Are my feelings justifiable? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-08-2009, 06:49 PM
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So, I just got home from having dinner (or not having dinner) at my aunt's house. The long story short is - the occasion was to celebrate my grandmother's birthday and it was originally suppose to be at my parents' house, but instead my dad got sick and ended up in the hospital. It was then moved to my aunt and uncle's house.



My parents always make sure there is food around for me to eat, and will do whatever it takes to ensure that. However, my aunt and uncle like to do things the easiest way possible. They know I have been veggie for a long time now, and usually there are some veggies that are sides that I can eat. But this time, they brought in a meat tray to make sandwiches with some coleslaw and pasta salad. The ONLY thing I could eat was carrot sticks. I felt so uncomfortable and could not wait to leave.



What really did it for me though was when my aunt tried to tell me I could eat the pasta salad because it just had dressing on it (remember everything was brought in from a restaurant, not homemade). When I tried to explain that that wasn't good enough, especially by saying that the pasta could have eggs in it, she just disagreed with me and said that they don't put raw eggs in pasta salad (she obviously did not understand me). She never apologized or offered me anything else. Instead I just left after an hour and before the non-vegan cake. My cousin even snickered at me (although we are friends and usually get along) and said, "why don't you eat some carrot sticks?"



Am I right to be upset? Shouldn't people at least TRY to consider their guests? I understand that people make mistakes, but no one seemed to realize that I was being excluded, and try to remedy it.
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#2 Old 03-08-2009, 09:06 PM
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I would be annoyed too if I was in your situation.... in fact I have been in your situation and I did get annoyed. For me too noone seemed to notice or care except for the two people in my family who always make an effort to include me (my dad and my bf). But seeing as they aren't always around when meals are being planned (and neither am I) I end up being excluded quite often by my stepmum (who herself was pescetarian for a while).



You say that your parents are normally quite accommodating, maybe next time you could ask your dad (if he is well) or mum to have a chat to their family member and just sort of mention it. That way you can avoid any confrontation, or if you feel comfortable you can always just mention it yourself!!!
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#3 Old 03-08-2009, 09:22 PM
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um... yeah, but no. well, honestly, it doesn't matter if you're justified or not by anyone elses standards, what matters is that you feel how you feel, and what you decide to do about it.



you said that you know your aunt and uncle do things how they do, and that you end up eating veggies there. so thats what happened this time. not a big suprise. knowing that, i would have been smart and taken something with which to feed myself.



it does look like they tried to accomodate you to some extent. your aunt got pasta salad with just dressing. she could have got it with all kindsa meaty crap in there, but she didn't. it seems she doesn't know about eggs in fresh pasta, but then why would she, if she's not personally affected by their presence? she also got carrot sticks. thats food- its just not upto the standard that you'd like.



i think these things go both ways. if i'd been fed veggies by them before, and didn't want to be served veggies again, i would have proactively arranged some way of not having that happen. that'd either mean discussing it with them (have you ever called ahead and said 'hey aunty whatsit, what are you gonna be serving, would you like some suggestions of what to feed me, or should i bring something?'), or feeding myself (lunchbox!).



have you done either of those things? hows about when you were there- did you say 'hey aunty whatsit, um, i know its a pain trying to feed someone with complicated dietary choices, and i really appreciate that you did your best with the pasta salad, but carrot sticks are gettin a bit dull, can i be really cheeky and raid your fridge and look for some snackies?'- i bet she had some other vegan stuff about that you could have rustled up.



so she wasn't proactive when you turned down the pasta- she didn't say 'hey, come see whats about in the kitchen that you could eat'. but you slipped up a whole bunch too by having high expectations based on your parents being really good at feeding you.



did you make it clear that you weren't ok with carrot sticks, or did you say it was fine, or just not say anything and make a mopey face? why do they do things the easiest way possible- are they maybe just not that confident in catering for people, or are they rushed, do they have a whole bunch of kids or other commitments?



are they the type of people who read subtle bodylanguage clues and pander to everyones little foybles, or are they more the 'speak up or miss out' kinda people? i don't respond well to subtlety- not cos i'm mean or i don't care, just cos i'm not wired for it. maybe your aunt just got a vibe from your attitude that put her off probing further- not saying you acted snooty or bratty, but maybe she just didn't pick up that you were receptive to problemsolving, or even that you had a massive issue with eating carrotsticks.



basically just showing up somewhere where you generally get fed veggies, and expecting to well... not get fed veggies, and being irked about being fed veggies, isn't really productive.



its totally ok that you feel upset. how you feel is how you feel. but you could avoid feeling upset again, with a little planning and a change of perspective.
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#4 Old 03-08-2009, 09:26 PM
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Because its your family I would be annoyed. I expect my family to respect my choices and support them.

