Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: miranova on August 12, 2012, 03:46:30 PM

Title: What should I have done?
Post by: miranova on August 12, 2012, 03:46:30 PM
We hosted a party last night in our home.  I posted a thread asking about menu suggestions and it was (wisely) suggested that I inquire about allergies, etc.  We inquired, and every person attending said there were no food issues.

Despite this, at the party last night, as we were serving apps and drinks, one of the guests walked up to me and kind of whispered that he can't handle much cheese.  A fine time for me to know that would have been when we asked!  We had planned an entirely Italian meal.  Two of the three apps had some cheese in them.  The main had cheese.  Even the dessert had cheese (mascarpone in the Tiramisu).  There was one app with no cheese, there was bread, and there was salad. 

I had no idea what to say to him.  I think I made some kind of sympathetic comment, but there was no way I could pull off a 2nd main course with no notice. 

Is there anything else I could have done or offered him?  By the way, he ate 3 things that contained cheese, so if he was going to eat them anyway, I don't know why he told me that it would bother him to eat them.  I felt bad but at the same time, if he was comfortable telling me that cheese disagreed with him, why not tell me when I still had a chance to do something about it? 

What is my obligation in that moment?  Try to find something else for him to eat?
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on August 12, 2012, 03:49:26 PM
You were fine - he was a jerk.  Salad, bread and one app would be enough for him to eat until he could hit a fast food place on his way home.  And it sounds more like and intolerance rather than an allergy, since he ate cheese dishes, anyway.  As long as you identified the cheese for him when he asked, you did all you needed to.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: hyzenthlay on August 12, 2012, 03:53:26 PM
If you had some undressed pasta, or could have thrown together something at short notice you could have offered. You were not obligated, but I presume he mentioned it in case an option was available.

He didn't mention it prior because he did have an allergy and probably didn't expect the majority of your meal to contain cheese. If you told me you were having an Italian night my first thought would NOT be to expect cheese in every entree.

I don't think you did anything wrong, but I don't think he did either. I certainly don't think he's a 'jerk.'
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: NyaChan on August 12, 2012, 04:01:31 PM
If you had some undressed pasta, or could have thrown together something at short notice you could have offered. You were not obligated, but I presume he mentioned it in case an option was available.

He didn't mention it prior because he did have an allergy and probably didn't expect the majority of your meal to contain cheese. If you told me you were having an Italian night my first thought would NOT be to expect cheese in every entree.

I don't think you did anything wrong, but I don't think he did either. I certainly don't think he's a 'jerk.'

Really?  I would expect cheese for sure, but even if I didn't - if a host takes the time to enquire about your food restrictions, I wouldn't leave out the fact that I can't eat a lot of cheese.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: hyzenthlay on August 12, 2012, 04:08:59 PM
Really?  I would expect cheese for sure, but even if I didn't - if a host takes the time to enquire about your food restrictions, I wouldn't leave out the fact that I can't eat a lot of cheese.

Well no, there are hundreds of Italian pastas and soups that don't contain cheese.

Americanized Italian is cheese heavy, but Italian food it not automatically cheesy. So, no I probably wouldn't mention a cheese intolerance because I would expect at least one dish (Heck even spaghetti and meatballs) to be without cheese.

We do on this sight sometimes talk about being sure not to put any particular ingredient in every dish, because even though people don't have allergies many people do have one or two ingredients they strongly dislike.  But that's why my DH and stick to taco bars, or home made pizzas, we or the guests can adjust on the fly.

I repeat that I don't think the OP did anything wrong, but I don't think her guest did either.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on August 12, 2012, 04:22:30 PM
I still think he was a jerk.  The time to speak up was when he was asked.  When he saw that the offerings were cheese heavy, the polite thing to do would have been to eat what he could, avoid what he shouldn't eat and pick up something on the way home, if he needed to.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: miranova on August 12, 2012, 04:28:22 PM
I think I need to clarify.  I did not tell the guests "the menu will be Italian, is that ok?"  We asked "are there any allergies or food aversions that we should know about?"  I asked so that I could plan the menu.  If I had known about a cheese intolerance, of course I would have planned a different menu.

I am aware that many Italian dishes don't have cheese, however, that's hardly the point.  The point is, I had no way of knowing that cheese would be an issue.

Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: hyzenthlay on August 12, 2012, 04:42:51 PM
I am aware that many Italian dishes don't have cheese, however, that's hardly the point.  The point is, I had no way of knowing that cheese would be an issue.

And my point is that I don't think people with a cheese intolerance expect every dish is going to have cheese.   It's usually pretty easy to work around.

My DH can't eat meat, but we don't usually mention it because he's fine with veggie sides, salad, bread.  On one occasion we turned up to find the salad had bacon bits, the potatoes had bacon bits, the stuffing had oyster, the cheese was all on a meat and cheese platter, and we left pretty early that evening. But in his life it's been a problem exactly once, so he's not in the habit of bothering to talk about it in advance even when asked.

I guess Outdoor Girl would label him a jerk for having asked if there was any other cheese available.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: NyaChan on August 12, 2012, 04:48:42 PM
hyzenthlay, while your husband may feel perfectly able to eat around meat at mealtimes, I would suggest telling hosts anyways.  I would feel really bad if a guest didn't get the full effect of a dinner party simply because I didn't know they couldn't have meat.  Regardless of whether he is fine with it, it puts the host in the awkward position of looking inconsiderate to others if they realize the mistake, feeling guilty for not having food for him, or as I would likely do - end up scrambling to add on to the menu at the last minute once I realized that he wasn't able to eat meat.  Even if the host doesn't realize that your husband doesn't eat meat, they might feel bad that he isn't eating any of the food and wondering what went wrong or if it tastes bad.  I would feel kind of bad if I went all out on a meat dish only to find that a guest who seemingly has no issue with meat left it untouched.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: miranova on August 12, 2012, 04:50:54 PM
I am aware that many Italian dishes don't have cheese, however, that's hardly the point.  The point is, I had no way of knowing that cheese would be an issue.

And my point is that I don't think people with a cheese intolerance expect every dish is going to have cheese.   It's usually pretty easy to work around.

My DH can't eat meat, but we don't usually mention it

You don't mention it even if people specifically ask? 

I do understand what you are saying with your first sentence, however, believe it or not I did not even realize how many dishes had cheese until he mentioned it and I thought about it.  Because they were all different kinds of cheese, so when I was planning things I didn't see:  cheese, cheese, cheese, I saw ricotta, goat cheese, and mascarpone mixed in with the 50 other ingredients that I purchased.  I honestly didn't see it until he said something about cheese not agreeing with him.

I'm wondering, if he was given a perfect opportunity to tell me and chose not to, why did he tell me that night?  I had no way to start another entree.  It never would have been finished in time, and I didn't have ingredients sitting around for another main.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: hyzenthlay on August 12, 2012, 05:00:05 PM
I'm wondering, if he was given a perfect opportunity to tell me and chose not to, why did he tell me that night?  I had no way to start another entree.  It never would have been finished in time, and I didn't have ingredients sitting around for another main.

I can boil pasta and heat sauce in about 15 minutes, or maybe he thought you might have left over components that he could eat separately.  I can't know what he was thinking, but if he was polite about your refusal why are you so concerned?

Going back to your question, no you didn't have any obligation, but you sound like you are already pretty certain of that fact.

