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How to Feed a Vegetarian

Meeting the Needs of Meatless Eaters

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  • I do not think they eat eggs. Never thought of lard. I do not know any vegans.
  • ETHELMERZ
    I love the vegetarians that you meet at fast food places, stuffing burgers into their mouths quickly, because they just "gotta have some meat", but when you go to their homes, they pretend they are high and mighty.....
  • Not sure vegan is good for you.
  • I used to have a big BBQ twice a year. Had at least 50 people there at a time. I prepared all the food and included the standard BBQ fare, but also some vegetarian dishes. I don't think anyone who came was vegetarian, but I would often prefer those dishes. They would include a veggie pasta salad with lentils, a baked pasta dish, a fruit salad and for those who did eat fish, peel and eat shrimp. I am a bit surprised at some strong comments. It's almost like who's right and who's wrong. Not a lot of tolerance and it's a bit sad.
  • No, please do not "egg them on" without checking! Many vegetarians and all vegans do not eat eggs. The commenter below me refuses to do anything for vegetarians. Okay. There's still things you can avoid - like being rude or intolerant, lying about ingredients etcetera.
    Many of us are coming from a place of kindness (to animals) and we appreciate kindness in return (to us.) But hey, if you don't want to have us over, we are probably fine with that.

    Great article! Thanks for posting it.
  • I refuse to cook a special meal for -tarians any more. On more than one occasion I've been asked to cook for church functions, and then have several different people ask for social versions...you've got one that wants no onions, one that wants no garlic, one that wants no meat but garlic is OK, and one that garlic is a demon. I've literally had to cook 4 or 5 versions of the same meal for 20 people on occasion. It gets to be impossible. For example, the "absolutely no onion" people cannot eat my spaghetti a sauce, canned spaghetti sauce, ketchup, ranch dressing, any other off the shelf dressing, seasoned salt, any mixed seasoning whatsoever, most store bought broths, etc. I've gently suggested that they bring something they are able to eat, but have been offended that they aren't catered to, and I cannot cook two entirely separate meals. So, they are no longer invited to any functions at our home. My message to any -tarians is this: when you are invited and you aren't willing to eat what The host serves, be honest. Tell the host you'd love to join but that you will bring your own food because you cannot eat (insert your issue here). Don't expect the host to make a separate meal. That is offensive. Then, at the meal, don't insist that what others choose to eat is bad, or cruel or whatever, based on your own beliefs. That will earn you a disinvite from my table for future gatherings pretty quickly (and it has happened on more than one occasion at my home by ungrateful vegans, onion haters and other haters who have been invited to my home).
  • My husband's work had ONE vegan (he has moved for work now). I researched and adapted a vegetarian recipe into a vegan one just for him at a giant Pot-luck Thanksgiving (or maybe Christmas) gathering. I had to do either turkey or ham, and figured nobody else would make anything he could have as a main (Despite about 60 people bringing things!) I was right, and even his choice of sides was limited since butter, cheese or mayonnaise was fairly prevalent. Non-vegetarians loved it too!
  • Definitely invite a vegetarian! I got to hear all about my best friend's (in a city where we didn't know many people/foreign country) Thanksgiving dinner that she purposely excluded me from because I don't eat turkey and assumed I'd be unable or unwilling to eat anything at all. I guess because the bird is the centerpiece for her. I didn't want to make a fuss about it, but I wish she had known I'm happy to eat sides and have fun like we usually do, or that I could bring something to share. It really isn't a big deal to long-time vegetarians. We're used to all sorts of situations and adapting to them, and are happy to not soapbox on animals rights.
  • LCERTUCHE
    I had to laugh when I read "Don't try sneaking meat in". I am vegan and I will ask my sister if the sauce, vegetables or whatever has any meat and she will say "Not that you cab tell."
  • I am a vegetarian, and I would bring something with vegetarian protein to eat in case nothing like that was available. A lot of people think, just give them cheese! But that's not always vegetarian. Most cheeses contain rennet, which is from the stomach lining of cows or sheep. Also, they were telling people to only have one or two eggs a week. What's going on with how SparkPeople is always saying to eat a bunch of eggs?
  • I guess if someone told me an hour before supper was ready that they are bringing someone who had special needs they will just have to go with the flow and eat what they can, same with the daughter unless she wants to pitch in and make her supper.
  • I haven't eaten meat for more than 30 years now, and I don't eat most cheese and fish. Even so, I'm in good health and I can have a varied diet... People still have this prejudice about meat, that it has to be the center of a meal, the main protein source etc. I'm always asked if only eat salad, avoiding meat... I guess I eat and experiment many more foods than most people I know, probably!
  • I prefer fresh veggies lightly sautéed with mushrooms and a little sesame oil and a dash or tamari. I like to add things like quinoa or millet to a veggie sauté to add some protein. I also love hummus and black bean dips. I will never pass up lentils or chickpeas either. I do not eat a lot of packaged foods, so fresh is best. Sometimes even peanut butter and apple slices is a nice snack. Just be sure whatever you serve is made with love. If I cannot or will not eat something, it is my decision and issue not yours. I appreciate your efforts.
  • Several of the vegetarians and vegans have commented that they are insulted when people assume that they just eat salad, but no one has said what they prefer. So, what is your favorite dish?
  • CRAMPERELLA
    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.

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