I have twenty people coming to a dinner party and one just told me last minute she is vegetarian. Is it rude to only make one main dish without meat?


isabelita January 3, 2011
I thought about this question New Year's Day. I had seven for dinner with one guest that did not eat pork. I prepared the usual ham and baked a turkey breast as well. I also made pork stuffing which I usually stuff the breast with and baked it separately has I did not want to mix the pork with the turkey for my guest. Guess what? My non pork eating guest ate the ham. Next time I will follow my menu and let the guest decide what they want to eat and there are always plenty of side dishes to choose from.
flgal December 22, 2010
That is totally rude. Anyone who is invited anywhere, should be happy for the invitation. She could certainly nibble about the meat dishes and not cause a scene! Most likely she likes the attention!
aussiefoodie December 22, 2010
As a friend of a vegetarian, I always feel bad for her when there is only one thing on the spread that is vegetarian. But this person didn't give much notice. I always think its nice if the sides can be made vegetarian - such as bacon omitted from the potato side, or a pasta side dish sans meat, or salad without any chicken or bacon toppings. I always find it a challenge to make as many dishes as I can without meat, but still retain the true flavor of the dish, when my friend is visiting. But in this case, I'd say just do what you can with the menu.
latoscana December 21, 2010
To me the key phrase is "last minute" - this is just plain rude. Any guest with dietary restrictions should explain that to the host upon accepting the invitation. This goes for veggie, vegan, allergies, salt restrictions, Kosher, or any other issue.

I learned an excruciatingly painful lesson when a dear friend prepared a boeuf bourguinon for a dinner party in my honor. I never bothered to her that I was, at that time, a vegetarian. I never liked to make a big deal about it since I always found something to nibble. But she had invested considerable time, money, and enthusiasm in preparing the dish. She was deeply hurt and I was mortified.
allie December 21, 2010
As long as the vegetarian has something reasonable to eat at each course, you are fine. Usually, there are plenty of sides. The only issue can sometimes be a first course if it's meat based. If you are really short on veggie options, just saute some wonderful mushrooms in butter and wine and serve in a pretty ramekin to the vegetarian.
susan G. December 21, 2010
Speaking as a vegetarian, I do not expect the host to upend the menu to satisfy me. What I do wish for is that some simple choice made in cooking will give me more choices, such as -- if possible -- using a vegetable stock in a soup, for instance. Another possibility, make available something simple like chick peas in vinaigrette, which could an optional addition to a salad. Good ideas already offered too.
Queen O. December 21, 2010
If you only were told 'last minute', you shouldn't have to alter your main course. Especially if you're cooking for 20!

It would be gracious to ensure some of your sides are vegetarian, or add a good side or two as the others have mentioned.

hardlikearmour December 21, 2010
As long as you have some hearty sides you should be fine. If you decide to make an additional dish this one is pretty good and very simple (my vegan friend brought it to TG dinner, and he made it himself - and he never cooks.) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/magazine/07food-t-002.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=masala&st=cse
anyone December 21, 2010
I wouldn't punish all of the other guests by making one veghead happy.
mrslarkin December 21, 2010
I don't think so. But I'd make a vegetarian side dish, too.

Here are loads of ideas: http://www.food52.com/contests/187_your_best_vegetarian_holiday_side
Recommended by Food52