(And to answer your other question, we don't like to mention DH's intolerance because then people will make a veggie dish specifically for him, and because he is also a pretty picky eater he'll have to choke down something he really doesn't care for. He'd really rather fill up on bread, cheese and salad. I am aware that if we ever visit someone in the deep south we'll have to take precautions  ;D )
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: NyaChan on August 12, 2012, 05:12:12 PM
I won't go so far as to say he is a jerk, especially since as hyzenthlay pointed out he seems to have made no further ado about the issue, but I think it was inconsiderate to 1) not tell her ahead of time when she could have done something about it AND THEN 2) tell her at the party when all it did was make her feel bad - she shouldn't have to scramble to accommodate him at the last minute when he was already given the opportunity to tell her if he needed anything special.  If he just left out the information and then ate what he could at the party it would be fine.  But if it wasn't so big of a problem that he couldn't eat, he really served no positive purpose by telling the host at the last minute that he doesn't handle cheese well.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on August 12, 2012, 05:18:27 PM
I'm wondering, if he was given a perfect opportunity to tell me and chose not to, why did he tell me that night?  I had no way to start another entree.  It never would have been finished in time, and I didn't have ingredients sitting around for another main.

Exactly why I think he was a jerk.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: rose red on August 12, 2012, 05:31:09 PM
I don't like shrimp and while I wouldn't expect every dish to contain shrimp, I would still mention it when asked because you never know.  The guy had no right to say anything after the fact and it's his own fault for assuming.  Saying anything accomplished nothing except made the OP feel bad (you shouldn't.  You did everything you could by asking).
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: JenJay on August 12, 2012, 05:56:39 PM
I think if there is something you cannot eat for health reasons (even if it's just one little thing, if it's a health issue, I'd want to know), or a category of things (meat, dairy, grain, etc.) you can't or choose never to eat, then your choice is either to mention it when your host asks OR never mention it. I agree it isn't fair to say "No issues here, looking forward to dinner!" a week in advance and then catch the host alone and whisper "By the way, no X for me!" when there is nothing to be done about it.

If there are foods you don't eat and you choose not to mention it that's okay, simply eat what you can and pass on the rest. It isn't okay, IMO, to ask the host to prepare something extra to accommodate the needs you chose not to mention before.

Edited to answer the OQ - I don't think there was anything you could or should have done. He was mistaken in the way he handled it. Hopefully a meal of salad and bread will encourage him to speak up next time.  :P
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Hmmmmm on August 12, 2012, 06:21:36 PM
He might have been mentioning so you could tell him which items contained cheese or giving you some indication of why he wouldn't be eating much.  The only response needed at that late time would have been "Oh, I was unaware.  App one is cheese free and there will be plenty bread and sald, but you'll want to be carefully with the entree and dessert as they both contain cheese."
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Phoebe on August 12, 2012, 07:21:06 PM
I am aware that many Italian dishes don't have cheese, however, that's hardly the point.  The point is, I had no way of knowing that cheese would be an issue.

And my point is that I don't think people with a cheese intolerance expect every dish is going to have cheese.   It's usually pretty easy to work around.

My DH can't eat meat, but we don't usually mention it because he's fine with veggie sides, salad, bread.  On one occasion we turned up to find the salad had bacon bits, the potatoes had bacon bits, the stuffing had oyster, the cheese was all on a meat and cheese platter, and we left pretty early that evening. But in his life it's been a problem exactly once, so he's not in the habit of bothering to talk about it in advance even when asked.

I guess Outdoor Girl would label him a jerk for having asked if there was any other cheese available.

Wow. Okay then.

Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Chickadee on August 12, 2012, 08:10:00 PM
I am aware that many Italian dishes don't have cheese, however, that's hardly the point.  The point is, I had no way of knowing that cheese would be an issue.

And my point is that I don't think people with a cheese intolerance expect every dish is going to have cheese.   It's usually pretty easy to work around.
My DH can't eat meat, but we don't usually mention it because he's fine with veggie sides, salad, bread.  On one occasion we turned up to find the salad had bacon bits, the potatoes had bacon bits, the stuffing had oyster, the cheese was all on a meat and cheese platter, and we left pretty early that evening. But in his life it's been a problem exactly once, so he's not in the habit of bothering to talk about it in advance even when asked.



I guess Outdoor Girl would label him a jerk for having asked if there was any other cheese available.

Why should the OP have worked around a cheese intolerance when she had no reason to expect such an issue? As was posted in the OP "every person attending said there were no food issues." She was told there were no food issues and she planned her menu according to the information she had gathered.

The guest with the food issue was totally at fault for not speaking up when he was provided the opportunity to do so. OP should not have had to take 15 minutes extra (not something that is always easily achieved at a dinner party) to prepare another entree for someone who chose not to reveal a food allergy/intolerance/aversion when he was specifically asked by the hostess.

To answer the OP's question: Your obligation to serve a meal that would not interfere with any dietary restrictions ended when each guest confirmed that he or she had no food issues.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: BC12 on August 13, 2012, 02:07:02 AM
He might have been mentioning so you could tell him which items contained cheese or giving you some indication of why he wouldn't be eating much. The only response needed at that late time would have been "Oh, I was unaware.  App one is cheese free and there will be plenty bread and sald, but you'll want to be carefully with the entree and dessert as they both contain cheese."

This is what I was thinking. Another possible reason he told you was to explain why he might either have to leave relatively quickly after dinner or spend 20 minutes in your bathroom afterward.

OP, what was his tone like when he told you this? Was it expectant, like, "I can't handle much cheese, sooo..." Or was it more like, "I can't handle much cheese - just a heads up." If it's the latter, then he should have better explained why he was telling you this, but it's not something I would cross him off my invite list for.

Try to find something else for him to eat?

You don't have to. There's nothing rude about serving only what you planned to. But I would have tried, I think. "Oh, well, I can make you a sandwich or just serve you some fruit for dessert?" I would have offered whatever I had around that wouldn't take me more than five minutes to prepare. It wouldn't have bothered me if he would rather eat children's menu food while everyone else eats my awesome cooking. That probably would make me cross him off the invite list, though.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: cicero on August 13, 2012, 05:24:00 AM
I'm wondering, if he was given a perfect opportunity to tell me and chose not to, why did he tell me that night?  I had no way to start another entree.  It never would have been finished in time, and I didn't have ingredients sitting around for another main.

I can boil pasta and heat sauce in about 15 minutes, or maybe he thought you might have left over components that he could eat separately.  I can't know what he was thinking, but if he was polite about your refusal why are you so concerned?

Going back to your question, no you didn't have any obligation, but you sound like you are already pretty certain of that fact.


but why should the host have to do that, especially when the question was asked and answered prior to the planning and preparing? when i prepare for a dinner party, i like to have everything set up so i don't have to be standing in the kitchen and [unexpectedly] cooking at the last minute.

like a few PPs, i was thinking that maybe he was giving you a head's up as to why he won't be eating eveyrthing. also, it is possible that he didn't really realize just how much cheese would be involved.

Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: learningtofly on August 13, 2012, 07:27:12 AM
A cheese intolerance.  I have a friend with a cheese intolerance.  He takes a pill before eating or he eats something else.  To me your guest was like someone with a gall bladder problem.  They can't eat rich foods, but there are no allergies.  Therefore they may skip dessert, but they wouldn't demand a bowl of berries instead.  The guest with the intolerance needs to work around the food.  He can not assume there will be something there for him because like hysenthlay's husband this dinner party may be the one time the ingredient you can't tolerate is in everything.

