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Returning the dietary choice favor

Because of health reasons, I need to eat a carnivorous diet. Animal fats, meats and eggs are the bulk of what I eat and my well-being has improved tremendously on this regime. I've learned the hard way that grains, soy, starches and beans do not like me one bit.

Due to volunteer work I do with young people I am thrown in with vegetarians and vegans. The more lenient of my vegetarian acquaintances understand how I eat and will do nice things like make a kick-ass spinach frittata, something all involved can enjoy. I don't specifically ask this, it's just done as a thoughtful gesture and I always let them know it's appreciated.

I respect others' dietary choices. Unfortunately I've found that mine is totally disrespected. My group is big on potlucks, and unfortunately the menu always skews heavily in favor of dishes filled with grains, soy, starcges and beans. Non-starchy vegetable offerings are close to nonexistent (unless I bring one), so this dilemma comes up:

Someone asks me if I've tried the vegan red velvet cake or the sprouted-grain pizza with soy cheese. I say no, unfortunately I'm unable to eat it due to health reasons, but I'm sure it's very good and I wish I could.

"But it IS healthy!" comes the response.

"No, not for me, I'm sorry."

"It's vegan! It's got whole grains/sprouts/soy milk, it's really healthy!"

"For you, maybe. For me, no. Don't take it personally, I got dealt this hand, sorry."

But, of course, it's inevitably taken personally--even though many of these people KNOW how I eat, have been TOLD I get sick; some have even seen how I react for themselves. I have NEVER had one vegan say before these things "hey, Mandy, tell me what you can eat, I'll see what I can rustle up." I am expected to eat what's available. I've tried to turn it, saying that it would be like me offering bacon cheeseburgers and omelets to them knowing full well they can't eat it and getting pissed off that they didn't. Doesn't work.

(FYI--these things are combined with business meetings so I can't get out of them)

Is it wrong for me to ask for a salad or even a veggie tray if they want me to eat with them so badly? Or is it offensive?

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  1. I try to respect everyones' dietary choices, but find that many vegetarians and vegans want to "teach" all others the virtues of their choices, and take direct offense, if one makes other choices, whatever the reasons.

    We attempt to accommodate them, but do not pay much attention, and break off conversations, when they try to proselytize on how much better they are, than we are. It's like dining with a bunch of Amway salespeople.

    While we are omnivores, you would be welcome at our table.


    14 Replies
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      Couldn't agree more, Mr. Hunt.

      Live and let live. More importantly, eat and let eat.

      1. re: Bill Hunt

        Bill, you seem to know an awful lot of vegetarians to be able to make these generalizations.

        1. re: im_nomad

          I'm not 100% sure what Bill does for a living. But based on his posts I know he organizes A LOT of dinners. As a result I would assume he deals with a lot of varied dietary restrictions. Also based on his posts, he goes out of his way to make sure those needs/restrictions are properly attended to.

          1. re: donovt

            Yes, but being a p.i.t.a. is not the exclusive territory of vegetarians / vegans, and there are plenty of perfectly lovely, non-preaching veg's out there as well. I don't understand the stereotype.

            1. re: im_nomad

              Agree completely about p.I.t.a. statement. I know only a few vegetarians and they happen to be wonderful, non-preachy people. Bill obviously has experiences with many more than I do and feels that "many", not all, tend to want to teach.

              I was simply replying to your statement that he must know a lot of vegetarians by saying yes, he probably does. Not saying his feelings were right or wrong, just that they are probably based off of many experiences.

              1. re: donovt

                There were several (back in the Boulder days), who did wish to "convert" everyone they met. One went around with a briefcase of charts and studies, and would make rather rude comments and noises, when others were eating their choice of meals. We try to avoid such folk. We try to respect all, but do not wish for our choices to be met with documents in an attempt to change our lifestyle. Imagine an Amway salesperson, but where food is concerned.

                So long as one keeps it as a personal choice, they are most welcome. I do not enjoy a guest, who tries to change me. The vast majority never do, and so are graciously accepted around our table.

