Author Topic: Selective Eating  (Read 13173 times)

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Eden

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #45 on: August 27, 2013, 10:47:10 AM »
Once again, wouldn't the host be the best person to determine what is easiest for them to prepare? How would telling them she can eat salmon prevent them from preparing quiche if they decide that is easiest?

Easiest isn't just about preparation. It can also be about communication and back and forth. I don't see why it's highly problematic or an etiquette violation for the OP to try to keep communications streamlined. She's not asking the host to go out of the way. Just giving the easiest set of information there is to give. I can't imagine how knowing the OP will eat a specifically sourced fish product opens a vast doorway for the host. Isn't providing simple vegetarian sides for the OP really straightforward and simple?

MindsEye

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #46 on: August 27, 2013, 10:51:51 AM »
Ehhhh... I am really torn.

On one hand, I can understand the host's perspective.  It would sting a bit to find out that a friend you thought didn't eat fish, actually would happily eat fish... just not yours, because they don't think that your fish is "good enough".  Ouch.  And if I were such a host, I might reconsider inviting that friend over to dinner again.  And that is leaving aside that if you had told the host about your fish-sourcing requirements she might have been more than happy to accommodate you.  But you didn't give the host a chance.

On the other hand, I have a friend whose situation is kinda similar to the OPs.  My friend is Jewish, and keeps strict Kosher - in her own home.  Outside of her home, she simply says that she is vegetarian and eats only vegetarian food.  She does this for two reasons, first because "vegetarian" is a lot easier to understand than "kosher" (we do not live in an area with a large Jewish population, and most of our friends are not Jewish) and second, because she honestly does not trust other people in our circle to be able to prepare a properly kosher meal, even if she tried to explain what is necessary to do.  So she just circumvents the whole thing by saying she is vegetarian.  Which, yeah... she is being untruthful.  But... I can also understand why.

So... torn.  Honestly, I think that both the OP and the offended host here have points.

Teenyweeny

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #47 on: August 27, 2013, 10:54:19 AM »
Yes,disgusted because it wouldn't make my life easier. In the situation I described meeying tje source preferences would be easier (and more pleasant). Deciding for me that I can't get the salmon is paternalistic. If it does turn out to be a burden, I can make figure out that vegetarian is an option. Let me as the host decide which is easier for me.

But it might not be a simple case. For example, what if I would only eat line caught, wild fish, and only certain species at that?

I just can't think of a way to communicate that to a host that wouldn't sound like, "well, I do eat fish, but not the kind you would ordinarily buy, because I think differently to you". Heck, I get enough side-eye for saying that I don't eat meat (people feel judged when you make different moral choices, which I understand, but still). Once I've opened that can of worms, it seems safest just to keep other restrictions down to a minimum.

It seems like there's the potential for offence whatever I do. Pity.

What a horribly nasty thing to think about your friends. And how very self-centered a thought process. How do you know you are the only person who cares? (FYI - I bet you are not.) Lots of people do try to shop ethically and plenty more are willing to give it a go once in a while for a situation like a party. When someone is a friend, give them the benefit of doubt to at least try to accommodate (by for example, saying "mostly vegetarian").

I agree with Sharnita's point, just saying "vegetarian" is not necessarily the "easier" option for the dinner party host. And not because the host has "a really poor imagination, or very limited culinary experience" but because the host has other guests to accommodate as well, and they have preferences and food limits themselves.

I think you misunderstand me, I definitely don't think that about my friends, in fact I was specifically trying not to make a value judgement. I know plenty of people who feel like I do about food, and also plenty who don't.

What I meant to say was that, if somebody shops a certain way, they have their reasons for doing so. Maybe the reasons are purely financial, maybe they don't have the time or inclination to shop around for food, maybe they genuinely don't care if what they eat is factory farmed. Maybe they don't think about the origin of what they eat at all. Whatever, it's not my place to judge anybody for how they eat.

The conundrum is in how to communicate your dietary preferences without it coming off as a judgement of your host's usual shopping practices. Because, essentially, what you are saying is "what you would usually buy is not something I'm comfortable with eating, so I need to let you know what I am comfortable with eating". Most people wouldn't hear it that way, but some would, I'm sure.

