Dinner Parties Among Friends

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Pssst!  Healthy Tipping Point is finally on Facebook! 🙂


The taper crazies have fully set in, so I took James for a 2.0 mile walk this morning.  It felt good to move.  He liked it, too, of course.  The Lazy One stayed home.  Would you expect anything less?




A hummus, tabbouleh, and spinach sandwich:


Half an apple:


Olives (I am OBSESSED with olives lately. Mmm, salt):


And leftover of the quinoa mix from last night:


Veg for Non-Vegetarians?


I had an interesting exchange with my mother the other day, and then Cindy asked about this in the comments section.  The issue is whether I serve non-vegetarians vegetarian food when they dine at my house.  So, of course, I appreciate it a lot when friends and family make me a vegetarian entree when I dine at their house, but if they don’t, I just eat the side dishes and load up on bread.  :)  In case you’re wondering, my in-laws and mother are vegetarian, too, but my father and siblings-in-law are not.


But, on the flip side, if a meat-eater comes to my house, I serve them a vegetarian meal.  I think I cooked chicken for our friend Harry 7 months ago, and I bought my friends’ son organic chicken nuggets this spring.  It does not bother me if other people want to eat meat (seriously, that’s their choice just as it’s mine not to eat it), but I do not like spending my money on meat nor do I like preparing it.  I guess I’m of the philosophy that one vegetarian meal won’t kill a meat-eater, and it’s not like I’m asking them to eat something they don’t like (i.e. if they don’t do tofu, I don’t force it on them; we just have beans or lasagna), they are just forgoing meat.  And my vegetarian dinners are pretty good. 🙂


My mother, on other hand, is a vegetarian but usually buys chicken for meat-eaters when they dine at her house because she believes she should accommodate her guests with what they normally eat. 


So, this is the long way of me asking – If you’re a vegetarian, do you serve meat to your guests? If you’re a meat eater, how do you accommodate vegetarian friends, and do you mind eating vegetarian dinners at their houses (PS – Here’s my ‘why I eat the way I eat’ post.)



  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write October 29, 2010, 1:28 pm

    I really like this question. We very often eat vegetarian meals (though we aren’t vegetarian). If I’m eating in a (strict) vegetarian’s home, I would not expect meat. I think it’s completely reasonable to expect that if you’re going to a vegetarian’s home that you will not be having meat. Now, I do understand maybe picking up something for a child who is used to eating meat, but I think most adults should be fine with one vegetarian meal.

    Great question!

  • Anna @ History Running Girl October 29, 2010, 1:31 pm

    I would not serve meat to guests. Part of why I don’t eat it, is I just don’t like preparing it. I don’t mind making something like macaroni and cheese or anything like that.

    If I was going somewhere that wouldn’t have veg options, I would bring my own.

  • stepf @dailyspark October 29, 2010, 1:32 pm

    I don’t cook meat at home except for Thanksgiving turkey, but my boyfriend sometimes grills meat for our guests. In general we don’t buy or cook meat for guests. I’ve never had anyone complain about the no-meat menus. Most of my girl friends are omnivorous but lean toward vegetarianism; the guys complain a bit but only in good fun.

  • Kristina @ spabettie October 29, 2010, 1:33 pm

    I have always made meat dishes for guests – AND plenty of vegetarian and vegan options too – and they are just as well received!

    We had a HUGE pool party / BBQ at our house over the summer, with many things made by me AND a large part of it catered by a vegan restaurant… one family LEFT because they thought that was all we had… while Jason was outside grilling all kinds of meat.

    oh well – see ya!


    • Laura October 29, 2010, 3:39 pm

      Holy! thats a little rude eh?

      • Kristina @ spabettie October 29, 2010, 4:02 pm

        I know!! completely! I was shocked… then… whatever!! they missed a SUPER FUN PARTY ! 😀

        • Lacey @ Lake Life October 29, 2010, 11:07 pm

          I think that sort of thing just proves the people are there for a free meal, not the company!

  • Heather October 29, 2010, 1:34 pm

    I will accomodate a vegetarian and make a veg dish. I like to eat vegetarian as well (though I eat meat as well), so it doesn’t put me off to make a veggie dish.

  • lauren October 29, 2010, 1:35 pm

    I don’t serve non-vegan meals to guests, but I have no problem with them bringing their own food into my home if they want. I don’t think they would want me to cook them meat anyways, seeing as how I have never done it, hahah.

    • Anna @ History Running Girl October 29, 2010, 1:42 pm

      Good point! I’ve never cooked poultry, pork or red meat. I would have no idea what to do.

      • lisasfoods October 29, 2010, 1:59 pm

        Me too! I’ve never cooked meat in my life, so I wouldn’t for my guest as a trial (nor do I think I could do it, on an emotional level).

        I always serve my guests vegetarian food, since we eat mostly vegetarian at home. And my guests love it. They say that they love to eat with us because our food’s really healthy and wholesome, and I love to serve my food to introduce people to delicious, simple meals.

        • Emily October 29, 2010, 2:23 pm

          I was just thinking about this, too! Wouldn’t a guest rather have a really delicious vegan/vegetarian dish than have a novice at cooking with meat make them a meat dish?

  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston October 29, 2010, 1:35 pm

    I’m feeling very conflicted with this question. I know meat eaters sometimes go above and beyond for vegetarian guests so it only seems far to have a meat option offered at dinner even if you are vegetarian. However, if you are vegetarian for moral reasons I can understand how you’d never want to serve meat in your home.. hm, yes, I’m conflicted.

  • Lisa October 29, 2010, 1:36 pm

    I don’t see what’s wrong with serving vegetarian food in your house. As a meat eater, I don’t eat meat with every meal, so I wouldn’t care!

  • Gabrielle @ In An Envelope October 29, 2010, 1:36 pm

    As a meat-eater, I would never expect meat to be served in a vegetarian home on my behalf. As a guest, I’ll eat what I’m served and I’ll be happy either way. There are plenty of times I go to meat-eater homes and they serve something I don’t care for but I still eat it (or at least try it) to be polite anyway.

    We are going to my husband’s cousin’s home for Thanks. She is a vegetarian but her family is not. I’m actually excited to try the tofurkey and other veg dishes she prepares in addition to the regular meal!

  • Kati October 29, 2010, 1:37 pm

    I would not make or serve meat to any guests in my house – like some other commenters, I don’t want to prepare meat, and also I don’t really know how! One of the things I love about being a vegetarian is that I don’t have to worry about the nasty bacteria/contamination that can occur when you’re dealing with raw meat products. Also, I’ve never had anyone complain about a veggie meal or request meat. When we’ve had BBQs in the past, my non-veggie friends will bring and prepare their own meat, which is fine by me! Just as long as I don’t have to touch it or clean up after it, I don’t have a problem with it.

  • Michele October 29, 2010, 1:37 pm

    I don’t make meat for my guests. It’s not just that I don’t eat it or like preparing it, it’s also that since I don’t normally prepare it, I may not do it justice. When I share my cooking with others, I want it to be special. So I tend to make the best vegetarian meals I can so that my carnivorous guests don’t feel like they’ve missed anything.

  • Emily October 29, 2010, 1:37 pm

    My fiance and I just discussed this last night! He’s not a vegetarian, but I am. I totally agree..I do not like to spend money on and touch meat to prepare it. Just the same though, I’d never expect my guest to chock down tofu if they don’t want to. For the most part, I think if guests know you are a vegetarian, they generally assume there won’t be meat at dinner.

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow October 29, 2010, 1:37 pm

    That’s a really interesting question…

    My opinion is in an effort to simplify (that’s how thing work best for me!). If I would hope that a friend would prepare a vegetarian meal for me if that was my preference (though it wouldn’t have to be the main course if the rest of the crew ate meat), I would want to do the same for them.

    So yes I would prepare meat if I knew someone PREFERRED it but it wouldn’t likely be the main part of the meal and I would only do small portions, all the while emphasizing on the veggies. But if they enjoyed veggies as much as me, then I would stick with a vegetarian meal. 🙂

    Make sense?

  • Leah October 29, 2010, 1:38 pm

    Interesting. I’m not vegetarian but I do limit my meat intake and limit it to only organic, local, grass fed, etc. I don’t think I have any vegetarian friends either but if I did, I would be more than happy to accomodate. I think that serving meat eaters a vegetarian meal is perfectly acceptable as long as it isn’t something super weird. Most of the time, if you do it right, they won’t even miss the meat. I serve guests meatless meals all the time and I’m not even veg. My meat-loving husband now has favorite meals that are all veg. I actually think the same goes for vegan foods as well. But like you said, as long as you aren’t force feeding tofu or tempeh or faux meats or something!

  • lindsay October 29, 2010, 1:38 pm

    Our house is a meat free zone. We choose not to purchase any animal products and do not serve them. Occasionally my parents will be over and i don’t mind if they bring cream for their coffee or if they are house sitting for the night if they bring vegetarian items in but no meat. When inviting others into your home I think that although it is important to make sure they are comfortable this does not mean you should have to compromise your beliefs and practices. I think that there are so many great vegan/vegetarian dishes out there that what’s one evening or a few days without meat? I would also hope that my guests would respect my husband and my choice not to have meat or animal products in our home.

    I also have never had a omnivore guest complain about a meal and they keep coming over willingly!

  • Ashley October 29, 2010, 1:38 pm

    I’m really lucky that ALL of our friends in Colorado are very health + food conscious. I’m the only one in the group that doesn’t eat meat at all, but they all eat only properly-sourced meat, and not every day. So, there is always a vegetarian option when going to their houses [which I really appreciate] and they don’t mind getting a veg. meal when they come to mine. However, I think if I had a bigger dinner party at some point..or like a big hor’d. type party, I might make a few meat choices for others to enjoy. My husband is not vegetarian, but he totally does not care that I don’t cook meat anymore. It’s easy to find locally sourced, grass fed beef in the area we live, when dining out and he’s totally fine with that. Once in awhile, I will buy a few slices of bacon at WF at the deli counter to cook and put on his pizza though. 🙂 This is a great topic!

  • Kelly October 29, 2010, 1:38 pm

    I think I would accommodate both groups of people either way. I eat meat and I don’t like preparing it, but if I were having guests over for something special and they didn’t like anything I had to eat I would feel bad.

  • Therese October 29, 2010, 1:39 pm

    I don’t tend to serve meat at my house unless my non-vegetarian (but VERY vegetarian friendly) boyfriend cooks it up. Like you, I don’t care there’s meat at someone else’s house, I’ll just eat around it so-to-speak, but at my house? No, I don’t cook meat, and for the most part, I’ve never heard a complaint! Besides, my famous veggie shepphards pie made two die-hard meat eaters question whether or not there was actually meat in it they loved it so much!

