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Jun 4, 2011 10:38 PM

Awesome Friends With Food Sensitivities

I just got an email notice about the captioned meetup group with this description :

''Ever gone to a potluck and only been able to eat what you brought? How would you like to go to a barbecue and be able to eat almost everything there? How about an amusement park trip with an understanding group you can share snacks and thrills with? Hi! My name is [Jane Sensitive] and I have multiple food sensitivities and food allergies including lactose, gluten, fruit, corn, and others. I also have hypoglycemia and IBS, so needless to say, outings take effort..."

I'll cop. For the most part, I'm not that sympathetic because I've known people who say they have this many food sensitivities simultaneously, and they've been extraordinarily particular (not just as pertains to food), attention seeking folk with apparent control issues, so I tend to think much of this sensitivity is psychosomatic.

So my question is, are you, or do you know, someone who is an otherwise really reasonable and agreeable person who legitimately has this much trouble with food?

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  1. I've always been a really picky eater, even into adulthood. After (not for weight loss) stomach surgery, the list of what I can eat has been severely reduced.

    I'd never whine about it. I can always find something on the menu at a restaurant that I'd like and can eat. Same would apply to an amusement park with multiple options. Potlucks can be a challenge, but I always ask if a specific ingredient that may not be obvious is in it (or I smell the item if the maker isn't around).

    1. I have a colleague who has quite severe allergies and appears to be an intelligent and reasonable person. I have Coeliac's disease and even I sometimes find such severe food allergies incomprehensible, but based on my experiences and some of the shared side effects that she and I have (severe stomach swelling) I believe it can be possible to be made ill by multiple allergies. What is behind the multi-allergies is beyond my understanding, but I think it is possible and serious. then again due to my Coeliac's disease I may be more sympathetic.

      Though I think gluten is more straight forward then soy allergies or some other types of allergies, intolerances, etc describing what I can or can't eat can seem convoluted (it isn't if you're more aware of what is in both 'from scratch' recipes and in processed recipes) and I can see how it seems strange. If I've recently eaten something with gluten or am around people I don't know very well I can get panicky about what is in food and it may sound more shrill, but it is just because it makes me so ill and maybe that is why the person that sent you the note seems so hysterical. I just don't think she's expressed herself very well.

      For example, with my Coeliac's disase:
      If I eat something with just a bit of gluten (equiv to bread crumbs in butter OR ice cream that isn't high quality and contains a wheat based binding agent) then my stomach will start to swell in about 30 minutes and within an hour I go from having a reasonable flat stomach to looking like I am 4 to 6 months pregnant. So much so that my trousers have even unzipped themselves repeatedly or if wearing a skirt I have to pull the waistband up to my rib cage to give my stomach room.

      As long as I go to good restaurants (independent or mid-range places tend to know what is in the food and how it is prepared), I can eat out without issue. Chain places are harder as are picnics and potlucks. The big issue with these three occasions is these are times when food is often processed and made with commercially produced sauces, ice creams, salad dressing, etc that are made with wheat-based binding agents.

      1 Reply
      1. re: YummaYum

        Thanks, Yumma! I appreciate the enlightenment .

        The Man has a similar reaction when he drinks certain wheat beers, so I can easily wrap my mind around having a sensitivity or two. I suppose in the realm of human experience, it's quite possible to have all those allergies.

        Maybe I actually even know people who do but manage them so discreetly that I never hear about it.

      2. I think it is important to separate food allergies from food sensitivites from not liking the flavor of certain foods from just been a picky eater. I have no food allergies or sensitivities but cilantro tastes like soap to me and I don't like organ meats. If someone specifically asks me if there's anything I don't eat, I will say so, but when something has a lot of cilantro I just try to work around it which can be tough sometimes in So Cal with all the Mexican dishes. But I would never give a list of what I don't eat unprompted. I think it behooves guests to work with what their host serves and if their allergies are severe, to bring their own food, since I wouldn't assume my host could make a meal that I would deem safe. It is also just rude to sit down at a table and begin to talk about what you can't eat, don't like etc. And please don't tell me "Oh I'd love to eat XXXX but it repeats on me, or gives me gas or whatever." As someone posted here, I may be paraphrasing, don't yuck my yum.