You were a gracious host.  You asked about allergies ahead of time.  When your guest informed you at the party that he couldn't handle cheese, you pointed out the cheese free options.  If you invite this guest again you'll won't plan Italian and he'll probably speak up when asked about allergies.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: hyzenthlay on August 13, 2012, 08:00:37 AM
I'm wondering, if he was given a perfect opportunity to tell me and chose not to, why did he tell me that night? 

I can boil pasta and heat sauce in about 15 minutes,

but why should the host have to do thatalso, it is possible that he didn't really realize just how much cheese would be involved.

Where did I say she should have?  She posed the question almost as if she couldn't imagine how someone could think she'd be able to prepare an option. I was simply explaining why someone might have through that was possible. Many dishes don't take hours to prepare.

I don't think she should have felt forced to do a durn thing. I just don't think her guest was a jerk or terribly rude for asking.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Louie_LI on August 13, 2012, 08:20:07 AM

I'm wondering, if he was given a perfect opportunity to tell me and chose not to, why did he tell me that night?  I had no way to start another entree.  It never would have been finished in time, and I didn't have ingredients sitting around for another main.

Perhaps he wasn't expecting it to be a problem. Maybe he only mentioned it so that, if you noticed he wasn't eating very much, you wouldn't think he didn't like it.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: still in va on August 13, 2012, 08:28:48 AM
I'm wondering, if he was given a perfect opportunity to tell me and chose not to, why did he tell me that night? 

I can boil pasta and heat sauce in about 15 minutes,

but why should the host have to do thatalso, it is possible that he didn't really realize just how much cheese would be involved.

Where did I say she should have?  She posed the question almost as if she couldn't imagine how someone could think she'd be able to prepare an option. I was simply explaining why someone might have through that was possible. Many dishes don't take hours to prepare.

I don't think she should have felt forced to do a durn thing. I just don't think her guest was a jerk or terribly rude for asking.

actually, she stated that she didn't have the ingredients to make another main course.  i wouldn't have either, since my fridge would probably have been cleaned out in order to store the food for the dinner party.  and her guest didn't ask her to do so.  he simply told her that he couldn't eat much cheese.

guest had the opportunity to say, before the dinner, "actually, i have to limit the amount of cheese that i eat."  the same words he used at the party.  i don't think he was a jerk, but if he knows he has this problem, and doesn't speak up when asked, then there's not much that a hostess can do to alleviate the problem at the actual dinner party.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Winterlight on August 13, 2012, 09:25:21 AM
I think if there is something you cannot eat for health reasons (even if it's just one little thing, if it's a health issue, I'd want to know), or a category of things (meat, dairy, grain, etc.) you can't or choose never to eat, then your choice is either to mention it when your host asks OR never mention it. I agree it isn't fair to say "No issues here, looking forward to dinner!" a week in advance and then catch the host alone and whisper "By the way, no X for me!" when there is nothing to be done about it.

If there are foods you don't eat and you choose not to mention it that's okay, simply eat what you can and pass on the rest. It isn't okay, IMO, to ask the host to prepare something extra to accommodate the needs you chose not to mention before.

Edited to answer the OQ - I don't think there was anything you could or should have done. He was mistaken in the way he handled it. Hopefully a meal of salad and bread will encourage him to speak up next time.  :P

This. I think he was rude to spring this on you last minute.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: QueenofAllThings on August 13, 2012, 09:27:52 AM
I think the guest was a snowflake. He was asked AHEAD OF TIME, and said nothing. Clearly, it wasn't an allergy, as the OP mentioned that he ate several dishes with cheese, so it was rude of him to mention it at the party - as he'd already been asked.

Like H's husband, I don't eat meat and I never mention it. It's not an allergy, it's a preference, and I've never had a problem - it would be rather PA of me to bring it up at dinner if I'd been asked beforehand and neglected to mention it.

I would also never expect or ask a hostess to make me something else - nor would I, as a hostess, make a separate entree for someone in this situation.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: lowspark on August 13, 2012, 10:54:58 AM
I think the guest was rude to mention it for three reasons:
1. He'd been asked in advance and that would have been the time to mention it.
2. This put the hostess in a position of either having to scramble to make something for him at the last minute or end up feeling bad for not having something he could eat.
3. He ended up eating the cheesy stuff anyway!

I just can't fathom what he thought he would accomplish by telling the OP at the moment he did. I just don't get it. As a hostess, this would really make me scratch this gentleman off any future guest lists.

Regarding hyzenthlay and her DH leaving a party early because there weren't enough meatless dishes, I find that to be rude. As a hostess, it can really throw things off if people leave too early, unless they had let you know in advance they would have to. I've seen that sort of thing break up a party as one couple leaves and the other guests think that is their cue to leave as well. Even if that doesn't happen, it throws off the dynamic of the party as the host may have been counting on a certain number of guests for a certain amount of time for any number of reasons.

As much as a host has an obligation to make guests feal welcome and comfortable, guests have an obligation in return to do their part to make the party successful. I would count both the comment and unexpectedly leaving early with no explanation as among the no-nos for guests.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: cicero on August 13, 2012, 01:24:36 PM
I'm wondering, if he was given a perfect opportunity to tell me and chose not to, why did he tell me that night? 

I can boil pasta and heat sauce in about 15 minutes,

but why should the host have to do thatalso, it is possible that he didn't really realize just how much cheese would be involved.

Where did I say she should have?  She posed the question almost as if she couldn't imagine how someone could think she'd be able to prepare an option. I was simply explaining why someone might have through that was possible. Many dishes don't take hours to prepare.

I don't think she should have felt forced to do a durn thing. I just don't think her guest was a jerk or terribly rude for asking.
sorry, i misread what you wrote.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Sheila Take a Bow on August 13, 2012, 01:42:54 PM
I'm wondering, if he was given a perfect opportunity to tell me and chose not to, why did he tell me that night? 

I would guess that he never imagined he'd be fed a meal with so much cheese.

I can't eat a whole lot of cheese.  I'm not allergic, I don't hate it, I'm not even lactose intolerant -- it just doesn't agree with me.  If you'd asked me about allergies and aversions, I would have said nothing because I've never found myself in a situation in which just about every element of the meal had cheese in it and I would have assumed that I wouldn't have to worry about having too much cheese.

Among my friends and family, cheese is used pretty sparingly, the same as cream or other fatty foods.

Had I been a guest at your party, though, I would have just kept my mouth shut and taken one- or two-bite portions of the cheesy foods, a piece of bread, and a small portion of salad, and eaten after I left the party.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on August 13, 2012, 02:32:31 PM
I definitely would have gone for a more varied menu in the first place (entertaining new people), but I agree it was rude for him to say something at the party.  I sorta understand, because I would not be expecting an entire meal with cheese in it/so few options without one main ingredient, personally. BUT, if I had encountered that, I would have done the best I could (eaten a lot of bread and salad!), left a little early and grabbed some food at home. Sometimes, it just happens this way, and there's not much you can do about it - definitely should not make a big deal of it.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Roe on August 13, 2012, 04:25:31 PM
I am aware that many Italian dishes don't have cheese, however, that's hardly the point.  The point is, I had no way of knowing that cheese would be an issue.

And my point is that I don't think people with a cheese intolerance expect every dish is going to have cheese.   It's usually pretty easy to work around.

My DH can't eat meat, but we don't usually mention it because he's fine with veggie sides, salad, bread.  On one occasion we turned up to find the salad had bacon bits, the potatoes had bacon bits, the stuffing had oyster, the cheese was all on a meat and cheese platter, and we left pretty early that evening. But in his life it's been a problem exactly once, so he's not in the habit of bothering to talk about it in advance even when asked.