  • zoe (and the beatles) October 29, 2010, 1:39 pm

    hmmm, what a question! i really have to sit with it. but whenever i have friends over i usually serve up vegan meals. i am not sure how i would feel cooking meat again. regardless, everyone always seems to love what they’re eating. i feel like the majority of people i know never mind if they don’t eat meat at one meal — they just have issues with thinking outside of their omnivore box! i think people appreciate a different style of cooking. so i guess it’s a good example of how well you can eat without meat!

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! October 29, 2010, 1:39 pm

    I eat meat occasionally but I generally do not prepare it in my own home. I always serve vegetarian meals to my guests and family, even when I welcome meat-eaters into my home. I love exposing people to the incredible possibilities of vegetarian cuisine, and I enjoy cooking what I love to eat. I don’t think it’s necessary to make meat–a food that I do not enjoy preparing–just because my guests include it as part of their diet.

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg October 29, 2010, 1:39 pm

    When I first went vegetarian, we had a dinner party about a month after I’d given up meat,and I served chicken, along with a vegetarian main course. Now that I’ve been a vegetarian for almost a year, I think I’d be completely comfortable serving only a vegetarian course, but back then, I kind of felt nervous about not having a meat to serve– after all, I’d been used to cooking and serving meat for so long!

    I do think that only serving vegetarian cuisine is a great way (maybe the best way!) to show people that you don’t need meat in your diet to eat well.

  • Holly @ couchpotatoathlete October 29, 2010, 1:39 pm

    If I have a vegetarian or vegan coming over, I do my best to make something we can all enjoy — or I make something “build your own” — pizzas, burritos, etc. That way everyone can choose the ingredients and make it as they see fit.

    Jason and I do our best to avoid dairy products, and most of our friends/family know this and they do their best to accomodate our needs.

    • Kelly October 29, 2010, 3:13 pm

      I love “build your own” when eating with both meat and veggie lovers. It’s the best compromise. 🙂

  • Chelsea @ healthsea October 29, 2010, 1:41 pm

    Good for you for being so open and fair on this issue. I’m not a vegetarian, but always have vegetarian alternatives for my vegetarian friends when I have them over, and would NEVER be upset if my vegetarian friends served me vegetarian meals. Just because I eat meat doesn’t mean I won’t NOT eat meat!

    I remember reading a lot about this when Chelsea Clinton had her wedding, and it was vegan– which she is, but obviously, not all of her guests were. With something on a bigger scale like that, I can see it being a bit more of a question (but, even then, I think I was still on her side), but I otherwise don’t think it is too much to ask AT ALL for a non meat eater to not eat meat for one meal.

    • Caitlin October 29, 2010, 1:44 pm

      That is awesome about Chelsea Clinton! I didn’t know she was a vegan or that she had a vegan wedding. Cool!

  • Laura October 29, 2010, 1:41 pm

    I’m not vegitarian but if I know I will have a mix of vegitarians and meat-eaters over, I plan on having a variety of side dishes that are meat-free because usually there will be meat at the meal. I tend to take a little more time and effort with the side dishes because I know they may be the “main” dishes for a few people at the meal, or make homemade bread/rolls, something along those lines.
    If it were only vegitarians coming over then I wouldn’t serve meat cause I would be the only one eating it! 😉
    Pasta works for adults and kids and i have done a pasta bar before w/ different types of pastas and sauces, some including beef or chicken and other veggie based. It works for a good mix and match because there are lots of options.

  • Becca October 29, 2010, 1:42 pm

    I’m an enthusiastic meat-eater but meat is something I enjoy – it’s not essential. I’d hate for someone to feel obliged to compromise their beliefs for me, just because I was a guest. My best friend is Muslim, and (not that I’d ask) she would never make me a ham sandwich.

  • Emily @ For Sweets Sake October 29, 2010, 1:42 pm

    I agree with Katie. I always go out of my way to make sure my 2 vegan friends have food they’ll eat. Even at my wedding, since they were bridesmaids, I made sure rehearsal dinner, breakfast, and wedding reception all had vegan options for them. I can go a few meals without eating meat, but I’d like to think they’d be as courteous to me and my eating habits as I am to theirs. Something I did do a lot with one of my friends was make meals where meat was an option, like tacos. You can add meat or just as easily go meatless. We also did stir fry and just cooked chicken seperate and you could add it if you wanted, or not. It makes sure everyone can have what they like. An extra few bucks for more veggies or a few pieces of chicken isn’t a big deal when we’re having a dinner party to make sure everyone can have something they’ll enjoy.

  • girlevolving October 29, 2010, 1:42 pm

    My dad loves meat. I don’t want to make meat when he comes, but I’ll make something like bean chili, or a hearty soup – items that aren’t “uncommon” but don’t require me to buy and prepare meat. He’s not eating something foreign (he wouldn’t like some of the more diverse vegetarian dishes) but it’s still close to a normal food for him.

  • Lily's Health Pad October 29, 2010, 1:43 pm

    I would serve meat if someone specifically requested it, but for the most part, I pretty much serve my guests vegetarian food. I’m more of a flexitarian, but if I go to a nonveggie’s house that is serving meat and I’m not feeling it, I usually just eat the side dishes.

    I guess the main issue here is that most veggies don’t want to support the meat industry by buying veggie products…even for guests. At least, I largely feel this way.

  • D October 29, 2010, 1:44 pm

    I woudn’t serve meat if I didn’t eat it. Yes, people are *usually* good about accommodating vegetarians, but I figure that vegetables are a common denominator. We all eat veggies, we don’t all eat meat. I wouldn’t expect a meat-eater to prepare tempeh or something, a simple veggie dish would be fine, so why would I make meat?

  • lauren October 29, 2010, 1:45 pm

    My husband is not a vegetarian and I am. When we eat dinner at home I never cook meat, unless it is to heat up a dinner sausage in the microwave or something like that (if I’m planning on eating a meat substitute). When we have people over and I’m cooking I don’t make meat, but if we have people over in the summer my husband will grill hotdogs or something easy. Basically I don’t make meat and my husband is welcome to, but he can’t cook so it is mostly veg around here!

  • Kris October 29, 2010, 1:45 pm

    I’d consider myself a flexatarian and usually have meat less than once a week. However, I do fix it for my husband once or twice a week. I always fix meat for guests along w/ hearty non meat sides, and I also accomodate special preferences (within reason)or allergies. I try to make my guests comfortable in my home. I don’t expect anyone to make special dishes for me, because I can always find something to eat, and if not, I can eat when I get home.

  • Jenn October 29, 2010, 1:47 pm

    I’m been Pescetarian (occasionally eat fish) for almost 3 years. In that time I have never prepared meat for my friends, but they have included meat if we have a pot luck or something like that, and I have no problem with it. My friends have been very receptive to my vegetarian meals, I am very careful to select something that isn’t too “out there” and so far so good!

    In the past, I have had apps with some fish items like shrimp, but as I have decided to cut shrimp out for sustainability reasons I will not be offering that going forward.

    If someone HAD to eat meat (like wouldn’t be happy coming over without eating meat), I would prepare it for them. I would just be sure to get the best meat I could. Maybe it’s kind of weird but I feed my dog a raw meat diet, so while I myself don’t eat it, I do have it in the fridge at all times! (Side issue, but I know my dog wouldn’t choose to be vegetarian so I cater to what his requirements are, even if they differ from my own choices.)

    • Caitlin October 29, 2010, 1:49 pm

      This is a whole other issue – I’ve blogged about vegetarian pets before. Our dogs eat crappy, factory farmed meat and I feel SOOOOOOO (SO) bad feeding it to them but I don’t know what else to do. Anyone have suggestions?

      • Alina @ Duty Free Foodie October 29, 2010, 1:54 pm

        Some people make raw meat dishes for their pets – you can buy special additives to make sure they are getting sufficient taurine, etc. In that case, you can source your own meat. I’ve considered it before for my cat, but I don’t have the time right now. There is a ton of info about it online.

      • Jenn October 29, 2010, 1:59 pm

        It is really tough. I know they have vegetarian dog foods out there, but even though a dog can survive on that, is it really what’s best for them? Or what they would choose?

        I don’t know what you feed your guys. If it’s kibble then really there’s no way to get around it – they’re eating factory farmed meat, and with that the worst of factory farmed meat (the parts left over that aren’t human grade). I have not yet heard of nor seen a free range type dog food. The closest you can get with kibble is feeding a type that tends to be less factory farmed, like Taste of the Wild High Prairie Formula (Bison and Venison). http://www.tasteofthewildpetfood.com/

        I have the luxury of feeding my dog raw human grade free range meat because he’s little and I can afford to do so (I always say I hand my meat budget over to him!) He eats raw chicken wings (raw bones are ok for dogs), turkey, heart, liver etc. I know a lot of people don’t want to/ can’t afford to do that though, so I think in that case the best you can do is find a high quality kibble that doesn’t have traditionally factory farmed meat in it. It’s worth spending the money on high quality kibble because they don’t just process it straight through like they do lower quality, so you actually use less.

        • Anne October 29, 2010, 3:11 pm

          The food you buy in the grocery store for your pet is not below human grade. It’s actually often more highly regulated than human food. It’s also using parts that we in this country might not eat often, but are considered normal in most other countries. It’s one thing to not believe in factory farming, but another to claim its not human grade. The parts come from animals that are served to humans and regulated for humans, but just the parts that we CHOOSE not to consume. So, steaks go to the grocery store and other by-products go to the pet food manufacturing facility. Animals are not raised for the sole purpose of making pet food. There is less waste of the animal because pet food is made from parts we (in this country) choose not to consume.

      • Ingunn October 29, 2010, 2:53 pm

        We decided to go with vegetarian food for our dog because it doesn’t feel right to us that other animals have to die to feed *our* animal when he is an omnivore who is perfectly capable of living on veg food. This is a really interesting book on pets and vegetarianism: http://www.amazon.com/Obligate-Carnivore-Really-Means-Vegan/dp/0974218006/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1288378344&sr=8-1

      • Sarah October 29, 2010, 3:01 pm

        We’ve thought of this also and use Flint River Ranch.

      • Amber October 29, 2010, 4:54 pm

        I found some great organic dog food to feed my dog called Organix. Most of the ingredients are organic (including the meat), my dog loves it and I feel like a good mom 🙂 I also have tried another organic brand called Karma. Also maybe you could find a fish option that would be less processed/hormone filled? Trader Joe’s also has great organic dog treats 🙂

      • Ari October 29, 2010, 10:14 pm

        v-dog! It’s vegan. My dog loves it and has been eating it for about a year.