        38 Replies
        1. re: escondido123

          Extremely well-stated, escondido 123. There is a huge difference between not liking something and risking anaphylactic shock and subsequent death if eating a food allergen.

          And as you pointed out, no one needs to hear all the lovely details as to why someone can't or won't eat a particular food. Sometimes less is more.

          BTW, I totally agree about cilantro. I keep trying it so I can learn to love it the way others do but it still tastes like soap to me.

          1. re: jlhinwa

            I heard an explanation on NPR. They tested people and discovered there is the soapy taste but for most people there is another wonderful taste that basically covers up the soapy taste. But some people can't taste that other wonderful taste, so for us the soap is front and center. So I no longer feel guilty or picky. PS I have found that cooked cilantro has much less of that taste so I go for jarred rather than fresh salsa if I'm buying for myself.

            1. re: escondido123

              Wow, that is very interesting. Does that mean we soap-tasters are extra discriminating?!? I have noticed the same thing about cooked cilantro. I had some in a spicy corn chowder a few months ago and loved it so much that I decided I had been all wrong about cilantro and started trying it frequently again, mostly in fresh salsas. Back to the soap taste again, much to my dismay. So that also explains why I typically like jarred salsa so much better. Fascinating...thanks for sharing!

              1. re: jlhinwa

                It probably means we don't have as good a sense of taste, because if we did we would taste that other flavor and cilantro wouldn't taste soapy.

                1. re: escondido123

                  My understanding is that those of us who taste soap in cilantro ARE super-tasters with an extra 32 taste buds in our mouth.

                  We also tend to find coffee on the bitter side and prefer it with cream and/or sugar, to tame the bitterness.

                  And we can detect TSA in wine more acutely than others.

                  Lastly, we tend to need less salt in our food...

                  Any of this sound familiar?

                  1. re: CarrieWas218

                    More interesting info! Definitely true for me about the coffee. Also chocolate. I really don't care for dark chocolate and even semi-sweet chocolate seems bitter to me at times. Sadly, I can't drink wine so am not sure about that one. I do love salty foods, but have a low tolerance for over-salting.

                    1. re: CarrieWas218

                      My cilantro-hatingest friend takes his coffee black and salts his food without even tasting it first. I, on the other hand, love cilantro, and find any coffee too bitter to drink. And I prefer to put salt in while cooking, not before eating.

                      1. re: CarrieWas218

                        This NY Times article:
                        has another explanation of the whole thing, that chemicals in cilantro are also in soap! To make it less soapy, crush it first and the chemical changes. Will have to try that. As to super taster, never heard or read that.

                        1. re: CarrieWas218

                          I am also a cilantro-sensitive, and I drink coffee with tons of cream and sugar. I don't even like caffeinated sodas because they taste too bitter to me. I do not drink wine, so I can't speak to that, but I also do not salt food.

                    2. re: escondido123

                      My son just told me about this study. I love fresh cilantro, but can still see how other people might describe the flavor as soapy. The first time I ate it, it reminded me of bleach.

                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                        I think that is something a lot of cilantro/whatever haters overlook. There is a kind of (harmless) self-flattery that they can taste things that others can't. And I'm sure that's true in some cases.

                        But here's the thing - whether you enjoy something is not only a function of your tastebuds. I can taste the 'soapy' flavor to cilantro. And I still like it. Is coffee bitter to me? Heck yes. And I drink a dozen cups a week. I'm sure some people may actually experience the flavors of these foods differently than I do, have more or less or different tastebuds than I do. But that is not strictly necessary for someone to taste the same thing that I like and find that they hate it. And vice versa.