                My mother instructed me to never talk religion, politics or sexual preferences around the table. I would add dietary choices. We'll honor all, but are not interested in "joining."


              2. re: im_nomad

                I certainly hope that my initial post did not come off as painting any of our guest as PITA. They are not, and never have been. They have either made choices, or have been dealt a hand, where there are dietary restrictions. We try to honor all, to the best of our abilities. My wife has some dietary restrictions, so we understand, or at least try to. Now, sometimes things do not go perfectly. We recently hosted a table of 10, and one lady had requested the "vegetarian" meal, and we offered the caterer her restrictions/details. The service was very slow for her meal, and the table just stayed in conversation, not touching anything, until her dish was finally served. Fortunately, it was within her guidelines and she stated that she enjoyed it. The rest of us were none the worse for the wear, and my wife and I were happy that it worked out well, with just a service glitch. Heck, we've had more service glitches with meals off the set menu, and no changes! Stuff happens, and one learns to live with it.


                1. re: im_nomad

                  I agree that the stereotype is just that- a stereotype. I just went to my first Buddhist retreat (I'm not a Buddhist by the way but wow was that place relaxing!). Obviously the fare was all vegetarian. Not once was I preached to, condescending or otherwise about how I need to alter my omnivorous ways... perhaps it was because I was dining amongst Buddhist monks:} At the same time, I was careful to be respectful and not shove in their faces how I love grilled burgers.

              3. re: im_nomad

                I seem to. In my wife's Senior Management Team, there were about six, either team members, or spouses.

                Also, for about 20 years, we lived near Boulder, CO, and knew even more back then.

                Now, many of these folk had individual definitions of their dietary choices, so we did have to ask for clarifications. We try hard to not make generalizations, but to be specific to each guest. Usually, things seem to work well.


              4. re: Bill Hunt

                For every sanctimonious vegetarian, there's an equally obnoxious carnivore asking a non-meat eater "well, DO YOU WEAR LEATHER?"

                No one group of eaters has a lock on the jackass quotient.

                1. re: LeoLioness

                  As an omnivore who encounters omnivores, carnivores and vegans frequently, in terms of frequency of occurrence:

                  3rd most frequent (actually quite rare) - vegans going on about the moral superiority of their dietary regime

                  2nd most frequent - carnivores & omnivores mocking the dietary regime of vegans

                  Most frequent - carnivores & omnivores complaining about vegans going on about ...

                  It reminds me of the 70s, when the number of women who complained about sexism was far eclipsed by the number of men mocking the women or complaining about the women's complaints.

                  1. re: LeoLioness

                    I would never do that. One's dietary are their personal decision. They are none of my business, until it comes time to order the meals for the table. Then, all that I care about is their personal satisfaction with that meal. I do not care if they wear hemp sandals, unless there is a dress code.

                    Though I might discuss the flavors, or the textures of my meal (in only the appropriate settings), I would never try to convince others of the merits of my food. I would instead do a review, at a site such as CH.

                    Same goes for my wines. If a person declines, I ask if there might be another, that they'd prefer. If not, then I will ask for help in the beverage of choice. None of that "oh, just one little taste... "

                    Now, I have met some proselytizing vegetarians and vegans, but I have fortunately not met such a carnivore. I also hope that I do not. I am sure, however, that they exist and maybe in greater number - just a guess and not a scientific study.


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      You would probably encounter more "proselytizing carnivores" if you lived in an area where "political incorrectness" is considered a badge of honor, instead of what it usually is, which is plain old rudeness.

                      1. re: dump123456789

                        Well, as the realtors are fond of saying, "location, location, location... "


                2. Perhaps part of the problem with the offerings is that it is a potluck. The starchy items are usually the least expensive to make and often hold up better than leafy items.

                  The only thing you can do is make your contributed dish one you can eat and eat before the meeting so you don't starve!