    • Stephanie C October 29, 2010, 5:36 pm

      I don’t feed my dog any red meat or poultry kibble. She gets fish, plus its good for her coat. The brand we get her (EVO) is supposedly one of the best and SAYS its natural and that its fish is ‘high quality,’ but there is really no way of knowing where the fish is sourced, and the word natural isn’t an FDA monitored word.
      I don’t want to make her go vegetarian as dogs in the wild naturally eat meat, but I would love to find a dog food that can provide info on where they get their meat or fish from.
      As my reasons for being pescatarian are generally because I think factory farms are gross, I am okay with her eating meat if we can find some that are good quality.

  • Cyndi @ Weightless Life October 29, 2010, 1:47 pm

    I have done both. If it’s someone I know wont mind eating vegetarian food I stick with that. The husband still eats meat so usually if people are coming over he’ll take the opportunity to make burgers, or tacos or something. I think if he switched to vegetarian I wouldn’t bring meat into the house, but right now it doesn’t seem like a big deal.

  • Jackir October 29, 2010, 1:47 pm

    I always have that challenge. I don’t eat meat, but everyone else in my family does and most of my friends do too. Normally, if I am going to somebody’s house, depending on the event, I will bring a fast veggie dish for myself. If I am cooking, I try to make something meatless, but meat-eater acceptable. Normally, a pasta dish or lasagna. People don’t even miss the meat. I am not opposed to serving meat though. Personally, raw meat grosses me out so I refrain from buying it.

  • NySoonerGirl October 29, 2010, 1:48 pm

    One way to get around the issue is when the guest asks what they can bring, tell them what you’re planning and let them offer up a suggestion. Polite guests will always ask if they can bring anything. Once they know meat won’t be served, they may decide to bring their own.

    • Caitlin October 29, 2010, 1:49 pm

      Really, really good advice.

    • NySoonerGirl October 29, 2010, 1:55 pm

      Another thought… Just because you serve lots of vegetarian options doesn’t mean people will have things to eat. I don’t like meat so I usually avoid that anyawy, but at one gathering the hostess put tree nuts in EVERY OTHER ITEM! I literally had a piece of bread for dinner as my tree nut allergy is enough to kill me. So no matter how well people think they’ve planned, there may be someone stopping for fast food on the way home anyway!

    • Kelly October 29, 2010, 3:16 pm

      I made pizza the other day for a meat eating guest. She asked if she should bring anything over. She knows I am a vegetarian and I offered that she could bring a meat topping for her side of the pizza if she liked. I think that was the best way to please both her and myself. (She ended up bring peppers over though! lol)

  • Joey October 29, 2010, 1:50 pm

    I mean, I don’t think you are being un-accomodating by making a vegetarian meal, because even if a person eats meat, they almost always ALSO eat vegetables, so it isn’t like you are asking them to do something they normally wouldn’t. I like this question though… makes you think! 🙂

  • Ashley @ Ashley's Adventures in Alaska October 29, 2010, 1:50 pm

    Fascinating question! While I rarely have vegetarians over for dinner (this is Alaska 🙂 ) I would have no problems making meals that were meat free. I do it often for myself! I like cooking so I would see it as a challenge- just like my quest to make myself lactose free versions of mac and cheese and other fun but typically dairy loaded things.

  • Alina @ Duty Free Foodie October 29, 2010, 1:51 pm

    I am a meat-eater, but I don’t feel like meat is mandatory at every meal. So if a vegetarian serves a vegetarian meal, it’s fine with me, especially if the vegetarian in question is an excellent chef. I do try to avoid soy though, so I appreciate not having to eat it.

    As far as cooking for vegetarians – why not? A bonus is that vegetarian meals are usually cheaper to make as well 🙂

  • Ingunn October 29, 2010, 1:53 pm

    We ask that people don’t bring meat into our house (actually the only people we’ve had to ask are family; all our friends realize it would be disrespectful…) since vegetarianism is such a strong part of our moral code. It’s no different from refraining to bring pork into a kosher household, right?

  • Rachel October 29, 2010, 1:53 pm

    I’m in the camp of serving meat to meat eaters if they come to my home and I happen to be a vegetarian.

    Sure, one meat-free meal won’t kill them, but I have people in my life that consider a meat-free meal an incomplete one, and don’t want to leave them feeling like their meal was not sufficient when they eat at my home.

  • Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt October 29, 2010, 1:55 pm

    Nope. They aren’t getting meat at my house. If they want steak, go somewhere else. 🙂

  • Mrs. Muffins October 29, 2010, 1:56 pm

    I’m a vegetarian but my husband is not! Luckily, my husband isn’t one of those i-have-to-eat-meat-three-times-a-day-or-ill-die types. He’s content with eating a mostly vegetarian diet with only meat on occassion, which I do cook. The meat grosses me out but it makes me happy to cook some of his old favorites. For other guests, I generally make vegetarian fare unless it’s one of those special times for my husband. If I would already be making meat for him, it’s okay but other than that, I agree, no meat eater will die from one vegetarian meal!

  • Sarah October 29, 2010, 1:58 pm

    i am a vegetairan who will not cook meat. here is my issue – i am totally grossed out by the idea of cooking meat. i have absolutely no problem with people eating it but i honestly can’t cook it…unless it is something frozen i pop in the oven. i would have no issue with someone bringing a meat dish to dinner though. i would try to be as accomadating as possible with what i did cook though – find out what vegetables they like/things i should avoid. i also really enjoy making people LOVE vegetarian cooking! it is so good done right!

  • Sarah for Real October 29, 2010, 2:00 pm

    I am a meat eater and I would not trust a vegetarian to properly cook meat for me that I’d find edible. Just saying.

    Plus I think there are lots of vegetarian options that don’t scream “this is vegetarian” like pasta. I don’t see why food has to have labels. Let’s just call it DINNER instead and be thankful.

    • Kimberley October 29, 2010, 4:49 pm

      “Let’s just call it dinner instead and be thankful”. I love this — excellent sentiment!

      • Caitlin October 29, 2010, 4:50 pm


  • Diana @ Diana Tries a Tri October 29, 2010, 2:01 pm

    This is a great question! I’m a vegetarian and NEVER make special requests from people. I don’t make a big stink if someone wants to eat a steak house, I’ll just have a baked potato and salad. There is always a way to be adaptable. When people com over to my house for dinner I make all things I can eat, and if they raise a big stink, I tell them that they can bring a dish as well and make it pot luck. Just as if I’m going somewhere where I don’t believe there will be anything, I ask if I can do the same. That way I don’t have to cook as much, and everyone gets something they can eat. I don’t think I’ve offended anyone .. yet!

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing October 29, 2010, 2:02 pm

    I wouldn’t mind if a host made a vegetarian meal for me. I rarely cook meat much, anymore.

  • karen October 29, 2010, 2:02 pm

    When you are at the “meat eater’s” house, unless they make a vegetarian dish you may not have anything to eat at all. As a meat eater, if I go to a vegetarian’s house, I could eat anything you served. Tofu may not be my preference but I *could* eat it without compromising my lifestyle like a vegan might be in the other scenario. There is NO WAY I would expect you to make a meat dish for me.

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) October 29, 2010, 2:02 pm

    I just “liked” you on facebook! I a vegetarian, but I do cook meat for guests. I also make vegetarian food for them too. It really just depends. I would probably not make tofu for them, but I do things like chili or soups/stews. Honestly, I don’t make a big deal out of it either way and when food is good…who cares, right?

  • Lungs October 29, 2010, 2:04 pm

    I absolutely won’t serve meat. As said by others, I don’t remember how to prepare it (it’s been 12 years!), I don’t agree, ethically, with its consumption, I don’t want to touch it, and I don’t want it contaminating my cookware and surfaces.

    I’ve never considered this an issue because I do my best to accommodate others’ food preferences and allergies while working within my own ethical framework. In practice, I’ve never had a meat-eating friend not be able to come up a vegetarian dish they’d like me to prepare for them – and I suppose if I did, I’d suggest we try a restaurant.

  • Alanna October 29, 2010, 2:04 pm

    I’m a vegetarian and my fiance is not, but he knows that if he wants meat (unless I am feeling very generous), he has to cook it himself. I can’t imagine any of my non-veg friends would be insulted if I didn’t serve them meat – and I would never make anything I didn’t think everyone would like. We have a group with a lot of veg and omni friends, so I think everyone is used to it.

    On the other hand, I think it’s very rude to insist on bringing meat into a vegetarian’s home. A friend had a vegetarian thanksgiving last year, where he specifically stated on the printed invitations that the party was meat-free (it was a potluck). One girl, who had been talked down from bringing a turkey, brought a sausage dish and then complained about the lack of meat the entire time – it was really rude and ruined the evening for a lot of us. You would never insist on bringing ham to a Passover, so why insist on bringing meat to a vegetarian dinner?

    • Caitlin October 29, 2010, 2:06 pm

      Woah, holy passive aggressive behavior.

    • Sarah for Real October 29, 2010, 2:16 pm

      I totally agree, from a meat-eater’s perspective (I guess technically I’m almost flexitarian, but I don’t like labels).

      You are inviting someone into your home, they should be gracious guests and follow your rules.

  • Sara October 29, 2010, 2:05 pm

    I will cook meat for non-vegetarians. My husband is not a vegetarian and although I cook mainly vegetarian stuff for us, sometimes I cave and will make him eggs. Sometimes…I even throw in some ham. I do not however cook steak or chicken anymore. Don’t think I can cross that line.

  • Lizz (leadingthegoodlife) October 29, 2010, 2:05 pm

    I am a vegetarian and my fiance is not. I do the grocery shopping and never buy meat, unless she specifically requests it and can tell me exactly what she wants (no browsing at the butcher counter for me!). But usually, she will just buy it herself or go without.

    I also do majority of the cooking in our house. I never cook meat. I don’t know how and raw meat is very unpleasant to me. My fiance usually just eats vegetarian with me and eats meat when at work or at a restaurant.

    However, if someone would like to bring over something with meat in it or even cook meat in my kitchen to go along with something I’m making, I have no problem with it. I also don’t have a problem ordering a pizza with meat on it or a non-vegetarian Chinese dish if we’re getting take-out.

    So I guess I’m saying, if you want to eat it and someone else cooks it, I’ll serve it. 🙂

  • nancy October 29, 2010, 2:07 pm

    This is a great question! If I was going to a non-meat eating household for dinner I would not expect to be served meat. Actually I would be very much looking forward to a wonderful vegetarian meal that would mean trying some new things. A houseguest I think should be handled differently. If they are staying with you I think their individual preferences should be considered. For example, we do not drink coffee but I keep it for houseguests. As far as the dog food goes, I can suggest looking into Blue Buffalo. We feed that to our dog for a variety of reasons. It is organic and contains only natural whole foods. Honestly I think it’s better than what a lot of humans feed themselves. You can get it in dry and wet formulas. We’ve done both and the dog is pretty happy either way. Hope that helps.

