicks: “Mother from another brother” is just so beautiful. Congratulations.

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just4kicks February 23, 2015 at 5:57 am

@hakayama: I still get choked up when I think of that.
I love it when my children’s friends/girlfriend’s call me “Mom”.

Saturday at the grocery store, in the checkout line, a kid yelled “Hey, Mom!” and myself and about four other ladies all turned around….we all looked at each other and started laughing.
The lady in front of me giggled and said, “Its automatic isn’t it? Responding to a call of “Mom!”.
Even the female cashier joined in on the laugh and said, “I’m WORKING for Pete’s sake! I KNOW my kids are at home, I STILL looked around when I heard that!!!”

JustMe February 20, 2015 at 6:31 am

I have to politely disagree. I have found that the more outrageous someone’s eating habits are, the more special they feel they are.
For some reason picky eaters seem to think that elevates their status. (Some, not all)

My brother decided to be vegetarian a few years ago, since then, all we ever heard was put downs and negative remarks ‘I don’t eat animals carcass’ ‘ I don’t eat anything that had a face’
And constant ewws, yucks, gross, how can you eat that.
Yeah, last week you were eating double bacon cheeseburgers. He has since quietly slipped back into being a carnivore.

I don’t know a lot of vegetarian/vegan/any other variation, but the ones I do know seem to think it makes them part of some elite society.
I know they’re not all like that. I’m from a small town, not a lot of culture here 🙂

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Devin February 20, 2015 at 12:33 pm

I’m from a small town too and many years ago my best friend became a vegetarian for moral reasons (non factory raised meat is so expensive, it was easier as a broke college student to vegetarian). At first she was very vocal about it, and kind of obnoxious. The reason she was so vocal was due to her family’s (cattle farmers) push back calling it her ‘stupid choice’ or her ‘fad diet’ or ‘its a phase’. After a while, her family pretty much let it go. Once they stopped pushing meat on her, she stopped pushing her anti-meat views on others.
Last year for Christmas, her mother did a huge family fried chicken dinner. My friend posted a picture on Facebook talking about the delicious fried chicken. A old high school acquaintance immediately called her out for being a ‘fake vegetarian’. Because she is vegetarian for moral reasons, her mother had bought expensive local organic free range chicken for her to eat. I think it’s funny how rude people get about any lifestyle choices, especially when someone isn’t acting within their supposed roles.

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Rattus February 20, 2015 at 12:45 pm

They are not all like that. My husband is vegetarian, I am a omnivore. When he goes to the market on Saturday (5:00 am – I’m still asleep), he picks up whatever meat I may need for the week, he cooks in pots that I have used for meat-based dishes, and he’ll sit across the table from me, ploughing through his kale and beans, whilst I work my way through a T-bone. We’ve been living happily like this for thirty years, and the only real concession I’ve had to make (my own decision, not at his request), is to not cook anything meat based in my cast-iron pot because of the absorption factor.

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NostalgicGal February 21, 2015 at 10:25 am

My DH and I are living happily as a mixed meat/non meat and wheat flour/non flour life now. I do have to have some things segregated, I remodeled a kitchen cabinet for my own private pantry (removed shelving to put clear storage containers in and put a light IN the cabinet. Makes it SO nice to look for stuff in there), and I have some of my own cooking utensils that are washed separate and kept separate. I still regularly purchase and cook him meat, yesterday was a grilled Tbone (ran across a deal and it looked good). I made my own ‘legume casserole’ after I cooked, served and cleaned up after his foods, and he toddled his own scraps to the dumpster after; it’s just the way things are. If you come to my table I will cook what you like and need… and I expect that all my guests respect every one else’s right or (medical usually) need to eat what they are eating. Smells get around, yes, deal. That is one of our more careful subjects (your food smells so good and it’s hard to be in the house with it so go eat it in your room with the door shut–and my stuff does that to him occasionally too!)… food smells.

That said, I’d gladly smell roast turkey on the air even if I can’t have a crumb of it.

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Mustard February 20, 2015 at 6:47 am

The next time you host, tell Mira she is invited to play games after the rest of you have finished dinner.

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Eve_Eire February 20, 2015 at 7:33 am

I must disagree with the assumption that the reason for her behavior is down to insecurity and weak convictions – you can’t possible know this, I feel it is a giant leap of an assumption about a stranger. However, I do agree with admin’s advice on how to deal with this lady.