                        The point - taste is more complicated than what can be measured on the tongue. Associations are very important. So are your prior experiences - while one person might taste cardamom and think 'ewww, it tastes like perfume,' another might smell perfume and think 'mmmm, it smells like delicious cardamom.' They both make the same association, but have opposite reactions.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          I don't have any idea if I am a "supertaster" or not, but I definitely know that fresh cilantro tastes like soap to me.

                          I was a picky and unadventurous eater as a child (hanging head in shame). I am raising my daughter to be the opposite and have been trying to be a good example of trying new things or re-trying things I thought I didn't like. I really wish I could get past things like the soapy taste of cilantro so I could enjoy them the way most people seem to. Sigh. I'll keep trying!

                          1. re: jlhinwa

                            I think that's a good attitude to have.

                            It's not some personal failing to dislike something that others enjoy. I don't much like tangerines or blood oranges (which are hot right now, it seems). Or peanuts. But if someone takes care to make me something they're proud of that uses one of these ingredients, I'll try to keep an open mind and give it a taste. For one, just to be polite. But also because I don't subscribe to the immutability of taste preferences. There have been plenty of foods I once disliked but now enjoy. And some I still don't. Only way to know for sure is to give old dislikes the occasional second or third or fourteenth chance.

                            1. re: jlhinwa

                              A good friend recently told me that he used to hate cilantro. This wouldn't be so bad, but he eats at my house at least once a week, and during the summer I throw cilantro around and in just about anything. So I was appalled at myself and embarrassed and apologized for subjecting him to it for years and telling him his manners were too good and he should have said something! But he said he's actually come to like it. And then proceeded to plow through sour cream chicken enchiladas (with cilantro in 'em), and multiple helpings of an avocado/tomato/cilantro salad. So he wasn't kidding or just being polite. I'm just not sure how it happened, and neither is he.

                              1. re: lsmutko

                                Awww, that is a nice cilantro story. I haven't given up yet. I don't have a lot of serious food dislikes, but the ones I do are usually textural issues, not flavor issues. I don't think I'm ever going to "outgrow" my textural peculiarities but I have no problem at all with the texture of cilantro so I will keep trying.

                                1. re: lsmutko

                                  I think that's pretty common. I used to hate cilantro. I just kept "forcing" myself to eat it in the hopes that one day I'd like it. Now it's one of my favorite herbs and I can't get enough of it.

                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                So true. Associations are a big factor... Much like with rosewater and gin. I want to dab them behind my ears, not eat/drink them.

                              3. re: inaplasticcup

                                and I find it grassy rather than soapy -- like you went out and took a big bite of clippings out of the mower bag.

                                I like it in moderation -- can't have salsa without cilantro -- but too much of it just puts me off.

                              4. re: escondido123

                                I read this somewhere and it has to do with your sense of smell which ultimately affects your taste buds. those people who taste soap aren't able to smell the rest of the flavors that those who love the taste can smell.

                                but back to what i was going to that people with too many 'food sensitivities' really annoy me. those people need to just get over it. my husband had serious gut issues and ended up in the hospital. he went gluten free for a year and fixed himself. my toddler son has actual food allergies, the kind that sends you to the hospital and risk your life kind.

                                these people can't help being sick. my husband knew that his gut issues wouldn't kill him but it was debilitating. my son on the other hand can die from eating certain foods. then there are those who think they're allergic but when you dig deep a lot of them just think they're allergic or sensitive. i recently joined a meetup (which i truly regret) for those who have kids with food allergies. well, after the first meeting turns out the 'leader' hasn't taken her 2 yr old to the doctor since he was 5 months old! she thinks he's allergic to gluten. great! really? so i ask whether she's had him tested and she claims doctors don't know anything!

                                those are the people who give people with true food allergies a bad name.