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 29, 2010, 2:07 pm

    I think if you could find something people are comfortable with that doesn’t include meat, then its not a bad option (like the lasagna you mentioned). I don’t think it would bother me being served a vegetarian dish, although I do love them and eat more of those meals myself. Or I would likely serve something that is easily adaptable – like a taco buffet, where meat and beans were an option.

  • Sarah October 29, 2010, 2:07 pm

    I’m a vegetarian, but my husband is not. I normally do not prepare meat for my guests, but that is because I am the one doing the preparing. To me, it is much easier to omit something (like meat) then make many dishes to accommodate many different needs and choices. For example, there are times when I have a variety of guests who are collectively vegan, allergic to wheat, and lactose intolerant. Rather than making many dishes to cater to each need, I just make something that everyone can enjoy together. Nobody has complained so far (that I know of!) and people generally like trying “different” food when they come over.

  • carpensm October 29, 2010, 2:07 pm

    Hmmm… that’s something I’ve never thought of. I do eat meat but wouldn’t expect a vegetarian friend to prepare meat for me. I am dairy free and (with a few exceptions) I make dairy-free meals for my family and friends if they are over. One of those exceptions being that I make a mean homemade pizza and I do get mozza for the dairy eaters. I think them having a dairy free (or meat free in your case) meal is an opportunity to try something great and realize that dairy (or meat) doesn’t have to be in everything!

    On the flip side… if I’m eating at someone’s house I do expect there to be _something_ I can eat. I’m not saying everything or main course but as long as there is something dairy free.

    Interesting topic of discussion though!

  • Crystal October 29, 2010, 2:09 pm

    We don’t cook a separate meal for meat-eaters but we also don’t get all crazy about being hard-core vegetarian and proclaiming “sorry folks, just veggies tonight!” For us, it’s about serving good-for-you and tasty food, as opposed to serving a “vegetarian meal”. In other words, I’d like to think our veggie dinners are so tasty that our guests don’t even realize that a meat is missing.

  • Mariel (fabfitorflab) October 29, 2010, 2:15 pm

    I think this is a really interesting topic! For me, I like to try to please everyone, all the time (yes! that one of my weaknesses) so by me not being a vegetarian, i would most definitely accommodate friends eating at my house that were. On the other hand it’s just not in my personality to expect vegetarian friends of mine to prepare meat for me if I’m eating there. Put it this way, we all eat veggies and non-meat products at dinner time so what’s the big deal if we have to skip the meat (but obviously not the protein!) once in a great while? To be honest, it probably does a body good!

  • Iowajen October 29, 2010, 2:16 pm

    I’m a vegetarian but my husband and kids – who are pre-teens, don’t want to be (yet). They will all eat the vegetarian meals that I make, but in a great while, I will fix them some organic chicken to go along with the vegetarian meal I am preparing. I don’t care if they order meat when we go out for dinner as I want vegetarianism to be a choice they make for themselves. I don’t assume meat-eating households will cater to me when I eat at their house. That is why I take my own, very filling side dish to Thanksgiving dinners! Great topic Caitlin

  • Emily October 29, 2010, 2:17 pm

    My husband and I are very light meat-eaters–we probably eat meat 2-3 times/month, and always buy meat we can feel good about eating (i.e. sustainably/ethically raised/etc). We often do more casual meals when we have people over, but I never really consciously make sure to serve meat. We often do make your own pizzas or something like that so that those who want meat can choose it. I think that serving a vegetarian meal to non-vegetarians is totally ok and often brings up interesting conversation at dinner! Also, I don’t really like cooking with meat…I just feel you have to be so careful about bacteria/cross contamination. I taught myself to cook in college when I was poor and cooked vegetarian to keep my budget under control, so I have little confidence cooking with meat. I totally agree, Caitlin, that as a vegetarian, you shouldn’t feel obligated to bring meat into your house and prepare it. Good conversation topic!

    • Joan October 29, 2010, 3:02 pm

      Please visit http://www.humanemyth.com
      There is nothing humane about slaughtering a living being.

      • Emily October 29, 2010, 4:47 pm

        Thanks for the information. People make different choices about what foods they feel good about eating. I feel that I am pretty aware of how the meat industry operates and have chosen to buy meat directly from farmers so I know how they raise their animals. I do understand your point, but people make different choices for themselves.

  • Amanda October 29, 2010, 2:20 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    Boyfriend and I are definitely not vegetarians, but we do usually have 1-2 dinners each week that are vegetarian. It usually just happens that way, since they tend to be lighter/healthier meals. I would never be upset if someone who was a vegetarian served me a veg meal. I would expect it and would be happy to eat it. I am also more than happy to make a vegetarian meal if I know someone coming over for dinner doesn’t eat meat. Plus everyone knows the best part of the meal is dessert anyway 🙂

  • Marci October 29, 2010, 2:24 pm

    I do not have one vegetarian friend in real life! I eat less and less meat now and think twice about where my meat comes from, but have to have chicken or meat for family or friends. It’s a mindset for them of needing meat for a meal.
    However, I’m Jewish, but don’t keep Kosher. If I go to a kosher person’s house, there is 0% chance they would serve me a cheeseburger, or something not kosher. I think if you go to someone’s house, you observe their rules. My simple answer.

  • Camille October 29, 2010, 2:25 pm

    I live in a veggie household but I am okay making meat for guests. Ideally I would find a veggie alternative but for holidays I would be okay making a turkey or something!

  • Kate October 29, 2010, 2:26 pm

    I definitely wouldn’t make meat for a normal dinner party (if I were vegetarian, which I’m not). But for a bigger, buffet style party like a barbecue I probably would (depending on the reasons behind my hypothetical vegetarianism). Not sure why the distinction- just cos!

  • Jenna October 29, 2010, 2:26 pm

    Most vegetarians I know are not only vegetarian for their own health but also the treatment of the animals and the environmental impact. Buying and cooking meat seems to compromise the animal treatment and environmental issues. Although it would be seen as a nice gesture to accommodate a meat-eating guest, I do not think you should compromise your values.
    I am not vegetarian, but two of my friends are. When they come over I either make the whole meal vegetarian or at the very least have a vegetarian dish and a meat dish. I usually like to make the whole meal vegetarian because I don’t want them to feel the stress of having to know which ones are safe. When I go to their house, I expect to eat vegetarian and I am glad to do so.

  • Amanda October 29, 2010, 2:27 pm

    Personally I eat meat. My boyfriend’s mother is a vegetarian and when she comes for dinner I make sure that there is something substantial for her to eat. Alternatively when we go to her house, she makes herself a dinner, but ALWAYS makes us a meat dish as well. We don’t ask, she just extends the same courtesy to us that we do for her.

  • Shannon October 29, 2010, 2:28 pm

    I’m veg and my husband is not. If we are hosting a bbq, the guests can get meat as the husband will cook it and I will have a bunch of excellent sides and salads. If it is a sit down meal cooked by me, everyone knows it will be veg. However, I probably won’t have tofu or anything quirky like tempeh or seitan on the menu, as it might scare the guests (unless it is really hidden in something, like a lasagna). However, a quinoa salad really did go over well last time I got my guests to be adventurous.

    I’ve also done things like hosted a “create your own” quesadilla party where I have a bunch of fillings including pre-cooked chicken and I will whip up quesadillas to order. It is fun and social.

  • Ellie October 29, 2010, 2:28 pm

    We are not vegetarians but we eat very little meat so it is not uncommon for us to serve vegetarian meals to guests. It has never occurred to me that I should make sure meat is served and no one has ever complained. I don’t think I know anyone who eats meat with every meal, it’s just not healthy. I do however always accomodate any food restrictions that my guests might have; it’s the only polite thing to do. We have dinner guest frequently because my food intolerances make it difficult to cook for me so it’s usually just easier to have people over.

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine October 29, 2010, 2:30 pm

    I’ve hosted several “veg” dinners with the intent of doing no meat, but in the end I’m always somehow convinced to serve fish (which I still eat very occasionally). I personally think any guest shouldn’t make a fuss over what’s presented- when I go to a meat-eater’s house, I simply eat the non-meat sides and don’t say anything about my vegetarianism unless someone asks. It’s frustrating that people constantly crack jokes about the lack of meat or cheese or dairy in some of the dishes I prepare. If it tastes good and isn’t too weird, it shouldn’t matter!!

  • Anita October 29, 2010, 2:32 pm

    For the month of October I went on a vegetarian diet. Really to gage how much meat I was eating and to increase my vegetable consumption. For the first part of the month I would cook two meals. One for my boyfriend and one for me. But half way through I made a stand and if he wanted meat it was his responsibility to add it to his meal. It became extremely time consuming to cook two meals.

    I will not be continuing with my diet past October but I have a new respect for vegetarians.

  • Christina @ Food.Fun.Fabulous October 29, 2010, 2:37 pm

    My boyfriend’s mom and sisters are all vegetarian but his dad, brothers and himself are not so she always make a vegetarian meal with a side of meat instead of the other way around!

  • Kelly October 29, 2010, 2:37 pm

    Interesting question. My boyfriend is always begging me to make him chicken when we have dinner but it’s been so long since I’ve eaten meat that I honestly forget how!
    Also, my family always asks me why I watch food network shows that involve meat and I just tell them I envision the meat as tofu, or some other meat substitute.

    • Rachel Randolph November 3, 2010, 2:51 pm

      People always ask me how I can still enjoy The Food Network, but it inspires me to think of new vegan meals based off of their ideas. It’s not tempting to me, because I don’t crave those foods anymore. I still learn a lot of great cooking and baking tips and I’ve even noticed a lot of the shows are starting to reach out to a veg audience.

  • Jess@atasteofconfidence October 29, 2010, 2:39 pm

    I don’t mind eating vegetarian while at someone’s house…I’m the guest, right? But I also think I could be a vegetarian in a lot of ways and I could see how people who rely more on meat might prefer some type of meat in the meal.

  • cristie carter October 29, 2010, 2:40 pm

    honestly…your food always looks amazing. ccc

    • cristie carter October 29, 2010, 2:42 pm

      plus, i have swung between vegan and vegetarian…my guests and family are taken into consideration…but, i do not like to touch or prepare meat.

