Barring food allergies, I think it is simply common courtesy to eat what is offered to you. Even when I was a strict vegetarian at home, I did not expect my hosts to cater to my dietary preferences. When I visit friends who are vegans, I expect a vegan meal. When I visit friends who are not, I eat what is offered and don't sweat it. If you are that rigid in your thinking, offer to bring your own food but it is in poor taste to expect a host to cater to you. This is really a first world problem. Be grateful you are being offered a meal.
I've read through a lot of the comments and am surprised at some of the things I was reading.
Somebody mentioned that a vegan dish takes too much effort to make on short notice. Most of my meals on days we don't have a "family dinner" are planned and cooked in 30 minutes or less with very little effort and with stuff laying around the house. There are a variety of quick veggie soups that take a total of 20-30 minutes to prep and make, or like somebody else mentioned steaming/stir-fry up some veggies over rice (add a bit of seseme oil and/or mix up a little simple sauce and you have a filling yummy meal in 30min or less). You know, some of my dinners tend to be a plate of broccoli & cauliflour or a thing of frozen brussel sprouts. Not much for variety, but it's vegan and takes 10-15 minutes and there you go. LoL
I do appreciate what they said about the allergies though. I'm deathly allergic to dairy and do have an epi pen. Vegan is one of the safest ways to go for me and I prefer it. I'm afraid for my life to eat outside of the house though. I don't eat at restaraunts because they don't listen to what you say about stuff like that and I don't eat at anybody else's house because nobody understands how bad it is. When you say your allergic to dairy they always assume milk and figure cheese and butter and such are okay still. You can't guarentee those foods will remain safe for you to eat (if they even are to begin with) after other people make contact with it. Once on a small trip to Spokane, OR with my mom's friend when I was a teenager, she took me to a vegan restaraunt and I didn't even know where to begin. I'd never been able to eat anywhere before and there needs to be more places like that available everywhere in the world, within reach of every town. The world needs to consider other people's needs instead of going with the majority. It's such an unfair world we live in when a person isn't allowed to eat anywhere because of their health or personal choices. :(
I agree with the last comment. It's not always a personal choice. Like the previous poster, for some reason meat makes me sick. It's not an allergic reaction, it just hurts my stomach something awful and I don't really like meat enough to go through that pain. I'm so picky about it to begin with so I only eat a little if I have to for dinners, since I currently do not have much of a say in what kind of food I get to eat around here. If I had it my way I'd be vegan though. I really don't care for meat at all and could do without it and vegan is the safest with my deadly dairy allergy anyway...
10/2/2013 8:32:35 AM
One thing that really struck me about the comments is how many people make the automatic assumption that if you say you're vegetarian then it must be a choice and therefore it's your personal choice that is potentially inconveniencing them. Some have pointed out that if it's an allergy then of course you should accommodate it, implying that other health-related reasons for being vegetarian aren't worthy.
While I am currently vegetarian for both health and other reasons, when I first became veg it was mostly because meat made me feel physically ill. Do I have an allergy? Would eating a bit of meat or something that "accidentally" contained meat products put me into an allergic reaction? No. Does that mean that my "vegetarian for health reasons" was a "personal choice"? Only in a way that would be similar to a migraine sufferer religiously avoiding caffeine to avoid the migraine it might cause would be considered a personal choice.
So, I guess my point is that people need to stop making the assumption that being vegetarian is a personal choice and as such those who are need to be the ones who need to somehow not inconvenience you. And even if it is a choice, most of the comments from the veggies here (myself included) show that we're actually really used to trying hard not to inconvenience or bother our hosts with our "special requirements". Lighten up everyone. If you like someone enough to invite them over then why wouldn't you want them to enjoy the meal too? (Though I'm 100% behind the comment that if they don't tell you in advance OR if they spring it on you and expect accommodation an hour before then they're out of luck).
10/2/2013 3:47:28 AM
Good tip about making/ bringing enough for the vegetarian AND others - and for the veg to have seconds. Often there is one dish suitable for vegetarians, but they're not the only one who eats it, so if you're not served first you might not get much or by the time everyone takes some there isn't enough for seconds. I always have to remind people that it's not just the vegetarians who eat the non-meat part of the meal.
