Author Topic: I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!  (Read 2093 times)

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jpcher

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I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!
« on: October 20, 2013, 05:16:35 PM »
 :-[

Normally I'm pretty diligent about party guests' dietary issues. In the past the only issues I've run across were a few vegetarians and one with shellfish allergies.

If, say, Sloppy Joe's were on the menu, I'd buy a package of vegetarian "meat"-type mix and make a separate batch for the vegetarian guests. For the shellfish allergies, I make a few really nice shrimp/crab dips but I'll use the same ingredients sans the shellfish and clearly mark the difference . . . these are just a few examples of how I try to accommodate those with dietary issues while at the same time sticking to the menu with dietary variations.


At a recent party that I hosted, Emily (one of DD#2's friends that I don't see very often) showed up just as I was bringing out a hot Rueben dip to the buffet table. We gave each other hugs, It's good to see you again! Blah blah blah.

Then she said "That looks really good. Does it have meat in it?"

Me -- Deer meet headlights. Oh, yeah, she's vegetarian :-[: Yes it does. But there's (the standard) veggie tray, chips/dips, cheese and crackers for you.

Then I felt really bad bringing out the meat-stuffed mushroom appetizers (which a few could easily have been changed for vegetarians). Along with not having a vegetarian hamburger type of thing when the main entree was steaks.

For the main meal there were two types of potatoes (mashed & scalloped) 3 veggie dishes (corn, green bean casserole and roasted asparagus) dinner rolls and a very large garden salad.


Emily was very gracious, but I felt bad for not switching some portion of the appetizers to a vegetarian style, especially not having a veggie-style main entree available.


Was I a rude hostess for not remembering Emily's dietary preference?

Nikko-chan

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Re: I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2013, 05:32:05 PM »
I am going to vote no, because you don't see this girl very often. And one cannot remember everything all  the time.

Tea Drinker

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Re: I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2013, 05:36:43 PM »
No, not rude, at least not by my lights.

If you had known Emily was vegetarian but decided "she's not my friend, she's just someone my daughter knows" that would be rude given your general habit of making an effort for vegetarians and people with allergies. Or if you had asked everyone else if they had dietary issues, but not her: because at that point there'd be a chance that the subject would come up among the guests, and made her aware that you had overlooked her.

Not having memorized the dietary restrictions of everyone you know may make you a less-than-perfect host, but there's a huge distance between that and being rude.

Since you sometimes invite friends of your children who you don't know very well, it might be worth asking their help for the future: tell your daughter that you were sorry not to have a vegetarian entree or appetizer for Emily, and ask her if she can let you know of her friends' dietary restrictions if they're coming to parties at your house. That might go with keeping some kind of notebook, with entries like "DD's friend Emily, vegetarian," "Pat will eat anything," and so on.

The point of the "Pat will eat anything" entry is that it tells you that you've asked about this person, because someone who has been a vegetarian for a decade, or already warned everyone they know about a shellfish allergy, might not mention it again; that way if your daughter invites someone new, you can ask her if there are allergies or other problems.
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Zizi-K

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Re: I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2013, 05:51:02 PM »
I can see why you felt a little bad - you absolutely had plenty for this person to eat, she definitely did not go hungry, and eat very well I'm sure. However, she ate things that were all 'sides' rather than a specifically vegetarian main dish. However, I would not feel bad. The whole 'protein-heavy main dish' is itself a paradigm of menu design that is based on meat-eating. Vegetarians don't necessarily need to have this central focus because they do not in fact eat meat. I'm sure Emily would have liked some vegetarian protein, but I'm sure there are plenty of vegetarians who make a nice meal out of mac and cheese, or other such not-totally-healthy-and-balanced foods. Making the meat-substitute thing would have shown that you specifically thought of her and prepared something specifically for her, but I really don't think you are obligated to do that (though yes, it is nice). You could have easily remembered she was coming and just figured that she could eat just fine with all the vegetarian things you were already preparing. You might ask your daughters in advance next time to remind you of any food restrictions.

that_one_girl

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Re: I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2013, 09:42:11 PM »
I keep frozen TV dinners around in case I spazz out and forget someone's restrictions or have people over who for whatever reason can't eat what I made.

Promise

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Re: I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2013, 09:49:08 PM »
I tend to eat vegetarian most of the time (not for "save animals" reasons, just taste). I don't eat red meant or any sea creatures. I tolerate some pork and poultry. Most people who invite us to eat don't ask if I eat roast or steaks. I just eat whatever's there. I recognize that most people do eat meat, therefor I never expect people to change their normal routines in food to mine. It would be rude of me to think they shoulda would coulda otherwise.

cicero

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Re: I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2013, 02:30:54 AM »
no, you weren't rude.

and yes, i understand how you feel, especially that you've done the *veg/meat* mixed meals before and you could have easily done it this time, had you know/remembered.

I always feel that the onus is on the *special diet* guest to remind you and not vice versa. how is a host supposed to remember everyone's dietary needs, especially if sometimes people change (I know people - myself included - who have followed strict vegetarian/vegan diets and then stopped).

your guest had more than enough food to eat.

