What do you do when you're a guest?

Going vegan and new vegans in need of support or information.

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What do you do when you're a guest?

Postby Lovliebutterfly » Tue May 22, 2007 10:52 pm

As much as I am really determined with my recent veganism shift, I am concerned as what to do when I'm invited at friends or when we have parties at work or work lunches etc. I feel quite embarassed to impose my dietary requirements on other people who would have the prepare the food for me. And how much would you trust non-vegans preparing 100% vegan food for you? Some don't have a clue what vegan is about! I mean when I was a vegetarian, I would mention it and they would give me something like fish cakes or seafood! Since when was fish/seafood vegetarian??!!

What do you do at work Christmas/Summer parties for example? Do you bring your own food in a container? :?
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Postby gms » Tue May 22, 2007 11:02 pm

I usually just bring a side dish to share with everyone and sometimes a dessert. This happens all the time at work. I'll bring a fruit salad, pasta/veggie salad, or a tossed salad. I even brought soup and rolls. At picnics I also bring my own veggie burger. No one seems to mind.
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Postby Lovliebutterfly » Tue May 22, 2007 11:19 pm

At picnics and so on, i think it's ok to bring your own. But at work we often have those social events where we are either in some restaurant/hotel restaurants etc being properly served by waiters.
Would you still bring your food then? Would you trust any restaurants to prepare your vegan food?
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Postby Muay Jin » Wed May 23, 2007 2:07 am

This is a funny one! You simply tell them you have a "SEVERE allergy" to certain types of food: ie: meat, fish and animal products and you ask them to ask the chef to prepare a vegetable dish.. they may not care if they think its a simple dietry choice, but if there is a chance of 'harming' you because of your so called 'allergy' then they should go to some lengths to avoid it.
Or you could alternatively order a salad, some bread and just have wine with it =?
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Postby bronco » Wed May 23, 2007 6:18 am

Lovliebutterfly wrote:At picnics and so on, i think it's ok to bring your own. But at work we often have those social events where we are either in some restaurant/hotel restaurants etc being properly served by waiters.
Would you still bring your food then? Would you trust any restaurants to prepare your vegan food?

I would just make sure you or somebody else calls the restaurant ahead and tells them that you'll want vegan food and what that means. Then it shouldnt be a problem.
JP wrote:Spirulina is a badass crew, and they often just hang around in street corners looking to beat up proteins.

They oftenget confused by the fact that they are almost half protein themselves.
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Postby raquel » Wed May 23, 2007 1:20 pm

The "allergy" card works well in restaurants - I use that a lot regarding dairy products.

At someone's house, I am a firm believer that food should bring us together and not separate us. I don't want people to stop inviting me over because I am a pain, but nor do I want to be bullied. Being a new vegan, I decided that I am not going to ask for ingredient lists every time I go to a friend's house for dinner - if they work hard to prepare something that is at least vegetarian and they perhaps use an egg or a little butter without my knowledge, I am not going to grill them about it. I will be gracious. That said, I am not going to eat meat and cheese just because it is served. There is a delicate balance, I think.

I just believe that the constant worry or obsession about what I might be eating negates all of the good effects of eating vegan... and makes everyone uncomfortable rather than curious about my eating choices. And I want people to be curious so that we can talk about it.

But that's just me.
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Postby soniczip » Wed May 23, 2007 1:39 pm

parties/picnics: i bring something to share, and eat whatever is vegan there.

restaurants: i always find something vegan (if only pasta with olive oil) but i usually proactively suggest delicious restaurants which turn out to be vegan, ha ha ha.

if i am invited at somebody's place: i just say "thanks for the invitation. you should know i'm vegan, i don't eat animals or animal products" and i explain further if they don't understand.

and if nothing is vegan at the party/restaurant/my host's, i only drink water and explain why if i'm asked. so basically my stance is: don't preach, but don't fear exposing and explaining yourself :arrow: good luck :D
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Postby Enhydra Lutris » Wed May 23, 2007 1:50 pm

If your're invited to dinner then why not ask what they had planned and help them make something for you with some of those ingredients that you can eat? Sometimes, it's easy to serve things separate and then people who want the special dressing/cheese or whatever can add it themselves. You could also offer to bring something yourself and then have salad, bread, potatoes etc with it. Or just see it as a snack and have a small dinner before you go.

A lot of people feel uncertain as what to make for the veggies/vegans/allergic people because they want it to be a successful and nice dinner party etc and by having a chat with them before they will probably feel more comfortable about the whole thing too.