Which is why I find it easier all round to say that I'd prefer to eat veggie. And I will say, "if it's easier, I can bring something"*, just in case that makes it harder to accommodate other guests. Although to be honest, I've never come across somebody who has medical or ethical reasons for not eating veggie for one meal. If it would significantly impact some guests' enjoyment of the meal to go without meat or fish, I assume the host could take me up on my offer if they wanted to, or just feed me the non-meat parts of the meal. I do confess to not understanding people who just won't enjoy a meal without meat or fish, when there are so many delicious veggie options out there, but there you go.

* In fact, I'll usually say, "I don't eat meat, but I don't want to put you to any trouble", and the host will usually say, "Oh, well, there'll be X, Y and Z dishes", and I say, "Perfect, sounds delicious", and everybody is happy.



Sharnita

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #48 on: August 27, 2013, 11:06:41 AM »
I think WillyNilly meant you shouldn't assume you are the only one who shops that way. Being picky about the source of your fish isn't  as fringe as some people seem to imagine. I do understand and agree rhat you don't want to lecture or brag, and neither do others who follow the same guidelines, which is why it is probably wise not to assume you are the only one doing it. You don't need to share info out of the blue but when asked about dietary issues/practices ...

baglady

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #49 on: August 27, 2013, 11:12:07 AM »
Can you make it about your palate instead of your ethics? "Oh, I do eat fish, but I'm incredibly picky. I've lost my taste for supermarket loraxfish since I tried Lake George loraxfish from Bob's Fish Market. When I saw they had Bob's LG loraxfish on the menu at the restaurant I couldn't resist.

"But it's expensive, and I wouldn't dream of asking someone to serve it just because I'm coming to dinner. So I just tell people who invited me to dinner that I'm vegetarian -- it's easier for both of us."

It's a white lie, but it's a kind one, and it's not entirely false -- local, sustainably raised food *does* taste better in most cases.
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CluelessBride

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #50 on: August 27, 2013, 11:30:17 AM »

The conundrum is in how to communicate your dietary preferences without it coming off as a judgement of your host's usual shopping practices. Because, essentially, what you are saying is "what you would usually buy is not something I'm comfortable with eating, so I need to let you know what I am comfortable with eating". Most people wouldn't hear it that way, but some would, I'm sure.


I think the answer to this is to communicate them as if *you*, the requester, is the unusual one as opposed to the host. "Thank you so much for the invitation, I'd love to attend your dinner party. I'm afraid I'm a bit of a picky eater, but I can eat anything that is vegetarian."

This isn't a lie (the way "I'm a vegetarian" is), so you don't have to worry about getting caught. It also gives the host a clear idea of what you will eat in the simplest terms (anything vegetarian). Plus, it leaves it open for them to inquire about more details if they'd like to.

And really, you are the unusual one. Not because your preference is unusual or bad, but because as a guest accepting hospitality the norm is to graciously accept what is offered. Its on the guest to acknowledge that *any* restriction (even a medical one like an allergy) is outside the norm and may be an imposition on the host.

Teenyweeny

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #51 on: August 27, 2013, 11:34:42 AM »

The conundrum is in how to communicate your dietary preferences without it coming off as a judgement of your host's usual shopping practices. Because, essentially, what you are saying is "what you would usually buy is not something I'm comfortable with eating, so I need to let you know what I am comfortable with eating". Most people wouldn't hear it that way, but some would, I'm sure.


I think the answer to this is to communicate them as if *you*, the requester, is the unusual one as opposed to the host. "Thank you so much for the invitation, I'd love to attend your dinner party. I'm afraid I'm a bit of a picky eater, but I can eat anything that is vegetarian."

This isn't a lie (the way "I'm a vegetarian" is), so you don't have to worry about getting caught. It also gives the host a clear idea of what you will eat in the simplest terms (anything vegetarian). Plus, it leaves it open for them to inquire about more details if they'd like to.

And really, you are the unusual one. Not because your preference is unusual or bad, but because as a guest accepting hospitality the norm is to graciously accept what is offered. Its on the guest to acknowledge that *any* restriction (even a medical one like an allergy) is outside the norm and may be an imposition on the host.

That is simply brilliant wording! I will definitely be stealing that one.