                  The considerate people who notice and understand your situation will get it, the others won't.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: meatn3

                    I agree. I think it's rude to make requests at a potluck and you just have to suck it up and bring something you really like for yourself if you don't think others will bring anything for you. We have potlucks seemingly weekly at work and it seems like only half have any non-starchy offerings. They're just the easiest and cheapest foods to make and store for large groups of people. Things like large veggie plates usually have to be refrigerated, and there isn't always room to hold something of that size if it's not going to be served immediately.

                    1. re: queencru

                      Most of the potlucks at my workpace seem to fall into three categories: potatoes, pasta salad and meatballs ;) Oh, and dessert.

                      Although usually someone will bring a fruit or vegetable tray because they either don't want to, or can't cook, and you can always buy these ready made at the grocery store.

                      I have been to potlucks where the only thing I could eat was potato chips and dessert (because people wanted me to bring dessert), and i'm not a huge dessert nut like alot of people I work with. I'm ok with that.

                      1. re: im_nomad

                        Now, I am with you on the desserts. We don't do that many potlucks, but the few that we attend, seem to be very, very dessert-heavy. Hey, no problem. It means that I don't have to buy new trousers THAT often.

                        We do a lot of wine-oriented dinners, and often actually have trouble getting people to commit to dessert. Usually, the host/hostess will do the main course AND the dessert, plus appropriate wines to accompany each, plus a welcome wine.

                        Left to their own devices, without a list of courses to select to bring, I see so many more desserts, than other courses. Maybe a regional thing?


                  2. It's too bad that these people do not respect your diet, but it IS offensive to make requests at a potluck, especially since the grains, starches, and beans you can't eat are probably the bulk of their diets. If you want choices that you can eat to be available, it is up to you to bring them. Basically, although THEIR behavior is offensive, you don't want to be offensive in turn, so you have to fend for yourself in these situations.

                    If your response, "I can't eat it for health reasons" is leading to arguments that the food IS healthy, perhaps you could simply say that you are allergic to grains, or that your doctor put you on a special grain-free diet, or whatever.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Nicole

                      perhaps the OP could say 'ooh that sounds nice' and stop telling people what they can and can't eat. People who tell you they hate/can't eat brussel sprouts, wheat, dairy, this that and anything else are boring. If they are not cooking for you then it doesn't affect you so why bother to start a discussion.

                      bring what you can eat to a potluck or meeting and all will be fine. Personally, I have no interest in other people's food requirements unless I am providing for them.

                      1. re: Nicole

                        Oh, please don't resort to an allergy "excuse." This just makes is harder for everyone who has a real allergy. I think you should stick with the truth, and get assertive!

                      2. I have crazy food restrictions, and find it boring talking about it all the time, so I either bring food I can eat, and eat just that, or eat before or after. Usually there will be someone who will say, but can't you just try this little bit? No, I can't. Hopefully they leave it at that. However, if relentlessly pressed like stated above, I find it entirely appropriate to bust out the explosive diarrhea talk. Unpleasant? Yes, but it nips it in the bud.

                        1. Self-righteousness, whatever form it takes, is hard to take. You need to explain that healthy means different things to different people and that eating their food will make you sick. Tell them to think of it in terms of food allergies. Walnuts are healthy for most people, but they are lethal to some.

                          1. These meetings are held in people's homes so there's refrigerators, places to plug in the slow cooker, etc. and food safety is not an issue. The point I was trying to make is that I would not get angry if someone I knew to be a vegetarian/vegan wouldn't try my deviled eggs. There are many in this group who DO get mad that I didn't try their vegan cookies or their quinoa and bulgur salad knowing full well I have to avoid them. Amusingly these are also the same ones who turn up their noses at any dish that contains actual vegetables. They are also the youngest in the group, I think the oldest is maybe 22.

                            And I refuse to use the allergy anology. The explosive diarrhea discussion might work though. ;)

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: MandalayVA

                              Vegans who don't like vegetables? Do they live exclusively on grains?

