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Dec 8, 2011 10:36 AM

And the award for the worst food at a Christmas party goes to....

My office seasonal festivities were held earlier this week.
We had to fill in a form beforehand, saying what we couldn't or wouldn't eat, any allergies etc. I put that I don't eat meat and I can't eat mushrooms.
So what were the choices on the day? Roast chicken or mushroom risotto.
I asked the waitress for an empty plate so I could just eat the veggies (boiled new potatoes and almost raw snow peas - there were carrots too I think, but I hate carrots).
Instead of an empty plate she bough me risotto without the mushrooms, with a suspiciously brown gravy. On tasting the risotto I could only assume that it was part cooked and was to be finished off with the mushrooms (I saw no-one else eating it so could not verify).
I went home and made myself a sandwich.
Bah humbug! As we like to say in these parts.

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  1. I think the blame goes to your employer.....not the restaurant or caterer.

    1. " I put that I don't eat meat and I can't eat mushrooms. "

      Many do not consider chicken to be meat.

      38 Replies
        1. re: linguafood

          yep. and fish is another one. if the OP had said vegetarian or vegan it might have been clearer. people read meat as red meat or 'mammal' (although that word is rarely used for foodstuffs.) Some even interpret meat to mean beef, but don't include lamb, pork, etc.

          1. re: KaimukiMan

            Nope - in the UK 'meat' ALWAYS includes chicken.
            Actually I put that I don't eat meat but I do eat fish, as otherwise people assume I'm vegetarian. ('Vegetarian' here means no meat and no fish).

            1. re: Peg

              "Flesh" as Ben Franklin put it when he stopped eating it, includes chicken and fish. As does "vegetarian." "Meat," at least in the U.S., usually excludes chicken and fish. One of those weird linguistic things.

              1. re: Peg

                The current "proper" term for a non-meat eater who will eat fish is "pescatarian".

              2. re: KaimukiMan

                That's just ludicrous. Meat's meat. FIsh's fish. Vegetables are vegetables. Not all that complex a concept.

                1. re: linguafood

                  I'm not disagreeing with it. I'm just telling you what kind of things I hear at restaurants, cocktail parties, etc. But if you look in the market, sometimes the meat section is separate from poultry. Meat is meat, fowl is fowl, and fish is fish. Why would fish not be considered meat if fowl is? Wonder where frog's legs and rattlesnake fit in?

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    Well, anyone who eats fish, fowl, frog or snake is not a vegetarian.

                    I guess I find the definition of what it means to be a vegetarian (= does not eat animals) self-explanatory.

                    1. re: linguafood

                      Folk who eat fish, but no fowl or mammals, call themselves "Pescatarians".

                      1. re: Michelly

                        Yes, a fine (made-up) word for further clarifying the random decisions about what's "ok" to put in one's mouth.

                      2. re: linguafood

                        From Wikipedia's entry on Vegetarianism:

                        There are a number of types of vegetarianism, which exclude or include various foods.

                        Ovo vegetarianism includes eggs but not dairy products.
                        Lacto vegetarianism includes dairy products but not eggs.
                        Ovo-lacto vegetarianism (or lacto-ovo vegetarianism) includes animal/dairy products such as eggs, milk, and honey.
                        Veganism excludes all animal flesh and products, such as milk, honey, and eggs, as well as items refined or manufactured through any such product, such as bone-char refined white sugar or animal-tested baking soda.
                        Raw veganism includes only fresh and uncooked fruit, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Vegetables can only be cooked up to a certain temperature.[23]
                        Fruitarianism permits only fruit, nuts, seeds, and other plant matter that can be gathered without harming the plant.[24]
                        Sattvic diet (also known as yogic diet), a plant based diet which may also include dairy (not eggs) and honey, but excludes anything from the onion or leek family, red lentils, durian fruit, mushrooms, blue cheeses, fermented foods or sauces, alcoholic drinks and often also excludes coffee, black or green tea, chocolate, nutmeg or any other type of stimulant such as excess sharp spices.
                        Buddhist vegetarianism (also known as su vegetarianism) excludes all animal products as well as vegetables in the allium family (which have the characteristic aroma of onion and garlic): onion, garlic, scallions, leeks, chives, or shallots.
                        Jain vegetarianism includes dairy but excludes eggs and honey, as well as root vegetables.
                        Macrobiotic diets consist mostly of whole grains and beans.