                                1. re: trolley

                                  trolley - I think you're describing what I think I am reading a lot of people trying to express, that so many of these people with multiple "sensitivities" don't really have documented or definable reactions. It's usually described as some nebulous effect, such as "makes me feel tired," or "when he eats it he is cranky," etc. IDK, seems like a whole lot of trouble to go to without a pending medical event....

                                  1. re: trolley

                                    i want to recant my initial post. as i chug along life and become more acquainted with food allergies and people with intolerances i'm starting to become more aware and that having a food intolerance can be pretty debilitating. you may not die from anaphylaxis but it can cause all sorts of problems in the long run if not addressed. i just read what i wrote initially and feel it's a bit overboard.

                                    however, there are those who do fake 'allergies' so they don't have to eat certain foods and they give the rest of the people who truly do have issues a bad name. it's the whole one rotten apple spoils the bunch situation. i wish adults can grow up and understand that it's ok to not like certain foods. yes, it's really ok.

                                    1. re: trolley

                                      and those of us who aren't faking appreciate your new-found sensitivity :)

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        sorry if i sounded harsh, ghg! just was ignorant. now i'm more aware...

                                        1. re: trolley

                                          not at all! believe me, the fakers & trend-followers probably piss me off more than they do you ;)

                              5. re: escondido123

                                Yes, exactly! I really (I mean, really, really) do NOT want to hear precisely how this food affects a person. It's enough to say, "I'm sorry I don't eat that" or, if applicable, "I have a serious allergy to that."

                                But I do not need to know about the gross digestive symptoms. No, thank you!

                                1. re: Isolda

                                  That goes two ways... People shouldn't ask about that stuff. I have celiac disease so I can't eat gluten. I do NOT want discuss my symptoms with anyone, especially at a party or at dinner. But you would not believe how many times someone will ask me, as food is being served, "so what happens if you eat gluten?" Drives me nuts. That's personal stuff, not dinner conversation, and frankly none of their business. I need to come up with a snappy answer for that kind of question. I usually just say I get sick, and if they press for details I say I'd rather not discuss it.

                                  1. re: MelMM

                                    Good point, Mel. I think I've probably asked someone what results from their food allergies out of curiosity, not realizing how awkward or exhausting they might find the discussion. Thanks for the reminder.

                                    1. re: MelMM

                                      I was going to say... I've been lactose intolerant since I was about 13 and the butt of many jokes growing up. Even now, many people think it's real funny to start guessing what happens to me if I eat dairy. I never tell people I'm lactose intolerant. It's not a big deal and nobody's business anyway. But there's something about dairy products that starts people on a barrage of questions if I politely refuse a milkshake, slice of pizza, or cream-based sauce. I'm constantly surprised by how willing Americans are to discuss GI symptoms over dinner.

                                      1. re: MelMM

                                        Yep, I've gotten that question when I say I'm lactose intolerant. (Usually, I just pass on the ice cream or whatever without saying anything, but sometimes, people ask why I'm not eating it.) And shockingly, some will also ask what happens. I thought everyone was vaguely aware of what lactose intolerance is, since it's a natural condition, not a disease) for about 2/3 of the world's population. I usually just say, "You really do not want to know."

                                        1. re: Isolda

                                          although "explosive diarrhea" does tend to stop the conversation cold...

                                          (even if that's NOT what happens to you!)

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            love it. good way to get people to drop the topic, eh?

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              i heard one person simply say 'its wet and messy', that pretty much stopped the conversation as well.

                                          2. re: MelMM

                                            But you would not believe how many times someone will ask me, as food is being served, "so what happens if you eat gluten?"
                                            happened to me *just last night* when i was out to dinner with old friends i hadn't seen in more than 10 years. i've learned that the easiest response is "You don't want to know, it ain't pretty." that usually shuts 'em up ;)

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              I know that I'm a bit late in seeing this thread, but this always annoys me! Especially at restaurants where the server asks you!! It's really none of their business.
                                              My answer is usually "I get to spend a really fun and painful night with a bucket/toilet/etc," which tends to work.