                              Maybe it would help if you're specific about why you can't eat it (instead of "for health reasons", you could say, "I have digestive issues and can't eat grains").

                              But... yeah. For some reason people get really worked up about what other people can't/won't eat. I agree with those who say you should bring something you can eat and just try to avoid (or start the diarrhea talk with) people who give you a hard time.

                              1. re: MandalayVA

                                The point in life may have a bit to do with the viewpoints. The younger ones may still be in the excitement/proselytizing phase that often goes hand-n-hand with creating a life distinctive from the one they were raised with. If you are older, they may be sweeping your "rejection" into an ill-informed judgment rather than actually listening enough to understand where you are coming from.

                                If they can't hear, no use wasting the energy on your words just being blown to the winds.

                                In your shoes, I'd eat before arriving. If they push the food, turn the tables and inquire about the recipe/technique with enthusiasm. Once some people get talking they never notice what you are doing as long as you make make nice cooing sounds at the appropriate points...

                                1. re: meatn3

                                  exactly, just say you tried a cookie or bulghar salad and it was scrumptious. Why get into any discussion?

                                  1. re: smartie

                                    speaking as someone who unfortunately can't eat many foods for health reasons, i absolutely would NEVER lie and say i tried something if i didn't. those of us who need to adhere to restricted diets have a hard enough time getting others to take us seriously as it is, which is basically the point of this thread. claiming to have consumed something you've already told people you can't just leaves the impression that your restrictions are out of choice and not necessity, and that makes it even harder for all of us.

                                2. re: MandalayVA

                                  Sounds like a symptom of your group, rather than characteristic of vegetarians / vegans.

                                  No one has ever gotten bent out of shape whether I ate or not ate anything at a potluck (which in my experience are typically meat-heavy).

                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                    As a p.s. to this... what I HAVE seen.... are people getting majorly bent out of shape because *they* always bring such expensive items while others only bring rolls or a bag of chips. I didn't realize potlucks were so political.

                                    1. re: im_nomad

                                      So true. Some potlucks there's someone complaining that they handpicked the ingredients on the side of a mountain, cooked for 40 hours straight and Joe only brought the soda and Sue bought her contribution from a bakery.

                                      I like to cook for people, but not everyone likes to cook or even knows how. Better that they contribute something within their means and abilities than try and cook something that fails miserably.

                                      1. re: Sooeygun

                                        And frankly, just because something is "homemade" doesn't mean it's any good.

                                3. I know that this post is a little older but I do have a solution. Just reply that you wish you could try it but that your doctor placed you on a restricted diet. You don't have to discuss any more details about it than that and it squashes much more further conversation about it.

                                  The reason that you are getting feedback that you don't really care for is that you are saying words like "health" etc in your responses. I think a good many people would be baffled by a response that the grain/veggie dish isn't healthy and couldn't really help by respond.

                                  If you don't wish to discuss it further directly ask the person to change the subject in a nice way.

                                  Just FYI, this is coming from a vegetarian that can't stand it when everyone around me wants to talk about why I eat what I eat. I can't stand to discuss my diet around the dinner table and cringe each and every time.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Astur

                                    Your last point... ditto. I don't like being put in the spotlight as a rule, no matter what.

                                    1. re: Astur

                                      I completely agree. Bring something you can eat and enjoy to the potluck, don't use the word 'health', which will generate a response, and just smile and say you are sure the (whatever) is delicious but you are on a restricted diet. If they ask questions about the nature of the diet, smile and say, "thanks, but perhaps we can discuss some other time, it isnt really meal time conversation" and then switch the subject!

                                    2. I have found, from experience, that overexplaining is what tends to lead to these types of discussions. In the future, I suggest that when they ask if you've tried something, just say "No, thanks." If you don't give them a reason, they have little to argue against. If they push you, just tell them you don't like it.

                                      I am learning this is a good lesson for life in general.

                                      1. As I mentioned elsewhere in the thread, I do think that this is primarily group-specific, but also, potlucks are not guaranteed meals for anyone.