I guess Outdoor Girl would label him a jerk for having asked if there was any other cheese available.

I'm sorry your DH had nothing to eat but it's his own fault.  And even though it's easy to boil pasta or whatnot, a host shouldn't have to, esp since the OP did ask about alleriges or food aversions.

People that assume they can "eat around it" are taking a chance and sometimes, they lose. 
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Moray on August 13, 2012, 04:48:13 PM
I am aware that many Italian dishes don't have cheese, however, that's hardly the point.  The point is, I had no way of knowing that cheese would be an issue.

And my point is that I don't think people with a cheese intolerance expect every dish is going to have cheese.   It's usually pretty easy to work around.

My DH can't eat meat, but we don't usually mention it because he's fine with veggie sides, salad, bread.  On one occasion we turned up to find the salad had bacon bits, the potatoes had bacon bits, the stuffing had oyster, the cheese was all on a meat and cheese platter, and we left pretty early that evening. But in his life it's been a problem exactly once, so he's not in the habit of bothering to talk about it in advance even when asked.

I guess Outdoor Girl would label him a jerk for having asked if there was any other cheese available.

I'm sorry your DH had nothing to eat but it's his own fault.  And even though it's easy to boil pasta or whatnot, a host shouldn't have to, esp since the OP did ask about alleriges or food aversions.

People that assume they can "eat around it" are taking a chance and sometimes, they lose.

Yup, and as a hostess, I'd feel a little bad/uncomfortable that someone like hyzenthlay's husband had nothing to eat. I invited you to dinner because I want to prepare a nice meal for you. I'm asking about what you can and can't eat because I want you to enjoy dinner. I don't want you to sit there forlornly staring at your undressed spinach or making excuses to leave early, and if you (general) were to approach me before the meal to point out "Yeah, I know I specifically said there wasn't anything I can't eat, but I can't eat [common ingredient or food group that most people love]", I would find it unnecessary and rude. Why mention it, except to highlight that the dinner served isn't pleasing to you? Why wouldn't I toss bacon-shallot vinaigrette with the warm spinach salad, or serve an oyster dressing; why would I even think to segregate my meats and cheeses on the antipasto platter if I had no reason to suspect that anyone in my party wouldn't eat meat or anything touched by meat?
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: miranova on August 13, 2012, 04:56:12 PM
OP here.

Thanks for all of the responses! 

A few clarifications.  The meal was not "cheese heavy", in my opinion.  Yes, there was SOME cheese in 4 out of the 7 things I made.  There were also some form of tomatoes in 3 of the dishes, garlic in 4 of them, thyme in 3 of them, etc.  The dishes contained cheese as an ingredient, they weren't JUST cheese or even MOSTLY cheese.  I say this because people keep saying things like "I wouldn't expect all of the dishes to be so full of cheese".  3 out of the 7 dishes had no cheese at all, and the others had some cheese, among many other ingredients.  Cheese is a common enough ingredient that I personally don't find it odd for it to be in 4 out of 7 dishes, especially for an Italian meal.  However, I am truly posting to learn, so I will keep that in mind for future events.  The problem is, I still don't know how I'm supposed to plan if I don't know the offending ingredient.  What if it wasn't cheese but instead was garlic or tomatoes or something else?  Those are all very common ingredients.  If I make 7 things and can't have any repeat of a very common ingredient, even in smallish amounts, that gets pretty complicated.  Any thoughts?

As far as making something else, truly, I could not have done any of the suggestions listed in the time that I had.  I was already serving appetizers and drinks when he said it, and the entree was in the oven.  I was extremely busy already bustling around to make sure the guests had a drink, etc.  I did not have any other meat defrosted, and I don't keep bottled spaghetti sauce in my house.  As someone else mentioned, I avoided doing the regular grocery shopping until after the party, because I needed room in my fridge for the large amounts of party food and drinks.  I literally could have offered him maybe a sandwich, with lunch meat only since he wouldn't want cheese.  Or a peanut butter sandwich.  If I were him, I'd rather eat the appetizer, salad, and bread than that.  But maybe I should have offered.  Or opened my pantry and fridge and let him look to see if there was anything he could work with.  I do think my immediate response could have been better, I was just thrown off.  It was frustrating, because all I could think was why on earth didn't he tell me when I asked?  Next time if this happens I will try to put that feeling aside long enough to ask if I can get him something else.  I do agree that I'm not obligated to do so, but I wouldn't have minded making the offer if I had thought to do so in the moment.

A couple of people made a good point that maybe he was telling me in order to explain why he wouldn't be eating much.  That would make sense to me if he didn't go on to eat almost everything offered.  No polite portions either, he ate a full meal.  I would never expect someone to eat something that disagreed with them and would never be offended if they didn't.  No one would have given him any grief for not eating much, but he ate it anyway.  So I'm not sure that explanation makes total sense to me.  It does however give him the benefit of the doubt, so it's worth considering.

I do think, after thinking about it a few days, that he had one chance to say something and should not have spoken up at the party if he didn't want to speak up earlier.  I can not imagine doing something like that at a party, and if I was asked why I wasn't eating, I would take the blame and say "it's my fault, I didn't mention to you that I couldn't eat cheese.  You did ask.  But I'll get plenty to eat with this salad and bread, don't worry about me!". 

I do appreciate the perspectives and will try to vary my menu in the future if possible, however I'm torn because most of the people really did like the meal and it got a lot of compliments.  In my experience, cheese is a popular ingredient among many.   A lot to think about. 
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: NyaChan on August 13, 2012, 05:17:44 PM
miranova, just to satisfy my nosiness, what was the menu? 
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Roe on August 13, 2012, 05:20:28 PM
Please do not offer to make people like that something else. It's why people keep doing these sorts of things. You did nothing wrong. And everything right. It's his fault, even if he sat there with an empty plate. Don't feel bad.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: LeveeWoman on August 13, 2012, 07:55:34 PM
OP here.

Thanks for all of the responses! 

A few clarifications.  The meal was not "cheese heavy", in my opinion.  Yes, there was SOME cheese in 4 out of the 7 things I made.  There were also some form of tomatoes in 3 of the dishes, garlic in 4 of them, thyme in 3 of them, etc.  The dishes contained cheese as an ingredient, they weren't JUST cheese or even MOSTLY cheese.  I say this because people keep saying things like "I wouldn't expect all of the dishes to be so full of cheese".  3 out of the 7 dishes had no cheese at all, and the others had some cheese, among many other ingredients.  Cheese is a common enough ingredient that I personally don't find it odd for it to be in 4 out of 7 dishes, especially for an Italian meal.  However, I am truly posting to learn, so I will keep that in mind for future events.  The problem is, I still don't know how I'm supposed to plan if I don't know the offending ingredient.  What if it wasn't cheese but instead was garlic or tomatoes or something else?  Those are all very common ingredients.  If I make 7 things and can't have any repeat of a very common ingredient, even in smallish amounts, that gets pretty complicated.  Any thoughts?

As far as making something else, truly, I could not have done any of the suggestions listed in the time that I had.  I was already serving appetizers and drinks when he said it, and the entree was in the oven.  I was extremely busy already bustling around to make sure the guests had a drink, etc.  I did not have any other meat defrosted, and I don't keep bottled spaghetti sauce in my house.  As someone else mentioned, I avoided doing the regular grocery shopping until after the party, because I needed room in my fridge for the large amounts of party food and drinks.  I literally could have offered him maybe a sandwich, with lunch meat only since he wouldn't want cheese.  Or a peanut butter sandwich.  If I were him, I'd rather eat the appetizer, salad, and bread than that.  But maybe I should have offered.  Or opened my pantry and fridge and let him look to see if there was anything he could work with.  I do think my immediate response could have been better, I was just thrown off.  It was frustrating, because all I could think was why on earth didn't he tell me when I asked?  Next time if this happens I will try to put that feeling aside long enough to ask if I can get him something else.  I do agree that I'm not obligated to do so, but I wouldn't have minded making the offer if I had thought to do so in the moment.

