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no meat, no wheat, please...

my diet does not include meat or wheat products. what would you tell a host or hostess who inquires about what you eat when attending dinner at their home? last night i attended the first of 3 t'giving dinners i am going to this week (ugh!), and i did tell the hostess that i do not eat meat, because she specifically asked in an email she sent me. i did not mention that i don't eat wheat, because i didn't want to be difficult. well, when dinner was served, she had made these special tarts for me and the other vegetarian. i could not eat it because it had stuffing and was made with a pastry crust. i am now wondering if it would have been better to mention the wheat thing. but i would feel terrible if someone felt compelled to make me something totally different than everyone else-thanksgiving is enough work without "special requests", right? please give me some advice on how to respond to the other 2 hosts i will be responding to today. thanks!

Mon. Nov 20, 12:34pm

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You definitely should tell! I'd be pretty mad if I had asked what you could/couldn't have and you didn't tell me - and then couldn't eat something I made. Grr.

Monday, November 20, 2006, 12:46 PM

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i would tell the hosts too-especially if they asked. most hosts want their guests to have a nice time-and it's less trouble than you think to make something special for a guests dietary restrictions and more work to make something that they can't eat anyhow! may as well be honest and clear!

Monday, November 20, 2006, 12:50 PM

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I would tell them and then also offer to bring a dish with me that met my own needs, but that was tasty for others to eat too. That takes the pressure off the hostess and allows you to contribute as well. :)

Monday, November 20, 2006, 12:52 PM

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you can offer to bring something in case your host doesn't want to make something separate

Monday, November 20, 2006, 12:56 PM

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op here

i will definitely take the advice given and be up front without feeling guilty. and i will bring something, too. thanks PT community!!!

Monday, November 20, 2006, 1:04 PM

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op here, again

i just want to add that i explained clearly in my first RSVP that the other foods offered at most thanksgiving tables were more than enough choices and i always walk away from the table satisfied. i really had no idea that she would make something special.

Monday, November 20, 2006, 1:07 PM

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This is what I go through all the time. I eat no meat, wheat, or dairy. Eating at other people's houses and restaurants does not excite me in the least. Most of the time I bring my own things to eat or I just assume there will be nothing for me to eat and fill up before I go. It is uncomfortable and everyone wants to know what my deal is. Then I feel that I have to over compensate and reassure people that I am fine with not eating even though it sucks. I too feel that you should tell a host what your eating preferences are. If they offer to make you something cool.. if not bring your own. It is better bringing your own then sitting there trying to look at everything, but all the yummy looking food people are eating around you. Good luck. It is tricky for sure!

Monday, November 20, 2006, 8:30 PM

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Speaking as a frequent hostess with lots of friends who do/don't eat various foods - I have no problems making an entirely gluten/dairy/sugar-free meal with plenty of vegetarian options. If there are a lot of restrictions it does take a bit more planning, but I honestly don't mind and the only people who notice are generally those who have the dietary restrictions. If even one guest has restrictions then I would normally prepare the entire meal by those guidelines (except in the case of vegetarians - then I just make one option for the meat-eaters and one for the vegetarians). Personally I look at it as a worthy challenge to my culinary skills :-) Can I make a complete meal for a large number of people with a variety of dishes and lots of savory spices and sauces (sauces are the toughest) that meet xxxx dietary guidelines and are up to my usual standards? It sure has broadened my horizons (as well as my recipe collection) and given me real sympathy for the challenges of following a restricted diet. My personal feeling though is that I don't make exceptions - if it's good enough to serve to one guest it's good enough to serve to everyone. No one is singled out and everyone just sits down, relaxes and enjoys their evening.

(so yeah, please say something if the hostess inquires)

Monday, November 20, 2006, 9:10 PM

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I follow the same diet as you do. I'm a vegan with a gluten intolerance, therefore do not eat meat, wheat or dairy. Can we talk about what we do eat. I find that my choices are so limited.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006, 9:15 AM

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op here. heres's a bunch of foods i eat

all fruits and veggies; wild rice, kamut, quinoa pasta & flour, chick pea flour, rice flour; risotto; any rice, really; chow fen (wide flat rice-based noodles); beans & legumes of all kinds (favorites include lentils, black beans, adzuki); potatoes of all varieties; yams & other tubers; butternut squash, acorn squash; pumperknickel flat bread, made w/ rye flour; hummus, baba ganouj, stuffed grape leaves; leafy greens like kale, spinach, watercress, cabbage are essential; all types of mushrooms; tofu products like tempeh, soy yogurt, soy cheese,soy mayonaisse, soy milk; as far as going out to eat, i find traditional Indian food to be naturally very accomodating to my diet. in larger grocers and in most health food stores, they sell wheat-free bagels and waffles in the frozen section, but you'd have to read if they have any eggs (probably do); i really love the quinoa pastas!! they have lots of protein & fiber and cook up very nicely; baked corn chips w/ homemade salsa are great staple snacks, and Blue Diamopnd makes some fantastic rice-based crackers (in smoked almond, hazelnut, pecan, and other flavors); i enjoy olives of all kinds, and pickled beets, pickles; honestly, i never feel like my choices are limited. educate yourself a little by going online and doing searches with your dietary requirements. i also frequent different ethnic stores (indian, asian, hispanic, polish) and ask a lot of questions-mostly other shoppers are friendly and helpful. hope this helped...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006, 9:57 AM

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here's a link to some info for wheat-free vegan food substitutes.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006, 11:40 AM

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On the hostess side of things, I defnitely appreciate having my friends and family let me know if they can or cannot eat something due to allergies.

My hubby has an intolerance of onions. We usually use Shallots, leeks, scallions or chives to substitute, but he has to make it clear that he cannot eat onions so that he isn't offending someone by not eating their foods.... (Onions send him running to the restroom.)

That is especially difficult because my family is Chinese and most Chinese restaurants serve dishes that are loaded with onions. however, since he can tolerate green scallions, he will usually let them know that that is okay. Most of our family knows of his sensitivity (technically, it's not an allergy, but a sensitivity), so they make sure that things are okay for him.

One of his nephews is extremely allergic to eggs and so when we make any kind of cakes, cookies and pies, we have to be conscious of that as well.

As a hostess, I'd much rather know ahead of time that someone is sensitive to a food than to have them either have to sit around looking at others eating, or to have them go into some kind of allergic reaction... :-)

By the way, your hostess was very kind to prepare something special for you-- I hope that you let her know how you appreciated it, even though you couldn't eat it!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006, 3:20 PM

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thanks for all the info- this is a new thing for me having just been diagnosed with celiac and a lifelong vegan.

Thursday, November 23, 2006, 12:40 PM

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