Author Topic: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?  (Read 13672 times)

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Zilla

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2013, 11:47:18 AM »
LordL and I are finalizing the details with our potential wedding caterer. We picked them because their food is delicious and award winning. They also happen to be entirely vegan. We are not vegan or vegetarian, but part of their mission is to make food that is tasty and satisfying for non-vegans, and they definitely succeed in that regard.

Here is my question: I remember one of my relatives complaining about being at an Indian wedding where all the food was vegetarian, and how he didn't find it satisfying. I can think of a few relatives who love having something to complain about who might take issue with a vegan caterer due to misconceptions. Is there anything wrong with simply failing to mention in advance that the food will be vegan? So far we've chosen not to - when asked we've focused instead on the style of the food (they have a strong Asian fusion influence).

If we include a place to select entrées in advance on the save the dates, should we list the food as "basil pesto tofu with cashews" or just "basil pesto entrée with cashews?" Is either fine? We are going to specify which entrées are gluten free, spicy, etc. but I'm not aware of any dietary restrictions for tofu or seitan (maybe people who need to limit their soy for some reason?). We were thinking of including a separate line for people to list food restrictions to cover that angle.

I have definitely learned and accepted that you can't please everyone, but I also would rather avoid eye rolling comments about "rabbit food" leading up to the wedding. Thoughts?


Hope this doesn't end up like all the other vegan menu threads.  But here it goes.


I think you should be upfront with what the choices/menu items are.  Every invitation that I received always had a detailed entree description.  So while you don't have to disclose every single ingredient but I would be upfront with items like meat alternatives and tofu. With your example, if you are doing asian fusion, I would say, "Teriyaki tofu and vegetables over bangkok noodles" Or "Pork alternative stir fry with Szechuan sauce" etc.


I would also disclose any spicy heats as found in most Asian dishes for those that don't like spicy and be better informed to pick the lesser spicy of the two or three etc.  And lastly, this may seem overkill but I do know there are a large number of people that don't like the "flavor powder" aka MSG.  I would inform them if it does contain it.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2013, 11:52:17 AM by Zilla »

WillyNilly

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2013, 11:54:20 AM »
...Every invitation that I received always had a detailed entree description.  So while you don't have to disclose every single ingredient but I would be upfront with items like meat alternatives and tofu. With your example, if you are doing asian fusion, I would say, "Teriyaki tofu and vegetables over bangkok noodles" Or "Pork alternative stir fry with Szechuan sauce" etc...

I have never seen the menu disclosed in an invite. I've heard of it, on this and few wedding boards, but IRL I have just never seen it done. So YMMV on having to disclose that level of detail.

But I do think there is an obligation to have a selection of food - and I think that goes for vegan or omnivore. Hopefully an award-winning caterer has other entree's up their sleeve then just soy based. Beans, lentils, nuts, etc are other great protein sources available for vegan menus.

Yvaine

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2013, 12:01:25 PM »
...Every invitation that I received always had a detailed entree description.  So while you don't have to disclose every single ingredient but I would be upfront with items like meat alternatives and tofu. With your example, if you are doing asian fusion, I would say, "Teriyaki tofu and vegetables over bangkok noodles" Or "Pork alternative stir fry with Szechuan sauce" etc...

I have never seen the menu disclosed in an invite. I've heard of it, on this and few wedding boards, but IRL I have just never seen it done. So YMMV on having to disclose that level of detail.


It's usually all or nothing, in my experience. Either there are several choices that are explained in detail, or you just show up and what's there is what's there (often a buffet-type setup with a variety of choices). What I haven't seen is asking the guests to pick their entree while being cagey about what they're choosing among.

NyaChan

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2013, 12:04:29 PM »
...Every invitation that I received always had a detailed entree description.  So while you don't have to disclose every single ingredient but I would be upfront with items like meat alternatives and tofu. With your example, if you are doing asian fusion, I would say, "Teriyaki tofu and vegetables over bangkok noodles" Or "Pork alternative stir fry with Szechuan sauce" etc...

I have never seen the menu disclosed in an invite. I've heard of it, on this and few wedding boards, but IRL I have just never seen it done. So YMMV on having to disclose that level of detail.