A couple of people made a good point that maybe he was telling me in order to explain why he wouldn't be eating much.  That would make sense to me if he didn't go on to eat almost everything offered.  No polite portions either, he ate a full meal.  I would never expect someone to eat something that disagreed with them and would never be offended if they didn't.   No one would have given him any grief for not eating much, but he ate it anyway.  So I'm not sure that explanation makes total sense to me.  It does however give him the benefit of the doubt, so it's worth considering.

I do think, after thinking about it a few days, that he had one chance to say something and should not have spoken up at the party if he didn't want to speak up earlier.  I can not imagine doing something like that at a party, and if I was asked why I wasn't eating, I would take the blame and say "it's my fault, I didn't mention to you that I couldn't eat cheese.  You did ask.  But I'll get plenty to eat with this salad and bread, don't worry about me!". 

I do appreciate the perspectives and will try to vary my menu in the future if possible, however I'm torn because most of the people really did like the meal and it got a lot of compliments.  In my experience, cheese is a popular ingredient among many.   A lot to think about.

He ate "regular" portions of the dishes that contained cheese after saying he couldn't eat them?
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: still in va on August 13, 2012, 08:18:09 PM
OP here.

Thanks for all of the responses! 

A few clarifications.  The meal was not "cheese heavy", in my opinion.  Yes, there was SOME cheese in 4 out of the 7 things I made.  There were also some form of tomatoes in 3 of the dishes, garlic in 4 of them, thyme in 3 of them, etc.  The dishes contained cheese as an ingredient, they weren't JUST cheese or even MOSTLY cheese.  I say this because people keep saying things like "I wouldn't expect all of the dishes to be so full of cheese".  3 out of the 7 dishes had no cheese at all, and the others had some cheese, among many other ingredients.  Cheese is a common enough ingredient that I personally don't find it odd for it to be in 4 out of 7 dishes, especially for an Italian meal.  However, I am truly posting to learn, so I will keep that in mind for future events.  The problem is, I still don't know how I'm supposed to plan if I don't know the offending ingredient.  What if it wasn't cheese but instead was garlic or tomatoes or something else?  Those are all very common ingredients.  If I make 7 things and can't have any repeat of a very common ingredient, even in smallish amounts, that gets pretty complicated.  Any thoughts?

As far as making something else, truly, I could not have done any of the suggestions listed in the time that I had.  I was already serving appetizers and drinks when he said it, and the entree was in the oven.  I was extremely busy already bustling around to make sure the guests had a drink, etc.  I did not have any other meat defrosted, and I don't keep bottled spaghetti sauce in my house.  As someone else mentioned, I avoided doing the regular grocery shopping until after the party, because I needed room in my fridge for the large amounts of party food and drinks.  I literally could have offered him maybe a sandwich, with lunch meat only since he wouldn't want cheese.  Or a peanut butter sandwich.  If I were him, I'd rather eat the appetizer, salad, and bread than that.  But maybe I should have offered.  Or opened my pantry and fridge and let him look to see if there was anything he could work with.  I do think my immediate response could have been better, I was just thrown off.  It was frustrating, because all I could think was why on earth didn't he tell me when I asked?  Next time if this happens I will try to put that feeling aside long enough to ask if I can get him something else.  I do agree that I'm not obligated to do so, but I wouldn't have minded making the offer if I had thought to do so in the moment.

A couple of people made a good point that maybe he was telling me in order to explain why he wouldn't be eating much.  That would make sense to me if he didn't go on to eat almost everything offered.  No polite portions either, he ate a full meal.  I would never expect someone to eat something that disagreed with them and would never be offended if they didn't.   No one would have given him any grief for not eating much, but he ate it anyway.  So I'm not sure that explanation makes total sense to me.  It does however give him the benefit of the doubt, so it's worth considering.

I do think, after thinking about it a few days, that he had one chance to say something and should not have spoken up at the party if he didn't want to speak up earlier.  I can not imagine doing something like that at a party, and if I was asked why I wasn't eating, I would take the blame and say "it's my fault, I didn't mention to you that I couldn't eat cheese.  You did ask.  But I'll get plenty to eat with this salad and bread, don't worry about me!". 

I do appreciate the perspectives and will try to vary my menu in the future if possible, however I'm torn because most of the people really did like the meal and it got a lot of compliments.  In my experience, cheese is a popular ingredient among many.   A lot to think about.

He ate "regular" portions of the dishes that contained cheese after saying he couldn't eat them?

exactly what stood out to me in the update. 

so i'll say again what i said before....OP, you did NOTHING wrong here.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: LeveeWoman on August 13, 2012, 08:49:55 PM
OP here.

Thanks for all of the responses! 

A few clarifications.  The meal was not "cheese heavy", in my opinion.  Yes, there was SOME cheese in 4 out of the 7 things I made.  There were also some form of tomatoes in 3 of the dishes, garlic in 4 of them, thyme in 3 of them, etc.  The dishes contained cheese as an ingredient, they weren't JUST cheese or even MOSTLY cheese.  I say this because people keep saying things like "I wouldn't expect all of the dishes to be so full of cheese".  3 out of the 7 dishes had no cheese at all, and the others had some cheese, among many other ingredients.  Cheese is a common enough ingredient that I personally don't find it odd for it to be in 4 out of 7 dishes, especially for an Italian meal.  However, I am truly posting to learn, so I will keep that in mind for future events.  The problem is, I still don't know how I'm supposed to plan if I don't know the offending ingredient.  What if it wasn't cheese but instead was garlic or tomatoes or something else?  Those are all very common ingredients.  If I make 7 things and can't have any repeat of a very common ingredient, even in smallish amounts, that gets pretty complicated.  Any thoughts?

As far as making something else, truly, I could not have done any of the suggestions listed in the time that I had.  I was already serving appetizers and drinks when he said it, and the entree was in the oven.  I was extremely busy already bustling around to make sure the guests had a drink, etc.  I did not have any other meat defrosted, and I don't keep bottled spaghetti sauce in my house.  As someone else mentioned, I avoided doing the regular grocery shopping until after the party, because I needed room in my fridge for the large amounts of party food and drinks.  I literally could have offered him maybe a sandwich, with lunch meat only since he wouldn't want cheese.  Or a peanut butter sandwich.  If I were him, I'd rather eat the appetizer, salad, and bread than that.  But maybe I should have offered.  Or opened my pantry and fridge and let him look to see if there was anything he could work with.  I do think my immediate response could have been better, I was just thrown off.  It was frustrating, because all I could think was why on earth didn't he tell me when I asked?  Next time if this happens I will try to put that feeling aside long enough to ask if I can get him something else.  I do agree that I'm not obligated to do so, but I wouldn't have minded making the offer if I had thought to do so in the moment.

A couple of people made a good point that maybe he was telling me in order to explain why he wouldn't be eating much.  That would make sense to me if he didn't go on to eat almost everything offered.  No polite portions either, he ate a full meal.  I would never expect someone to eat something that disagreed with them and would never be offended if they didn't.   No one would have given him any grief for not eating much, but he ate it anyway.  So I'm not sure that explanation makes total sense to me.  It does however give him the benefit of the doubt, so it's worth considering.

