I do not eat meat..period. It is my choice and most everyone I know who invites me to dinner knows this. When I am invited for a meal (and these are usually informal get togethers with friends), I am told ahead of time by most what they are planning. Say the menu is a cheese and cracker platter with drinks, then steaks and a salad. I then offer to bring a pasta/veg mix for another side, but (left unsaid) something I can use as a substitute for the steak. Usually my host will say yes, that sounds great, thanks, but I have been told 'no, we have enough food planned. In those cases I graciously decline the invitation. Now, if I am going to a big summer blowout, even though I will not eat the burgers and dogs, there is usually enough sides that I do not walk away feeling hungry. I have never expected any host, be it family or friend, to come up with alternatives for me, and I am more than happy to contribute something, but if I am going to sit around a table nibbling a bowl of salad while everyone is having their steaks and scalloped potatos with bacon (this has happened), I feel weird. And if people find me rude because I will not want to partake in their meat fest, then by all means, do not invite me. And I typically host a few B B Q's a summer and Christmas dinner...I do serve meat because I am a lonely little herbivore in a carnivore world. And Snowdragon, you seem to take a persons dietary habits as a personal affront. My one friend is a wonderful cook, but I will not eat any of her meat dishes. I am not rude, nor am I making some sort of commentary about her cooking, I just do not eat it. You are, obviously a hard core meat eater, and that is your choice. I am a vegetarian, that is my choice. Neither is rude, but, if I am reading you posts correctly, a guest gets an invitation, they should just accept it, suck it up and eat it or subsist on a salad or a side of veg and be hungry just so you can be a good little guest? And if said guest has the audacity to ask to bring a little something to share that they can eat as opposed to everything else being served, that is a slap in the face to the hostess? And if the vegetarian declines that particular invitation, you would never have them back again? Do you have any friends or relatives who are vegetarians or have serious food restrictions due to allergies? I don't think a good hostess would want a guest to sit there eating salad and bread while everyone else is feasting on steaks when it could be rectified so simply.
And POD to Moray who posted while I was typing