      • cristie carter October 29, 2010, 2:46 pm

        and may your run be amazing tomorrow! xox

  • Kirsten October 29, 2010, 2:41 pm

    Good question. My short answer is no, I won’t cook meat for guests but I have no problem if they bring something into the house like a sandwich or take out. I have been a vegetarian for all of my adult life (since I was 20) and I don’t know how to cook meat. And honestly I really don’t want it on my cookware.

  • Sascha October 29, 2010, 2:46 pm

    I’m a vegetarian since the beginning of 2010. It’s a little difficult because my boyfriend is still an occasional meat eater. So when he is at home when there are guests, he prepares some meat. But when I have a guest on my own, I cook a vegetarian meal. Unfortunatly my dad and brother don’t agree with that so they usually make a lot of (mean) comments and my brother hasn’t been eating with me when I’m alone. It makes me a little sad because I like them very much but I am a very bad at cooking meat and I don’t want to be forced to cook meat. They usually say that when I’m visiting them they will only make meat for me (with nothing else) as a joke. I usually reply that they can choose what not to eat (my brother for example hates mushrooms, so I will not give him mushrooms) and I sort of expect them to give me the same choice (which of course will be the meat and fish)

  • tina October 29, 2010, 2:48 pm

    i totally agree with you- if i am doing the cooking, i will not make meat… cooking it grosses me out now!!!

    however… the mr. is a meat eater… so i usually leave the meat up to him! otherwise we are all eating veggies!

  • HTP Dad October 29, 2010, 2:50 pm

    food fetishes.

  • Jackie October 29, 2010, 2:55 pm

    There was a time in my life where i was a BIG meat eater, but going on 6 years I am a STRICT vegetarian and whenever i have people over for dinner, I will not cook them meat. If they want to bring some over that is fine, but I wont cook it. I will just make a yummy veggie meal that everyone will enjoy!


  • Meaghen October 29, 2010, 2:58 pm

    That’s a hard decision. I get that people who don’t eat meat don’t want to touch it and don’t believe in preparing it. But on the other hand, they appreciate when meat-eaters prepare them vegetarian meals and I think the same courtesy should be extended to them. I just think if you want someone to accomodate you, you should accomodate them. And you invited them into your home for a meal.

  • Joan October 29, 2010, 2:59 pm

    Absolutely not ! We are vegan and no animal flesh or secretions are served in our home. Friends and family know we are vegan and that if they eat in our home they are vegan for those meals, too.

    • Caitlin October 29, 2010, 3:02 pm

      ewwww secretions!!! 😛

  • courtney leigh October 29, 2010, 2:59 pm

    For me the difference is that meat eaters are omnivores so they eat meat AND veggies. Serving them a vegetarian meal isn’t serving them something they can’t eat. Plus I think that people eat meatless meals all the time without thinking about it. I can assure you that if we had people over and served my boyfriend’s spinach Alfredo lasagna with a big salad and some crusty bread no one would leave thinking the only thing the meal was missing was meat. I think its important to serve more familiar veggie meals, but it is not essential to serve meat. The only excepting to this might he if your guests were staying for an extended period of time. But hopefuly if someone was staying with you for a few weeks they would assist with groceries and cooking and could cook some meat themselves.

  • Amber K October 29, 2010, 3:04 pm

    I don’t buy meat, nor can I really touch it. But my husband still eats limited meat. We don’t usually have people over, but if someone were to come stay with us I wouldn’t mind them buying their own meat to make.

    But I’m the same way, I don’t care if others eat meat, but one vegetarian meal isn’t going to kill them! Especially since so many non-meat meals are so tasty! I wouldn’t force anyone to eat tofu either, especially since I won’t eat it! (unfermented soy still concerns me!)

  • Jenne October 29, 2010, 3:05 pm

    Oh my gosh, I just expressed my frustration over this exact topic. I’ve been vegetarian for a while and it’s really starting to get to me when I go to good friends houses and they still make me bring my own meal. When I was vegan I could understand this, but why can’t you just once leave bacon out of every salad on the table, and not wrap the asparagus in ham!!! When I make dinner for friends it is vegetarian, but I make sure there is enough protein in the dish that everyone is satisfied. If I have a bbq I will have meat, just like if I go to a bbq I bring a portabella, but when it’s an intimate dinner with friends it seems rude to me to ask someone to bring their own food, just because you can’t make some small healthy modifications!!

  • katie October 29, 2010, 3:06 pm

    i think you should have both for your guests. they shouldn’t have to not eat meat on thanksgiving because you are not eating it. i mean it is called turkey day after all

  • MaiAda October 29, 2010, 3:10 pm

    wow, i honestly think it’s ridiculous that a vegetarian would “have” to cook meat for non-vegetarian guests. a vegetarian cannot eat a dish with meat in it, but that doesn’t mean that an omnivore can’t eat anything without meat in it! is this an american thing? i grew up in an italian household that was far from vegetarian (when we had sunday lunches i had to content myself with salad, bread & cheese) but most nights the main course did not involve meat at all.

    there are so many delicious things (pizza, pasta, veggie lasagna… the list could go on forever) that are vegetarian. as long as you’re attentive to people’s likes and dislikes (i would never serve tofu to most of my picky friends) then i don’t see why you should ever feel like you need to go against your morals as a vegetarian to feed your guests.

    are there honestly people out there who can’t have a full meal without including meat in it? i am really curious about this because i find that to be kind of a disturbing attitude!

    i guess i also have this attitude because when i am a guest i would not expect the host to have to serve a vegetarian main dish just for me! if it’s appropriate i’ll bring my own dish, or just content myself with sides.

  • Sarah October 29, 2010, 3:12 pm

    When we have people over for dinner, I will sometimes do meat options but I don’t cook meat for them. However, I am willing to accommodate the meat eaters by having tacos or make-your-own pizzas where I’ll buy pre-cooked bacon, fajita meat, or pepperoni and let everyone decide what they want to eat that evening. Most of our close friends are similarly minded and don’t mind a vegetarian meal even if they themselves would usually eat meat at home.

  • LindsayH October 29, 2010, 3:16 pm

    I think maybe it depends on your reasons for being vegetarian (or vegan, or whatever). I am vegan, and a big part of that for me is that I don’t support animal consumption with my own hard-earned money. Kind of like a boycott, I guess. So I don’t have a problem with other people bringing animal products into my house, like if someone came to visit and brought a ham sandwich, but I wouldn’t buy it myself.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) October 29, 2010, 3:17 pm

    I serve a vegetarian meal for friends when they come over. It is usually something they won’t even miss the meat. I don’t buy it because I can’t eat it (for health reasons).

  • Mellissa October 29, 2010, 3:17 pm

    I make meals for my guests that fit their eating preferences, I have a few vegan friends so I will cook vegan for them just the same as I would for my steak eating friends. They are guests and I serve meals that they would like.

  • Kelly October 29, 2010, 3:20 pm

    Great post Caitlin!! Also great comments!

  • Charlie October 29, 2010, 3:23 pm

    I personally wouldn’t make meat for guests but I would choose a vegetarian dish that I think they would love. I’ve made some dishes that my meat-eater boyfriend thought were delicious, so I would serve something like that 😉 – like my stuffed peppers!

  • amanda @ Hungry Vegan Traveler October 29, 2010, 3:27 pm

    I have a strictly meat-free kitchen. I have never prepared meat in my life and wouldn’t even be able to fathom doing so. The thing about a vegetarian diet is that EVERYONE can eat it and leave satisfied.

  • Emily @ Relishments October 29, 2010, 3:27 pm

    I don’t think vegetarian entrees are that big a deal to most non-vegetarians. When I was growing up, my family wasn’t vegetarian, but my mom usually made pasta or pizza when we had people for dinner and usually there was not meat. It wasn’t vegetarian, it was just dinner. My husband and I rarely eat meat and we don’t serve it to guests. Our friends know where we stand and they know what to expect. Besides, we ought to share how yummy being vegetarian can be!

  • Rachel October 29, 2010, 3:28 pm

    I’m fairly certain none of my dinner guests would appreciate me attempting to cooking meat considering I’ve been a vegetarian my whole life. Most people understand when food has a religious or ethical connection; if I had friends or family that didn’t, they wouldn’t be invited over.

  • Joanne October 29, 2010, 3:31 pm

    Just wanted to make sure you checked out the 5 Day Intensive Forrest Yoga Course I’m giving away on my site. You just might need it after your marathon. 🙂 Check it out and good luck (again).

  • Karen October 29, 2010, 3:41 pm

    I am not a vegetarian and I would certainly never expect a vegetarian friend to create a meal involving meat for me. And honestly how many omnivores actually eat meat with every single meal? I know there are many, many meals that I eat that don’t include meat and therefore have no problem being served a vegetarian meal. On the other hand I do always make sure that if a vegetarian friend is coming over there are plenty of options for them foodwise because it is important to me that they are fed and happy.

  • Emily October 29, 2010, 3:43 pm

    I think people can cope with not eating meat for one day. Indeed, I think its a good idea to not eat meat all the time!

    I’m vegetarian and I always cook vegetarian for guests. My food is really nice! So people always enjoy it. I often hear back from people saying they cooked whatever I had made them.

    Even my grandparents, who are old fashioned eaters (we live in England, so that’s basically chicken and red meat + veg) have started cooking vegetarian 2 or 3 nights a week. They love veggie lasagne and have started experimenting with east Asian food.

    I also often get people asking me for vegetarian recipes because they are finding good quality meat is too expensive to eat all the time.

    I don’t think you have to cook meat to ‘accommodate’ meat eaters. I think working hard to produce something tasty is enough!

  • Vicky @ eat live spin October 29, 2010, 3:50 pm

    I personally don’t cook any meat but my husband does. Both our families don’t get why I am a vegetarian… ethical reasons. My dad says I am “limiting” myself and his family always asks “since you don’t eat meat do you want chicken soup?” then I give them a weird look and they realize that chicken is a meat too. Luckily a lot of my friends are vegetarians and vegans… thank goodness for friends!

  • Jaclyn October 29, 2010, 3:52 pm

    Caitlin, this is a really good question; one I have thought of before. I think there are two sides of it – in one sense, I get where your mom is coming from in trying to “accomodate” her guests, but I kind of agree more with you. As a vegetarian (well pesci, I eat seafood), I agree with the not wanting to spend the money and time on the animal products. I really don’t care how other people eat either, but do agree with the philosophy of thought that one veg meal won’t kill them – probably even benefit their diet!

    That being said, however, there are times I will (feel like I am) going out of my way to prepare meat for meat eaters, when I ‘m not eating it. Like for my dad, I will take the extra time/effort/money to do it, because it’s a very occasional thing… or for a boss or someone you want to impress, then I say, “accomodate” the guest and push your non meat eating aside to make it for thme… just my two cents! 😀

    ^Love this question on the blog!