I do think, after thinking about it a few days, that he had one chance to say something and should not have spoken up at the party if he didn't want to speak up earlier.  I can not imagine doing something like that at a party, and if I was asked why I wasn't eating, I would take the blame and say "it's my fault, I didn't mention to you that I couldn't eat cheese.  You did ask.  But I'll get plenty to eat with this salad and bread, don't worry about me!". 

I do appreciate the perspectives and will try to vary my menu in the future if possible, however I'm torn because most of the people really did like the meal and it got a lot of compliments.  In my experience, cheese is a popular ingredient among many.   A lot to think about.

He ate "regular" portions of the dishes that contained cheese after saying he couldn't eat them?

exactly what stood out to me in the update. 

so i'll say again what i said before....OP, you did NOTHING wrong here.

Why in the world would he say he couldn't eat much cheese and then turn around and eat a lot of it?
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on August 13, 2012, 08:53:09 PM
You say tou couldnt plan for it, but pert of the point of what posters here are saying is -did you have enough dishes in your menu without cheese in them, to make a decent meal? I generally think that any menu should accomplish that (other than themed nights or people you know well). Again, I don't think you did anything wrong, just that might be good to keep in mind for future reference.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: buvezdevin on August 13, 2012, 09:12:04 PM
Late joining this thread and another poster who believes the OP did nothing wrong, and was graciously solicitous of guests dietary restrictions in advance.

As someone who enjoys hosting, and attending dinner parties, I would also add that an allergy, or dietary restriction or even preference may be fairly offered in advance of the actual meal or event, but waiting until the hosted event is in progress to state such - other than to ask as to whether any particular ingredients are included in a dish - is being an inconsiderate *guest*.  The hostess, in this case, proactively sought - not her guests dictates for her hospitality - but information which would allow her to appropriately plan her offerings. 

OP, this is one guest I would be omitting from future invitations.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: still in va on August 13, 2012, 09:33:39 PM
You say tou couldnt plan for it, but pert of the point of what posters here are saying is -did you have enough dishes in your menu without cheese in them, to make a decent meal? I generally think that any menu should accomplish that (other than themed nights or people you know well). Again, I don't think you did anything wrong, just that might be good to keep in mind for future reference.

since the OP didn't know that her guest limited his cheese intake, even after she asked him, it's possible that she didn't have enough dishes without cheese in them to make a good meal.  you know, that whole "he didn't tell her he couldn't eat much cheese, so she didn't prepare for that" thing.

but from the update in post #32, after telling the OP that he couldn't eat much cheese, sounds like he ate a healthy amount of the food that was served.  so apparently he did make a good meal of what was served.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: LeveeWoman on August 13, 2012, 09:44:14 PM
You say tou couldnt plan for it, but pert of the point of what posters here are saying is -did you have enough dishes in your menu without cheese in them, to make a decent meal? I generally think that any menu should accomplish that (other than themed nights or people you know well). Again, I don't think you did anything wrong, just that might be good to keep in mind for future reference.

I think Miranova addressed that in No. 32.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: lowspark on August 14, 2012, 08:13:53 AM
As a cheese lover, I have to say that a menu with cheese in several dishes sounds delicious to me! And the OP's question about not repeating any ingredient that might possibly offend someone through more than one dish is an excellent point. Yes, tomatoes, garlic, cheese, onions, dairy in general, and a host of other ingredients are potential no-nos for some people. That's the whole point of asking in advance. If the guest had responded to miranova's inquiry before the party, then her menu would not have been appropriate. Otherwise, how is she supposed to plan any kind of a meal? Any ingredient, even salt! can be the one thing that someone can't have too much of.

Once the OP asked the question and received no reply from the guest regarding his cheese limitations, then she is free to include cheese in any and every dish if she is so inclined. Now, the guests might not be thrilled the menu, they might not like Italian food, they might not like a particular dish or they might feel that there was too much cheese, or whatever! But the polite thing for them to do is just grin and bear it because they want to behave as polite guests.

Whether the menu was well balanced or didn't work well, whether it was delicious or bad tasting, whether it was nicely presented or not, etc. is a completely different issue than whether a guest is intolerant of a certain food or, as in this case, too much of a certain food. The menu was planned according the hostess's tastes, which is natural, without any regard to dietary restrictions since none of the guests responded positively to her survey.

And again, I simply cannot wrap my head around the fact that he mentiioned this to his hostess, essentially making her uncomfortable and anxious, when she could do nothing to fix it, and then proceeded to eat it all anyway!!

I'll say this again. This guy would be permanently scratched off my list of potential future guests.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Hmmmmm on August 14, 2012, 09:12:41 AM
We hosted a party last night in our home.  I posted a thread asking about menu suggestions and it was (wisely) suggested that I inquire about allergies, etc.  We inquired, and every person attending said there were no food issues.

Despite this, at the party last night, as we were serving apps and drinks, one of the guests walked up to me and kind of whispered that he can't handle much cheese.   A fine time for me to know that would have been when we asked!  We had planned an entirely Italian meal.  Two of the three apps had some cheese in them.  The main had cheese.  Even the dessert had cheese (mascarpone in the Tiramisu).  There was one app with no cheese, there was bread, and there was salad. 

I had no idea what to say to him.  I think I made some kind of sympathetic comment, but there was no way I could pull off a 2nd main course with no notice. 

Is there anything else I could have done or offered him?  By the way, he ate 3 things that contained cheese, so if he was going to eat them anyway, I don't know why he told me that it would bother him to eat them.  I felt bad but at the same time, if he was comfortable telling me that cheese disagreed with him, why not tell me when I still had a chance to do something about it? 

What is my obligation in that moment?  Try to find something else for him to eat?

Miranova,
I'm still curious about what you perceived his intention to bein sharing this information.  I can understand his not sharing that he can't handle "much" cheese when asked about alergies.  He can handle some and so it's not enough of an issue for him to share the information forcing you to make accomodations for him.

I would have taken his comment to be "I can't handle a lot of cheese, so if making individual items like a ceasar salad, go light on the parmesean or if topping chicken breasts with cheese would you mind leaving the cheese off of mine, or just a would you let me know which items have cheese so I can reduce my intake?"  If not a tiramasu eater, he may not know that it contains cheese or that the stuffed mushroom filling has cream cheese.

I sympathize when in the midst of hosting having a comment like this can throw you off.  But I'm giving the guy the benefit of the doubt that he was trying to be nice, didn't feel is food issue was a big enough deal to warrant it impacting your menu planning, and was just trying to get some last minute information. However, I wasn't there.  Did you feel he was asking you to make last minute accommodations?
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: miranova on August 14, 2012, 07:14:57 PM
We hosted a party last night in our home.  I posted a thread asking about menu suggestions and it was (wisely) suggested that I inquire about allergies, etc.  We inquired, and every person attending said there were no food issues.

Despite this, at the party last night, as we were serving apps and drinks, one of the guests walked up to me and kind of whispered that he can't handle much cheese.   A fine time for me to know that would have been when we asked!  We had planned an entirely Italian meal.  Two of the three apps had some cheese in them.  The main had cheese.  Even the dessert had cheese (mascarpone in the Tiramisu).  There was one app with no cheese, there was bread, and there was salad. 

I had no idea what to say to him.  I think I made some kind of sympathetic comment, but there was no way I could pull off a 2nd main course with no notice. 