                        Within the 'ovo-' groups, there are many who refuse to consume fertilized eggs (with balut being an extreme example), however such distinction is typically not specifically addressed.

                        Some vegetarians also avoid products that may use animal ingredients not included in their labels or which use animal products in their manufacturing; for example, sugars that are whitened with bone char, cheeses that use animal rennet (enzymes from animal stomach lining), gelatin (derived from the collagen inside animals' skin, bones and connective tissue), some cane sugar (but not beet sugar) and apple juice/alcohol clarified with gelatin or crushed shellfish and sturgeon, while other vegetarians are unaware of such ingredients.[4][5][6]

                        Individuals may label themselves "vegetarian" while practicing a semi-vegetarian diet,[9][25][26] as some dictionary definitions describe vegetarianism as including the consumption of fish, or only include mammalian flesh as part of their definition of meat,[8][27] while other definitions exclude fish and all animal flesh.[11] In other cases, individuals may describe themselves as "flexitarian".[25][28] These diets may be followed by those who reduce animal flesh consumed as a way of transitioning to a complete vegetarian diet or for health, environmental, or other reasons. Semi-vegetarian diets include:

                        pescetarianism, which includes fish and possibly other forms of seafood;
                        pollotarianism, which includes chicken and possibly other poultry;
                        "pollo-pescetarian", which includes poultry and fish, or "white meat" only;
                        macrobiotic diets consisting mostly of whole grains and beans, but may sometimes include fish.

                        Semi-vegetarianism is contested by vegetarian groups who state that vegetarianism excludes all animal flesh.[11]

                        1. re: PotatoHouse

                          Wiki. The be all and end all of definitions.

                          "Individuals may label themselves "vegetarian" while practicing a semi-vegetarian diet".

                          I've decided to label myself a red balloon for 2013. That doesn't make me one, now, does it? '-)

                          1. re: linguafood

                            Love your reasoning: can I label myself a size 4 and make that so?

                      3. re: KaimukiMan

                        indian recipe books -- in fact most all of any kind of cookbooks in my experience -- don't include chicken in the meat recipes.

                        i consider chicken to be a meat, but i agree that saying "vegetarian" probably would have been clearer.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          Yes, that's true about Indian cookbooks and also in general when it comes to conceptualization of proteins. In some languages there is a specific word for meat that doesn't include chicken, and then a specific word for chicken. That is true with the Indian languages with which I am familiar (gosht vs chikin/murghi). There are also quite a lot of Hindus who avoid red meat and pork but eat fish and chicken.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            Many Indian cookbooks and restaurants divide the world into veg & non veg with vegetarian being the default category.

                        2. re: linguafood


                          I was a vegetarian for about 10 years in the 80's and I can't tell you the amount of times I was asked if I still ate chicken or fish at parties or gatherings. :)

                          1. re: mcel215

                            I still here people saying 'I'm a vegetarian but I still eat fish and chicken'. I tell them they are not vegetarian then.

                            1. re: smartie

                              Yup, I was an ovo-lacto vegetarian for years, and was served chicken-broth based soups soooo many times, and the cook looked like I was the crazy one when I said I couldn't eat it. More people, however, assumed I still ate fish.

                          2. re: linguafood

                            Whenever I say i'm a vegetarian, people always ask, "so you eat chicken, right?" I say no, that's still meat." The next question is, "You don't eat fish, either? Thats not meat!" So annoying...