When I have company, I want to enjoy their company and the meal. As a result, I cook a roast with carrots and potatoes, etc. cooked around the roast. Then half-an-hour before dinner it comes out of the oven. Then it is carved at the table and I am away from my guests for no more than 10 minutes and can get all ready between getting home from work and serving. You can't do that with vegetables.
And I loath vegetables!
If I must eat with a vegetarian, I will do it in a restaurant or they can bring their own food. I am not into being the kitchen wench to satisfy a variety of diets.
Two of my own children went vegetarian for awhile, they cooked for themselves. And I have no problem with someone else cooking in my kitchen: although it would certainly interfere with the reason they were there in the first place . . . to spend time chatting, eating and enjoying their company.
After browsing some of the other comments, I'll also add: it is *always* easier to remove an ingredient from a meal than to try to add one in. It's easier to accommodate someone who doesn't want everything you serve, than expect someone to serve something they weren't originally making.
On top of that, some more creative vegetarian meal ideas in this article would have been nice. Vegetable stir-fry over rice or rice-noddles. Even omnivores won't notice the lack of meat if you use the rice spices, and mushrooms are great for that heartier bite.
Vegetable soups are a good starter in place of cold salad.
Roasted vegetables of potato, carrots, onions, garlic, and/or squash is a fabulous dish. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle generously with herbs.
Then there's just your basic vegetables: mashed or baked potatoes, steamed or boiled veggies (think simple: peas, carrots, broccoli, spinach, whatever!), baked squash.
I do think pasta is one of the best, and the article did mention both pasta itself and pasta sauce separated between meat and no meat. That's probably the easiest and the least "obvious" way to accommodate a vegetarian dish.
Just recently Burger King is offering "Veggie Burgers".... new on the menu!
11/8/2012 10:14:41 PM
I'm a vegan (2 years, vegetarian 6 years before that) and I'm not going to read the comments here because I dont care to be insulted by strangers on the internet making assumptions about my dietary choices. Anywho I just have to say that I'd disagree with the salad tip because I have to say that my biggest pet peeve is people assuming that because Im a vegan I love salad. Just remember that vegans are people too. We have favorite foods and preferences and we're more than happy to settle for the occasional salad when nothing else is available. Always feel free to ask questions about preferences. I usually just bring my own food with me to parties A recent bbq I went to I was the only non-meat eater. I brought myself a veggie burger (since everyone else would have their own burgers) and I brought homemade cupcakes so when it came time for dessert i wouldnt be left out. Everyone loved my cupcakes and couldnt beleive they didnt have egg or dairy.
Please don't just serve cheese either. I'm a vegetarian and I've been served several meals where the meat is replaced with cheese (think cheese wellington...gross). I like cheese and all, but not that much! I am always happy with salads and sides, no need to cook something extra in my opinion. If I know there won't be a ton of options I usually don't go to someone's house super hungry.
I've been a vegetarian due to a developed meat allergy since 2009. I have a couple of things to say here. First, I can't only speak for myself but I actually will tell people not to accommodate me food wise when I come visit. Well my sister-in-law took that as a challenge and started learning how to cook vegetarian food and my brother learned too. Now I can proudly say that my big brother makes the best portabello burger on the planet! LOL The point is that I never expect anyone to accommodate and will go out of my way to make certain that my host or hostess doesn't feel awkward or uncomfortable. Honestly, I have always worried that if I should up with a dish that my host or hostess would feel insulted so I haven't. But from now on I will offer to do so! Great idea!
I also wanted to say one thing about fixing a meal for a vegetarian. Not all of us are fans of salads simply because we are vegetarian. Over these last few years I have come to dread the word "salad". Going out to eat is the worst sometimes because I've had most waitstaff persons roll there eyes, sigh and say "Well we can always make you a salad and just take the meat off". Or when I do go to someone's house for a meal they say "Well a salad would be fine with you then huh?". To be honest, I don't like cold salads for the most part. I also have come to find it almost (not quite but almost) insulting to have people assume that just because I don't eat meat all I eat is salads. I usually keep my cool, smile, and explain that there are far more options than a salad that is typically drenched in some high calorie dressings. I know this makes me sound like a ...well an unkind person. I'm not. But just because someone isn't a vegetarian doesn't mean I'm going to assume they would love to have shark steak cooked on the grill when they come to my house for dinner. The stereotype attached to vegetarians is just narrow-minded. Not to mention boring.