Is there anything else I could have done or offered him?  By the way, he ate 3 things that contained cheese, so if he was going to eat them anyway, I don't know why he told me that it would bother him to eat them.  I felt bad but at the same time, if he was comfortable telling me that cheese disagreed with him, why not tell me when I still had a chance to do something about it? 

What is my obligation in that moment?  Try to find something else for him to eat?

Miranova,
I'm still curious about what you perceived his intention to bein sharing this information. 

Snip

 Did you feel he was asking you to make last minute accommodations?

I wish I could tell you what his intentions were.  I've love to know myself.   I could have accepted the "to explain why he wasn't eating" explanation if he in fact didn't eat, but he did, so I still don't know why he said it.  I just don't know.

I am a pretty direct person.  If he was asking me to make last minute accommodations, I missed the hint .  I only thought about it afterwards, when I had a moment of "should I have offered something else?" which is why I came here and asked.  It didn't even occur to me in the moment, even if it should have.   If you are asking if he actually asked for different food, the answer is no he didn't. 
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on August 14, 2012, 07:25:14 PM
If someone is expecting to find some choices without cheese and it's important to them, and they're asked if there are any food issues and they don't say anything, it's all on them. The same for if you don't eat meat, are asked if you have any food issues but don't say anything, and everything has meat in it. If they ask, they ask for a reason. If no one says there's a problem, they assume there isn't a problem.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: miranova on August 14, 2012, 07:55:52 PM
You say tou couldnt plan for it, but pert of the point of what posters here are saying is -did you have enough dishes in your menu without cheese in them, to make a decent meal? \

Well the entree had cheese, so by that standard, even if the entree was the only dish that had cheese, he would not have been able to have a full meal.  If you mean could he have eaten enough non-cheese food to get full, most definitely he could have.  There were leftovers of almost everything.

Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Mikayla on August 15, 2012, 10:46:35 AM
I have to say, parts of this discussion are puzzling me, especially questioning the cheese quotient in the menu.  Miranova did exactly what any polite hostess would do.  She inquired beforehand, and then served accordingly.  I'd also point out that if this is in the US, Italian is a very mainstream cuisine. 

Even if the guy didn't specifically ask for something separate, he's still incredibly rude (and possibly PA) to show up and even comment on that menu. 

And if he made assumptions about cheese not being in that many dishes, let's just say that people with legit intolerances don't make assumptions.  They answer the question when asked about it. 

Maybe it was a weird power play of some sort. 

Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: cicero on August 15, 2012, 12:46:23 PM
OP here.

...  However, I am truly posting to learn, so I will keep that in mind for future events.  The problem is, I still don't know how I'm supposed to plan if I don't know the offending ingredient.  What if it wasn't cheese but instead was garlic or tomatoes or something else?  Those are all very common ingredients.  If I make 7 things and can't have any repeat of a very common ingredient, even in smallish amounts, that gets pretty complicated.  Any thoughts?
 
I don't think you did anything wrong. In fact, you did everything right.

You asked people in advance, you had a varied meal with different ingredients. FTR *I* also would have expected a lot of cheese in an italian-themed meal; i understand from reading this thread that that isn't always the case. it's not like *every* dish had the same *very-objectionable-almost-universally-hated ingredient in it.

Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: doodlemor on August 15, 2012, 01:29:42 PM
 

Even if the guy didn't specifically ask for something separate, he's still incredibly rude (and possibly PA) to show up and even comment on that menu. 

And if he made assumptions about cheese not being in that many dishes, let's just say that people with legit intolerances don't make assumptions.  They answer the question when asked about it. 

POD

My first thought when I read the OP was that perhaps this guy finds cheese to be ......binding.... to his system, and didn't think about the problem until he actually saw the food.

Whatever the problem, mealtime was too late to blurt it out.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: rose red on August 16, 2012, 09:42:12 AM
I have to say, parts of this discussion are puzzling me, especially questioning the cheese quotient in the menu.  Miranova did exactly what any polite hostess would do.  She inquired beforehand, and then served accordingly.  I'd also point out that if this is in the US, Italian is a very mainstream cuisine. 
 

That part stood out and puzzled me too with some of the posts. 
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Shea on August 20, 2012, 04:51:42 PM
Add me to those who don't think the OP did anything wrong. It seems that cheese was an important part of the meal, but it's not as though it was in absolutely everything, and apparently the guy was okay with at least some cheese, since according to the OP he ate normal-sized portions of the cheese-containing dishes. And really, the presence of cheese shouldn't even really be an issue, because the OP made a point of asking about guests' food preferences/intolerances before planning the meal. If they guy had an issue with cheese, he needed to say so when the OP asked, not mention it when it was too late to do anything about it.

I once worked as a cook on a guest ranch, and before arriving the guests were asked to fill out a form on which they listed any food needs or preferences (in was made clear that this included anything from allergies and intolerances to religious/moral restrictions to stuff they just really hated) so I could accommodate them when planning the meals, including making special, separate meals if need be. Several times, I had people say they had no food issues, then inform me after I'd cooked and served a meal that they hated onions/won't eat eggs/can't eat pork (my favorite was the guest who took a bite of tiramisu, then spit it out on the plate, saying, while glowering at me, "I HATE coffee!" Thanks for bringing that up in such a gracious manner, lady ::)). Of course, because this was a business situation I would nicely remove the offending item and whip up something else as quickly as possible, but I always wondered why in the holy heck they didn't just fill out the dang form and make life more pleasant for all of us!
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Twik on September 13, 2012, 02:09:16 PM
If you had some undressed pasta, or could have thrown together something at short notice you could have offered. You were not obligated, but I presume he mentioned it in case an option was available.

He didn't mention it prior because he did have an allergy and probably didn't expect the majority of your meal to contain cheese. If you told me you were having an Italian night my first thought would NOT be to expect cheese in every entree.

I don't think you did anything wrong, but I don't think he did either. I certainly don't think he's a 'jerk.'

If you can't eat something, and you're asked about it by someone preparing a meal, you either say something then, or don't, and suffer the consequences. You don't wait until the food is coming out of the kitchen, and expect your host to magically whip up something.

I would certainly expect a lot of cheese in Italian food. I would expect someone who know they were coming for an Italian night to say something when asked, as much as I would expect a vegetarian to speak up if invited to a Pig Roast.

Even if the nature of the cuisine were not mentioned, cheese is a common enough ingredient in western cuisine that if someone asks "Is there anything you can't eat?", it should be mentioned.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Tigger on September 13, 2012, 03:42:27 PM
My husband is Canadian but of Italian descent.  Yes, there are many dishes without cheese.  When we have guests over for a meal we always ask.  If the same thing happened you bet my DH (who does all the cooking) would be upset.  Seriously, why not mention it?  You end up making the host feel very uncomfortable like they've done something wrong when all they have done is been gracious hosts.

We had a few friends over for dinner a few years back.  We were serving hamburgers as my DH makes them from scratch and they're truly amazing!!  We told our friends what we were having and they were happy because they'd had them in the past and LOVED them.  If memory serves it was antipasto (some cheese, tomato), hamburgers, two different kinds of salad, dessert and espresso/tea. One of our guests basically thought my DH was trying to poison her by undercooking the burger on the BBQ.  He had to put it back on 3 times.  By the time she felt it was "safe" to eat it was all black and shrivelled. Our burgers were cold and my DH was quite put out to say the least.  We are Canadian, so eating burgers under cooked is not a normal regional thing.

Not for this reason but we have since cooled our relationship with them.  I find her a Special Snowflake in so many ways that it was torture to spend time with her. 