                            1. re: kubasd23

                              If you say "I don't eat animal flesh", maybe they won't need repeated clarifications. (More likely though, they'll think you're just being confrontational.)

                              1. re: dump123456789

                                yeah, they'd probably think I was being judgmental, confrontational, and elitist. Or at least that is the reaction some people have if i've said something of that kind. I'm not a vegetarian that tries to convert anyone, it's an individual choice to me, but I still get people thinking that, so I don't even try to explain it anymore.

                                1. re: dump123456789

                                  don't eat animal flesh, so clear broth is ok right? the flesh has been strained out..

                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                    Right, forgot about that one. At that point, I think the speaker is simply being passive aggressive about refusing to understand what "no animal flesh" means.

                              2. re: linguafood

                                Pardon me, but your arrogance is unjustified. 'Meat' is the flesh of a dead animal. Look it up. Implying that people do no understand this issue because they don't agree with your idiosyncratic definition of meat is very concieted. Chicken is a type of meat. So is fish.

                                Meat = Animal flesh, regardless of what environment that animal inhabits.

                                1. re: benjamin23

                                  I'm sorry, are you replying to someone else, perhaps? I don't read anything you're saying here that I didn't write further up thread.

                                2. re: linguafood

                                  You'd think so, but I have encountered people who have classified themselves as vegetarians who (in order of strictest to loosest definition)

                                  - eat nothing that comes from an animal and do not eat root vegetables (Jain).

                                  - eat nothing that comes from an animal and do not eat garlic, hot peppers, or onions (some types of Buddhism).

                                  - eat nothing that comes from animals (strict vegan)

                                  - do not eat meat, fish, chicken, seafood, eggs, or dairy, but will eat organisms such as yeast and aren't strict about things like white sugar (not so strict vegan).

                                  - do not eat meat, fish, chicken or seafood, but will eat eggs and dairy (ovo-lacto vegetarian).

                                  - do not eat red meat (beef, pork, lamb), but will eat some combination of chicken, fish and/or seafood. (semi-vegetarian, some health-motivated vegetarians).

                                  - do not eat meat, but will eat dishes that contain things like lard or chicken stock, if it's not too obvious. (non strict vegetarian)

                                  - will not cook or order meat themselves, but will eat it if presented with it, or who avoid meat to a large extent. (flexitarians).

                                  - count themselves vegetarian when eating out, although they will eat some types of meat if it is prepared according the the applicable dietary law (some Muslims and Jews).

                                  And, on the more personally eccentric level, I've met vegetarians whose rules were

                                  - would only eat things that they would be willing to kill themselves.

                                  - wouldn't eat anything with a face

                                  - vegetarian almost all the time, but once in a while has a big steak


                                  So you can see how it could get confusing. I have been in restaurants where the answer to "is X vegetarian" has been "Oh no, it's got onions in it."

                                  I personally think the chicken/fish vs meat distinction in Western society is a hold-over from when Catholic meat free days were common. The rules for what counted as meat and what didn't got pretty strange at times, and fish, of course, was definitely not meat.

                                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                    love your list!

                                    saw a "fells point meat company" truck today
                                    and on the truck it read "meat -- poultry -- game"

                                    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                      People can define themselves as whatever they see fit, but that doesn't change the original meaning of vegetarian = does not eat meat (including chicken and fish and game).

                                      Yet another occasion where I'm digging my omnivorous ways...

                                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                        The Muslims I know who follow halal dietary laws do indeed often choose vegetarian meals, particularly in catered situations (such as the one referred to in the original post). But they don't in fact 'count' themselves as vegetarian. They aren't vegetarian, and wouldn't say they are if you asked them. They eat plenty of meat when they can get halal meat (in private homes and in restaurants that serve halal meats.) the reason they eat vegetarian meals elsewhere is because a vegetarian diet (ie no chicken, no pork, no beef, no other types of meat) is by nature halal. There are no Muslim restrictions on eating vegetables and fruit, or on dairy. It is simply a safe and easy alternative for those who want to avoid meat not processed by halal standards because it won't contain any meat nor any broth made from meat, halal, haram or otherwise.