If it were some not-so-close friends, or someone I didn't eat with regularly, then I would not expect them to understand my Veganism.



So yes, I think your feelings are justified.

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#5 Old 03-09-2009, 02:53 AM
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I like how HCJ put it.... yeah, but no. Because we have eating habits that differ from everyone around us, it is improtant that we prepare for ourselves. I never go anywhere without food of some kind. Wheather it's nuts and dried fruit, a luna bar, or a casserole of grilled veggies. Depending on the situation, I bring enough to share. I never expect anyone to cater to the way I eat. When I do expect it, I'm disappointed. My Mom is like yours in that she always makes me tons of stuff to eat and is awesome. She spoils me because her house is the only place that's like that for me.



I try and remember that I am wherever I am not for the food but for the company of the people around me. I'd be sad too that no one noticed that I was hungry but I'd also open the fridge and root around for something to eat I'm so sorry you had a bad experience.
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#6 Old 03-09-2009, 03:11 AM
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Because it was your family and they were familiar with your situation, I would have been slightly upset as well. To me, not having something available would have been as if you had a peanut allergy and she served nothing but peanut butter sandwiches.



Then again, sometimes people just do not know what to feed us. My aunt and uncle are quite familiar with my lifestyle, yet when it comes to feeding me, they are utterly clueless. So perhaps your aunt truly thought you could eat the pasta salad.
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#7 Old 03-09-2009, 03:23 AM
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Your feelings are perfectly justifiable Michelle. Don't stress.

One thing with being vegan or vegetarian is our lifestyle is just not understood by the norm. They can't seem to overcome the propaganda of "we were supposed to eat meat", "god said it's ok to eat meat" and plenty of other far fetched stuff.



I don't go to reunions with my family. My ethnic background is a carnivorous one and if they can't respect my views, I'm not gonna give them time of day.
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#8 Old 03-09-2009, 06:05 AM
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Yes it's annoying and your feelings are valid but I think in situations such as these we as veg*ns need to either be responsible for our own food or go into the situation accepting that we may be eating nothing but carrot sticks (or pretzels, or a bun with nothing on it... whatever the situation may be). I ALWAYS ask what I can bring, and if they say nothing I ask what's being served (and will bring myself something anyway if it's something I won't eat). I don't EVER expect anyone to accomodate me, but if they do I'm always very gratious about it.



There have been times when it wouldn't be appropriate for me to bring in my own food (i.e. formal weddings), so I'll eat before, or slip a larabar in my purse (I actually was looking through all my bags yesterday and found 3 or 4 larabars. haha), or just pick at whatever I can eat because in most situations, I'm not there for the food, I'm there to celebrate with my friends and family.

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#9 Old 03-09-2009, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Bells View Post

Then again, sometimes people just do not know what to feed us.



this is the reason for lack of options a lot of the time, but if a family member actually respects your lifestyle theyd get on the phone to you and ask you what they could get for you. if this happened to me, id let them off the hook this time cuz a last minute hospitalisation was involved and they mightve just got too stressed or busy to think about it, but next time id be bringing it up with them about feeling a bit excluded.
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#10 Old 03-09-2009, 08:42 AM
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Always bring something, always. Hosts/hostesses appreciate help and contributions, whereas no one appreciates a guest who is picky and ungrateful...especially when the venue had just changed, family members are in the hospital, and the easiest option was to buy a meat tray - no doubt to leave enough time to scrub the bathroom and vacuum.



And if this happens again, just be thrilled with your carrot sticks - so what if there's nothing to eat? Enjoy the party and go home and eat later. It's not always just about food.

It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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#11 Old 03-09-2009, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by hoodedclawjen View Post

lots of good stuff as usual



At the risk of sounding pedantic, I don't think it really helps to think of feelings as needing justification. It's how you handle your feelings that matters. Unfortunately, a lot of people are completely clueless when it comes to veg*n dietary needs. I think that the best way to handle family get-togethers is to offer to bring something veg*n to share with everyone. It's also probably a good idea to keep a couple clif bars, luna bars, or whatever in the glove compartment for those times when you end up stuck somewhere with nothing to eat but carrot sticks.