                                              In regards to OP question, whether these food allergies are made up/control issues, yes some of them are, but many are not. I do not have celiac's, but cannot eat most acidic foods (ie tomatoes, citrus, bell peppers, etc)- which also takes out most marinades, barbeques, ketchups, many sauces, etc. But I have been able to tolerate adding a small (teeny) amount of lemon juice to certain dishes- which people have wondering if I wasn't just making it up. My mother has even "forgotten" to mention adding ketchup to a dish before, so that I could "learn to get over it" (she only did that ONCE). Allergies, like tastes, can change over time (while many don't). For instance, I can now eat sparing amounts of lemon juice without my stomach swelling. However, I now cannot even touch bell peppers without breaking out.

                                              Some of the ways you may not notice all of the people with food allergies, are that people who aren't creating drama find creative ways around it. For instance,
                                              -I always try to bring a dish to a party.
                                              -I became involved with party planning/potlucks at my office, so that I could ask people to write dish labels.
                                              -I have complimented people on their lovely dishes, and asked how to make it before I taste it.
                                              -Pushing food around the plate.
                                              -Eating more side dishes/things you can eat.
                                              -Keeping a snack bar in my purse/eating something before I arrive.

                                              Just my $0.02, but it really bothers me that people A) have "allergies" that are really dislikes or are done for attention or B) don't take allergies seriously. Just because you don't see me in pain the moment I eat something, doesn't mean I'm not allergic. Remember, it takes 20-30 minutes to reach your stomach.
                                              Sorry, rant over.

                                              1. re: ponygirl87

                                                I agree that most people who actually have food allergies are usually not too dramatic about it and make their own arrangements. I have a severe allergy to tree nuts. In the last 4 years I've been in the hospital twice. Most people with food allergies ( myself included) would really prefer not to have them since at best they are a pain in the you know what..and at and scary.
                                                If I am not sure, then I pass by a dish. Eating out can be a pain in places I don't go to often.I have become an expert in reading labels and to be honest have moved away from most prepared food in the grocery store. So..people who fake allergies just because they don't like a certain food are annoying to me as well.
                                                What is equally ..if not more annoying..are the holier than thou people who assume that people with "allergies" ( yes..those who put quotes around the word)..are faking it or dramatic.These are the people who will lie about the ingredients in a dish to "test your allergy"...( this happened to me..!) My comment to them is that I hope you never find yourself in the back of an ambulance because your throat has closed up and you can't breathe. It's not a pleasant feeling.
                                                Also..pony girl is spot on. Sometimes allergic reactions don't happen right away. In my case, it happens within 10-15 docs have said it can take up to an hour or more.

                                                1. re: BlueMagic

                                                  Also..pony girl is spot on. Sometimes allergic reactions don't happen right away. In my case, it happens within 10-15 docs have said it can take up to an hour or more.
                                                  same with gluten sensitivity reactions. occasionally it will manifest in some way on contact (e.g. spontaneous formation of blood blisters in my mouth & throat) or i'll begin to develop a migraine or itching all over my body after eating just a few bites...but often i won't realize until an hour or two later that i've been glutened.

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    Good heavens - I thought most gluten sensitivities were intestinal in nature -- I didn't realize they'd manifest that quickly or, erm, violently.

                                                    (I'd never take someone's sensitivities/allergies lightly, by the way - just didn't realize the full effects of gluten sensitivity!)

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      various forms of intestinal distress are common (and unfortunately i get those too). but there's a really wide range of symptoms in gluten-sensitive individuals and Celiac patients - everything from skin reactions & rashes to sinus problems to joint pain.

                                      2. The original comment has been removed
                                        1. I have to say, the one person I know with an extensive food "allergy" list (and it is VERY extensive) is also "particular, attention seeking with apparent control issues".

