Vegan Dinner Guest: The Battle Between Etiquette and Ethics
Almost anytime your diet goes public there is a chance of controversy. This gets harder when you don’t have the high ground. The fall means food. There are sure to be all sorts of food-centered gatherings as the holidays approach. Being the only vegan at the party can add unwanted stress to an otherwise fun evening. Here are some tips on how to avoid awkward problems when invited to dinner.
First and most important, be polite and inform your host.
This is the number 1 thing to do to avoid an awkward situation later.
- Make sure that they know what vegan means. All vegans are different and not all people know what counts as vegan. Specify exactly what you don’t eat, be sure to mention common ingredients like whey or gelatin that some people wouldn’t know is a dairy product.
- Be polite. You may be the only interaction with a vegan your host has ever had, so don’t give them a reason to bad mouth all vegans. Be polite and don’t act entitled to your own special meal. Try to accomodate them. It’s not easy to cook for a big crowd, be aware of that when making requests.
- Ask what everyone else is having for dinner and then give some examples of what you can eat as an alternative. If you neglect to do this, you might end up with the dreaded iceberg lettuce entree.
Again, many people don’t know what vegans eat. Often times this only because they don’t fully understand what vegan means. So be sure to re-explain what vegan means as you describe an option.
- If you are comfortable enough with the host, send them this link to help them figure out what vegans can eat.
- If you don’t know the host, make sure whoever invited you lets them know about your diet. Offer your email address or phone number if they have any questions.
- Don’t be picky. If someone is going out of their way to make you something vegan, the least you can do is thank them by eating it. If you really hate a certain food, warn them about that too.
- Keep it simple. The less you need to explain the better. If you can communicate clearly and efficiently then they will more likely remember what you said.
- If your host is stubborn to the whole vegan thing, consider offering to bring a dish. Preferably make it something that compliments your host’s entree and that everyone can enjoy.
- Say thank you and compliment the food. Just like people, there is something to like about almost any meal. Make sure you find the good in your food and make a sincere compliment about.
- Don’t compromise your morals for a dinner party. If all of these things fail and you are stuck in a truly awkward situation where your host won’t help you out, don’t eat meat just because you’re uncomfortable. If you don’t mind fine, but don’t do something you’re morally against just to make a night less awkward. If you don’t want to offend the host, just say that you will get physically sick if you eat whatever food. In the meantime, have a roll and a glass of wine and grab some Taco Bell after the party.