                                        I can only speak for myself, but I have returned the dietary favor... in my own home anyway. I have cooked turkey and ham and I eat none of these things...and have cooked non-vegetable / grain heavy foods for a guest with crohns. Can't say I've ever brought a meat dish to a potluck though. I usually bring something I can eat. BUT, if I were attending a pot luck with the majority in your situation, I might, I suppose.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: im_nomad

                                          "As I mentioned elsewhere in the thread, I do think that this is primarily group-specific, but also, potlucks are not guaranteed meals for anyone."

                                          I don't see this as specific to vegans, vegetarians, omnivores, or carnivores. I attend many events (not so many real potlucks), where I do not want to eat anything. Others will chow down, and I will step outside, and make a restaurant reservation for my wife and me, for later on. I often wonder about "what were they thinking?" regarding the menus, or the dishes brought. My observations have zero to do with personal dietary choices - just choices of dishes.


                                        2. I am a vegetarian and really never cooked meat...so I am really not confident hosting a dinner with meat since I probably wouldn't cook it well. I usually host lunches and brunches since these meals are usually acceptable to omnivores. I have to say I'm really not sure how to handle this comfortably. I don't assume that everyone eats or is willing to eat tofu or eat ethnic foods (like Indian). I probably would entertain more if I could resolve my apprehension. I was once told by a friend that he had to eat meat at every meal (including breakfast) - else it didn't feel like a meal. Do most people think this way?

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: evanie

                                            dammit! make a blasted pizza party!
                                            Or have some delish mac&cheese.
                                            Yeah, there are a FEW people who won't eat any meal without meat...

                                            But everybody loves pizza! And nearly everyone likes "no toppings," handmade, with fun!

                                            I loathe tofu, but give me some chickpeas!

                                            Seriously, people never eat tomato soup and peanut butter and jelly? Never?

                                            Or pasta night, with some good parmesan?

                                            Those people are being needlessly picky, and I'd call them out on it.

                                            1. re: Chowrin

                                              I'm diabetic; I never eat pizza, pasta, tomato soup or pb and j. :-)

                                              I do eat toppings off pizza if it's all that's available, but in order to eat enough, I'd have to take more than my share, so I just limit it. I can usually find something I can eat the protein from, without making any noises about my dietary needs.

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                You are unusual in a very good way mcf. These days people seem all about making noises. Especially about dietary needs.

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  *nods* well, you've got a fine reason NOT to! rofl. seriously, I have little patience for people who haven't the bravery to try things that they'd like. I am all for being considerate of others.

                                                  And you'd love my tamatar khabli chana usal (dare you to take that to a potluck! it's vegan!)

                                            2. Wow your post made me sad Mandalay. I've been trying raw vegan this summer and it has certainly been an adventure. I'm trying to understand the people you describe and it just blows my mind. The group I'm learning from can be plenty obnoxious but the diet itself is pretty nifty. How can vegans and vegetarians not have salads and veggies to offer? What the heck? Sounds like you are meeting the junk food vegans or something. I know you can't do this nor would you want to but it would be amusing if you told them all that you are now raw vegan and it is so much better for you.
                                              My group eats huge salads with only a small amount of olive oil, an avocado or so a day, and they go very easy on the nuts to avoid getting a nut allergy. I've always gone light on the avocados due to the calories so I'm thrilled that I can eat guacamole guilt free. THey do eat a ton of fruit and green smoothies too.
                                              After thinking about these people you describe I'm starting to get very angry. Where do you live again? Might have to show up and kick some vegan butt! Just kidding but it is fun to think about. Really your situation is ridiculous. Keep me posted please, I hope things get better for ya.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: givemecarbs

                                                Can you explain the "they go easy on nuts to avoid getting a nut allergy"? Is it not true that if, by the time you're an adult, you aren't allergic to nuts, you aren't allergic to nuts? Can you make yourself allergic to nuts simply by eating them?

