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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going to a party at a fancy club with my boyfriend tomorrow night -- it's his company's annual Christmas party. Since this is his first year with the company, it's also his first social event with them. A meal will be served, and having been to this place for other events, I can pretty much guarantee that (1) it will be a sit-down meal and not buffet style, so no picking and choosing, and (2) nothing will be vegan-friendly anyway. I'm sure my bf will be fine because he'll be eating vegetarian, but for me, it'll be another story.<br><br>
I've heard that some vegans will call up a place before the event and request that a special meal be made for them. But being new to veganism, I am very uncomfortable with this idea, particularly since I'm merely the guest of an employee. What I'd really like to do is have dinner before we go and then politely decline the meal that's served. Would this be proper etiquette? I'm afraid of making him look bad by appearing rude -- I'm already going to be the weird girl with red and blonde hair and six piercings, although I am planning on covering my tattoo. I'm just uneasy about the whole thing.<br><br>
What are your thoughts?
 

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It's a tricky situation <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("><br><br>
Personally, I just tell people who ask that I have severe food allergies and prepare my own food for safety reasons - which, in my case, is totally true. Then I get a drink, join the conversation and try not to call any attention to the fact that I'm not eating the meal. I always eat either before I go or after. It usually works, though I suppose a sit-down dinner does make things harder.(I'm actually going to one of those for my boyfriend's company party soon as well, and I'm somewhat nervous about how that will go so I hear you <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("> )<br><br>
I know some people make things easier on themselves by saying that they "can't" eat something instead of that they "won't." Not sure if you're comfortable with that, but I suppose it's an option.<br><br>
You could also ask the caters/chef/whoever's serving the food if they have any plain, non-buttered veggies they could throw together for you. Is there any possibility of calling in advance, maybe the morning of, and asking if they can make you a very simple veggie plate?
 

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Chefs are usually very excited to have a chance to be creative and prepare you something different. I would contact the place where it's being held and let them know that you don't (or can't, that might work better) eat meat or dairy and would like to know if there would be a suitable vegetarian entree available. You'll probably be surprised at how accommodating you are. I once went to a formal banquet where a single dish was being served to everyone, and I asked the server as she was bringing our salads if I could just have the side dishes (baked potato and mixed vegetables) on my main course plate, with none of the chicken. She said, "Oh, are you vegetarian?" I told her yes, and she said she would be happy to bring me a vegetarian dish. I assumed I would get sides, which was what I was expecting. Well I wound up with this totally awesome vegetable stir fry that everyone at my table was jealous of, and it was done spur of the moment, just a little while before the food was served.<br><br>
You never know until you ask! I doubt the chef will see it as you being difficult -- chefs love creating things.
 

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I would never claim a food allergy unless I actually had one -- if someone finds out you don't have an allergy, then you look like a idiot. And then they might assume another person who claims to have a food allergy is lying, and so on. All around bad idea. If you tell people you have "allergies" to meat/dairy/eggs, you probably will never find food you can eat even if it is vegan due to potential cross-contamination if it was prepared in the same kitchen as the foods you are "allergic" to.<br><br>
To <b>SadieP</b>, It never hurts to ask. They may not be able to accommodate you, but chances are they could at least provide something like a veggie salad with oil and vinegar dressing. Not the most filling meal, but it's only one meal and it's probably more about socializing than the food. Unless your BF knows a vegetarian option will be provided, he'll need to ask about that anyway, so all he needs to say is that he needs 2 vegetarian meals, one also without dairy, eggs, or other animal products.<br><br>
I have to say it would probably look pretty weird to totally turn down the meal when you knew in advance a meal would be served. If that's what you would like to do, it would be more polite to arrive after dinner if possible.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>RunnerVeggie</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3049383"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I don't see how this works, unless you are getting together with people who only ever see you at these sorts of functions where you don't eat. I would never claim a food allergy -- if someone finds out you don't have an allergy, then you look like a idiot. And then they might assume another person who claims to have a food allergy is lying, and so on. All around bad idea. If you tell people you have "allergies" to meat/dairy/eggs, you probably will never find food you can eat even if it is vegan due to potential cross-contamination if it was prepared in the same kitchen as the foods you are "allergic" to.</div>
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if i had a food allergy i'd use it as my primary reason like YellowRose.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>zirpkatze</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3049408"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
if i had a food allergy i'd use it as my primary reason like YellowRose.</div>
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Ack. I misunderstood - I've edited my post so hopefully it makes more sense now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> I thought YellowRose was saying she has severe food allergies as an excuse for not eating, when in fact she really doesn't have food allergies. My apologies -- obviously if you do have food allergies, by all means, eat beforehand and tell people that's what's going on. I wouldn't use it as an excuse for not eating vegan food unless you really truly have a food allergy though, for the reasons I stated.
 