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Charliesmum February 20, 2015 at 7:54 am

I was never a Smiths/Morrissy fan, but any possible respect I might have had for him disappeared when I read an article where he was moaning that he could smell meet cooking at a music festival and he said something along the lines that he hoped it was humans burning and not animals. Now I’m all for people who have respect for animals, but valuing human lives LESS made no sense to me. And recently he cancelled a concert because the venue wouldn’t agree not to serve meat, or something. Way to be there for your fans, Morrissy.

I think people like that are more into being ‘morally superior’ than actually caring about what being a vegan/vegetarian means. I have a young friend who is strictly vegan, and she has quite happily sat next to me as I scarfed down my meat-based food without saying a word, because she knows it’s HER life choice, not mine, and she doesn’t worry about trying to be ‘special’.

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just4kicks February 21, 2015 at 11:09 am

I love the Smiths/Morrisey’ s music, but think he is an horse’s “arse”, and have heard many stories like the one you mentioned.
He should stick to music, and cut out the offending “NO ONE should eat meat, and you’re a horrible person if you do!”
One of the Smith’s albums was called “Meat is Murder”.

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flora February 20, 2015 at 8:26 am

Overall this isn’t about food, it’s about negative people, confidence, and having the power to take charge of a potientaly negative situation and turning it into a positive one, in a non confrontational manner.
I am not a confident person most days. I suffer from social anxiety and depression. Often it’s really difficult for me to know what to do in awkward situations but this is something to remember. Thank you EHell Dame!

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admin February 21, 2015 at 5:55 am

And the cool thing is, the more you put this into practice, the more confident you get!

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Lera99 February 20, 2015 at 8:54 am

This is so sad.

I know plenty of vegetarians and vegans who make no such fuss. The only reason I even know they are vegetarian or vegan is because we’ve eaten out together and they made some comment along the lines of “Can we have lunch together at Sweet Tomatoes instead of Outback? I’m vegetarian/vegan and there are more options for me there.”

And yes, I’ve known a few of the over the top militant “Meat is murder! Honey is made with slave labor! The very smell of meat makes me physically ill! You are supporting the murder and suffering of living beings with your diet! You are destroying Mother Earth!” vegetarians/vegans.

But I’ve found a “If you are this outraged by my diet, I completely understand why you’d like to end our friendship. I will certainly miss your company. Good day.” works wonders. Suddenly there is all sorts of backpedaling and explanations of “I was just trying to make sure you were informed.” And they don’t start up those sorts of diatribes in my presence again.

Also I believe the right thing to do as hostess is to take Mira aside and tell her “Mira, I cannot believe you would embarrass me like this. You are a guest in my home, and I will not allow you to insult everyone here. If you are unable to act like an adult in polite company, I’m going to need you to leave.”

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Abby S February 20, 2015 at 10:14 am

Brilliant, Admin. Like another poster, I too am battling with a work teammate that builds himself up by tearing others down. I have been thinking about it constantly, trying to figure out the best language that would get him to tone it down. Do I say something to him directly in a meeting? Do I approach his manager? Is it my problem if I’m not the one he tears down?

I can very much see how the strategy of being a better, vocally positive and supportive example would bolster the spirits of others as well as let him see a better method for communication without embarrassing him. It could solve the problem without escalating it. Thank you for sharing your story.

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Goldie February 20, 2015 at 10:46 am

I’m happy to say that, in my world, I hardly ever run into a Mira. I was at a Solstice party two months ago with a meetup group that I’ve known for six years. It’s a pretty close-knit group and many members are personal friends who go way back. Half of the group members are vegetarian/vegan, the other half are not. There were, ballpark, 40-50 people at that potluck party and not one incident. Vegetarians and vegans ate meatless/vegan dishes, the rest of us ate everything. We carnivores went easy on the vegan/vegetarian dishes so our friends would have enough to eat. I actually brought a vegan dish (just a coincidence; it was a new salad recipe that I liked) and was happy to see it disappear quickly. Someone else brought meatballs and they were a huge hit at the party. No one got on anyone else’s case for eating or not eating anything. It can be done. You can eat your vegan dish in front of your carnivore friends without being judgmental! Too sad that Mira doesn’t know about this!

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tippy February 20, 2015 at 11:36 am

I too recently dealt with a vegetarian making inappropriate comments about meat, though he is in pre-school. I have been a vegetarian for almost two decades. Not once have I ever thought to criticize someone else’s food choices. My son recently came home from pre-school and told me that everyone was eating meat (insert humorous shocked toddler face here) and then told me “that is disgusting!” I IMMEDIATELY sat him down and explained that it was very rude to call ANYTHING that another person eats disgusting. I explained to him that everyone eats different things and that calling it not nice names might hurt their feelings. He then told me that he was sorry and would never do it again. Then he looked alert and said, “is that good manners?”.