I can understand your frustration and I would probably feel the same way in that situation too. But, as hoodedclawjen pointed out, some people just aren't very good at picking up on hints and nonverbal cues. I know I certainly have some relatives like that. Sometimes I'm the one who acts like that. So I try to give people the benefit of the doubt in those situations and hope that they'll return the favor when I'm the one who's being obtuse.

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#12 Old 03-09-2009, 09:47 AM
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And if this happens again, just be thrilled with your carrot sticks - so what if there's nothing to eat?





Ha ha.....carrot stix don't do much for me so there's no way I'd suffer eating just that at a birthday party when everyone around me is chowing down on celebratory-type food.



I'd call up a pizza bar or something and get them to deliver me some real food.



.
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#13 Old 03-09-2009, 12:53 PM
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Ha ha.....carrot stix don't do much for me so there's no way I'd suffer eating just that at a birthday party when everyone around me is chowing down on celebratory-type food.



I'd call up a pizza bar or something and get them to deliver me some real food.



.



LOL and charge it to the auntie dearest!



btw...I would have been peeved as well. It's your aunt for crying out loud! How long has she known that you're a vegan? How many times have you gone to their house and you've been forced to only eat vegetables. Hopefully, you've complained about that, and if you haven't...that's your fault. If you don't complain this time though, it's your own fault if they don't have anything for you at the next party. And, if they don't...I seriously would order that pizza...with yummy vegan cheeze and lotsa veggies! Mmmm!



However, I do agree with others that I too always take something to a party, just in case they don't have anything for me to eat...and for the most part that has happened. I'd say almost always! Do I get pissed! Yes!! Do I say anything...only if the person is in a situation to do something about it next time.

What pissed me off the most once, was when a friend came over to my house for a potluck with non-vegan brownies!! I know I shouldn't let it bother me that much...but it really did!!!
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#14 Old 03-09-2009, 01:24 PM
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As a vegan in a non-vegan world I always try to take responsibility for my own food. It's my choice to eat this way and I don't like expecting others to cater to my diet. Am I appreciative when they do go out of their way to make sure there's something for me? Heck yeah! But do I expect it? Not for a minute. Because you know what happens when you do? They fall through. Someone forgets or overlooks or tries but just doesn't realize that whey is not vegan, and then you're stuck. And then you're reinforcing the stereotype that vegans can't eat anything.



So yeah, I totally get why you're annoyed, they are family after all and you expect them to make sure everybody has something to eat, and you went hungry. That sucks, I totally get it. But it reinforces what I've said: Always make sure you bring something of your own that you can eat. Instead of proving everyone right that vegans are self-deniers who never get anything good to eat (cause that's what a lot of people think), prove them wrong: bring a yummy, amazing dish and share it with others (and bring more than you think you need because in my experience when I bring a dish for myself lots of times it goes faster than anything else and then I'm stuck still being hungry even though I brought my own food!). It's really a win-win situation when you take charge of your own food
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#15 Old 03-09-2009, 01:34 PM
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When I go to family events, I generally feed myself and have everyone watching me eat with wrinkled noses. Mind you, I'm eating a mushroom burger with hummus and edamame on the side. Nothing too wierd.



But I kind of revel in it, and try and get them to have some too. My two year old niece likes hummus- to the point where every time she sees me she ASKS for it- but no one else will try it.



I think maybe next time you should just bring an additional dish to add to the spread that is vegan and you can eat, but so can everyone else.
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#16 Old 03-09-2009, 02:54 PM
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When I go to family events, I generally feed myself and have everyone watching me eat with wrinkled noses. Mind you, I'm eating a mushroom burger with hummus and edamame on the side. Nothing too wierd.



To a lot of people that *is* weird!



But really, a lot of people think something is weird just because it's vegan, period.



At Christmas, my MIL made spinach artichoke dip vegan by using Tofutti cream cheese instead of the dairy stuff. Everyone loved it, was eating it up, complimenting her on how great it is. Until she admitted that it was vegan. Then I heard people saying behind her back that they knew something was off about it (yes, the same people who were saying how much they loved it and going back for seconds when my MIL wasn't even around to hear it, so they weren't just being polite).



