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Old 07-09-2006, 02:49 PM   #1
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Food Restrictions Question

This week I went to a party. I knew the guest of honor, so to speak, was a vegetarian. I made a couple of dishes. (It was just a happy hour party, I made a tapenade and had some pesto in the freezer that I brought over to assist the hostess with a dish she was making). Here's the question. I knew XXX was a vegetarian, but had forgotten that when I met her two years ago, she was exhibiting an interest in becoming vegan. I didn't remember until after she'd asked me what was in the tapenade and I told her, forgetting (yes, really, because I almost forgot to put it in) the squirt of anchovy paste I'd put in. I didn't know she'd gone vegan until her mom told her that pesto usually contains cheese (and yes, mine certainly does). Duh. Lightbulb. Then I remembered the anchovy paste. When she went for seconds, I apologised and told her about the anchovy paste. Husband said he admired me for owning up to it, he wasn't going to tell her and let ignorance be bliss. This young lady does go through food fads, I might add (30-something), it isn't a religious or health thing. Question is, would you have told her?

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Old 07-09-2006, 04:15 PM   #2
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Absolutely, but then again I was trained to seek out and respect people's dietary preferences. I think it is the proper thing to do. I am very cognizent of my friends many diet quirks and I try to provide foods they can eat, both at my house and at gatherings.
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Old 07-09-2006, 05:31 PM   #3
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I think what you did was the right thing. I've had some people tell me they don't eat this or that so I make duplicates leaving out what they don't eat, only to find they ate both. There are so many degrees of vegetarianism, it is quite confusing to me. I try to have something they can eat, but don't sweat the whole meal. My gd is a classic example of someone who is forever changing what she eats. I prepare what I would anyway and if she likes it or it is on her current diet (fad, for her)fine, if not she can stop somewhere on her way home.
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Old 07-09-2006, 05:35 PM   #4
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You did the right thing Claire!
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Old 07-09-2006, 10:55 PM   #5
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Honestly, no. That would be too honorable for me to do. I once fried some plantains and gave them to my sister (who was on a low-fat diet) claiming that I'd baked them. She knows nothing about cooking and believed me going, "These are really good!" And I replied, "Don't they carmalize just wonderfully? Its hard even for me to believe they were baked! And I baked them!" Hehe. She deserved it though, she'd been being a witch,
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Old 07-10-2006, 12:33 AM   #6
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I would probably have fessed up...otherwise, I would have been unable to enjoy my own food for the guilt! I have such a complex...
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Old 07-10-2006, 07:56 AM   #7
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I would never, ever even consider nondisclosure if it was for health or religious reasons. This isn't even a food tastes thing, because neither she nor anyone else even guessed there was anchovy paste in it. As a matter of fact, the couple of years ago when she told me she was thinking of "going vegan" I told her that Worcestershire sauce was out for vegans (my mom has a vegan friend). Whether or not I cater to dietary whims, though, depends on how many people I have. The fact is that when I'm fixing a meal, or making a party for 40 people, there will always be something that someone can eat. But vegans are difficult. No mayo. No cheese. No gelatin. It is one thing when you're basically cooking just for them. But sometimes you actually find yourself in a situation where you have, say five dinner guests. One's a vegan. One has severe diverticulitis. One is Jewish. One has nut allergies. Etc. You get to the point where you just feel like putting a bowl of lettuce on the table and saying forget it. It is enough to put you off of entertaining when it is bad (luckily, I've not been in that situation for years. Nowadays it is pretty much everyone eats what Claire cooks and are happy I did!).
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Old 07-10-2006, 08:04 AM   #8
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Don't think so, not after all the trouble ya went through making the dish. No because it's just a fad to her and not health or religion issue.Feed her cake.But you were very kind to confess.
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Old 07-10-2006, 04:14 PM   #9
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You did the honorable thing Claire - you informed her and allowed her to make an informed decision on whether to take that second helping or not. Out of curiosity - did she?

What some people eat on a vegetarian/vegan diet is not always what someone else on a vegetarian/vegan diet considers copacetic.
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Old 07-10-2006, 04:21 PM   #10
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I think for me it would depend on the person and how well I knew them. I know some people who would not want to be made aware of a mistake like that. I know others who would absolutely want to know.

