Author Topic: Guests with clashing dietary preferences  (Read 3827 times)

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philliesphan

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Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« on: February 06, 2012, 11:54:15 AM »
This isn't an issue for DH and me any longer since the couple in question broke up, but I'm curious as to what eHellions think.

DH and I have a good friend who doesn't eat seafood. For several years, he was coupled up with a woman who wouldn't eat meat, only poultry and fish. I don't know what they did at home, but basically that meant the only things we could serve that would please both of them were poultry and vegetarian stuff (which didn't really make the guy happy). DH and I love to host parties, but it began to feel terribly monotonous to always be making chicken every time this couple came over (which was often). Occasionally I would make two main courses, but that can be a pain in the you-know-what.

Would it have been rude of us to cook something that would please the majority of our guests, even if it meant that one member of this couple would have to deal with just side dishes?

Irishkitty

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2012, 11:59:57 AM »
It feels rude to deliberatly cook something you know your guests can't/won't eat.

If your side dishes easily made a meal in and of themselves (like a nice balanced meal a vegetarian would like) then it perhaps wouldn't be rude per se. However I think you would have had to warn them in advance so they wouldn't feel snubbed.

EG: If you knew neither would eat the main course you might say "We're cooking X for the main, but there'll be a ragu of vegtables, mash, beans, salad and y and z for you to eat".

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Surianne

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2012, 12:07:38 PM »
I'm a picky eater.  As long as you were respectful of my eating choices (for example, you didn't provide running commentary on my food or keep asking me questions about why I'm not eating the main dish), I'd be absolutely fine with sides in a situation like this.

It would be especially nice if you could pick fairly filling sides and put out maybe a little more than usual, so I wouldn't be starving by the end of the meal -- I really appreciate when a host will do that for me.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2012, 12:37:53 PM »
There are ways around this. If you are grilling, for example, there are burgers, turkey burgers, salmon burgers, and veggie burgers. There's shrimp kebabs and chicken kebabs, or grilled tuna and grilled steak. So you can have a variety.

You can also do pasta - a meatless lasagna can be very hearty, and most meat-eating men wouldn't complain.

Or you can switch off - seafood in the appetizer, poultry in the main course (with lots of vegetarian sides) - so that everyone gets a little protein.

It's difficult, I know. I'm a pescetarian. The King doesn't like most seafood, and doesn't eat red or processed meat. I'll say this though - and I don't speak for all guests - I am just happy to be invited. I will not complain, and will eat what I can. I will sometimes eat meat if I know the hostess has killed herself over it and there's nothing else available - it's not as if I'm allergic or morally opposed. It's just my preference. A gracious guest (allergies aside, of course) should be just that - gracious.

Lynnv

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2012, 01:10:23 PM »
I think that, generally speaking, it is not rude to serve what you are planning to serve.  If one or the other of the picky couple has to make do with sides, so long as they are filling and an adequate meal can be made from them, it is not rude or a huge problem.  And I say this as a fairly picky eater.  If you are cooking for a party, there really only is so much you should reasonably be expected to do to cater to the dietary preferences (whether due to pickiness, health issues or moral issues) before it gets out of hand.

I do think it would be rude if you were only inviting those two over.  If they are your only guests, then it is different that a larger dinner party.  With only two guests, it just seems less gracious to not cater to their pickiness (at least a little).  I am not sure if it really is rude, or if it just feels that way to me.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2012, 02:48:07 PM »
I think that, generally speaking, it is not rude to serve what you are planning to serve.  If one or the other of the picky couple has to make do with sides, so long as they are filling and an adequate meal can be made from them, it is not rude or a huge problem.  And I say this as a fairly picky eater.  If you are cooking for a party, there really only is so much you should reasonably be expected to do to cater to the dietary preferences (whether due to pickiness, health issues or moral issues) before it gets out of hand.

I do think it would be rude if you were only inviting those two over.  If they are your only guests, then it is different that a larger dinner party.  With only two guests, it just seems less gracious to not cater to their pickiness (at least a little).  I am not sure if it really is rude, or if it just feels that way to me.

POD.... if a larger dinner party then I think I could provide enough variety for a non seafood eater or red meat eater to have a nice dinner.  However, if it was just the other couple then I'd feel odd about not accomodating their preference.