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In my experience, restaurants are usually pretty accommodating with other diets, whether it's because of allergies or being veg. They would be pretty busy preparing meals for a large group, so I would ring ahead. I've found that if I leave it until the last minute that's when waiters and chefs get annoyed. That's also what encourages loads more questions from the others at the table, and it makes you look like a difficult vegetarian/vegan.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>SadieP</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3049343"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
What I'd really like to do is have dinner before we go and then politely decline the meal that's served. Would this be proper etiquette?</div>
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Dunno whether that's proper or not, don't really care, but I know it looks really lame when vegans do that. It makes it look like we can't be accomodated, and, that we also quite like the idea of not being accomodated, just to stand out. Just call ahead and ask them to make you something vegan.<br>
It's no biggie <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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absolutely agree with calling ahead, and giving them enough time...I wouldn't do it two hours before the dinner though, that would be kind of rude, since you have plenty of time to plan this out. Preparing a meal like this really isn't that difficult. And you can probably have the salad and bread, depending on how you feel about breads at a restaurant.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>RunnerVeggie</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3049417"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Ack. I misunderstood - I've edited my post so hopefully it makes more sense now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> I thought YellowRose was saying she has severe food allergies as an excuse for not eating, when in fact she really doesn't have food allergies. My apologies -- obviously if you do have food allergies, by all means, eat beforehand and tell people that's what's going on. I wouldn't use it as an excuse for not eating vegan food unless you really truly have a food allergy though, for the reasons I stated.</div>
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gotcha. i agree. i wouldn't use it as an excuse if there was no allergy but i've considered it
 

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If you don't feel confortable taking it upon yourself to firstly call the restaurant, could you contact the person within your boyfriend's company that's organising the event (or get your boyfriend to talk to them on your behalf)? Explain that you're vegan and request a vegan meal option. Also offer to contact the restaurant yourself in advance then you'll be guaranteed that they'll know to cater for you. This will cover all bases and alert your boyfriends work about you being vegan for future events (bonus!).<br><br>
I've never eaten in a restaurant that didn't cater for vegans upon request. I was also an event planner & often had different dietary requests to cater for with no issues.<br><br>
I don't think you should miss out on dinner just because you're vegan!
 

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I agree with a lot of what others have said.<br><br>
I think it would be much ruder to sit down at a sit-down formal meal and refuse the meal, than call ahead and ask for a seperate meal (which isn't rude at all!).<br><br>
Also people don't like to be eating a meal when others around them aren't, even if YOU are fine with it, others probally wont be, and may ask a lot of questions, insist you eat something, and make a big ho-ha out of it. Also the chef may insist he makes you something and has to make something on the fly because he wont want to be unaccommodating and he's been hired to prepare food for all the guests. (I've known resturaunts like this, where if you don't eat a meal they insist they bring you a replacement, etc). Obviously it depends on the guests, but it's the sort of thing I can see happening at formal occasions.<br><br>
I would probally talk to (or get your bf to talk to) someone at the company who is arranging things and ask if there could be something suitable for you to eat - and if they would prefer you to ring yourself and arrange something with the chef. I think contacting the resturaunt directly may cause confusion between everyone, so I'd prefer for everyone to know what's going on!<br><br>
I also agree that chefs usually really embrace the oppertunity to make something different for a vegan. I've had some of the tastiest meals this way, and no one has ever been anything other than enthusistic about it. You shouldn't feel uncomfortable about it, the worst that can happen is they say no, and then you haven't lost anything.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Identity_thief</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3049645"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
the worst that can happen is they say no, and then you haven't lost anything.</div>
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The worst thing that can happen is that you get a mouth full of something that seems like vegetable, but has been cooked in, steeped in, saturated in chicken broth.<br><br>
From the moment of the first bite, the noxious fumes from the chicken corpse liquid rush back into your throat and up your nose like getting a face full of dirty laundry of the worst kind, the rancid juices soaking into your tongue and every cranny between your teeth and climbing down your throat.<br><br>
You spit it out immediately, fighting gag reflexes and feeling your stomach turning in anguish. No matter how much you spit discretely into your napkin the taste won't go away, you can feel it soaking into you, attacking your nose and mouth like gasoline eating the paint off a wall.<br><br>
You excuse yourself to the washroom, holding back a wave of vomit, and spend the next thirty minutes removed from the party and having one of the least pleasant experiences of your life.<br><br>
True story.<br><br><br>
If this restaurant has experienced staff who are familiar with vegan restrictions and how to prepare vegan food, that's great.<br><br>
If not, DO call ahead. But I strongly advise that you do NOT ask them to <i>cook</i> anything for you.<br><br>
Instead, request a "raw food" dish, made only of raw fruits and vegetables (nothing cooked) without any sauce. That's pretty much impossible for anybody to mess up. Fruits. Vegetables. Don't cook it. No sauce. No dip.<br><br>
You'll have food, you'll be able to eat. Nobody will feel uncomfortable, and they'll probably comment on how nice and healthy your plate looks.<br><br>
If you don't do that, sooner or later somebody is going to get it wrong, and you'll really regret it.<br><br>
Maybe you'll have great experiences 90% of the time. But when it goes wrong, you'll never forget it. I hope you don't ever have to experience that.
 