  • Stacey October 29, 2010, 3:52 pm

    Usually, if I’m having people over, they know I am vegetarian and that I don’t usually have a lot of meat in the house. It’s weird because my boyfriend is NOT vegetarian but he rarely eats meat. One time my mom came over and I offered to make dinner, so I made veggie lasagna. She was shocked by how yummy it was! Her response: “This is so delicious, I thought it’d be bland without meat in it!” So now she trusts me and my meatless meals 😉

  • Shannon October 29, 2010, 3:53 pm

    I’ve been lurking around your blog for a while, but I wanted to comment on this – it’s an interesting question! We’re not vegetarians (although I used to be), but we only eat meat or fish three or four times a week, so we eat a lot of meatless meals. I always make vegetarian food when we have vegetarians over. Sometimes that’s all I make, even if there are meat eaters invited as well. Sometimes I make both – we had a family chili night and I made a pot of vegetarian and pot of beef chili.

    When I was a vegetarian, I was thrilled when someone made me a vegetarian dish, but there was always something to eat if they didn’t. I have a friend who is a vegan and my husband and I were talking with her about how we could never become vegans because he like meat and cheese too much and I love fish, but over the course of the conversation we realized that we probably eat a vegan meal once a week. I think in our house because we do eat meat, we don’t tend to classify things as meat meals, vegetarian meals, or vegan meals, they’re just meals to us, so I don’t think about it when I cook for other meat eaters.

  • faith @ gracefulfitness October 29, 2010, 3:54 pm

    I’ve never even considered cooking meat for my guests while I dine vegetarian, it’s really just never crossed my mind as an option. As a lifelong vegetarian I think I am a little naive and think that even meat eaters often eat meatfree meals, is this not the case?

  • Elizabeth October 29, 2010, 3:55 pm

    I’m a life-long vegetarian but recently (in the past two years) started cooking meat for my significant others and guests. I like feeding friends, so I focus on that. I find that most of our friends/family put thought into accommodating my dietary restrictions, which I greatly appreciate. Worst case scenario: I know how to get creative. 🙂

  • Kelly October 29, 2010, 4:01 pm

    I guess for me it seems weird that anyone would NEED to eat meat at every meal. I eat meat, but definitely not at every meal. My husband eats meat at probably 90% of meals, but when his parents came over the other night he made risotto, no meat involved 🙂 Some meals just don’t need meat 🙂 Anyway, since I have food restrictions myself I think that vegetarians put up with enough and for once people should have to put up with them in their own house haha.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing October 29, 2010, 4:18 pm

    I think you can meet in the middle by having a “meaty” vegetarian dish.

  • MLT October 29, 2010, 4:23 pm

    I would love to hear from someone who feels they must eat meat for it to be a dinner. I grew up eating north african and asian food at home and only eating meat as something to flavor the dish. My husband and I now eat meat about 3 times a month- usually we eat pasta, beans, couscous, pizza, rice, etc. When I have people over I often serve them a vegetarian meal like mushroom spaghetti, salad with nuts and potatoes. It seems totally bizarre to me that someone would miss eating meat for one night, but I’d love to hear someone else’s perspective on this…maybe I’m missing something.

  • Rachel @ EatMoreMeatLess October 29, 2010, 4:26 pm

    Great question! I usually serve a vegetarian meal, because I don’t really bring meat into my home…

    PS- Drink plenty of water post olives, you don’t want to dehydrate yourself for tomorrow!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers October 29, 2010, 4:27 pm

    I usually serve vegetarian entrees for the same reason you do- and also to show people that veggie doesn’t = gross.

    Occasionally I cook meat for the husband (he would burn up the house if he cooked it himself) to keep him happy, but I don’t particularly enjoy doing so.

  • Bekah @ The Veggie Mistress October 29, 2010, 4:28 pm

    I love having people over for dinner, and I always try to accommodate their preferences and dietary needs (don’t like mushrooms? got it! lactose intolerant? no problem). However – I have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for over 13 years, since I was 15, and I have literally never cooked meat. I wouldn’t know what to do! Though I am totally fine if people eat meat around me or in my home (take-out, pizza, etc). I pride myself on my cooking skills, and I’m just not going to make something that I don’t know how to safely and deliciously prepare.

  • Melissa October 29, 2010, 4:34 pm

    I am not a vegetarian but only eat meat a couple times a week or so. That being said I would never expect someone to make or serve me meat and if I was having vegetarian guests over I would plan my meal around their preferences. As a hostess, I want my guests to feel welcome, not alienated, so in general when we have people over, we create meals with their preferences in mind.

    That being said, I recently had a group of friends over and served a vegetarian meal and only one person commented on there “not being any meat”. I couldn’t believe they said that (rude) but truthfully until they did, I hadn’t even noticed (but then again, meat is “take it or leave it” for me)!

  • Allie October 29, 2010, 4:37 pm

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I eat meatless meals probably half the time. I bet most non-vegetarians eat meals that are technically vegetarian more than they realize. I would definitely not want a vegetarian to prepare me meat if I ate at their house. I’d want them to cook something they normally cook, so I could hopefully try something new and add it to my recipe list!

  • Sara October 29, 2010, 4:37 pm

    I remember this issue coming up in the news when Chelsea Clinton (who I think is vegan?) served meat at her wedding for the sake of her meat-eating guests. I think it can go either way. I’m Jewish and I don’t eat pork or shellfish, nor would I buy it and cook it in my kitchen for guests who do. My take on that is that they can survive one non-pork meal, and I don’t have to compromise my beliefs! Besides, there’s plenty of food I will eat, so I can just cook that. So, if your household is vegetarian/vegan, I don’t think it’s rude or unaccommodating to only serve food you’re willing to eat to your guests. If anything, you can show them how delicious vegetarian cooking can be! I treat dietary restrictions like I treat allergies: I don’t expect someone to prepare food for me that they can’t/won’t eat themselves.

  • Ella October 29, 2010, 4:38 pm

    Besides like chicken nuggets, I dont even think I know how to cook meat. I’ve been a vegetarian since I’ve moved out on my own so I’ve never made it. I have a baby kitchen in a teensy tiny college apartment (I’m only 20) so I don’t have a lot of dinner guests. If I cook a veggie meal for my roommates one of them will usually make chicken for themselves or something but..nope! I wouldn’t lol

  • Kristen October 29, 2010, 4:46 pm

    I think it depends on one’s mindset. It seems that some feel that since they are vegetarian, when they go to someone else’s house that there should be vegetarian options for them. If they are of this mindset, then they should have similar meat options for guests to their home. That being said, eating a vegetarian meal really won’t affect people, though I don’t know if my father would agree with that 😉

  • amanda October 29, 2010, 4:48 pm

    I’m not a vegetarian … my best friend is, however, and often goes out of her way to prepare meat for all of us omnivores. However, I find that it’s really not necessary – as I’d be quite happy eating the vegetarian option. Although, I’m not a heavy meat eater anyway so maybe that’s why.

  • Katie October 29, 2010, 4:52 pm

    Great question! I am a vegetarian and have been for about 20 years, so I am accustomed to bringing a veg burger or dish when I am a guest somewhere (although a real vegetarian option is always appreciated, like you said!). My boyfriend, who lives with me, is not vegetarian but is willing to eat non-meat meals probably 80% of the time, so that is fortunate since I don’t know much about cooking meat. I have made him non-veg meals a handful of times, as well as guests, but I find that it works the best if we split duties (he cooks a meat dish, I do the rest).

  • Kiran October 29, 2010, 4:57 pm

    I don’t expect friends or family to cook me non veg food if they are vegetarian. We don’t eat meat all the time and being vegetarian “part time” makes us easy to mingle with our vegetarian counterparts 😉 I think 80% of my meals are often vegetarian. I can’t seem to say goodbye to fish at the moment 🙁

  • Katalina @ GreenLivingNY October 29, 2010, 4:59 pm

    I always accomodate my guests, Idont mind cooking meat, because my fiance is a meat eater and I cook for him everyday, and I especially love cooking and experimenting, if it is summer time, I will cook the vegetarian – vegan dishes and dessert, and my fiance will grill the meat! 🙂

  • Kimberley October 29, 2010, 5:00 pm

    This is such a timely issue for me, especially as the holidays approach. My husband and I have been together for nearly 10 years and during that time I have always been vegetarian (and am now dairy-free also). For whatever reason…and I have my theories, his mother just DOES NOT get it. She’ll make me “vegetarian” lasagna with turkey in it and all her vegetables have fat back or some other meat in them. Then when there is nothing I can eat, she makes a huge production about how I don’t like her cooking. She would be appalled if I ever brought food into her house, since she is the cook. I just don’t understand why it has to be such an issue, every $^*##&* time we go there! Ugh.

    In answer to the other question, no, I do not cook meat for guests. However, being that I am the only vegetarian in our social circle, I usually just suggest/pay for a restaurant instead of cooking. Everybody wins.

  • Taysa October 29, 2010, 5:01 pm

    I don’t think it’s a tit-for-tat thing. Omnivores can eat vegetarian food. Vegitarians can’t eat all of omnivore food, so it doesn’t have to be the same way in both situations.

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 14 years and I will NEVER cook a piece of meat. If I host friends, they know that whatever they eat that night will be vegetarian and frankly, since I’m making dinner for them, they should be grateful!

    On the flipside, I don’t think meat-eaters should cater their menu only to me either, but it just shows courtesy if there is some vegetarian option I can make into an entree, and I am always grateful.

  • Alaina October 29, 2010, 5:16 pm

    I think it’s totally crazy that people constantly complain about the “lack of meat” or “missing meat” in one meal. It bothers me that people get weird about their food when the “meat-free” label is put on something, like they suddenly need meat to enjoy the food. Even though I’m a vegetarian now, there were plenty of times in my meat-eating days that I would go a whole day without eating any meat without realizing it! Vegetarian meals are perfectly acceptable then, and I personally would never expect a vegetarian to serve me meat.

  • Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher October 29, 2010, 5:32 pm

    Great question indeed. I’m a vegetarian. Because for me, vegetarianism is a kinder way to live and it’s so embedded in me, I’m not comfortable spending my money nor keeping, cooking or serving guests meat in my home.

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair October 29, 2010, 5:41 pm

    First, yay for being on Facebook!

    Second, I do not buy meat or cook meat for people who come over to my house! I actually blogged about this once because we had a friend over for dinner and I made Vegetarian Lasagna with fake beef and he couldn’t even tell the difference!! He would have had no idea if I hadn’t told him!