                                                  1. re: givemecarbs

                                                    Yikes! That's a bummer, I did not know that. Thanks.

                                                    1. re: visciole

                                                      It's not just nuts; it can happen with any exposure over time, but the opposite is also true. You can become less allergic with increased exposures over time, too. Happened to me with some foods (fish and shellfish) and with my former cat allergy.

                                                  2. re: visciole

                                                    well, your body chemistry changes about every seven years or so and you can develop allergies later in life.
                                                    We have a friend who never had an allergy, but in his 30s became allergic to legumes to the point where he's carrying an epi pen.
                                                    my nut allergy began in childhood as just an irritation, and now is a life-threatening epi pen carrying pain.

                                                    1. re: visciole

                                                      Absolutely. I've known many people who became allergic to foods as adults simply by eating too much of them.

                                                  3. Oh my gosh I just noticed the date on this post. Mandalay give us an update please, enquiring minds want to know how things are going these days for you!

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: givemecarbs

                                                      LOL, I was wondering why this jumped back up!

                                                      There seems to be a mindset among these people that vegetarianism/veganism just means "no animal products," not "eat vegetables." Keep in mind that the majority of them are young upper middle class college-age women, an age where you think you know everything and everyone older than you is wrong. Veganism is VERY in right now so they're just going on with their little tattooed trendy selves. At the last potluck last week--thankfully held at an omnivore's house, such delicious little Korean meatballs, yes--the omnivore and I were talking about stuff we were getting at the farmer's market. One of the more militant young vegans was listening in, and EVERY time one of us mentioned a fruit or vegetable she would pipe up, "ew, I don't like that." That included tomatoes. Is now when I mention she was eating chips and salsa? The omnivore, who now that I think of it has come in since I originally posted this, thankfully always brings something I can eat--actual vegetables! Prepared wonderfully!--and she loves my deviled eggs, so win-win for all!

                                                      1. re: MandalayVA

                                                        Awesome Mandalay! Thanks so much for letting us know about the happy ending. I'm learning way too much about raw vegans these days. I was sitting in this class last week
                                                        when the teacher got out the cow puppet. I should have made a run for it. :) Everyone there was trying the raw vegan diet and we were all talking about the benefits of this regime. But apparently it's not enough to eat that way, one must do it for the correct reasons as well. I finally did get up and walk out for a bit to cool down. I'm of the school of better to bail than say something I'd regret. But I went back after a bit and enjoyed the rest of the class.
                                                        It's not for everyone though. I took my friend John to the class and he left early because he was hungry and wanted a big juicy cheeseburger. That omnivore sounds great.

                                                    2. I want to know why restaurants that are meat-centric are expected to have vegetarian choices available but vegetarian restaurants are never expected to have meat choices available (and in my experiences, never have).

                                                      11 Replies
                                                      1. re: bobbert

                                                        Because the definition of a vegetarian restaurant is one that doesn't serve meat, on principle. And as far as I know, there is no category of restaurant that doesn't serve vegetables, on principle. But I suspect you know this already and are just trying to stir something up. You might as well complain that Chinese restaurants don't serve pizza.

                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                          I might be guilty of being a poor hostess. When my daughter, with nut allergies, goes to people's houses, they're kind enough to serve her things that doesn't have nuts. When I reciprocate, I almost never have nut dishes for the same people (I'm kind of funny about cross contamination and death). When my MIL who doesn't like cheese comes to visit, I make dishes w/out cheese for her. OTOH, she's incredibly rude because she's never made me a cheese dish. When I host friends who are kosher, I make sure to have food they can eat. However, they don't make me non-kosher foods, no bacon--my favorite. Rudeness abounds everywhere.:-p

                                                          However, vegetarian restaurants that serve meat would just be... restaurants?