NotCinderell

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2012, 07:57:41 PM »
I would either cook chicken or turkey, cook two entrees, or invite them less often.  How often are you entertaining and hosting these people that it feels like you're always serving chicken?

blarg314

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2012, 09:50:20 PM »

First off, I think that if a guest got annoyed because I was serving something that both he and his girlfriend would eat, they would go to the bottom of the list when it came to accommodations (I'm assuming you mean that the guy got annoyed when always served chicken at your place, rather than meat).  If that were the case, I'd have no problem serving seafood

In this case, I'd probably stick with chicken and vegetarian when entertaining them, because that's not too strong a restriction, and concentrate on finding some more variety in recipes (or maybe some turkey, or duck).

However, in a case where the  dietary restrictions are really incompatible and restrictive (say you have a vegan, a gluten intolerant and someone with a soy and nut allergies at the same dinner) then I'd either invite people separately, or prepare the dishes so that everyone gets something to eat.

For big gatherings, I would rank the restrictions in order of importance when it comes to what dishes I prepare. Allergies and physical intolerances at the top, moral/religions choices next, and pickiness and dislikes not considered at all.

cicero

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2012, 03:18:52 AM »
I would either cook chicken or turkey, cook two entrees, or invite them less often.  How often are you entertaining and hosting these people that it feels like you're always serving chicken?
POD

i don't think it's necessarily rude to serve meat or fish and make sure there is *something* for the other person to eat. but if it were me and these were my guests - i would just serve the chicken.

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saki

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2012, 03:34:49 AM »
I'm vegetarian so this isn't my specialist subject but could you do some different poultry? Duck? Turkey? Goose? Pheasant?

Or just more inventive things with the chicken - stir fry? Curry?

What I do when people have clashing tastes is make different but complementary thing - e.g. 3 different curries that most will like all of but the pickier eaters will like one of. Or different puff pastry pies. Etc

sparksals

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2012, 12:19:17 PM »
Given the excessiveness of their restrictions, I personally would not be willing to constantly accommodate something like this only serving chicken when they come over.  I would simply invite them over less or suggest we meet at a restaurant that has a menu with wide variety of dishes.  They can socialize at different times that do not include meals.   

I'm usually willing to accommodate certain dietary requirements, but when it limits my ability to provide an adequate meal for all, I'd rather entertain them in different manner.

For instance, I would never knowingly invite a vegetarian to Thanksgiving dinner.  I am not willing to alter it in any way since it is a traditional meal.  Summer BBQ, sure, I will put a portabello mushroom on the grill, but I only have one grill and it is easy to provide vegetarian sides at something like this that doesn't cause additional work.  If the person is OK with it being on the same grill as the meat has been cooked, great.   If not, the only other way is to cook in a pan on the side burner. 

If that is not sufficient, that is as far as I'm willing to go to accommodate.  If my attempts aren't sufficient for the guest, then that is my signal not to invite them to certain events in the future.

rose red

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2012, 01:11:22 PM »
For a dinner party with many people, I would give the guests the menu and they can decide to attend or not, or decide if the want to eat beforehand.

Not that I will list every single side dish, but the invitation may say "Join me for a lobster dinner" or "I'm making hot dogs and burgers.  Care to join us?"

sparksals

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2012, 01:51:58 PM »
Yes, I do that too.   That leaves room for them to speak up about any restrictions.


Kess

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2012, 10:57:57 AM »
I'm vegetarian so this isn't my specialist subject but could you do some different poultry? Duck? Turkey? Goose? Pheasant?

Or just more inventive things with the chicken - stir fry? Curry?

What I do when people have clashing tastes is make different but complementary thing - e.g. 3 different curries that most will like all of but the pickier eaters will like one of. Or different puff pastry pies. Etc

POD to the bolded.  Assuming by "poultry" they mean the normal definition of "domesticated bird kept for meat or eggs", guinea fowl is alright, pheasant is lovely, turkey, wood pigeon, duck (yum), goose, quail, and you'd have to ask her first as it is red meat but technically ostrich is poultry :) and very very tasty.

Mikayla

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Re: Guests with clashing dietary preferences
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2012, 08:32:09 PM »
I'm another one who says it depends on size of gathering.  If it's larger, I'll make whatever I want and also make sure to have plenty of side dishes.  If it was just this couple, I guess I'd try to make chicken, mainly because there's an infinite variety of things to do with it, and I like it myself.