A side note: Saying you're allergic to food when you're not is IMO just as bad as most people here think it is to say that you're vegetarian and then eat fish. :evil:
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Postby AbFab » Wed May 23, 2007 1:55 pm

It's never been an issue for me. All my friends and colleagues are super-accommodating. Some, I think, even actively enjoy the challenge. It does sometimes require a bit of extra effort when I have to ring restaurants in advance, but they are always willing to make me something. The ONE time I couldn't/wouldn't eat out was when everyone went to a seafood restaurant. They offered me a limp salad and I really felt I'd rather just not eat there at all. Everything smelt fishy! Obviously, with restaurants and friends, I have to trust that they are adhering to my vegan standards. I too sometimes play the allergy card (not to friends, just restaurants). I would not compromise and eat something however lovingly it was made if I knew it had a trace of dairy or anything else unvegan in it - my friends all respect this. It blurs things for people. I am proud of my choices, and I am gracious about everything, but I won't consume animal products knowingly. As for trusting others, I always make sure they understand what constitues veganism. No problem. Good luck.
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Postby AbFab » Wed May 23, 2007 2:02 pm

Enhydra Lutris wrote:A side note: Saying you're allergic to food when you're not is IMO just as bad as most people here think it is to say that you're vegetarian and then eat fish. :evil:
:) I don't LIKE doing it, but sometimes I make a snap judgement, and decide they might not take my 'faddy diet' choices seriously, so sometimes it is easier to just say I am allergic. I did actually have an incident where I prepped my non-vegan boyfriend at the time that I sometimes did this, so if they asked if I was allergic, that 'yes' was sometimes the easiest response. By the time we were in the restaurant, and I'd spoken with the staff, I decided they were most likely to be respectful and understanding of my requirements, so that if they asked me, I'd just say 'no, I'm not allergic, I just choose to live like this'. They did ask, and at exactly the same time I said 'no .....', he said 'yes'. Oh dear! Oh well! :D
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Postby raquel » Wed May 23, 2007 5:17 pm

I don't like saying I'm allergic either, but I do it because after years of working in restaurants, I know that the only way to ensure that something doesn't go into your food is to say that you are allergic. If you just say "no butter please" they won't add extra butter to the veggies, but they might not tell you that there is already butter in the soup, for example. But if your order is flagged with an allergy, the cook will be sure to tell the server if there are "hidden" ingredients (like chicken broth, butter, etc.) that the server might not know about. This is because if you have an allergic reaction, it is their responsibility. If you are "just" vegan, they don't make nearly the same effort. It happened a lot in my experience.

I know that this is not the best way, and judge me if you like, but you might be surprised sometimes what is in dishes that appear to be vegan/vegetarian, and how some (not all, but some) servers/cooks do not really care about your ethical eating choices.

I'm a brand new vegan so I'm still learning how to handle things... :)
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Postby The Duke » Wed May 23, 2007 5:35 pm

A word of caution.

I've worked in several kitchens. Customers who ask for "special" orders often end up with dishes that are quite a bit more "special" than they ask for. (Do I need to draw pictures?)

Kitchens do not like preparing one-offs, they upset the rhythm.

My advice ... if there is nothing vegan on the menu go elsewhere. If they were interested in providing vegan food it would be on the menu already.
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Postby Gelert » Wed May 23, 2007 7:12 pm

Guys, have you ever thought of the consequences of pretending to allergic?

As The Duke says, special orders often get to be special - and if the chef gets blase because his "allergic" customers are OK, what happens when someone with a proper allergy turns up and could be dead from anaphylactic shock before the ambulance arrives. Think on.

Be proud to be vegan. Ask politely, and if they can't oblige, politely take your trade elsewhere. Maybe next time they will have vegan food available - mission accomplished!
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Postby Lovliebutterfly » Wed May 23, 2007 8:07 pm

Some interesting views here! I quite agree with the allergy tactic for restaurants, although I would feel terribly bad for doing this. However, I'll eat with more peace of mind. But I suppose I'll have to decide upon the situation. It should get better with time when I get used to make people get used to my diet!
I realise that eating vegan is the least hard, if not very enjoyable, thing to do while being vegan. It's all the external stress that's quite hard I find. :roll:
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Postby raquel » Wed May 23, 2007 8:25 pm

Gelert, thanks for your post. I am very happy this conversation happened... I haven't used the allergy card in a long time (I don't eat out very often), but I don't think I will do that any more. I am actually severely allergic to scallops, and you're right, I wouldn't want chefs to be blase when I told them that!

I totally agree that lying is bad - I never ever lie normally, so I don't know why I thought this kind of little white lie was ok. I just need to grow a spine and be proud to be vegan. Then at least restaurants will start to realize that the demand is there... Thanks for pushing me in that direction!!! :D
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