You can bake chocolate chip cookies, using applesauce instead of eggs - no 'weird' ingredients at all - and if you tell people they're vegan they start backing away. Sometimes it's best to just show up with the food and let people eat it. If they really want to know what's in it, they can ask.
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#17 Old 03-09-2009, 04:32 PM
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Okay, a few quick responses:



-I should have mentioned that everything was in one tray and everything was touching everything else (think carrot sticks on top of meat).

-It was my aunt's family of four, four from my family, and my grandma, so it was not as if there were a ton of people to think of.

-I am close with their family, and even when I was a meat eater, I ate very little meat, and rarely.

-I always carry food on me (Lara bars, almonds, etc.), and if I had been really hungry, I would have had something to eat, but it was more about the fact that I felt excluded.

-It bothered me that no one said anything, offered me anything, or acknowledged me. If it was merely about eating I would have eaten something out of her fridge, but it wasn't about that.

-In the past, they have called me and said things like, "we are doing bbq, and no veggies, so you might want to bring some tofu dogs," otherwise there is food that I can eat.

-I have brought food in the past, be it for myself or others as well. But with my dad in the hospital, we just simply did not have time for this.



Thanks everyone who made me feel validated, and to some of you, you are right - my feelings are my feelings and I should not need validation. However, being as though I never looked for a place to connect with fellow vegetarians/vegans until recently, I thought I would take advantage of this opportunity to vent! So thanks for hearing me out and responding to my comments!
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#18 Old 03-09-2009, 04:42 PM
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Always bring something, always. Hosts/hostesses appreciate help and contributions, whereas no one appreciates a guest who is picky and ungrateful...especially when the venue had just changed, family members are in the hospital, and the easiest option was to buy a meat tray - no doubt to leave enough time to scrub the bathroom and vacuum.



And if this happens again, just be thrilled with your carrot sticks - so what if there's nothing to eat? Enjoy the party and go home and eat later. It's not always just about food.



My thoughts exactly - nor is it all about you. It wasn't your party, was it? Next time, get yourself a cup of tea, put your feet up, and enjoy.



You're allowed your feelings, certainly, but were you justified in feeling miffed? I don't think so. It sounds like your aunt made the effort, even if she didn't succeed, and in instances like that, the best thing to do is be gracious, offer a sunny smile, celebrate the birthday boy or girl, and ward off the evil meat eaters with crossed carrot sticks while thinking on the yummy contents awaiting you at home!
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#19 Old 03-09-2009, 06:58 PM
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Do you feel like they tried to exclude you, that they deliberately went out of your way to make you uncomfortable? Or do you feel that in the chaos they just simply forgot about your dietary choices?



I'm guessing it's the latter: they are your family after all, and I don't think they meant you any ill will. And I think that's what you should probably be focusing on. And maybe next time, call ahead and 'remind them' by asking if there's going to be anything there for you to eat or if you should bring something of your own.
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#20 Old 03-09-2009, 10:34 PM
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Well, I feel bad for you. But I think the main thing is that most people have no real idea about what vegans eat or cannot eat. They aren't thinking about the ingredients in detail, so your aunt probably didn't even begin to understand your POV. Sad, but true.
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#21 Old 03-11-2009, 04:26 PM
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You're allowed your feelings, certainly, but were you justified in feeling miffed? I don't think so. It sounds like your aunt made the effort, even if she didn't succeed, and in instances like that, the best thing to do is be gracious, offer a sunny smile, celebrate the birthday boy or girl, and ward off the evil meat eaters with crossed carrot sticks while thinking on the yummy contents awaiting you at home!



I really believe that my aunt made no effort. And like I said, I usually make the effort, call ahead, bring food, but my dad was in the hospital, and I did not think to. I think I was more bothered by the fact that she did not do anything to acknowledge me after she realized there was nothing I could eat. Forget about saying, "oops, sorry" or "is there something I can get you?". Plus I did not want to touch the slimy meat covered carrot sticks (although I liked your joke about warding them off with them)!



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Originally Posted by fyvel View Post

Do you feel like they tried to exclude you, that they deliberately went out of your way to make you uncomfortable? Or do you feel that in the chaos they just simply forgot about your dietary choices?



I'm guessing it's the latter: they are your family after all, and I don't think they meant you any ill will. And I think that's what you should probably be focusing on. And maybe next time, call ahead and 'remind them' by asking if there's going to be anything there for you to eat or if you should bring something of your own.