                                        1. re: susancinsf

                                          "There are no Muslim restrictions on eating vegetables and fruit, or on dairy."

                                          Mostly correct.

                                          Yoghurt made with non-halal gelatin is not halal, cheese made from rennet which is not halal is not halal.


                                          Edited to add: Sorry, didn't realize this conversation was so old.

                                        2. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                          Or if the right monseignor/ bishop; pope declared corned beef not to be meat if March 17 falls on Good Friday!

                                          1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                            tastesgoodwhatisit, I know I'm replying to a year old conversation, but this is the greatest list ever
                                            I may add, that I think that the thought of equating "meat" to red meat only may be a generational thing, and/or an ethinic thing
                                            I've had conversations with my Dad about how my Uncle doesn't eat "meat" but my uncle has only cut red meat and pork out of his diet
                                            he still eats chicken and fish, he had heart problems and was advised by his doctor to modify his diet
                                            I've had the "meat" conversation with friends who are of a Hispanic ethnicity and they have used the same "meat" terminology when referring only to red meats and pork
                                            and I know that this is just anecdotal, but both sets of conversations were with My dad and someone who is around my Dad's age (mid-late 70's)

                                        3. re: KaimukiMan

                                          Oh, the freedom of definitions! My daughter had a little friend who claimed she was "vegetable-tarian except for bacon." Very sensible, I thought.

                                          1. re: elenacampana

                                            Daughter was a vegetarian except for cha siew and turkey skin!

                                            1. re: Sarah

                                              When I truly *was* a vegetarian (no animal flesh), I called myself a dessert-tarian, after Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes fame.

                                          2. re: KaimukiMan

                                            "You don't eat no meat!? That's ok I make lamb."

                                            1. re: melpy

                                              "Whaddya mean 'he don't eat no meat'?"

                                      2. I'd retain a high dollar attorney specializing in lousy office party meals. Bah Humbug!

                                        1. I was doing some contract work for a company about 5 years ago (fortunately not a full-time employee for this company) and I was in town working with them when their holiday party was held so I was invited and didn't really feel that I could decline.

                                          First of all they made a big deal that it was black-tie and everyone would have to dress up (I was traveling so, I got out of that). The event was held at a kind of run-down banquet hall in a strip mall. They insisted that everyone get there promptly at 6pm. However, at 6pm the restaurant wasn't ready and the only offerings were a couple of bags of potato chips and a few pitchers of ice water that someone set out on a side table.

                                          After about an hour they announced that the bar was open and it was a cash bar. There was only one, elderly, slow-moving, bartender so a line formed and it took another half an hour to get a drink. Then the management started their presentation which consisted of several "hilarious" skits making fun of various employees. After an hour or so of this, they opened the buffet (more than 2 hours after everyone arrived) and it was descended upon by the starving hordes, not pretty. I really don't remember the food, some gloppy pasta salad and horrific looking stringy meat in a chafing dish. Everyone was eating and saying how great it was. I just got out of there as quickly as I could and went to find some fast food.

                                          The weird thing was that the banquet hall was part of an Indian restaurant. If they had done an Indian buffet they probably would have had some OK food. The company decided to have them do an American menu and it was a failure.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: pamf

                                            That's what happens when they go "low bid".

                                              1. re: pamf

                                                OMG. Sounds like a worst nightmare situation.

                                                1. re: pamf

                                                  You had me laughing out loud, a black tie party at the POS Palace--and at 6 PM.

                                                2. Our holiday party is a potluck and until a few years ago it was always an interesting mix of foods which were mostly homemade . More recently four of the staff of 13 have decided to go in on a party size bad pizza, always with lots of meat despite the fact that a third of the staff is vegetarian.
                                                  It makes me sad.