It's usually all or nothing, in my experience. Either there are several choices that are explained in detail, or you just show up and what's there is what's there (often a buffet-type setup with a variety of choices). What I haven't seen is asking the guests to pick their entree while being cagey about what they're choosing among.

Yup - either people get to choose between identified entrees or proteins ahead of time, or you show up with  and you eat what's there.  Exceptions would be if it is obvious from the location or the invite, i.e. Join us for a Cake and Punch Reception or a Pig Roast or some such thing.

WillyNilly

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2013, 12:18:26 PM »
...Every invitation that I received always had a detailed entree description.  So while you don't have to disclose every single ingredient but I would be upfront with items like meat alternatives and tofu. With your example, if you are doing asian fusion, I would say, "Teriyaki tofu and vegetables over bangkok noodles" Or "Pork alternative stir fry with Szechuan sauce" etc...

I have never seen the menu disclosed in an invite. I've heard of it, on this and few wedding boards, but IRL I have just never seen it done. So YMMV on having to disclose that level of detail.


It's usually all or nothing, in my experience. Either there are several choices that are explained in detail, or you just show up and what's there is what's there (often a buffet-type setup with a variety of choices). What I haven't seen is asking the guests to pick their entree while being cagey about what they're choosing among.

Yup - either people get to choose between identified entrees or proteins ahead of time, or you show up with  and you eat what's there.  Exceptions would be if it is obvious from the location or the invite, i.e. Join us for a Cake and Punch Reception or a Pig Roast or some such thing.

That's what I mean. I have been specifically invited to a pig-roast, and to a backyard BBQ wedding, and to "cocktail receptions" and I have been invited with no mention whatsoever of what the meal would (the standard assumption is typical sit-down* catered meal), but I have never seen the entrees listed.

But regardless there is always a selection of at least 2 if not more very different entrees. So long as the OP has an entree choice that is soy free I think she is fine. She's offering a selection.


*In my area buffets at weddings are very rare, unless they are as mentioned above, something like a backyard BBQ or pig roast. The typical wedding at a hall is a buffet style cocktail hour and then a seated dinner where the waitstaff come around to each person and take their dinner order from a choice of 2-5 available entrees. This is done at the wedding not in advance in the invites. The first course is the same for everyone, then the plated dinner, as per your order is served, then dessert is the same for everyone (usually wedding cake) occasionally supplemented with a Viennese table or a big plate of cookies/pastries on each table.

jmarvellous

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #20 on: June 17, 2013, 12:23:06 PM »
I definitely vote buffet with line for restrictions (if you wish) -- that way, us adventurous eaters can try everything and unadventurous eaters can stick to salad, rice and noodles.

FWIW, we did a 90% vegan meal for our wedding because we are vegan-leaning vegetarians, and we didn't warn anyone. We told our nut-allergic guest what to watch for (1 dish on the buffet, though he wasn't even allergic to that type of nut, it turned out), and warned two vegans about potential dairy (uh, tzatziki is yogurt, and we weren't sure about spinach pie dough). People ate tons and went back for more, and no one asked where we were hiding the meat. I liked that everyone wound up with a slightly different dinner,  too.

DavidH

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2013, 12:25:00 PM »
If you're asking people to choose an entree before hand, you don't need to give the full recipe, but enough detail to make a choice.  Using your example, if you would list chicken parmesan as entree parmesan, or if it were basil pesto beef with cashews would you list basil pesto entree with cashews?  You don't have to give a menu beforehand , but if you do, it is rather important to list key ingredients in the description.  In your case, the tofu is a key ingredient and should be listed.

As an aside, if you are thinking that you might need to hide the vegan nature of the caterer from your guests, that should be a huge red flag that it may be the wrong choice for this event.  Granted, your event, your choice, but picking something that you think will be so poorly received by your guests that you need to hide it from them is probably not a great idea.

whatsanenigma

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2013, 12:34:09 PM »
As an aside, if you are thinking that you might need to hide the vegan nature of the caterer from your guests, that should be a huge red flag that it may be the wrong choice for this event.  Granted, your event, your choice, but picking something that you think will be so poorly received by your guests that you need to hide it from them is probably not a great idea.