White Lotus

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #52 on: August 27, 2013, 11:41:56 AM »
Please do not simply say you are a vegetarian if you aren't. It makes life very hard for actual vegetarians, and hurts and confuses others, as we can see from this thread.
Saying, "I keep kosher, so I am a vegetarian when I eat out, because it is easier all around" is just fine, and I have heard more than a few people say this.  "I am a vegan when I eat out because I am incredibly picky about sources for animal products, so vegan is easier all around" works just as well.  I would also add, as I do when I say, "I am a vegetarian with vegan leanings.  May I bring something?  What did you plan to serve?"
I don't ask anyone to cook specially for me, but I do like to know there is something I can eat, and I am always happy to bring a coordinating dish.  I have also been served chicken, fish, bacon, meat stocks, gelatin and other meat products because people mistakenly think they are "vegetarian" because somebody who puts appearances over actuality has accepted them as "vegetarian" once upon a time.  It causes problems, hurts feelings, and leaves me without food.  It is easier for everyone if you just clarify what you do eat, without misrepresentation. 

Teenyweeny

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #53 on: August 27, 2013, 11:45:17 AM »
Please do not simply say you are a vegetarian if you aren't. It makes life very hard for actual vegetarians, and hurts and confuses others, as we can see from this thread.
Saying, "I keep kosher, so I am a vegetarian when I eat out, because it is easier all around" is just fine, and I have heard more than a few people say this.  "I am a vegan when I eat out because I am incredibly picky about sources for animal products, so vegan is easier all around" works just as well.  I would also add, as I do when I say, "I am a vegetarian with vegan leanings.  May I bring something?  What did you plan to serve?"
I don't ask anyone to cook specially for me, but I do like to know there is something I can eat, and I am always happy to bring a coordinating dish.  I have also been served chicken, fish, bacon, meat stocks, gelatin and other meat products because people mistakenly think they are "vegetarian" because somebody who puts appearances over actuality has accepted them as "vegetarian" once upon a time.  It causes problems, hurts feelings, and leaves me without food.  It is easier for everyone if you just clarify what you do eat, without misrepresentation.

Oh, I definitely never say that I am veggie, because I know it creates these kind of issues. I just request that the host has veggie food available, or offer to bring some.



snowdragon

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #54 on: August 27, 2013, 12:05:10 PM »


But it might not be a simple case. For example, what if I would only eat line caught, wild fish, and only certain species at that?

That would actually be easier  in my family.   But even if it were not - I'd like the option.  There ARE people who can a vegetarian /vegan meal it affects their bodies badly....I have a friend who every  time she tries - she spends the next two days in disposed. ( if you get my meaning) she's never told me why and i don't ask as  I consider it personal. knowing that fish could be an option would make life easier.
   And yeah it can see Sharnita's point about it being Paternalistic ,'t thing either poster is meaning it in an nasty or unkind way.

cabbageweevil

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #55 on: August 27, 2013, 12:06:50 PM »
This thread -- and many others on eHell and elsewhere, about issues of this kind -- have me feeling very glad that I'm in a position to be able to choose to be an almost total omnivore; and that I'm not a very rigorous stander-on-principle.  It would seem that anyone who chooses to, or has to, abstain from certain categories of food, will find themselves upsetting someone over the issue, at some time -- no matter how hard they try to forestall / prevent that happening.

Most of my sympathies in this thread, are with the OP.  I feel that she has tried hard to be as little of a nuisance as possible, as a "selectively-eating guest" -- by expressing "what she will, and won't eat", as simply and succinctly as possible -- as intimated by the poster below.

Easiest isn't just about preparation. It can also be about communication and back and forth. I don't see why it's highly problematic or an etiquette violation for the OP to try to keep communications streamlined. She's not asking the host to go out of the way. Just giving the easiest set of information there is to give. I can't imagine how knowing the OP will eat a specifically sourced fish product opens a vast doorway for the host. Isn't providing simple vegetarian sides for the OP really straightforward and simple?
My experience in life suggests that many people tend to find complicated requirements and stipulations, maddening; and that most often, the most considerate way to go is to keep communication as starkly simple as possible. Saying that one is a vegetarian, or "will choose to eat vegetarian", would seem to do that job. Others getting upset -- where they have not been directly inconvenienced thereby -- over their finding the selective-eater out, in any slight deception involved therewith: well, I feel that they are deliberately making life more difficult. This, whether in the way of the OP's friend, with her discovering a convoluted way to feel her hosting capacities to be impugned; or the situation cited by Cami, with her sister, and sister's friend who was outraged at feeling lied to, re the hamburger situation -- this lady was perhaps commendably morally upright in her detestation of lying: but in that, would be at odds with very many who consider social white lies, highly acceptable etiquette-wise.

