Author Topic: What should I have done?  (Read 16697 times)

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miranova

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What should I have done?
« on: August 12, 2012, 04:46:30 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?

Outdoor Girl

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2012, 04:49:26 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.
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hyzenthlay

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2012, 04:53:26 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.'

NyaChan

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2012, 05:01:31 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.

hyzenthlay

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2012, 05:08:59 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.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2012, 05:22:30 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.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
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miranova

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2012, 05:28:22 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.


hyzenthlay

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2012, 05:42:51 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.

NyaChan

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2012, 05:48:42 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.

miranova

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2012, 05:50:54 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.

hyzenthlay

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2012, 06:00:05 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 )
« Last Edit: August 12, 2012, 06:03:54 PM by hyzenthlay »

NyaChan

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2012, 06:12:12 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.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2012, 06:18:27 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.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
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rose red

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2012, 06:31:09 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).

JenJay

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Re: What should I have done?
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2012, 06:56:39 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
« Last Edit: August 12, 2012, 06:59:43 PM by JenJay »