There is a difference, though, between clearly stating potentially problematic ingredients (which I approve of) and saying specifically that the meal is vegan (which I don't think is a good idea).  I would go with "restaurant menu" type descriptions of the food on the invitation, being sure to mention that tofu is involved, but I wouldn't go out of my way to say "this whole meal is vegan".  That might put some people off, but simply stating the ingredients might not.  And it might discourage unkind comments such as "rabbit food"-some people might not even notice that there are no animal products around! But using the word "vegan" calls attention to it, and unless that's a selling point, I don't think I would use it on the invitation or anywhere else.

That's saying that there will be a choice of entrees, of course.  A buffet line that includes meat offerings would not need such specifics on the invitation.  But still, ingredients of dishes should be carefully labeled and cross-contamination avoided, I would advise, due to possible allergies to soy or whatever.

Yvaine

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2013, 12:34:20 PM »
But regardless there is always a selection of at least 2 if not more very different entrees. So long as the OP has an entree choice that is soy free I think she is fine. She's offering a selection.

My issue isn't with the actual menu, but with the "mysterious" phrasing on the response card.

WillyNilly

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2013, 12:42:17 PM »
As an aside, if you are thinking that you might need to hide the vegan nature of the caterer from your guests, that should be a huge red flag that it may be the wrong choice for this event.  Granted, your event, your choice, but picking something that you think will be so poorly received by your guests that you need to hide it from them is probably not a great idea.

There is a difference, though, between clearly stating potentially problematic ingredients (which I approve of) and saying specifically that the meal is vegan (which I don't think is a good idea).  I would go with "restaurant menu" type descriptions of the food on the invitation, being sure to mention that tofu is involved, but I wouldn't go out of my way to say "this whole meal is vegan".  That might put some people off, but simply stating the ingredients might not.  And it might discourage unkind comments such as "rabbit food"-some people might not even notice that there are no animal products around! But using the word "vegan" calls attention to it, and unless that's a selling point, I don't think I would use it on the invitation or anywhere else.

That's saying that there will be a choice of entrees, of course.  A buffet line that includes meat offerings would not need such specifics on the invitation.  But still, ingredients of dishes should be carefully labeled and cross-contamination avoided, I would advise, due to possible allergies to soy or whatever.

Yup. lots of people enjoy vegan food all the time (peanut butter & jelly, pasta with red sauce, lentil soup, rice & beans, polenta (or grits) with grilled vegetables, non-mayo potato salad, 3 bean salad, chips with salsa, french fries, etc). But they enjoy it as "food". Once you call it "vegan peanut butter & jelly" or "vegan chips and salsa" even if the food is exactly the same there are going to be people who react by saying "ewww gross!" or "I can't [won't] eat that!" Not everyone of course, but there are people who dislike the label "vegan" more then the reality of vegan. FWIW I also find this to be true of the word "vegetarian" - for example cheese pizza is ridiculously popular, but "vegetarian pizza" is often rejected. We had a few threads on this topic last year.

The Wild One, Forever

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2013, 12:45:27 PM »
Since you are deviating from the "norm", I think it would be considerate disclose what you are serving.  You could just give a list of the foods being served, without belaboring the point that it's vegan.  Let them comment if they want.  When they taste how delicious your food is, they will be making completely different comments!    ;)

I wished I'd had the nerve to serve delicious, unusual food at my own wedding many moons ago.  I would be a vegetarian, (probably not complete vegan, as I like dairy and eggs too much!), if it were not so impractical for me.  As it is, I eat poultry once in awhile but that's it.  (Oh, and I never can pass up a delicious gyro with that yummy cucumber sauce!  A rare treat that I adore.)  Instead, I served basically the same kinds of food everyone else in my circle of family and friends serve, which is an amalgamation of southern favorites, Italian dishes, and, up north here, some Slavic dishes.  (Halushki, mmm!)
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wolfie

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #26 on: June 17, 2013, 12:45:52 PM »
Anything that is listed as "entree" vs tofu, or beef or chicken is always suspect. It makes me wonder what you are trying to hide that you can't come right out and say what it is. It reminds me of when my mom would refuse to tell us what was for dinner because she knew that if we knew exactly what it was we would refuse to eat it, but if we took a bite first then we would decide on our own wether it was good or bad.