I am grateful to those of my friends who get excited about learning a new recipe that's vegetarian and consider myself honored when they say "You know I say I am doing this for you but honestly I'm loving this!" or " Thank you for introducing me to new stuff!" or giving me credit for them learning about something they've always wanted learn about but never took the time to until now. It's not the kind words that I love, it's the excitement I see in them and the glow they get when trying new things. It's really pretty amazing. Even though I'm not a vegetarian by choice, and even though I still have times I really miss having a good steak, I am grateful I developed this allergy. It's opened my world up to so much! Not just a change in the foods I eat but also what I see in others reactions toward me whether positive or negative. It's been a fascinating learning experience and I'm thankful for it.
Well I'm glad to see that Spark is spreading how to deal with a vegetarian guest gracefully, even if the comments show that it's not going to be taken into affect by most of the viewers. I can't believe the comments I'm seeing.. making your child eat meat even if they don't want to, just because you want it to come from a dead animal? Expecting a vegetarian to cook a meal that has meat is a little silly, I think. That's doing something they are against. You are not against eating vegetables, so you can handle our food just fine. I'm also sure you could bring your own meat filled dish to one of their dinner parties and eat away. I'm pollopescatarian, I eat chicken/turkey and fish. I don't eat any red meat or pork. It makes me literally ill. The smell of it cooking, the smell of it after... all I can smell is a dead animal. That's not a choice. I use to eat it all and it was fine, then one day my body just went "nope". But, I've been the all across the spectrum after it started, vegan and vegetarian. But that doesn't make me wrong, and it certainly doesn't make having me over as a guest impossible. I live in BBQ territory, Usually any one I get invited to there are no vegetarian options. I just don't eat, but I still have quite a great time talking with my neighbors or friends. My fiance' and our son both eat all meat, but neither like fish. We still eat together just fine as a family. Sometimes we have different entree's but we still eat together and enjoy each other's company. If trying to work with someone different than yourself becomes such a negative thing, then something tells me that most vegetarians/vegans wouldn't want to be at one of your dinner parties anyway. We're all different on this planet, and if we can't work together, with a bit of decorum when it comes to something as simple as food.. well that doesn't give me much hope for anything else.
I'm a flexi/pescatarian. Always have been, even as a child I wasn't too fond of the taste of meat but you could never keep me away from the seafood dishes.I was a strict vegan (including no honey) for almost a year in college, then ovo-lacto vegetarian for another two. Ended up with B vitamin deficiencies because the supplements didn't work and have come full circle since. Still don't really like the taste of meat but sometimes my body just tells me it NEEDS something like a steak now or it'll go on strike again, and I tend to listen.
Re: Invitations. If I know in advance that there's going to be vegan guests, I'll make sure they have a meal accommodating their preferences. Last-minute vegans are SOL, though- I always have at least one, more likely two ovo-lacto vegetarian friendly dishes on the menu but vegan takes a lot of effort in a friend-to-mostly-omnivores' kitchen and I need to plan to be able to make everything from scratch for them. I see it like having a recovering alcoholic as a guest- if I know beforehand I can substitute for the alcohol going into most sauces. If I don't, I cook the way I've learned from childhood and will hopefully have something for them.
I love cooking for my friends, but I need to know the meal will be tasty, and just slapping something together for the sake of it being in alignment with whatever philosophy isn't worth the effort to me.
Food allergies are an entirely different thing, though- I'll religiously accommodate honest, needs-an-epi-pen ones. Blood-type diet things... not so much. If someone comes to dinner and expects me to follow something as ridiculous as a warning that a combination of cucumbers and anchovies or whatever will cause them to gain weight... well, don't come to dinner is all I'll say on that. Funnily enough, all resistance disappears after a taste of the dish more often than not.
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