How to Be a Vegetarian at Holiday Meals

April 13, 2018 3:59 pm11 commentsViews: 103

Holiday meals are special. Steeped in tradition, most people are particular about what makes it onto their plates for special occasions. Being vegetarian around traditions steeped in gravy and giblets is not always easy.

Attending Omnivorous Dinners and Parties

Some people are accepting of vegetarian diets while others may feel offended or defensive. Being a vegetarian guest at a traditionally meaty meal may be awkward.

Being prepared and open about your dietary lifestyle may help to prevent confusion and help everybody attending the dinner feel more comfortable with your choices.

Before the Dinner

Before responding to a dinner invitation, have a good think around what feels comfortable when it comes to meat. Some vegetarians are ok with carving a turkey, while others won’t appreciate table-mates passing gravy over their plates. Thinking about what makes you uncomfortable will help you start an honest, open conversation with the host.

Vegetarian Guest Responsibilities

-Inform the host well in advance of any event that you are vegetarian, and describe what kind of vegetarian you are (vegan, lacto-vegetarian, pescatarian, etc.)
-Work with the host to come up with food ideas, if necessary.
-Politely mention that some foods may seem vegetarian, but contain hidden animal ingredients like chicken broth, marshmallows or butter (if vegan). Mention that you are not comfortable eating these foods.
-Ask if you can bring an alternative to the meat dish(es)
-Offer to bring a favourite recipe (especially a main dish to “replace” the meat, if required) if you feel comfortable doing this
-Be prepared for unexpected situations, and be open to finding creative solutions (for example, helping the host “whip” something up in the kitchen; bringing a veggie burger or patty from home)

Vegetarians Hosting Omnivores for Dinner

If you are a vegetarian hosting meat-eaters for a meal, be open and clear about what will be served, and what people are welcome to bring. This will vary depending on your comfort level and on the formalness of the occasion.

Here are several ideas to help vegetarians and omnivores co-exist at your holiday table, in peace:

Some vegetarians are comfortable cooking meat, but not eating it. If you’re comfortable doing so, offer to cook the meat.
If comfortable doing so, offer your oven to guests who wish to eat a meat dish
Request that guests who prefer to eat meat bring their own pre-cooked dishes
Clearly state that no turkey (or other meat) will be served. That way, guests can arrange to cook traditional foods at another meal.

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