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Aug 16, 2009 11:16 AM

When you invite company for dinner do you make whatever you want or cater to their special tastes

Sometimes I do make certain things for my guests as not everyone likes everything you are making

Just curious what most people do

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  1. Ideally, I would like to make whatever I want but the truth is that I would hate it if I put in a lot of effort and my guests didn't eat it or left most of it. I know I would eat absolutely everything that is put in front of me at someone else's house (regardless of whether I like it or not) but I don't have any food allergies or intolerances which I know some people do.

    One of my friends is a Muslim and she only eats halal meats (and obviously doesn't drink alcohol) so when she's over, I make sure I cater to her needs. Another friend of mine only eats boiled pasta with olive oil and soy burgers with brown rice so I know not to bother cooking for her because it would depress me no end...

    1. I make up a menu that pleases me, but I take into account whether or not a guest is a vegetarian or has allergies to certain foods. If I know that a particular guest has an aversion to or an affinity for certain foods, I take that into account, as well. Making up a menu is always a juggling act.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jmnewel

        I agree -- in the best of all worlds, you would make what you want and your guests would eat it. However, it's certainly considerate to take into account at the very least things they cannot eat (don't serve pot roast to a vegetarian, don't serve spaghetti to someone who is gluten intolerant, etc.). Beyond that, there's a lot of room for compromise. I don't expect all my friends to remember my likes and dislikes -- if they serve something I don't like, I just eat around it as unobtrusively as possible. On the other hand, I want my friends to enjoy my cooking, so I try to plan things I know they will enjoy. I even serve foods that I don't like -- for example, I don't like tomatoes in my salad, so I'll make a salad with cherry tomatoes that won't get "tomato slime" on the salad portion I serve myself.

      2. i love food too much to cook for fussy eaters! [.......we go out instead.]

        in most cases people would like to stay longer at yours truly's hotel-restaurant-pub. always nice(st) things to eat and drink at my house.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Pata_Negra

          I agree. I have one friend who would be such a pain in the neck to cook for that I wouldn't dream of it. And that's not even taking her husband into account. I try hard to cook things that my company would like, but if they want to use food as a control issue, well, nobody's going to shove it down your throat, so you win! Just don't complain aout being hungry near me.

          IMO, most food issues are control issues rather than genuine sensitivities or allergies. Life's too short.

          1. re: EWSflash

            "IMO, most food issues are control issues rather than genuine sensitivities or allergies."
            as someone who suffers from genuine sensitivities and has family members with fatal food allergies, i find blanket statements like that offensive. and unfortunately, i've gotten extremely ill on more than one occasion from eating food that i shouldn't have, either because i didn't want to make as issue out of it when confronted/challenged by skeptics with a similar attitude, or because a host or restaurant didn't take me seriously and insisted that something was safe for me to eat when it wasn't. you're right that life's too short - for me, it's too short to waste precious days miserable in bed, or even worse, in the ER.

            as far as entertaining goes, if someone requests a particular dish - which happens often- i'll gladly oblige and plan the rest of the meal around it. otherwise i create the menu, check with my guests to make sure it works for them, and make adjustments to accommodate preferences, intolerances, allergies, etc. if necessary.

            1. re: EWSflash

              I disagree. I have many sensitivities and have gotten into arguments about them because people think I'm lying. I have problems both with eating too much fatty food and am lactose intolerant, but I typically know how much I can handle in a day. It can pose problems for surprise dinner parties because something I might be able to have with advanced planning, I can't have for a surprise party because I've already had my milk product/fatty food allotment for the day.

              1. re: EWSflash

                IMO, I've found that people who say that most food issues are about control are fortunate to have few or no food sensitivities. It might perhaps do for them to give thanks that they are so fortunate, and then to show a bit of compassion for those who aren't.

                1. re: Cachetes

                  I did not mean to imply that there was no such thing as a food allergy. If somebody has celiac disease or their throat swells up when they eat bananas, that's a real issue. I'm just saying that most of the people I know with food issues don't have real allergies or sensitivities, rather they're couching dislikes as sensitivities, which is cowardly AND makes it bad for people with genuine problems because they tend to get lumped in together.

                  You're right, I'm VERY fortunate and very grateful not to have any food allergies. My son is allergic to bananas, thank God it isn't something as ubiquitous as peanuts or wheat.

                  I'm also sensitive to the plight of people with food issues as long as they're real issues.

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    <My son is allergic to bananas>

                    Me too! I thought I was the only one in the world.

                    1. re: EWSflash

                      I guess you are right that some people use food to control or just get what they want. But I also would surmise that these people probably aren't as prevalent on chowhound as they are in the general population. As for an allergy to bananas, I've never even hear of that before!

              2. I definately take their tastes into consideration, but I've been so, so lucky. There are no picky, fussy eaters in our group at all - anything goes!

                1. If I invite someone to a meal, why would I NOT be sensitive to their preferences? We happen to have a home in a resort location and have a lot of house guests. Before they come I have a brief email questionnaire asking if there are allergies or any medical restrictions. But I also ask if there are "foods you hate" or "foods you love." I also ask about spice "heat" tolerance. I like to cook but why cook something your guest won't like? It is not my job to "educate" their palates. Having said this, I do try to make interesting dishes within parameters set up by their responses.