If she had said I'm really particular about how my meat is cooked we would have either offered to do something else for her or asked her what exact temperature do you like them done too?

When someone asks you if you have any food issues it's not to hear themselves talk.  We always try to educate people on the forum on how to be a good host.  Remember to be a good guest too!
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: QueenfaninCA on September 13, 2012, 04:14:37 PM
Like H's husband, I don't eat meat and I never mention it. It's not an allergy, it's a preference, and I've never had a problem - it would be rather PA of me to bring it up at dinner if I'd been asked beforehand and neglected to mention it.

Please do mention it when asked. When I cook for friends, I want them to enjoy the meal. I would really be miffed if you can't enjoy the food I prepared because you neglected to tell me about your preference. I would happily have prepared a vegetarian meal for you if I would have known.

We once hosted friends and I asked them in advance about food restrictions. The answer was something like "none, but E doesn't care much for tomatoes". Good that I knew as I had planned a tomato-heavy entree and thus still had time to change the menu.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Twik on September 14, 2012, 09:37:59 AM
There was a time when guests were expected to eat what they were given, and if they didn't  like it, tough. I recall an anecdote about Clarence Darrow - his wife used to call hosts beforehand and warn them, quite apologetically, that he just wouldn't eat chicken. Apparently, this offended a lot of high-society hosts, who considered the Darrows incredibly rude, to the point of trashiness, for doing so.

Nowadays, we take more care about meeting our guests' needs, and it's better for everyone, I think. But still, I think it's unreasonable when the host has asked about preferences in advance, to expect him/her to *still* plan the menu to make sure that there's not too much of any one ingredient among the courses. At some point, you have to speak up for yourself, and not expect that the world knows all your preferences by some sort of psychic means.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Brockwest on September 21, 2012, 11:24:58 PM
Hmmm, I've entertained for years, love to cook, and never have, never will pre-ask my guests about food demands.  I feel it is up to the guest to inform me if they have a severe allergy, which I will certainly accommodate.  If there is a group coming, my feelings are that if a person has certain food demands (OUTSIDE the severe allergy type), that it is up to them to pre-eat or bring the foods they can eat.
I'm thinking of the post where a soccer Mom DEMANDED certain snacks for her kid. 

I would certainly listen/accommodate such allergies as severe peanut allergy.  When you get into personal/moral preferences, then I think it's up to the guest to bring their own, or notify me...and it's up to me to decide if I can accommodate the request.  (Thinking of the post of the picky lady who ONLY wanted rare steak.)

I think it is the responsibility of the guest to inform the host if they can't/won't eat certain foods or are picky eaters...in advance. If they need a macrobiotic, organic, gluten-free, free range, cooked in a non-patterned cookware meal, fine, but I feel it is my right to say, sure, please let me share some of what you bring for yourself to eat. 

On the other hand, (thinking of the post where a guest brought seafood to a seafood-allergy home), that was totally wrong.  A guest bringing unexpected  food has a duty to make sure they are violating the host's home rules....allergies, kosher plates, vegetarian, whatever.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: sourwolf on September 21, 2012, 11:44:55 PM
I'm thinking of the post where a soccer Mom DEMANDED certain snacks for her kid.
You have got to be kidding me - can you post a link?
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: YummyMummy66 on September 22, 2012, 08:01:31 AM
How well do you know said friend?

I don't think people realize how many people cannot have cheese.  My dh is one of them.  He is lactose intolerant.  He can have some cheese, (loves pizza, but in limited doses), but too much and it will cause him great pain.  You cannot believe the number of times we go somewhere and he requests no cheese, and he gets this strange looks and always has to be asked again.  Yes, he said no cheese.  There have to be more people out there who cannot have cheese, right? 

Also, because of having a child who is a picky eater, I have always just made a variety of food when having guests over.  I never just use one ingredient for almost everything I make, especially cheese, as that can bind even the most normal person up.  And, honestly, I cannot remember a time when I invited or did the inviting, that there was not a variety of foods to choose from.  But, then I am Berks County, PA, Dutch Country(where no matter what, we always have a variety of food.  We love to eat).  Also, no matter what, even when we are invited somewhere or vice versa, people would bring something also to add to the mix and I would do the same.  In fact, I am invited to a picnic next Saturday and I will take something to add to the mix. 

Also, I grew up always having to eat what was put before me, even if I did not like it.  I could not get up from the table until doing so.  This made for many nights where I sat at the table until dark.  I never did that to my kids. If I cooked something I know they would not like, they were given a choice of something else. (Usually easy, cereal or a sandwich, not a whole other meal).  So, I could never make a meal where I had so limited choices as the OP had when entertaining.  You have a variety of people with different tastes, likes, etc.  I would always have two choices of desserts, at least. 

That is not to say, I think my way is the right way.  Just what works for me and I have never had a problem with or a complaint.

What to do in this situation?  Nothing could be done at the time.  Should he have mentioned it when being invited?  Possibly.  Should the hostess have asked when inviting?  Again.  Possibly.  I see this working both ways and not one way being preferred over the other. 

What I can tell you is in my dh's case, he would have gone away from your house very hungry and we would have stopped at the first place that we could so he could eat.  He would never have said anything and might have eaten items in very small amounts, but I know him and he would be starving.  But, he would have been polite and sat thru the meal and whatever was after and we would have left as soon as we could, because I know he would have been very hungry.



Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: YummyMummy66 on September 22, 2012, 08:07:20 AM
I reread some of the replies and I think I missed where the OP did ask about allergies and such?  Correct?

If the OP did this, then, yes, the guest was rude.  He had a chance where he could have stated that he could not have cheese and should not have dones so at the party, especially after having eaten a full meal.

Also, I don't think many people realize just how many recipes call for cheese.  Because I have to deal with this when cooking, I notice things like this.  Almost every recipe I find contains cheese in some form or dairy in some form.  So, I have gotten used to cooking meals and changing them to accomodate my husband.   

Now, if someone would come out with a good cookbook that has many recipes that do not include cheese, I see a millionaire in the making!
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: Yvaine on September 22, 2012, 08:52:34 AM
YummyMummy, it's at the very beginning of the OP.

We hosted a party last night in our home.  I posted a thread asking about menu suggestions and it was (wisely) suggested that I inquire about allergies, etc.  We inquired, and every person attending said there were no food issues.
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: miranova on October 14, 2012, 04:35:23 PM
Yummy Mummy,

I would be very disappointed if a guest of mine went away hungry, which is why I asked in advance if there were any food restrictions.  I do want to actually feed my guests at a dinner party!

I agree that cheese is an extremely popular ingredient in a variety of recipes.

I think my dinner party was small enough (ended up being 10 people instead of 12) that I didn't necessarily need 2 desserts but I understand there could be a difference of opinion there. 
Title: Re: What should I have done?
Post by: mj on October 14, 2012, 06:52:32 PM
I don't think you did anything wrong, OP.  It read to me that he might have been wanting to give you a heads up in case he had to make a quick exit/didn't eat very much and did not want to offend you. 

As an aside, I'm lactose intolerant and frequently forget about it.  I do not mention it because I can take a handy pill and/or limit my dairy intake as needed.  Also, I'm not sure if you did say the meal was Italian upfront, but for me, it still wouldn't cross my mind that there might be a lot of cheese. Most of the Italian meals in my family are very little cheese and only small amounts of pasta at the most.  Maybe that was this guests background in Italian cuisine too?  But no matter, OP, you did nothing wrong.