    So many of my friends FORGET that I don’t eat meat anymore though (I’ve been pesco-veg for about 6 months now) and I always feel so awkward reminding them that I don’t eat meat if they are having me over for dinner..

    Finally, I also don’t like to cook meat anymore but my boyfriend still likes to eat it occasionally so we have burgers and bacon in our freezer. But I refuse to make it for him so he saves it for nights when I’m not home 🙂

  • Ashley October 29, 2010, 5:52 pm

    Most of my life my friends have all been meat eaters. But recently, many friends are starting to have different eating preferences. Some are mostly vegetarian, but will eat chicken. Some eat only mammals, some are starting to do the vegan thing, etc.
    My rule of thumb: If I invite someone over for a small dinner party (4-6ish), then I make sure to accommodate each person’s preferences. If it’s a bigger party (12-15ish), then I’ll usually have one big “main” thing (last time I did pulled chicken), and lots of sides. My thinking is – everyone can find something they like, and I (not being vegetarian) want some meat for my main dish (as do many other non-vegetarians). So it kinda depends on the # of invites as to whether I’ll cater to the specific persons’ preferences or not. Ultimately (and this may be selfish), I feel like if you’re eating at my house, then you’ll eat what I make you……kinda old fashioned. I probably got it from my mom.
    That sounds horribly mean….I’m not a bad person! lol : )

  • Heather Eats Almond Butter October 29, 2010, 5:53 pm

    Good luck in your marathon Caitlin!

    I’m a meat eater myself, but I have several vegetarian and or vegan friends. We usually have several people over at a time for dinner, and I’ll make two main dishes. One meat, and for the veggie eaters, I usually make my homemade version of Sunshine burgers. Then, I keep the dessert vegan which makes everyone happy.

  • hippierunner October 29, 2010, 5:56 pm

    I would never make a meat dish in my home for a meat eater. Vegetarians don’t eat meat but omnivores CAN eat vegetables (and can probably use some lol) so I think if someone were to have a meat dish in a vegetarian home, that would be rude and unnecessary!

  • Jess @ NZ Girl Runs October 29, 2010, 5:56 pm

    When I had veg friends (I think all my veg friends eat meat now…) I used to just make them something that would fit in with what we were having. Burgers with a vegge patty, veggie kababs at a BBQ etc. I did go out of my way to make them food that they would enjoy because I didn’t want them to leave hungry. If I were to eat a vegetarians house I wouldn’t expect meat unless we were getting takeaways and they didn’t mind me bringing meat in their house (I would take the leftovers home so they wouldn’t have to deal with it though).

    One thing I have found is that when I go to someone elses place to eat my dairy intollerance is not catered for and I am usually left with only the meat and maybe a potato that is not covered in cream and cheese.

  • Caitlin October 29, 2010, 5:57 pm

    This is so interesting! I was just having a conversation the other day with someone about people who see meat as a necessary component to “dinner.” I am not currently a vegetarian, but I was for 11 years. I always accommodate my vegetarian guests, often by serving a primarily vegetarian menu. While I would never expect to be served meat at a vegetarian’s house, I did really appreciate the meat sausages served at a veggie friend’s cookout this summer.

  • Heather October 29, 2010, 6:03 pm

    I agree! I would never expect to be served meat at a vegetarians house. I am an omnivore however, I eat meat only 1-2 times per week.

    This summer while at my boyfriends family cottage his neighbors and I cooked a purely vegetarian meal for everyone but didn’t tell teh guests that there wasn’t any meat in their dinner. A few of the guests would have been upset because of their “meat is a necessary component to dinner” mentality. Surprisingly, no one noticed! It was fantastic! An excellent cooking/social experiment!

  • Emily October 29, 2010, 6:32 pm

    I am a vegetarian and my boyfriend is very not. He loves all things meat but also loves many of the vegetarian dishes I make. I’ve made vegetarian (and sometimes vegan) dishes for friends and afterward they tell me they either didn’t realize it was meatless, or that they don’t miss the meat at all! I wouldn’t mind making meat for non-veg friends because I’ve only recently become a vegetarian. That said, I feel like someone expecting me to make meat for them is a little bit rude, especially if I’ve invited them over and offered to cook. I don’t expect other people to go out of their way to accommodate me and I would never go to someones house with the expectation that they would prepare a dish containing certain elements.

  • Dominique October 29, 2010, 6:50 pm

    I have a really restrictive diet (IBS, shellfish and chicken allergy, other undiagnosed issues) so I totally don’t mind accommodating others’ specific diets. My friend and I are having a small Halloween party tomorrow and with her diet and my diet we ran our dishes by each other just to make sure everything was okay.

    I’m not a fan of preparing meat either though. BF and I had a talk about this during lunch today and I told him he’d have to prepare the meat in our house when we move in together.

  • Elizabeth October 29, 2010, 6:52 pm

    “Let’s just call it dinner instead and be thankful” +1

    That said – I wouldn’t serve my guests anything I wouldn’t eat myself (meat, coconut, olives, whatever!) We had a vegetarian wedding reception that went over very well (even with my “meat & potato” in-laws)

    Likewise, I wouldn’t expect friends to make me something THEY wouldn’t eat. When eating at other people’s homes I’ll ask if I can bring a dish to share. If going to a non veg friendly event/wedding – I make do with what I can.

    I learned long ago to ALWAYS travel with snacks to keep the hangries away! 🙂

    PS: have a GREAT run tomorrow!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 29, 2010, 7:17 pm

    Interesting question! I agree with you on this one – things like meatless pasta and lasagna are things that a meat eater might eat on a regular basis anyways. It’s not like you’re force feeding tempeh or faux meat patties down their throats. 😉

  • Tanya @ Vegan Faith October 29, 2010, 7:27 pm

    I used to think that I needed to cook meat for my meat-loving friends. But then I did it once, and they were so weirded out when I didn’t eat the same meal as them at my own house! Since then I have used dinner parties at my house as a way of showing friends and family the joys of a vegetarian/vegan diet and how not-weird it is. Many people will ask “well then what do you eat?” so it is my way of showing them exactly what I do eat, and how good and satisfying it really can be!

  • Sarah October 29, 2010, 7:50 pm

    I am of the same philosophy as you – one vegetarian meal won’t kill a meat eater, and that way everyone can partake in it. I do feel bad that people accommodate me and I don’t accommodate them, but once people taste the food they NEVER complain. For me, it’s a matter of not feeling ethical if I spend money on meat. If someone brought meat over and wanted to cook it, I might oblige, but I would be really freaked out about people cooking meat in my house. That might sound crazy, and perhaps it is! But I guess for me it’s a case of ethics trumping etiquette. I certainly wouldn’t feed a guest who eats kosher or halal food non-kosher or non-halal food, but I would serve a meat eater vegetarian food because I’ve never met a meat eater who is ethically opposed to vegetables.

  • Kim @ Kim Lives Healthy October 29, 2010, 7:56 pm

    When we have friends at our house, we cook vegetarian and they don’t complain because we make tons of great-tasting food (i.e. not just veggie burgers). Asking a carnivore to eat a veggie burger might make them queasy, but asking them to eat a portobello & red pepper burger sounds appetizing!

    I’ve been to parties where my friends cook a meat main course and a veg main course (i.e. chicken and eggplant parmesan), and I don’t think it’s necessary for them to make a whole separate entree just for me and my fiancee. I’ve made it clear to my friends and family that we’ll just eat the side dishes 🙂 That’s how we still go to a lot of our favorite restaurants (like southern BBQ joints) – we load up on the sides!

    I don’t want to serve meat in my house just b/c I want to open my friends’ eyes to how delicious veg food can be. However, I did recently help a friend cook chicken at her house b/c she didn’t know how to prepare it, and why let years of my experience in the kitchen go to waste? It felt good to teach her something too since she’s a new cook.


  • Robyn October 29, 2010, 7:57 pm

    I don’t serve meat to my meat-eating visitors. I keep a pretty good variety of recipes going and most of my friends who join me for dinner are totally happy to do Italian food with me (I make my own marinara — yum!). My boyfriend has really enjoyed just about everything I’ve made for him — e.g. when I made broccoli-cheddar soup from scratch, his words were, “I need to keep you. You feed me good.” Apparently it was so tasty, it affected his ability to form a coherent sentence. 😉 I went vegetarian about a year ago, shortly after moving out of my meat-eating parents’ house — my decision not to even try to serve meat to anyone really just stems from my fear that I’ll accidentally give someone food poisoning in the process — though I have no qualms about someone else bringing it into my apartment.

  • Rebecca October 29, 2010, 8:00 pm

    I always cook vegetarian food for guests, but my husband will grill meat in the summer in addition to what I make. He’ll also cook a turkey on Thanksgiving.
    If I dine at a meat-eater’s home I always offer to bring a vegetarian dish along. That way I’m not stuck with bread for dinner.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 29, 2010, 8:06 pm

    Ooooo good topic! I tend to make meat eating guests a meat dish, but that’s what I’m used to doing. My mother is a veg (and has been the majority of my life), and she walways (okay, I see this typo but I can’t erase it because I’m laughing too hard saying it outloud – seriously, try it.) cooked meat for our family. I have to cook meat for the husband, and I guess it doesn’t bother me too much.

  • Chelsea October 29, 2010, 8:20 pm

    Even before I became a vegetarian, I had lots of veg friends, so I would always make meat-free dishes to bring to potlucks and such. Now I’m in the position of living with my meat-eating family, so most nights I make my own meals. Since I grew up eating meat and can cook it, I will sometimes put together a meat dish if my mom asks me to while she’s at work, although it squicks me out a little. If Some of my friends are more accommodating than others, so if I don’t think there will be anything for me to eat, I usually just bring a quick dish with me.

  • Susan October 29, 2010, 8:26 pm

    I’m an omnivore, but most of the time I don’t eat meat. If I was to go to a vegetarian’s house, I’d want to eat what they are most comfortable making. And with that, I am sure it would be vegetarian.

  • Libby October 29, 2010, 8:43 pm

    I’m a vegetarian and can’t stand cooking or handling meat. Mostly I serve a vegetarian meals (our guest actually seem to enjoy it for a change to what they normally have). Sometimes I will buy some organic free range steak or kangaroo and DH will cook that on the BBQ.

    Libby (in Australia)

  • Babs October 29, 2010, 9:09 pm

    I think we need to say screw being PC and get real. People do not need to eat animals at every meal. People should not be eating animals & animal products at every meal. It is making people really sick (unhealthy & overweight), and it’s going to cripple the healthcare system if things don’t change.

    When people come to my house I take it as a chance to show them that a meal IS great without the heart disease.