If my three year old can understand this concept, there is no way this woman does not understand it.

I would say that I would pull her aside if I were the hostess and she began insulting the food of my other guests. I will remain silent if a guest is insulting my food and smile while offering something else, but I will not have my other guests insulted.

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HotMango February 20, 2015 at 11:44 am

Even though the OP mentioned that Mira presented herself as mature and well-read in other situations not regarding food, it seems to me that her over-the-top dramatics around the food table are just a ploy for attention and she desperately wants the spotlight of all her dining companions on her. “What foods will Mira eat? What ones has she deemed disgusting? Yes, we must know all the food opinions of Mira!” As admin said, if Mira was truly just adhering to her dietary requirements, she could do so quietly without the big look-at-me pronouncements.

I believe its the same with the Japanese steakhouse blowhard as well. It sounds as if Mr. Blowhard was trying to get the other restaurant customers to believe he was a funny, hilarious guy at the expense of the chef. When admin clearly showed that they weren’t going to be playing along, he thankfully dropped the routine and attention grabbing antics.

What to do with such as guest is another matter. Since their motivations are for the center of attention, just try to deflect their ploys as much as possible until your next food-related event when you can make sure their names aren’t on the guest list. Hopefully, the Thanksgiving hosts and other guests have come to the same conclusion and Mira will wonder why she’s not extended invitations anymore.

As an aside, can you believe I’ve never run into a militant vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or etc. food restriction person? It’s just another facet of life for those that I know. Once I was trying to get a co-worker to join me for lunch at this restaurant that had this amazing meat-filled dish. “I really don’t think I can,” she said. “Why not?” I asked. “Um, remember? I’m a vegetarian,” she said. Cue me tripping all over myself with apologies. I, of course, knew she was a vegetarian but forgot in the moment because it’s not like she mentioned it often, only when it came up in the course of conversation.

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Annie February 20, 2015 at 12:08 pm

I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time, and I’ve gotten critical comments or mockery from a lot of people. I think Admin is right. I believe they are uncomfortable with their own dietary choices and the mere fact that I am a vegetarian makes them defensive. Fortunately, the vast majority of people are comfortable with their dietary choice and don’t feel a need to criticize mine.

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VM February 20, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Last Saturday I saw a Buddhist monk, in full saffron-colored robes, eating with a dinner party…at a Black Angus steakhouse.

I can’t guarantee that I will refrain from audibly remembering this incident next time a holier-than-thou vegetarian tries to pull a Mira-like stunt on me.

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hakayama February 22, 2015 at 8:10 pm

@VM: I understand that the truly humble monks of various denominations accept gratefully any food that is offered to them. St. Francis of Assisi, on his mendicant wanderings with fellow monks, did eat meat on Friday, back when the Church forbade it. He explained to them that as guests they could not offend the hosts by fussing about. 😉 One cool guy, that one.

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NostalgicGal February 23, 2015 at 2:32 am

I lived within driving (2 hours) of a Buddhist temple with a full contingent of monks, and once a week they would visit their parishoners and the people would give them food. Whatever they got was what they had to eat that week. It was part of the way things were done; the congregation supported their monks directly. I was visiting a friend one day when one came to call, and she took a bag from the fridge with meat in packages and vegetables in bags, and a small box with cans, and gave them to the monk. She then explained that it was the way things were done… and she didn’t think anything of giving them meat (burger and chicken is what I seen)

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Anonymous February 20, 2015 at 1:09 pm

Wow. I’m vegan, and Mira’s behaviour would have annoyed me too. I mean, why did she even come to a Thanksgiving turkey dinner, if she was just going to make rude comments about the turkey, and other foods containing animal products? I remember organizing a “friends Christmas” a few years ago, when I was living in Australia, and even though I’m vegan, I prepared some frozen turkey breasts as a compromise, as part of our Christmas meal. Seasoning them was a bit of an adventure–since I obviously couldn’t taste the turkey (I really can’t; I’ve been a vegetarian for thirteen years, and a vegan for four of those years, so it would have made me sick), I’d put a bit of seasoning on, and then ask someone else to taste it. Anyway, since the OP said that Mira’s only ever rude when confronted with non-vegan foods, I think that’s useful information. In future, it might be best to only invite her to events that don’t involve food.

