Author Topic: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations  (Read 4427 times)

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blarg314

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Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« on: March 21, 2007, 05:22:48 AM »


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

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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2007, 07:50:05 AM »
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.
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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2007, 08:17:10 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

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]
« Last Edit: March 21, 2007, 08:19:30 AM by WolfieSara »

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2007, 09:13:13 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? 

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?
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caranfin

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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2007, 09:14:55 AM »
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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ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2007, 09:16:52 AM »
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?

Oooh, really good suggestion.  I had assumed there were only a few vegetarians, but this could be a great option!
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twinkletoes

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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2007, 09:35:48 AM »
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?

Oooh, really good suggestion.  I had assumed there were only a few vegetarians, but this could be a great option!

I love this compromise, too!

I also agree with what someone said upthread (I think it was Rdge) - let the *guests* decide if they want to attend.  I'd hate for someone to exclude me because "I didn't think you'd like X."  Let me decide if I don't want to attend!

Lisbeth

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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2007, 10:12:13 AM »
I wouldn't exclude anyone based on a dietary need, but if it was something I couldn't accommodate, I'd warn that person so they can deal with it discreetly.
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platys

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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2007, 10:16:28 AM »
When I'm making something specific everyone may not like, I usually go - "I'm having a potato soup party!  Do you like potato soup?   Yes?   Want to come?"


veryfluffy

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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2007, 10:30:11 AM »
I can definitely understand inviting people over to eat, because there is something you want to cook -- which is different to inviting people over and cooking because they will need a meal. In which case, it's fine to say "I'm making lamb curry/gumbo/sushi/steak tartar/mung bean lasagna -- do you fancy coming along?" That way the person knows that any specific requirements aren't going to be catered to, and that everyone else who's there is there to enjoy your food.

It's a bit like wanting to invite a few friends over to play poker or watch x rated movies -- you tell them what's happening, they can decide. You don't just invite everyone along and then set up a table and a deck of cards for someone to play solitaire, or give them your portable dvd and a stack of disney films if the entertainment isn't to their taste.
   

Sibby

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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2007, 10:54:24 AM »
When I'm making something specific everyone may not like, I usually go - "I'm having a potato soup party!  Do you like potato soup?   Yes?   Want to come?"



This is exactly what I was thinking.  You are having this dinner party because you want to cookt eh specific meal, not the otehr way around (cooking the meal because you are having a party).  So just word your invite (verbal/email/whatever) to indicate the reason for the get together and let guests decide if it's to their taste:
"I'm planning on making gumbo this weekend and expect to have tons - would you like to join me and few friends for a gumbo dinner?"

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2007, 11:01:08 AM »
This is exactly what I was thinking.  You are having this dinner party because you want to cookt eh specific meal, not the otehr way around (cooking the meal because you are having a party). 

"I'm planning on making gumbo this weekend and expect to have tons - would you like to join me and few friends for a gumbo dinner?"

To me, it's the same thing - why would she be cooking in the first place if nobody was coming? It suggests that she should be valuing the meal over the attendees and I just cant understand that line of thinking.  After all, she could just make the meal, freeze it, or give it to people in disposable containers, if she were interested in making the meal more than being with the people.  Granted, it is still an important feature, but secondary, imo.  Though I do agree that your wording seems to solve the situation, no matter what her priorities are.   
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sparksals

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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2007, 03:46:34 PM »
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? 

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?

I have to disagree with you, rdge.  The hostess determines the guest list and can use whatever criteria she wants to decide whom to invite. 

I wouldn't invite my MIL to a wild, shakedown hootenanny at my house, but I would at a formal sit down dinner party.  I wouldn't invite a Jewish friend to a party I planned to serve pork roast.  I wouldn't invite a devout Catholic to dinner at my home on a Friday night because I don't eat, cook or have fish in my home. 

I think it's perfectly acceptable to determine a guest list by what is being served. 

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2007, 03:54:24 PM »
Sparksals, we actually totally agree, but perhaps I wasnt clear.  I think the hostess has control over the guest list totally - she can choose to invite the spicy food eaters and the non-spicy food eaters at will.   :)

It sounded to me like she actually wanted the non-spicy food eaters to attend, but knew that dinner wouldnt be appropriate for them, so she wasnt going to invite them.  My point was that she should invite them (because she wants them there) and let them decide if they want to come (in essence, dont make the decision for them based on the menu, make it based on whether she wants them there or not).  Make sense?

If she doesnt want them there, by all means, dont invite them. Or if the situation isnt appropriate to the guest (all of your examples) then also feel free to not invite them.  It just sounded to me she was more worried about how she would need to accomodate them, rather than if she wanted them there or not.  Hence my advice to accommodate sometimes out of courtesy and respect for the friendship, but that it's not necessary every time. 

I dont know if that was more confusing, but I hope that clears it up!  :D
« Last Edit: March 21, 2007, 03:56:18 PM by rdge »
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Lady Vavasour

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Re: Spinoff of Dietary Accomodations
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2007, 06:11:17 PM »
- 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

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


Actually, I think the first of these is rather awful. I see nothing wrong at all with not inviting vegetarians to all-meat dinner, but it's not nice to invite someone to something and then not have anything for them to eat.

If they are people you know well, and the event is very casual, I wouldn't have a problem with asking them to bring a vegetarian dish to share.