There is really only one thing I hate about being a vegetarian: It seems to strike fear in the heart of anyone who may be hosting me. What on earth will they feed a girl who doesn’t eat meat? Should meat be present, will Britt stage an animal rights protest? (Answer: Not hardly!)
First off, I’d like to give an honest thank you for the concern about accommodating folks who eat a little differently than you. We appreciate it! I promise, feeding us is not as daunting as it sounds. I thought I would share a few tips, and also tried and true recipes the whole group will love. Ready?
Tips for hosting a vegetarian:
- When you offer the invitation, ask if there are any dietary restrictions. If you have a vegetarian, ask if he or she eats fish, dairy or eggs. Leave it at that. NBD.
- Don’t feel like you have to change what you planned to cook. I can guarantee you that I will be much happier eating your delicious sides than I would be enduring the angry looks of people forced to eat tofu on my account.
- Remember the stock. After you’ve been eating vegetarian for a while, any kind of meat bi-product becomes disagreeable to your stomach. Soups made with beef broth or mashed potatoes with chicken stock will not likely sit well. Luckily it’s an easy fix. Just sub in veggie broth.
- Don’t make a fuss. It’s embarrassing when people go out of their way to accommodate us! Before everyone gathers at the table, explain to your vegetarian what is appropriate for her to eat. Please don’t single us out in front of the entire group.
- Set a portion aside. If meat is used as a garnish or is stirred in at the end of cooking, keep a small amount separate, then discreetly offer it to the veggie folks. “Darling, I know pork isn’t your thing. I set this broccoli salad aside before I sprinkled the bacon on top.”
- If you are eating out, choose an ethnic restaurant–-Mexican, Italian, Indian, Chinese, etc. Other cultures tend to feature more plant-centric dishes, i.e. beans at a Mexican place, and tofu at a Chinese establishment. Outback Steakhouse or a barbecue restaurant are a little tougher for us. Vegetarians end up eating a salad and plain baked potato for dinner. (Which is fine every once in a while!)
Vegetarians, do you have any additional tips to share with our hosts? I’ll be back tomorrow with a few favorite recipes perfect for your dinner party.