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Aug 13, 2007 12:34 AM

Is this food terrorism?

So, my DH is an obsessive foodie and picky eaters do drive him crazy. To his credit, he/we are virtually the only ones in a family of substantial size that care to or bother to host holiday gatherings. We have a few people in the extended family with special dietary "requirements."

They range from the cousin who refuses to eat anything with mushrooms to a Muslim in-law who says he follows Halel, but is known to frequent Burger King. Basically, DH has given up arranging his dishes for the benefit of each and every guest and now puts in whatever is called for, but then "forgets" that there are mushrooms or pork when describing the components of the dish. Since we're not dealing with anyone who has an actual food allergy, no one is the wiser.

What's the general consensus on this? Before this tactic was employed, DH would end up preparing 4-5 additional dishes to meet each special requirement. Long story short - rude extended family members and $37.00 of uneaten sea bass make for mad hosts. How far are hosts expected to go these days to accomodate everyone when there are many people coming for a holiday/occasion dinner?

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  1. Be honest with your guests. Would you expect anything less when you were in their home? Tell DH to cook simpler, cheaper and less "foodie". It's not about showing off; it's about making your family feel welcome and comfortable. He may not enjoy the family gathering as much but you'll be better hosts.

    1. don't make anything with pork. the mushroom-hater can pick them out. religious observances count here. vegetarians usually expect that they will have to find something at the table they can eat, you don't need to cater to them, just don't use chicken stock in everything.

      2 Replies
      1. re: fara

        picking out the offfensive food doesn't always work. Depending on what it is, and especially if it is cooked into a dish, its flavor can be left behind to ruin everything.

        1. Your DH is a saint for trying to accommodate everyone. I would have given up a long time ago. Here's what I would do (I'm no cook or a foodie, so maybe my opinion doesn't count): Invite them over for dinner and tell them the menu. They can decide if the menu will stop them from coming or not. "Thanksgiving dinner will be on Thursday night. We will have turkey....." If you're making a vegetarian dish, then tell the vegetarian that. But that's it!

          I don't eat food with bell peppers, mustard, and a ton of other stuff, but if I'm going to someone's house for dinner, I don't expect them to accommodate me. I figure I'll find something to eat.

          1 Reply
          1. re: boltnut55

            I agree with what everyone else has said, but I understand your dillema.

            I have friends and family members who tell me they are "strict no-carb"ers when I ask what I should and shouldn't prepare when they come over for dinner. In the past, I have altered my meal plans (no rice, potatoes, bread, high sugar veggies, fruits, pastas, etc... .they also said whole grains were a no-no.)

            However, after spending a lot of time with them outside of my home and seeing the gallons of ice cream, pasta, candy and sweet coffee drinks they consume while on their "strict no carb" diet, I decided to make whatever the hell I wanted when they came over.

            So far, all I've heard is "this is delicious!"

            I'm all for being accomodating, but I don't deal with hypocracy very well.

          2. "Forgetting" seems to be in bad form. Be honest with the guests and tell them what's on the menu before the event. They can decide whether they'll be able to find something to eat and, if necessary, eat a snack beforehand so they won't be hungry throughout the dinner. As long as your DH isn't putting pork and mushrooms in every dish, the guests should find something off the menu they can eat. It may be better to include more simple dishes with fewer ingredients that could cause a problem, but no need to go out and buy expensive substitutes.

            1. although everything tastes better with bacon, it's not a huge stretch to cook without it. or mushrooms for that matter. if your husband is as much of a foodie as you say, he should be able to find dishes to accommodate the food preferences of guests, even if those preferences are pretend. i adore shellfish. i have a dear friend who is deathly allergic. when he comes over, there is not a speck of shrimp or scallop to be found on the menu. it's not that hard.

              i'm always a little surprised and (saddened) by hosts or wives who lie about what's on the plate. it seems selfish and immature, but pretend food aversions are too, i guess, lol.