                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                            careful your joke might be too subtle around here :)

                                                            1. re: DGresh

                                                              Not too subtle. I'm lucky in that I can and do eat almost anything. I have several vegetarian friends who do not try to force their views on anyone and, of course, if I am hosting them, I make sure we have food that the'll eat and enjoy. My comment was based upon having just read a thread where several vegetarians went off on the lack of vegetarian choices in a well known for it's head to tail meat centric restaurant. So to complain about Chinese restaurants that don't serve pizza is very much like complaining about steak houses that don't have a good vegetarian selection. It's really not what they do. For business reasons they might have some vegetarian selections just like you can sometimes find hot dogs in a mexican restaurant. The most legit complaint about a restaurants menu is whether or not the food is good. And by the way, as a species, we're omnivores. If someone finds a human skull a million years from now, they'll take one look at our teeth and conclude we ate meat and vegetables.

                                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                                Would you also suggest that a kosher restaurant serve bacon cheeseburgers? You know, for "business reasons"?

                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                  Not at all and that's my point. What I'm saying is it's unfair to slam a steakhouse for not having enough vegetarian selections just as it's unfair to do so with vegetarian places that don't have meat and Kosher places that won't put mayo on a roast beef sandwich. I frequent a great vegetarian place and do not expect meat yet I very often read complaints from vegetarians about the lack of choices for them in restaurants that primarily serve meat dishes. I've yet to read a complaint by someone who keeps Kosher about the lack of Kosher items in non-Kosher places (yes, I know it gets way more involved than just trying to place "Kosher items" on the menu). It just seems to me that the only time it's acceptable to make such complaints is when it's for the lack of vegetarian options.
                                                                  By the way, most restaurants do make those business decisions that may at times go against the fundamental nature of their business. Outside of areas with a heavy Jewish population, you are more likely to find places that have a "Kosher style" menu where you can get cheese and mayo on your "Kosher style" sandwich. 80% of their customers don't have a clue what Kosher is. And the steakhouses don't want to lose the 10 top because one is a vegetarian so they try to cater to them as well even when they'd rather not.

                                                                  1. re: bobbert

                                                                    <What I'm saying is it's unfair to slam a steakhouse for not having enough vegetarian selections just as it's unfair to do so with vegetarian places that don't have meat and Kosher places that won't put mayo on a roast beef sandwich. >

                                                                    Except no one on this thread has done this, as far as I can tell. You're the one who introduced this hypothetical, based on something you read somewhere else. It isn't relevant to the original post. So it still seems to me (as I said in my first response to you) that you're just trying to start a "let's all complain about the rigid practices of vegetarian restaurants" sub-thread.

                                                                    1. re: small h

                                                                      Actually I was responding to your response but you are right - I've helped this thread stray even further from the OP's original question than it was already heading. I shall disengage and wait for a more appropriate thread.

                                                                      To the OP, pot luck. I bring what I like while trying to hopefully overlap with what I think most others will like. If I know someone has allergies, I will make a special effort not to kill anyone. If there are a lot of kids, I'll make something they like. Generally, I do not consider one individual's likes or dislikes but go for mass appeal. If you're invited to my house, rest assured there will be food that meets your dietary needs - that's just being a good host.

                                                                    2. re: bobbert

                                                                      Hi bobbert- while those who keep kosher do not mix meat and dairy products most mayo contains no dairy, and is served at many kosher meat restaurants

                                                                      1. re: PotatoPuff

                                                                        thank you. i was going to post the same thing but i was unsure of my footing. for some reason many people think that mayo is dairy based? or am i missing something???

                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                          Nah, I'm the one missing something. Growing up it just seemed that mayo on your roast beef sandwich was taboo. The mayo only made an appearance with tuna fish. I guess I spent a lot of time putting much less enjoyable condements on my sandwiches. If my mother was still around, I'd be having a word with her. Mayo on roast beef, kosher, go figure. Thanks.

                                                          2. I know this is an old thread but I do think if people host you, they should make an effort to serve vegetables or something you can eat, just as you'd do for them. I don't think a vegetarian should have to serve meat but since there are other foods you eat, they could easily have something for you. I also think, if someone is a vegetarian for health reasons, there is no reason they couldn't have a meat or egg dish for you. If it's on principal, I understand. I do hate the whole preaching that people's chosen diets are the healthiest for everyone. I think that's rude, too. Sometimes, when it comes to friends, it's easier to socialize outside of food.

