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I fed a vegetarian lard by mistake. Do I tell her?

I made a big 7-layer taco dip thingy to take to movie night at a friend's house. Because a couple of people in our circle are vegetarians, I also made a smaller casserole of the same dip, without the meat. Anyway, people loved it, particularly my vegetarian friend who was really happy that someone had made something special for her.

When I got home and was cleaning up, I realized that I had used the can of traditional refried beans, not the can of veggie ones. And when I looked on the ingredients, LARD.

So do I tell her, or not? She's not allergic to meat, so it won't hurt her, but she has been a vegetarian for 20+ years and I know she'll be upset. On one hand, she has a right to know, on the other hand, it will really upset her, and it's something that can't be changed now.

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  1. I would leave it alone. Recall the lyrics of a Chad and Jeremy song: "that was yesterday, and yesterday's gone". Or Bob Seger: "turn the page"

    1. I am absolutely with Veggo. It was an honest mistake.

      1. While discussing my friend's position here where he considers himself to be vegetarian, I remember getting spanked on here for not knowing the the difference on why he and others could choose to eat dairy items such as cheese or butter. Others chimed in saying he was really an omnivore, then others would chime in and say he was actually a pescetarian. Anyhow, whatever he is, I have been out to dinner with him where he has ordered New England Style Clam Chowder and he enjoyed it very much. After he had finished the soup, I later realized that Pork Fatback is often used to make the soup and I informed him as such. He said *really* and simply shrugged it off as a lesson learned and did not excuse himself to do anything drastic to have it removed from his insides. In fact, he said he had been ordering and eating it for years without knowing. Although your situation is not quite the same, I would treat it as such. It was not intentional on your part. Leave it alone and hopefully you will remember next time to alter your recipes as needed.

        I don't know if this means anything, but every vegetarian I have ever known still loves the smell of bacon when it's being cooked......you committed no crime in my view.......but if you had used margarine, that would be a different story.

        4 Replies
        1. re: fourunder

          fourunder: What's your opinion on margarine?

          1. re: naturelle

            Other than the food police trying to ram it down people's throats instead of butter over the years, I really do not have an unfavorable position on margarine. My comment above was really just an attempt at levity. Personally, I do not purchase it or similar items for my home use, although I will admit to trying Shedd's Spread and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter in the past. If I'm out of the home and it's the only option, I'll use it sparingly on a bagel.....but really, I am a fan of butter. My decisions regarding use of margarine or butter has to do with taste, and not with any health concerns. I really do not use much of either, so it's a non issue for me, but when I have bread, I want real butter, not margarine or even Olive Oil. When I cook, I always use real butter when called for, never margarine, it's simply what I prefer always.

            The only time I could use margarine where I see a beneficial purpose in general is to grease a pan to fry an egg..... there are some commercial butter blends available to restaurants that are pretty good as an alternative to the high cost of real butter. tastes good and would use or have on hand in my home....and recommend to others. A company named James Farms makes a product in a four pound tub called Buttery Blend that I find is pretty good as a real butter alternative. I do not know the make up of ingredients, but from recollection, it does contain real butter and buttermilk solids.....I'm sure there are some vegetable and or canola oils with other things I cannot pronounce used to make the product....but I find it to be a good product overall and much better than olio/margarine.

            1. re: fourunder

              It's usually 40% butter and 60% margarine. Great economical choice in a professional kitchen. Not sure if you can find it retail. The one I'm familiar with is Sunrise brand: a chef I know thought for the longest time it was called Surprise brand for obvious reasons. I finally had to set him straight, but I thought that was kind of cute.

              1. re: coll

                For cholesterol reasons, I switched to Smart Balance (contains mild solids)instead of butter as a spread several years ago. Although it has salt (I prefer unsalted butter), it is not as salty as salted butter, and the flavor is really rather good. Not great for greasing a pan, and I never tried baking with it.

        2. As a long-time non-meat eater, I agree that this was not intentional on your part and the effort to create separate dish was appreciated. I would not worry about it at this point.

          1. The only time you might have an obligation is, for example, if the person has a religious belief that eating something taboo renders them ritually impure in some way, regardless of intentionality/knowledge.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Karl S

              Even for a religious belief I feel the same rule applies. What if the person was kosher and had never knowingly eaten shrimp their entire life... and then you inform them that you accidentally fed them real crustaceans? I would leave it alone because the only person you will be helping is yourself by relieving your guilt. If the knowledge is only going to hurt your friend, it serves no purpose in telling.

              1. re: NicoleFriedman

                Perhaps the deeply religious observer might appreciate the chance to make penance/ask forgiveness/confess etc. . . . If they truly believed the consumption made them ritually unclean, then they need know so they can take steps to purify themselves.

              2. re: Karl S

                I wouldn't tell the religious observer if it was an honest mistake. I remember a friend who arrived from a Middle Eastern country (he is Muslim) and liking sandwiches made from something called "ham". He thought it was a specific meat and didn't realise it was pork. We did have a good laugh about that; fortunately he didn't feel sinful for such an honest error. Of course he never ate ham again.

                People's ethical beliefs about no meat, if they are serious about them, are just as important as a religious belief system. But I don't see any reason to make people feel bad if they aren't allergic and it was an honest error.

                1. re: lagatta

                  These concepts of 'sinful' combined with 'atonement' and 'confession' seem to me a very Christian lens to use on other practices.

                  At least in practising Judaism, there are regular procedures for washing and cleansing the body so this need to remove the sinful food item through ablutions is not really something I'm familiar with.

                  For instance, in NYC, it was discovered that there was a microscopic crustacean that inhabited the water supply, The orthodox and chassidic communities didn't go into a 'we're impure' meltdown but instead looked to find ways to stop the crustacean from coming through (rules on water filters ensued).

                  1. re: Lizard

                    lizard, christians have the *fewest* food proscriptions (and i could argue that they have none).

                    1. re: alkapal

                      Well, you didn't grow up Catholic,

                      1. re: pikawicca

                        Really. I always thought that the prevailing sentiment in the highly Catholic Philippines was that if you could really taste it, feel it, or enjoy it, it had to be a SIN.

                      2. re: alkapal

                        That wasn't my point,

                        Please re-read: These concepts of 'sinful' combined with 'atonement' and 'confession' seem to me a very Christian lens to use on OTHER practices.

                        Not about Christian food proscriptions.