Monday, March 10, 2008

How to Deal with Vegetarians?

If you are a vegetarian, you have a responsibility to let your host know in advance. If one of your guests is a vegetarian, you need to ask for a little more information. Some vegetarians don’t eat eggs or dairy products, for instance, whereas others do. If you’re hosting a restaurant meal, tell the maĆ®tre d’ that you or a guest is a vegetarian.

Find out whether the restaurant offers a vegetarian menu. Ask for suggestions. It’s a good idea to ask guests whom you don’t know well whether they have any special dietary considerations. If you can’t accommodate them, you can say something like this: “I’ve planned this party around my grandmother’s meat lasagna recipe, but plenty of salads and snacks will be available, or you can stop by later for dessert.” The key point is to not make a big deal out of it.

A vegetarian can skip certain dishes and, if there is a question, simply say: “Everything is fine. I just don’t eat meat.” Comments like “I don’t eat dead animals” are unnecessary, rude, and offensive. In addition to knowing how a restaurant works, you should get to know a couple of good restaurants really well. Become a regular. Learn the names of the key staff people and engage them in conversation when convenient. After a while, you will be greeted more warmly and given special attention in these places. Also, you will feel more comfortable dining there and bringing guests.

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