                                                            1. It can be a fine line between sharing your enthusiasm for something that is important to you, especially when it is new in your life, as opposed to pushing your choices - be they necessary or voluntary - on someone else. When it gets to the food level, the most basic of all human needs, people do tend to get overzealous. As has been discussed in chow on many occasions, we all need to be respectful of other's choices, even when we don't agree with or even believe what the other person is saying. But that is a choice we can only make for ourselves. There is no way to make the other person observe the same rules. We just have to deal with it. I have an unusual allergy, mellon and lychee. I can't even drink infused liquor with those ingredients. Yet time and again I am told how 'one little bite' can't possibly hurt me, or that I really need to try this new aperitif. People tend to get offended if i ask if they have any benedryl just in case. Either that or they want a detailed description of my reaction and why I believe that means I have an allergy (.... uh because an allergist told me so.) I have found it somewhat effective to explain that my trachea could snap shut and i would be laying on the floor flopping around like a fish out of water, and how that MIGHT upset the mood of the event, but really, should I have to go that far? If someone says they can't eat shellfish, or someone else says they can't eat complex carbohydrates, or pork, the ONLY proper response is "oh, thanks for letting me know." There is no need to go on to tell the person how sad that is, and how much they are missing in life, and isn't unfortunate that they can't eat aunt sally's chocolate cake with hazelnut frosting - because it is really to die for...

                                                              I'm not sure I agree that it is wrong to classify celiac or other issues as an allergic reaction - at leat in a non-medical, casual conversation. But it shouldn't even come up. "Oh, it looks wonderful, but I can't eat that." should be enough to end the conversation unless the other person really is interested in your well being.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                I had to chuckle at the idea of a lychee allergy because there are so many parts of the US where you could go your whole life and never come upon a lychee, let alone have others encourage you to eat it.

                                                                1. re: escondido123

                                                                  so true escondido, and what a tragedy that is. For people who have never tasted a fresh lychee, only those canned ones. Its like the difference between a fresh ahi steak and a can of tuna fish. I like tuna fish, i put it in all kinds of things like tuna sandwiches, tuna casserole, tuna cakes. But it isn't an ahi steak by any stretch of the imagination.

                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                    And the really funny is that after I posted this I went and played Mahjong with a group of Chinese women and one of them brought fresh lychees!!! A little too much of that perfume/rose water taste for me but interesting to try.

                                                              2. I think that at potlucks, it's expected that diners simply choose those foods they can eat and avoid those they can't. The nature of potlucks is to bring a dish you think most attendees will enjoy, not to cater to every possible eating foible.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                  ya, but OP is asking for salads, or a veggie tray, both of which are fairly cheap, and vegetarian. Person is Well Under the line for being rude...

                                                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                                                    I don't know anyone who requests that potluck attendees bring certain dishes -- this is just contrary to the potluck vibe. And I never mentioned being rude, so don't know where that comment is coming from.

                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                      there are some potlucks where folks will get assigned loosely-- please bring a dessert, a salad, a vegetarian main, etc-- this is generally just to balance a menu and avoid 40 people showing up with a pan of brownies :) big organized potlucks will usually have the soda/ice/chips sign-up option, which is usually snapped up at the beginning by people who don't cook, or who may be of the cheapskate persuasion. . . although my own family is small and shrinking all the time, i know some big families who get together. some of the potluck organizers are pretty dang impressive!

                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                        Heh. Soupkitten, your post reminded me of my mother's story years ago about a small potluck dinner centered around someone's birthday, where the menu ended up being four or five chocolate cakes and a green salad. Of course, to some people, that would be a perfect (and perfectly balanced) dinner!

                                                                2. My favorite thing is diners who don't have a chip on their shoulders.