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Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations

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blarg314:


A hypothetical question arising out of the Dietary Accomodations thread and the discussion of the difficulty of designing a menu for a dinner party that accomodates everyone.

Is it rude to organise a guest list based around people's food restrictions? 

I like to cook, and there are some dishes that work best when made for more than one person, because they make a lot of food and take a lot of time to make.  One example is vindaloo (very spicy Indian meat curry), while another is Cajun seafood gumbo (also spicy, and emphatically non vegetarian). So I'll have an evening where I cook, and have some friends over for a causal meal and conversation.

If I want to make gumbo for a group would it be rude to only invite people I know who will eat it?  It's a very labour intensive dish, and you can't make a vegetarian version (I've seen people try, but the result isn't gumbo anymore.  Lard is essential). 

Same with curry night - if I'm making vindaloo, nan, rice and cucumber raita with papadums and chutney that's pretty labour intensive, and incidentally uses all my burners and stoves. If I invite someone who is a vegetarian and doesn't like spicy food I'm going to have to make a complete second menu if they're to have anything to eat, at a fair amount of bother.  Again, this is a labour intensive meal I make well, and if I say that I'm doing a vindaloo night, my friends look forward to it.

So the options I see are

- Invite the whole group of people you'd normally have to a casual dinner

- Invite only those people who would enjoy the food

- Invite the spice hating vegetarian and prepare two complete meals

- Invite the spice hating vegetarian and let them eat rice

- Invite the spice hating vegetarian and let them know that they'll have to bring their own food

- Stop having curry/gumbo night completely


What is the best option? 

Twik:
In general, you are only expected to invite guests who will enjoy the event you've planned.

As Aquigoth mentioned, you can't break up married/established couples. Also, if you were, say, inviting your quilting club, and left one or two people out, you know they'll find out, and may not be clear as to why they were left off the list. But if you're not obviously excluding someone, there isn't a problem.

Ferrets:

--- Quote from: blarg314 on March 21, 2007, 05:22:48 AM ---- Invite the spice hating vegetarian and let them eat rice

- Invite the spice hating vegetarian and let them know that they'll have to bring their own food

--- End quote ---

Frankly, I think either of those would be fine, especially as you said your meals were casual affairs.

Let's imagine I'm one of these spice hating vegetarian friends of yours (well, I'm a spice-loving veggie, but we'll pretend I'm a little less adventurous for the purposes of this post :)).

I wouldn't be remotely offended if you invited me and said either of the above upfront. I'd be perfectly happy with rice, and would probably bring a small veggie dish along for myself too (something premade and simple that only required heating at the most, probably).

Even if you always cooked something spicy, or that I couldn't eat, I'd still rather be invited (and I'd get used to bringing along my own dish!). I think participating in the chat and the social side of things would be more important to me than the meal itself (though I'm sure your cooking is lovely :)), and I'd [privately] be a little peeved to be left out of that because you weren't "able" to feed me.

Just my opinion!

[Edited for grammar]

ShadesOfGrey:

--- Quote from: blarg314 on March 21, 2007, 05:22:48 AM ---So the options I see are

- Invite the whole group of people you'd normally have to a casual dinner
- Invite only those people who would enjoy the food
- Invite the spice hating vegetarian and prepare two complete meals
- Invite the spice hating vegetarian and let them eat rice
- Invite the spice hating vegetarian and let them know that they'll have to bring their own food
- Stop having curry/gumbo night completely

What is the best option? 

--- End quote ---

I think you should let the guests decide to attend or not to attend.  Invite whomever you want to attend, and let them know the menu ahead of time (but without the 'I know you dont like XX, but that is what we are having, so you can either have rice, or byo.")

It's up to them to decide whether they want to attend or not, or offer to bring their own food. 

I would argue that part of the point to making these meals is to spend the time with the people, so to regularly not invite 1/2 your crowd (or even a few guests) because of the menu, I would consider rude, because you are intentionally excluding them based on their food preferences (which would hurt our friendship, imo). 

I would say that the ideal situation is to always invite everyone you want to attend (the size and composition of the guest list is always up to you), and make the labor intensive meals that you enjoy, but sometimes, make other dishes that your other friends would enjoy too (sometimes as the whole meal, sometimes as an additional entree), as an act saying that you are thinking of them and want their company more than you want to cook a specific meal.

Make sense?

caranfin:
If there are lot of spice-hating vegetarians, or if they're coupled with the vindaloo lovers, why not see if one of them is interested in cohosting the party and bringing an appropriate dish or two?

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