IMO, many would feel that re "selective eating" matters, the best course in this imperfect world would be for all concerned, to exercise the maximum possible consideration, forbearance, and giving benefit of the doubt in people's favour -- but that situation is probably highly unrealistic, and could mean that this board would have no need to exist.

MyFamily

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #56 on: August 27, 2013, 12:30:29 PM »
I'm seeing the situation as this:
Abby is the guest of honor for a bridal shower; she decides to not include her grandmother, who lives 1000 miles away, on the guest list because of course, she won't be able to attend and feels like sending her an invite will just seem like a gift grab.  But grandma is hurt because she'd have like to be included and receiving an invitation would have at least made her feel like she was welcome to attend (and maybe grandma was going to surprise Abby with a visit to be there at the shower; or call in or send a special gift). 

The OP decided that it is too much bother for her friends to buy the type of fish she likes; the friend is hurt because she didn't even give them a chance to make that decision for themselves.  I think the OP is in the wrong.


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Teenyweeny

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #57 on: August 27, 2013, 12:38:46 PM »
I'm seeing the situation as this:
Abby is the guest of honor for a bridal shower; she decides to not include her grandmother, who lives 1000 miles away, on the guest list because of course, she won't be able to attend and feels like sending her an invite will just seem like a gift grab.  But grandma is hurt because she'd have like to be included and receiving an invitation would have at least made her feel like she was welcome to attend (and maybe grandma was going to surprise Abby with a visit to be there at the shower; or call in or send a special gift). 

The OP decided that it is too much bother for her friends to buy the type of fish she likes; the friend is hurt because she didn't even give them a chance to make that decision for themselves.  I think the OP is in the wrong.

I don't think that the two are comparable, although I see what you're getting at. Not inviting Gma to the shower would be like turning down all dinner invitations because you felt it would be too much trouble for the host.

I think a closer example would be holding the shower somewhere easily accessible for Gma (and still easily accessible for other guests, although at this point the analogy starts to go a bit wonky, logistically speaking :) ), even though Gma might prefer a different venue.



fountainof

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #58 on: August 27, 2013, 12:42:41 PM »
I think close friends would be understanding either way.  So if the OP were my close friend I would be open to both hearing about the fish she eats as well as giving her the benefit of the doubt if I had thought she was vegetarian and then found out she ate some fish and she explained the situation after the fact.  Sure, initially I may be a bit hurt (but maybe not, I don't get too worked up about these things) but I would get over it easily if the OP explained she was just trying to make life easier.

For acquaintances, I think mostly vegetarian is fine to say.  I wouldn't want to list a whole bunch of requirements to someone I only casually know.  If I found out a casual friend (who I thought was a vegetarian) ate some fish, it wouldn't really bug me much as I would assume the person was just trying to not be a SS.  In the same vein, if someone I barely knew called me to list all the fish she could eat, especially if they were hard to find or very expensive, it would seem a bit like a SS demand and it would annoy me.

menley

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Re: Selective Eating
« Reply #59 on: August 27, 2013, 12:46:50 PM »
Ehhhh... I am really torn.

On one hand, I can understand the host's perspective.  It would sting a bit to find out that a friend you thought didn't eat fish, actually would happily eat fish... just not yours, because they don't think that your fish is "good enough".  Ouch.  And if I were such a host, I might reconsider inviting that friend over to dinner again.  And that is leaving aside that if you had told the host about your fish-sourcing requirements she might have been more than happy to accommodate you.  But you didn't give the host a chance.

On the other hand, I have a friend whose situation is kinda similar to the OPs.  My friend is Jewish, and keeps strict Kosher - in her own home.  Outside of her home, she simply says that she is vegetarian and eats only vegetarian food.  She does this for two reasons, first because "vegetarian" is a lot easier to understand than "kosher" (we do not live in an area with a large Jewish population, and most of our friends are not Jewish) and second, because she honestly does not trust other people in our circle to be able to prepare a properly kosher meal, even if she tried to explain what is necessary to do.  So she just circumvents the whole thing by saying she is vegetarian.  Which, yeah... she is being untruthful.  But... I can also understand why.

So... torn.  Honestly, I think that both the OP and the offended host here have points.


This summarizes my feelings as well. Although your friend who keeps kosher but says she's vegetarian to circumvent... that seems confusing. What if someone prepared a meal that was vegetarian (but not kosher) just for her? Or is it not possible to have a vegetarian meal that's not kosher?