And this happened to me once - long time ago, the synagogue i used to go to, had a thing where members volunteered to invite guests for meals each weekend. the problem was that while the guests were supposed to inform us beforehand, they often didn't (it was mostly students and such who i gathered didn't quite understand why the hosts needed to know how many guests would show up and what their special needs were ::)). one weekend i got a group of young and not so young guests, and one of them was vegetarian. and wouldn't you know - it was that weekend that i decided to make an all-meat entree (the entree was an overnight stew of pasta and chicken). now, usually, i would make the other kind of overnight stew which was potatoes, beans and meat that could easily be made meatless but that week i went with the chicken-pasta one. and yes, my vegetarian guest had a lot of halla bread with hummus....

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SamiHami

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Re: I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2013, 09:20:51 AM »
I think you were fine. When hosting, it is certainly gracious to keep in mind the various dietary restrictions and preferences of your guests. However, that is not generally practical. Are you going to build a meal around the diabetic guest, the one with celiac, the vegetarian, the kosher guest, the low sodium guest, the various food allergies, and so on? It's enough to make one stop entertaining!

I think the only time it is vital to remember is when it involves an allergy. Beyond that, one should just do as you did---offer a variety of dishes in the hopes that your guests will all be able to eat something satisfactory to them. And that sounds like exactly what you did. The variety of vegetarian friendly items you had to offer sounds great to me. Even as a non-veg, I would be satisfied with those selections. If someone has a severely restrictive diet it is on them to maybe eat something before coming over or to be satisfied with whatever nibbles they can find at the meal-or possibly bring an offering that they are able to eat.

I am gluten free, but I never, ever ask my hosts to go to any trouble for me. In fact, most of my friends probably don't realize that I am GF, because I don't make an issue of it. I just eat what I can and and leave the rest. If asked I usually just say, "oh, this XXX is so delicious I don't have room for anything else!" The only time I make a tiny issue is at a cook out. I will bring my own GF buns, but I still try to not draw a lot of attention to it.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

BigBadBetty

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Re: I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2013, 12:48:23 PM »
I'm a vegetarian (well....mostly). I think you were fine. If it were really important to her, she would have reminded you. I am happy to eat sides or even grab something on the way home. There have only been a few times where I have been truly hungry. Once was a time where every side had either bacon or mayo. (Mayo doesn't have meat, but I can't get it down without gagging.)  I am there for the company not the food. 

Outdoor Girl

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Re: I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2013, 01:20:59 PM »
Of the 13 or so dishes you had, only 3 contained meat.  Emily didn't go hungry so I think you were completely fine.

Stay away from that trend that there should be bacon and/or lard in everything  ;D and you'll never have to worry that a vegetarian won't get enough to eat if you don't provide an alternate entree for them.
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sweetonsno

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Re: I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2013, 01:47:56 AM »
Good heavens, no! It sounds like you typically go above and beyond for your guests with special dietary restrictions. Forgetting to do so once doesn't make you rude. You had plenty of food for her, you let her know which dishes were vegetarian and which dishes were not, and didn't comment on her decision. You're fine. You sound like a pretty awesome hostess, actually.

I'm a textbook vegetarian (no slaughter products) and I'd consider myself well fed indeed with that menu.

hannahmollysmom

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Re: I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2013, 04:14:50 AM »
You said DD's friend "showed" up. Did you know she was coming? If you didn't then you are just fine. But, I see no problem with what you served even if you knew she was coming. It seems like there were plenty of foods she could eat and not be hungry. It's not like every dish was with meat, and the only meatless dish was a can of warmed up peas!

I also have gotten away from many meat dishes. Not because I vegetarian, I just have found more dishes with protein and less fat that way. (Type II diabetic) I think you did just fine!  ;D

jpcher

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Re: I forgot! . . . Vegetarian guest. Sorry!
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2013, 06:08:48 PM »
You said DD's friend "showed" up. Did you know she was coming?

Yes, I knew she was coming and I knew she was a vegetarian. That's why I had this guilty-niggling feeling about missing a main entree for her. :-[ But you all are right, there really was plenty of other food that she could eat. Phew! ;)


DDs normally remind me/tell me of their guests restrictions, but I guess since Emily's eaten at our house several times before they probably figured I would remember all by my self.

That might go with keeping some kind of notebook, with entries like "DD's friend Emily, vegetarian," "Pat will eat anything," and so on.

This is a great idea. Thanks! I'll keep the list with my menu-planning notebook as a reminder.


I keep frozen TV dinners around in case I spazz out and forget someone's restrictions or have people over who for whatever reason can't eat what I made.

I've done that, too, for just in case a vegetarian friend stops by unexpectedly. Then, of course, Murphy's Law comes to play and nary a vegetarian shows up for 6+ months (I don't know how long you can store the frozen veggie-burgers) so I tossed them . . . and guess who showed up a couple of days later. ::)

(How long do the frozen meatless mixes last in the freezer?)




I appreciate everybody's responses. Thanks! ;D