                                          I also believe the majority of her food allergies are psychosomatic. Wish I could say I believed differently but have to side with you on this one.

                                          19 Replies
                                          1. re: thimes

                                            Absolutely. We all know this person. In addition to some of them having "psychosomatic allergies" many are just picky eaters who just dont want to have to say they dont like a bunch of stuff, so its easier to say they "can't eat it" David Chang has told some hilarious stories about such claims in a few articles, my favorite of which was the lady who claimed to be allergic to salt.

                                            1. re: thimes

                                              For years my dad had people convinced that he was severely allergic to any pork product (or even items cross-contaminated, such as pancakes cooked on a grill where bacon had been, etc.). I discovered through a cooking "oops" that he in fact could eat pork without any detriment, though I neglected to tell him that afterwards.

                                              From that time on, I added ham, pork, bacon, etc. to meals when I wanted to without telling him about it and he did just fine with no negative side effects. It is not my practice to lie or be sneaky about food like this, but he could be totally irrational and would have worked himself into a state of extreme gastrointestinal distress had I confessed so I have continued in my treachery.

                                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                                My sister i law does not eat any red meat; she says that it is just gross. One morning she brought some chicken sausages to my house for a brunch. She said they were her favorite. I turned the package over and read the ingredients and discovered the sausages were stuffed in pork casings. I didn't tell her.

                                                1. re: jlhinwa

                                                  I hesitate to reply, but I will. I am one of those people who has chosen not to eat pork (I made the choice over 20 years ago, and I made the choice concurrent with the choice to stop eating another food to which I had a significant digestive sensitivity). No great fanfare - it was a simple life choice. I don't make a big deal about it, if you serve pork, I'd just politely decline and eat the salad, chicken, whatever else you served. I've also eaten pork products on a number of occasions when it's served to me simply to keep the peace, though I would prefer not to.

                                                  I would be truly shocked, and deeply dismayed, if I found out a beloved family member was surreptitiously sneaking me pork simply b/c they 'knew better' than me. It's my life choice, let me have it. If it didn't fit their lifestyle, then they could simply not invite me over to eat. But to be treated in this way especially by a trusted family member would really disappoint me.

                                                  1. re: Cachetes

                                                    I understand what you are saying, Cachetes, and I agree in principal. You would have to know my dad and his eccentricities to understand my reason for doing this. I would never put his health at risk or interfere with food choices made for religious or other personal beliefs. My husband is a vegetarian and I take great care to make sure I eliminate things that can sneak in meat products (like soups, things with animal stock, etc.) even though he isn't that diligent.

                                                    I have chosen to weigh being deceptive over something I know is a non-issue in reality vs the practical matter of feeding the whole family. I cook for my brother, mother, daughter, husband (vegetarian) as well as my dad and myself. My best meatloaf recipe contains pork and ground beef and that's what I make. (Veggie-boy husband has to fend for himself on those nights).

                                                    Sadly, my dad has developed dementia to such a point where now he doesn't really remember anyway.

                                                    1. re: jlhinwa

                                                      Oh my, with all of those people, your cooking challenges are of a whole different scope. I imagine there must be days where you wish you could just hire a chef and be done with it!

                                                      1. re: Cachetes

                                                        Yes, challenges indeed. Most of the time I enjoy it but when my after-work schedule is busier than usual, I would love to have a chef! One that doesn't mind accomodating everyone's needs and preferences!

                                                        While challenging, for sure, I feel very blessed that my parents have been able to live with us and that my daughter is able to have such a close relationship with them.

                                                      2. re: jlhinwa

                                                        Our condolences to to all of you who have family members who have suffered or are presently suffering from dementia. Unfortunately such discussions are off topic for this board. We have removed the off topic replies; thank you for understanding.