In every situation where my eating was limited, or I could not eat at a social event, I always knew it was unintentional of the host/hostess. But this is an exception, because my aunt really does not think of others. I do not think that it was intentional, but that she just did not care, nor get it. Like I said, no oops or sorry, just an attitude of "it's your decision whether or not to eat what I provide!"
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#22 Old 03-11-2009, 07:06 PM
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Like I said, no oops or sorry, just an attitude of "it's your decision whether or not to eat what I provide!"



I've gotten that sentiment from several people, and one told me outright she wouldn't make anything special for vegans (not that I'd even asked), because it's her house and she can serve whatever she likes. That's her prerogative. In those cases, I just eat before I go there, or bring enough trail mix to tide me over.
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#23 Old 03-11-2009, 07:21 PM
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I've been to a lot of family events where I've had nothing to eat. Normally most are good about asking me something they can make me, but in the end, it's really my responsibilty to make sure I have food since I eat differently than them. Annoying, yes, but I get over it.



ETA: You say your dad was in the hospital so you didn't have time to think about food. It was probably the same for your relatives.
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#24 Old 03-11-2009, 07:26 PM
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In every situation where my eating was limited, or I could not eat at a social event, I always knew it was unintentional of the host/hostess. But this is an exception, because my aunt really does not think of others. I do not think that it was intentional, but that she just did not care, nor get it. Like I said, no oops or sorry, just an attitude of "it's your decision whether or not to eat what I provide!"



you should tell her to settle down and take it easy with the "caring aunt" role
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#25 Old 03-11-2009, 08:59 PM
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I have been in those situations before. I think the worst part is not really the lack of food but the lack of care.



I normally take something with me, like Amy's since people often have no clue what is vegan. But, if you knew your parents had something and things got changed, it seems like they should have at least cared a little.
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#26 Old 03-12-2009, 05:33 AM
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Mgm84- I'm so sorry your Father is in the hospital. I hope everything is ok



In light of that piece of info, I think you had more reason to be upset. If a family member is ill and there's high tension, it would be understanding that she would think about you or at least ask you if you need anything. Granted, I always take the approach that its my responsibility to prepare food for myself, but when my Grandmother was dying and I had to be at my Aunt's house for extended periods of time, I would have been really pissed if they had nothing for me to eat and didn't even give a thought to my diet. There was a lunch once during that time that they had nothing for me to eat (you know sandwiches with meat, cheese, and mayo) so I drove 20 minutes to the store to get some hummus, wraps, and veggies to make something. I came back and they were cool about it.



Anyway, again, I'm so sorry to hear about your Father and I hope he's well now
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#27 Old 03-12-2009, 03:29 PM
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With so many dietary issues today, it might be impossble to host any dinner and satisfy everyone. People have diabetes, gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, seafood allergies, soy allergies, low carb diets, low calorie diets, fruit fasts, peanut allergies, vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, no-red meat, low-sodium, and on and on. Honestly, if you do something outside the norm - just chip in and make it easier on the host to want to invite you back.



Yes, it's nice to feel loved and thought of, but it's nice to be a gracious guest too.

It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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#28 Old 03-13-2009, 07:56 AM
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So, I just got home from having dinner (or not having dinner) at my aunt's house. The long story short is - the occasion was to celebrate my grandmother's birthday and it was originally suppose to be at my parents' house, but instead my dad got sick and ended up in the hospital. It was then moved to my aunt and uncle's house.



My parents always make sure there is food around for me to eat, and will do whatever it takes to ensure that. However, my aunt and uncle like to do things the easiest way possible. They know I have been veggie for a long time now, and usually there are some veggies that are sides that I can eat. But this time, they brought in a meat tray to make sandwiches with some coleslaw and pasta salad. The ONLY thing I could eat was carrot sticks. I felt so uncomfortable and could not wait to leave.



What really did it for me though was when my aunt tried to tell me I could eat the pasta salad because it just had dressing on it (remember everything was brought in from a restaurant, not homemade). When I tried to explain that that wasn't good enough, especially by saying that the pasta could have eggs in it, she just disagreed with me and said that they don't put raw eggs in pasta salad (she obviously did not understand me). She never apologized or offered me anything else. Instead I just left after an hour and before the non-vegan cake. My cousin even snickered at me (although we are friends and usually get along) and said, "why don't you eat some carrot sticks?"



Am I right to be upset? Shouldn't people at least TRY to consider their guests? I understand that people make mistakes, but no one seemed to realize that I was being excluded, and try to remedy it.





Do you think you're focusing so much on the food issues because you're afraid to let your mind dwell on what happened to your dad?
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