You have just been sent an invitation to a fancy dinner party where you don’t know the host and you don’t eat meat. What should you do? Should you remain quiet or inform the host on your dietary choices? Many vegans and vegetarians are faced with the etiquette versus ethics dilemma and this post will give you some tips on navigating the potential minefield.
1. Inform the Host
Make sure they know the difference between a pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan and which is applicable to you. Avoid attaching a video clip to your email of undercover footage from a slaughterhouse, as passionate as you are, this is not a successful strategy for receiving invites in the future.
2. GIVE INPUT
Some people may have no clue what to cook you as meat and three veg is what they have been eating for their whole life. Give suggestions for vegetarian recipes or ask them to swop out the meat for a meat alternative for your dish.
3. Take it with a pinch of salt
The topic might drift onto why you are having tofu with a side of kale instead of the leg of lamb. Try brush off enquiries with a “It’s not that I like animals, I just really hate plants” or “Animals are my friends, I don’t eat my friends”. If that fails to suppress the third degree examination, be honest and mention your reasons for adopting a meat free lifestyle. Keep it cool, the conversation will eventually go onto the size of Christina Aguilera’s ever-expanding Derriere.
4. Say thank you
Mind your P’s and Q’s, even if the meal prepared is akin to something out of the MasterChef blooper reel, don’t go Gordon Ramsay on them and obliterate their cooking ability with f-bombs. Find something you enjoyed about the meal and let the host know.
5. don’t compromise
You should not feel guilty about being a vegetarian, as someone with a food allergy would inform their host about their dietary exclusions without reluctance. If the host has not been accommodating, stock up on bread to tie yourself over for the evening but don’t chew on a drumstick because you want to make it less awkward.
Remember, no matter where you go for dinner, even if it is just to your mother-in law’s house for tea, there are simple steps you can take to avoid the spotlight and have a hassle-free meal. Being honest with yourself and those around you will keep those notifications for Facebook event invites always in the red.