                                                  2. re: thimes

                                                    Yeah, I know someone like that too. No gluten, dairy, soy, vinegar, wine, I could go on. I also believe most (if not all) of her "allergies" are psychosomatic. She thinks she's allergic to something if "it makes my face break out" or "it makes me feel tired." Her "gluten allergy" used to drive me crazy, especially - she's one of those people who will make things really difficult for the kitchen because of her no-gluten rule yet will eat a cookie for dessert. Thank the stars, I never see this person anymore.

                                                    I personally have no food allergies but am definitely sympathetic to people who really have them - my husband is severely allergic to bell pepper and I'm always watching out for them like a hawk. But people like my former acquaintance - I have no patience for.

                                                    1. re: uwsister

                                                      She must be the twin sister of a friend I had (past tense) who wouldn't eat cheese with animal rennet. I made him a separate veggie pasta with vegetable rennet cheese and then saw him eating brie that I had out. "don't eat that! it's not strictly vegetarian!" "well, yea, but it's brie." He also claimed to be allergic to onions but not to green onions or garlic.

                                                      And then I have a friend with a gluten allergy and who is also a vegetarian. I'm happy to cook with care for her--cause she has an actual allergy as opposed to being a liar. Of course, I'm a kosher keeping mostly pescatarian with a ridiculous list of what I will and won't eat. (I try to keep it simple for a host--I tell them if there's one vegetarian thing to eat, I'll be fine.)

                                                      1. re: lrhr

                                                        I'm vegetarian and I don't eat cheese with animal rennet. Just saying.

                                                        1. re: Muchlove

                                                          the point was, I believe, that Irhr's "friends" claim one thing but do another. Unless you're posting that with one hand on the keyboard and another hand around a wedge of animal-rennet Brie, I'm not sure why you're stating it. (not snark, sort of a "okay...and?")

                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                            Sorry, I thought the post was saying it was in some way weird and unheard of.

                                                            I'll go back in my corner! :P

                                                            1. re: Muchlove

                                                              I use veggie rennet in my cheese, I'm not vegan or vegitarian, but it's available, and I can see no difference in product, so why not make it?

                                                              Plus it's nice do something for friends who other wise don't get to eat to much mozza.

                                                          2. re: Muchlove

                                                            Sunshine got it right. My ex friend claimed to be a strict vegetarian and I was more than happy to make a separate dish with the type of cheese he would eat. Then he ate the regular rennet brie. With gusto. Simply because he liked brie enough to not care about the origin of the rennet. So, he was a situationally strict vegetarian. He also conflated foods he didn't like into allergies. Which makes him a liar in my book.

                                                            1. re: lrhr

                                                              That would have really bothered me. You went to the trouble to make him a dish being sensative to his food restrictions and he ate the regular stuff. Not only did he waste your time but what if you had only made so much for the non vegetarians? Should they go hungry because he is "situationaly vegetarian?" It sounds selfish to me!

                                                              1. re: joe777cool

                                                                My brother's mother in law was invited to my house for dinner.. She said she could not eat anything with garlic in it, so I ditched my first menu to create one that was garlic free. The day of the event comes, and she doesn't show. When I asked my brother why not, he said she was concerned there would still be garlic in things. Last time I invited her for dinner!

                                                                1. re: escondido123

                                                                  ugh.... how ignorant! My MIL is a pain in the rear when it comes to "spicy" (basically anything with garlic, pepper, added salt, or any herbs/spices in it) first I would try to accomodate, then even plain food wasnt to her liking (plain chicken/steak cooked until all moisture is gone). Now any party we have I will provide some hot dogs/hamburgers and she fends for herself.

                                                                  Sometimes the more you go out of the way for people the more they expect it and the less they appreciate it.

                                                              2. re: lrhr

                                                                Simply because he liked brie enough to not care about the origin of the rennet. So, he was a situationally strict vegetarian.


                                                                I worked with one of those. She shoved her vegetarianism down our throats but it all went out the window when we ordered pepperoni pizza for lunch. Somehow, she had no problem with that.