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I want to be clear that I'm not advising you to wait until the last minute to make a request -- I was just sharing my experience that it even worked out at the last minute. I had planned to just eat the sides, so I didn't feel I needed to call ahead to do that -- I just needed to make sure no chicken showed up on my plate! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
As for asking for a raw meal...yes, that would work...however, why not just ask when you call that they NOT prepare anything with chicken broth or butter?
 

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i think declining or calling ahead are both reasonable options. however, i think trying to arrange something beforehand will probably cause less discomfort for others (they won't feel bad that you're not eating) and probably the better choice in this instance. i agree with Identity_thief that you should have your boyfriend inquire first at his job before anything else.
 

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This thread is very interesting. I do agree with the others that calling ahead to the restaurant should be A-OK. Most places are willing to make at least some effort to see that everyone can at least have something. I'll be in a similar situation this weekend when I go with my boyfriend to his company dinner. I'm a little worried about it. This dinner won't be at an actual restaurant, but at a convention type area which will be catered. He was told that there would be vegetarian options, but when he asked about vegan options he got no answer. Now, the lady who is handling the food choices is away (so we're not sure who to talk to) and we can't call ahead because we don't know who will be providing the food.<br><br>
I'm hoping there will be something in the vegetarian options I'd be able to work with (such as leaving the cheese or dressing off of a salad) but I'm also worried that the vegetarian dishes will be very dairy/egg heavy. I'm planning to stick a few granola bars in my purse and have a snack before we go, but I'm still pretty unsure about it all.
 

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I agree with calling ahead if you can do it. Just be sure to explain what vegans/vegetarians eat and don't eat. Our company just had a party at a restaurant and the organizer did mention that there would be a vegan (me) there, but some places still don't get what vegan is. They had falafel, but they offered it with a yogurt dip *sigh*. I really wish the food-service industry would become better informed about what vegans and vegetarians do and don't eat.
 

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I have done this before and it always works out so wonderful for me!<br>
I have been to lots of fancy sit-down dinners and at first I was hesitant - like you - to call ahead. But I did it once and it worked out great, so I started doing it whenever we would go out to a staff function or whatever. The restaurants are are usually very friendly about it (why wouldn't they be?) and the dish I end up with is usually great!! There were times where my food was actually more fresh and nicer looking that what everyone else was eating.<br>
If I were you I would just bite the bullet and call ahead - you will be happy you did! IF for some reason they say no, you can plan to eat ahead of time and then just have a plain garden salad at the event. They will definitely be able to do that - and then at least you have something in front of you while others eat! (Oh and also, if the table asks why you are only eating salad, you can say the restaurant doesn't accommodate special diets).<br><br>
Good luck! Let us know what yummy dish they create for you! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
PS: If you don't want to call, get your boyfriend to call for you, OR have him talk to people at work who organize the event. Usually in large group parties they are used to some dietary restrictions and allergies - this isn't "weird"!! You aren't being a hassle!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for your thoughts, everyone! Two things -- the bf found out just this morning that it is in fact a buffet, which is odd because I've been to this place various times and it's ALWAYS been a sit-down meal. But anyway, this will make things a LOT easier. I should be able to have salad and bread (and I'll be eating a full dinner before I go, too).<br><br>
And another reason I didn't want to call in advance -- I totally forgot about this party until he reminded me about it yesterday, and the party's tonight. Oops! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/undecided.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":-/"> I would be willing to call a place up until one week before the event, so as not to be rude by waiting till the last minute. Next time I'll be sure to utilize my calendar. lol.<br><br><b>Herbivorous B.I.G.</b>: I'm still pretty new to veganism, so he is still new to supporting me in this way. It probably didn't occur to him that calling ahead would be an option, and I don't fault him for it at all. We'll simply keep the option in mind for next time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 
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