  • Laura October 29, 2010, 9:24 pm

    It would depend on the occasion and length of visit. I think it’s easy to prepare a lot of vegetarian meals in which meat-eaters wouldn’t miss the meat, like pasta dishes, burritos or enchiladas, frittatas, etc.

    I wouldn’t expect others to accommodate my tastes when visiting. If I didn’t want to eat meat and that’s what they were serving, I would eat around it. However, it is appreciated when someone takes into account what I like, so I would want to extend the same courtesy if my visitors were around for an extended stay. I think it’s just the polite thing to do.

  • Jennie October 29, 2010, 10:52 pm

    I am not a vegetarian, however we don’t eat meat with every meal. We typically have 1 to 2 meals per week without meat so I don’t think it would be a big deal at all to eat a vegetarian meal at someone’s house. There are lots of vegetarian foods that we love (beans, pasta, grilled cheese, veggies etc.) In fact when we camp with our vegetarian friends, we choose to eat vegetarian too out of respect for them and our kids never complain. 🙂

  • Lacey @ Lake Life October 29, 2010, 11:06 pm

    I was raised with the philosophy of “if someone is gracious enough to have you to dinner at their home, you eat what they serve you.” Now, this motto does not apply to forcing down foods you don’t like or don’t normally eat. It’s like you going to someone’s house and skipping the meat portion of the meal. I would never expect someone to cater to my tastes in their own home, and vice versa.

  • Ashley October 29, 2010, 11:30 pm

    Great discussion! I’m a newly declared vegetarian, and my husband, family, and friends are major carviores (we live in Kansas where BBQ is abundant). I’m nervous about serving them vegetarian meals. Most of them eat meat at least twice a day. I don’t think a vegetarian should have to compromise their beliefs to accomodate their guests. You are serving them and as their guests they should be thankful!

  • LIz October 29, 2010, 11:40 pm

    Since I never cook meat – even if I wanted to be polite, I sure as heck wouldn’t cook meat because it would probably be terrible! I would hate to serve bad food!

    But funnily enough, my mom (who is also a recent veg) and I have the EXACT SAME conversation. Particularly when it comes to weddings – she believes my boyfriend and I (aren’t moms funny? we’re not even engaged!) should serve meat to accomodate our guests. But I just have the feeling that it’s not going to kill them to eat one veg meal – especially if it’s delicious!

  • Julie October 30, 2010, 10:24 am

    So funny that this is a topic, b/c I am having a Halloween party tomorrow and am hosting both meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters. My gut reaction is to not serve meat, because I tend to cook and share my vegetarian recipes with friends (meat-eaters) at work all the time and they enjoy it. However, my husband eats meat and since he would be preparing a meat dish for himself anyways, I thought I would add a meat dish to our dinner party- which is chili with make your own nachos!
    Upon deciding my menu, a very opinionated friend of mine said that I SHOULD serve meat, b/c I should accomodate my meat-eating friends and I don’t agree. If you went to an Italian friends house they would serve pasta, if you went to Jewish friends house, they would serve kosher, etc. If you go to a vegetarian’s house, you better believe there will be vegetables! I think hosting meat-eaters is a great way to show them how adventurous and filling a meat-free meal can be!

  • Kaley October 30, 2010, 1:16 pm

    My boyfriend and I are not vegetarians. However, since we don’t have a lot of money (he’s a student and I am “working” here as a conversation assistant [here = Spain]), we buy loads of veggies and never any meat. We eat it if we go out or whatever, but that’s it. So, if I went to any vegetarians’ houses, no way would I expect or even want them to serve me meat. There are so many good vegetarian/vegan meals. In fact, I love vegan restaurants just because of the creativity.

    Aaaaaanyway. That’s all.

  • Britney October 30, 2010, 2:23 pm

    I wouldn’t serve meat just for non-vegetarian guests. If we go out to eat I don’t care what my companions choose to order, but I’m not going to cook something I won’t eat myself.

    Maybe this is a bad comparison, but if I had a deathly peanut allergy I wouldn’t keep peanut butter around because my guest’s favorite breakfast is peanut butter on toast! I’d hope my guest would understand that I didn’t eat peanuts, and would enjoy the other food I had available for the meal.

  • Ali October 30, 2010, 2:58 pm

    I’m a veggie but I believe it’s nice to serve meat to guests if it’s a dinner party…but I think that’s because my husband and his friends eat a lot of meat and may be a bit disappointed if there isn’t any. lol
    But I on the other hand don’t expect veggie meals when I go places…I just eat side dishes…no big deal.

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In October 30, 2010, 7:34 pm

    I haven’t run into this issue a ton, but I do like to cook meat for my boyfriend. I don’t like seeing dissapointed guests and I feel like people just ASSUME vegetarian meals are bad (even though they eat them all the time and don’t realize it!!) I’m working on it though…having them taste my meals, etc, so that one day I can serve them a vegetarian meal no questions asked!

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) October 30, 2010, 8:16 pm

    I eat meat, and so do all my friends, but we still have vegetarian dinner parties sometimes, because we have no problem foregoing meet, and only eat meet a couple times a week anyway.

  • Erica November 1, 2010, 5:15 am

    I’m technically a pescatarian and not fully vegetarian, but I eat veg more often than not. So when I have non-veg guests, I’ll either do something veg or with seafood. I would never feel obligated to make meat just because I have meat-eating guests. My guests are usually pleasantly surprised by delicious vegetarian food.

    However, I’m now dating a non-vegetarian. And while he loves seafood, I think in the future I will prepare meat for him and veg for me. Some meat things honestly just gross me out (like veal and pork), so he can plan to either make those things himself or have them when we go out, but I won’t have a problem making some meat dishes for him. Still, it’ll be vegetarian more often than not.

  • Sara November 1, 2010, 9:37 am

    I wish my family and friends were non-meat eating, but unfortunately, no, so the choices of restaurants and meals served at other peoples’ homes tend to be more meat-related. And everyone pretty much acts like I’m a wacko. My family doesn’t understand, I don’t eat w/ my friends enough for it to be a problem, and my husband is accommodating though. He’s fine with not eating meat at home, he just makes his meal out a meaty meal. If I ever cook meat at home, it’s ground turkey for the most part, or chicken tenders that are breaded and you just throw in the oven. I do eat turkey on occasion and sometimes chicken, and very rarely pork, but for the most part, I don’t eat meat. It just makes it awkward with others. It’d be so much easier if my parents, husband and in-laws ate more vegetables (and the ones they do eat aren’t covered in LOADS of margarine. yikes).

    • Sara November 1, 2010, 9:38 am

      Is it bad that I won’t cook beef, seafood and other meats I can’t stand at home? My husband wants to use his grill to make beef burger and the thought of beef on our grill, let alone in the ‘fridge completely grosses me out.

  • Sara November 1, 2010, 2:07 pm

    I cook meat for my meat-eating friends/family only if I feel that it’ll all get eaten & it was worth the cost (meat is expensive!!). So when I made tacos for my family 2 weeks ago, we did buy a couple of chicken breasts and cooked those up, and it all got eaten. When I make lasagna, however, I leave the meat out completely because everyone likes it just fine. So it’s a toss up, I suppose! Thankfully my boyfriend (who eats meat & lives with me) is not at all upset/annoyed with not getting meat on a daily basis; he’s just glad he gets fed at all 😉

  • Michelle November 1, 2010, 5:07 pm

    I’m definitely not vegetarian, and I wouldn’t expect a vegetarian friend to serve me meat. If I normally eat chicken instead of beef, I don’t expect those who host me to specially prepare me a chicken dish. That’s ridiculous. There’s a difference between dietary restrictions and preferences.

  • Dez @ Dezolutions November 1, 2010, 8:32 pm

    I think the main factor is how MANY people are coming. As a life-long meat eater, this year I went veggie (moral and health reasons). For our infamous 4th of July BBQ we host every year, we have 30-40 people over. They expect meat. And that is what I gave them. And yes, I had to prepare ribs, hot dogs, chicken wings etc. BUT I provided meatless burgers and other veggie products for our non-meat eater friends, just like I did when I wasn’t a vegetarian all the years before. As a host for a big event, provide for everyone. A small dinner party, cook what you want. As a pre-veggie I attended dinner parties of my vegan friends, and they served ONLY vegan food, as expected. If you really can’t tolerate an all vegetarian meal, maybe you should politely decline your invite instead of having your host feel uncomfortable.

  • maya @ finding balance in tokyo November 2, 2010, 3:39 am

    I mentioned this elsewhere, but thought I’d add my voice in on this conversation as well:

    I agree with the the position that no one should feel obligated to cook meat for their guests– vegetarian or otherwise. As long as you do your best to take their specific dietary restrictions into consideration and make sure that all of your guests are fed, you are fulfilling your obligations as a host.

    Of course it is nice if they absolutely love the meal you provide for them, but there’s no guarantee that will happen under any circumstances, so I don’t think you should have to go out of your comfort zone and compromise your morals in an attempt to achieve that result.

    I would say the same thing goes for non-meat options as well. If I know my guest does not like green peppers I will probably make sure to come up with a dish that does not include them. However I would not feel obligated to include potatoes in the meal if I didn’t want them myself just because that happens to be their favorite vegetable.

  • Rachel Randolph November 3, 2010, 3:15 pm

    Being vegan in Texas isn’t easy. We don’t have a single friend or family member who is even a vegetarian. When I have friends over, I usually ask them if there is something they’d like me to have around for them. My bff usually brings some yogurt for her daughter when she stays with us and I don’t mind picking up dairy creamer or something like that. I made a pot roast when I had several teenage boys staying with us.

    The funny thing is that most of the time my friends end up eating and loving the food I prepare. I always end up with a little stash of unopened dairy or meat products that they forgot they’d “have to have.”

    There are a few family members that I don’t know what I’d do if they came over. They don’t like vegetables very much and they do consider a meal incomplete without meat. I think I’d probably cook some shrimp or fish just to avoid a scene.

    Our family tries to accommodate us, too, but they just can’t seem to grasp what a vegan is. Almost every dish that someone has made “for us” has had dairy, butter, or eggs in it or was cooked in bacon fat. I’ve learned that in Texas, when eating with others, I just have to be flexible and always have a snack in my purse or I’ll starve or offend someone.

    Great question!

    • Rachel Randolph November 3, 2010, 3:25 pm

      To be fair, my mom goes out of her way to prepare meals that we can enjoy when we visit her in Colorado. I always help her in the kitchen, because I know it takes a little more work to prepare meals with the meat separate. She stocks the fridge with almond milk and veggie burgers for my visits and picks fun places to eat that offer vegan options. I feel loved when she makes this effort for me, so that’s why I offer people non-vegan options at my home. I want them to feel loved, too, and I want them to feel comfortable in my home.

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