I knew someone who kept kosher. She was very strict with herself and was very careful at home. When she went out though, it obviously became a lot harder. She decided that all she could do was do her best without offending anyone along the way. For her this meant if she was a guest at someones house and she ended up eating something that was not kosher because the hosts did not know what needed to be done then so be it. I am pretty sure that this woman would not want to be informed that she just ate crab by accident.

I think each case is a bit different, but Claire I commend you for your honesty and integrity. I think if you do not know how the person would feel then it is better to be up front then to not say anything.
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Old 07-10-2006, 05:39 PM   #11
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Claire; In my own humble opinion, integrity and honor are important traits that elevate one person above the mulling crowd. They are essential and too rare in this world. If everyone acted as honestly as you did in that situation, then we would get along so much better. I tip my hat to you, and nod my head in your direction.

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Old 07-10-2006, 07:26 PM   #12
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Vegans are almost impossible to cook for, when you are cooking for a group you hafto make an entire diffrent meal just for them. I had a group come to the ranch for a seminar about 30 people and 2 vegans I did my best and bought soy milk and other things and also made them totally separate meals and they still were really ugly about it as their diet was more important than anyone else.I say if you are that hardcore bring a few things to make the cooks life a little easier.By the way I actually did a really good job for them.Just cause you are vegan does not mean you are special.
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Old 07-10-2006, 10:29 PM   #13
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We live in a world full of so many different people. What I know about all people is this: If you have special dietary requirements, first, you must let the host/hostess know ahead of time so that he/she can prepare. If those needs are for health or religeous reasons, then by all means, the host/hostess should be willing to accomidate your needs. However, don't expect your needs (unless for medical purposes) to be greater than anyone else's needs, especially if you throw your special dietary requirements on your host/hostess when you walk through the door. And even if circumstances causes this to happen, then you must be gracious and understanding, and indeed, should be willing to assist by offering to make a list of foods and cooking methods that are acceptable, and if possible, helping foot the bill for those special food items.

If you are invited to a person's house for a meal, and let the person who invited you know of your special dietary needs, then by all means, by virtue of the invitation, it is up to the host/hostess to accomodate you.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that both the giver and receiver must show respect and courtesy to each other, and all others present. Anything less is childish and self-centered. And I completely agree with jpmcgrew. No single person is more important than any other, except for the person making the meal. After all, what everyone eats is dependent on hte skill, and temperment of the cook.

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Old 07-11-2006, 12:36 AM   #14
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I always ask beforehand if there is something they can't or don't eat. If they don't tell me, it isn't my problem.We had a young man visit us a few years ago whom I would never invite. He acted sulky, didn't eat anything and was totally disgruntled the entire visit. He came with a family member. I was glad when he left. I think that is the only person I've known who didn't like anything we had at any meal. I considered it was his problem, not mine. I tried everything and he was unhappy. He seemed to have made up his mind to be very rude.
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Old 07-11-2006, 06:29 PM   #15
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The other thing is people who demand a special diet such as low cholesterol or vegetarian but when they see what every body else is eating they all of a sudden decide they can eat that.I had a man at the ranch want all low cholesterol food so I made it but if it was prime rib night,guess what. I have also cooked special vegie burgers for some young girls at another ranch I worked at, they where actually really good I used fine diced mushrooms'onion and other stuff spent quite some time on making them taste good but when the beef burgers came out.guess what.
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Old 07-11-2006, 08:05 PM   #16
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If your cooking something for a potluck/dinner party, and people have dietary restrictions, just make a card to put in front of the dish stating what is in the dish, this way anyone can make an informed decision, which leaves you off the hook.
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Old 07-11-2006, 11:06 PM   #17
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if i were a restaurant owner, yes, i'd say so, from the beginning, what my menu items were composed of.
if she is a pal prone to phases, uh-uh. i'd leave it unmentioned. causes potential/unnecessary frettting. did she wake up next day with anchovy paste & pesto hangovers?
if she's fine, & you're fine, let it be.
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