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Enna February 20, 2015 at 2:04 pm

It could be Mia is insecure but she could also be a radical. I’m a vegitarian and my firend is a vegan. We don’t stop or try to stop people eating meat. Put it this way, if I hosted a pot luck and someone brough meat I wouldn’t stop them – if another guest complained they would be told not to eat and if anyone insulted my cooking they would be shown the door.

Radicals, whatever they are radical about are rude unpleasent people. I wouldn’t invite Mia again, or only for non-food related events.

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Anonymous February 20, 2015 at 5:31 pm

Actually, I’d amend that to “some radicals can be rude and unpleasant about the specific issue(s) that they’re radical about.” I have a friend who’s a “radical vegan.” She hasn’t been a vegan as long as I have (I think it’s been about a year for her, to my four), but she’s very vocal about it, and she posts all kinds of things on her Facebook about animal cruelty, and how even lacto-ovo vegetarians are supporting the veal industry by supporting the dairy industry, et cetera. However, if you engage her in conversation about other subject matter, she’s fine.

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Goldie February 23, 2015 at 10:57 am

Ugh, Facebook posts are the worst. I know a few people who do it. They’re good friends, never did or said anything hurtful to me in person, but I still can’t forget how one of them, a few years ago, posted a photo of dead cows at a slaughterhouse with a caption saying “Modern-day Holocaust” or something of that nature. Well it just so happens that two of my great-grandparents were killed in the actual Holocaust. You know, the one where they killed people instead of cows!! I had to hide this woman’s FB posts before I said anything, it honestly felt like a slap in the face to my whole family. She’s the sweetest person in real life and would never say anything like that to one’s face. But I guess on the Internet, different etiquette rules apply? or rather, people just think that there are different rules. Or maybe they don’t think anything at all, they just see a photo they kind of partially agree with and immediately click Share.

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Enna February 24, 2015 at 4:55 pm

@ Anonymous: you could say I was being radical about radicals! I get your point and it’s a good one. I was generalising about people who are narrow minded. Your firend would not like me as I love my cheese, but would she lecture me for eating a cheese sandwich in front of her Mira style? I am a lacto-ovo vegetarain.

But then people can be veggie for different reasons. I am going to paraphase from an article I read in a journal: there are three vegans, the first is vegan for animal ethic reasons, the second for health reasons and the third for envriomental reasons. Imagine how the first vegan is shocked at the second for wearing a leather coat, the second is shocked at third for drinking alcohol and the third is shocked at the first for flying abroad on holidays.

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Lindsay February 20, 2015 at 2:32 pm

I don’t think I could have bit my tongue. Something along the lines of “I’m so sorry that I went out of my way with time and budget to prepare some vegan friendly options for you. Since obviously my food upsets you, I want to make sure you feel no obligation to stay here for this meal. I wouldn’t want you to be uncomfortable with your food options, nor would I want any of my other guests to feel uncomfortable with their food choices around you. Can I pack you a to go bag?”

Then again, I get quite offended when people trash my cooking because they are special snowflakes- You don’t have to eat it. I don’t force you to eat it. Don’t be a negative Nancy about it. If I spend time and money making something special for you, and you still have to go out of your way to trash my hosting, cooking, or considerations, then you simply may leave.

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MM February 20, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Mira may have low confidence or she may just be a rude person. We don’t know for sure. I think Mira should be taken aside and told that if, though she is well-liked in general, her comments and behavior make people uncomfortable and she can either join and have fun or not come again.

I like Admin’s advice but at the same time, it shouldn’t be someone’s job to police the mood and make everyone feel cheerful. Yeah, a few positive comments here and there are appropriate and fine but too much makes it feel disingenuous and straining.

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PWH February 20, 2015 at 3:56 pm

Mira sounds like a treat. As other’s have said, I would be reluctant to invite her over again. I know plenty of people who have special dietary restrictions (My brother is severly allergic to tree nuts), but don’t feel the need to complain or remind people constantly. Most people would simply avoid the food they can’t eat or ask what’s in something before trying it out. I have an aversion to peppers (the vegetable not the spice) which is something I carried over from when I was a child. If I can see them in a dish, I will either avoid it or politely eat around them (Usually my husband will take them off my hands). That being said I have family members who insist that I eat them and don’t seem to understand why I won’t or take great pride in serving me something with them camouflaged inside and then goad over me for eating it. Luckily I’m not allergic to them, if I can’t taste them that’s fine with me, but it’s still rather dishonest of them to do that.

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