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2013, 01:04:02 PM »
As an aside, if you are thinking that you might need to hide the vegan nature of the caterer from your guests, that should be a huge red flag that it may be the wrong choice for this event.  Granted, your event, your choice, but picking something that you think will be so poorly received by your guests that you need to hide it from them is probably not a great idea.

There is a difference, though, between clearly stating potentially problematic ingredients (which I approve of) and saying specifically that the meal is vegan (which I don't think is a good idea).  I would go with "restaurant menu" type descriptions of the food on the invitation, being sure to mention that tofu is involved, but I wouldn't go out of my way to say "this whole meal is vegan".  That might put some people off, but simply stating the ingredients might not.  And it might discourage unkind comments such as "rabbit food"-some people might not even notice that there are no animal products around! But using the word "vegan" calls attention to it, and unless that's a selling point, I don't think I would use it on the invitation or anywhere else.

That's saying that there will be a choice of entrees, of course.  A buffet line that includes meat offerings would not need such specifics on the invitation.  But still, ingredients of dishes should be carefully labeled and cross-contamination avoided, I would advise, due to possible allergies to soy or whatever.

Yup. lots of people enjoy vegan food all the time (peanut butter & jelly, pasta with red sauce, lentil soup, rice & beans, polenta (or grits) with grilled vegetables, non-mayo potato salad, 3 bean salad, chips with salsa, french fries, etc). But they enjoy it as "food". Once you call it "vegan peanut butter & jelly" or "vegan chips and salsa" even if the food is exactly the same there are going to be people who react by saying "ewww gross!" or "I can't [won't] eat that!" Not everyone of course, but there are people who dislike the label "vegan" more then the reality of vegan. FWIW I also find this to be true of the word "vegetarian" - for example cheese pizza is ridiculously popular, but "vegetarian pizza" is often rejected. We had a few threads on this topic last year.

Re: the bolded -- Well, for me, I have no problems with cheese pizza because I like it just fine even without toppings.  But when I hear "vegetarian pizza," it typically means that the pizza is covered with vegetables.  And when it comes to vegetables on pizza, there are many that I either dislike in that context (I love broccoli, but can't stand it on pizza) or dislike/can't eat at all (onions, peppers). 

So, yeah, I would turn down "vegetarian pizza" without further explanation while still happily eating no-meat-involved cheese pizza -- or even, my favorite, no-meat-involved mushroom and black olive pizza.  But it has nothing to do with the fact that it is "vegetarian" and everything to do with the fact that I don't like the specific toppings that usually go with that label.  Same is true of other labelled "vegetarian" or "vegan" items.

audrey1962

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2013, 01:06:18 PM »
I'm vegan, which to me means "no meat, dairy or eggs." I do not interpret it as "meat substitute." Like a prior poster, I also try to avoid processed foods, so as a vegan, I would want to know if there are substitutes vs "naturally vegan" foods so I could avoid the substitutes. I would also want to know before the dinner if there are vegan foods so I wouldn't eat beforehand.

WillyNilly

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Re: Disclosing vegan menu to guests?
« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2013, 01:14:42 PM »
^ To me what you are talking about is "vegetable pizza" and yes it is a specific thing and different then plain cheese pizza.
But what I mean , lets say its an office and the boss is providing lunch and pizza has been ordered.  A few employees are casually chatting by the coffee machine:

Employe A: "Oh cool, pizza for lunch today!"
Employee B: "Yeah that's awesome, so you know what kind?"
Employee C: "Mary did the order I think she said it was one pepperoni, one sausage and two cheese pies"
Employee B: "Oh hey did anyone remember  Bill? he's a vegetarian!"
Employee C: "Oh well thats ok, cheese pizza is vegetarian"
Employee A: "Oh gross! Its vegetarian cheese pizza?  Both of them? Dude not cool, why does everyone have to suffer because one person won't eat meat?"

And yes, I have heard this type of reaction, more then once.