Vegan Manners?

Last weekend Carrie invited her work friend Sandra to a holiday dinner party with her close friends.  She and her husband cooked up a storm and were excited to serve their elaborate meal to their company.

All the guests brought wine, or some kind of elixir to share, but Sandra showed up with containers filled with a three course vegetarian meal – just enough for her.  She explained to Carrie that she was on a strict vegan diet, and didn’t want to impose her dietary restrictions on the Carrie or her menu.

While Carrie appreciated Sandra’s reasoning, she couldn’t help but feel disappointed and annoyed that Sandra hadn’t told her before hand.  First of all, she wouldn’t have bought as much expensive meat, and she would have wanted the chance to tailor her well planned menu to accommodate her guest.  And secondly, the fact that Sandra only brought food for herself and no hostess gift to share, rubbed Carrie the wrong way a bit too.

Is Carrie overreacting?  Or was Sandra wrong not to tell her about her vegan ways before hand?  Was it rude or considerate to bring her own food?  And should Sandra have brought something that everybody could enjoy?

Tell us what you think!

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5 Responses to “Vegan Manners?”

  1. Molly says:

    Yikes, there’s a lot going on here.

    First, I think that Sandra should have brought something to add to the dinner – wine, chocolates – something. Most people are taught not to show up as a guest empty handed.

    As far as bringing her own food, I have mixed feelings. These days most hosts will make sure there are enough choices for vegans, and most of the vegans I know don’t make a fuss so that everyone knows that they’re vegans. They simply choose what they can eat and say nothing (other than perhaps asking if a vegetable soup is made from an animal stock).
    Also, most hosts will ask beforehand if guests have any dietary restrictions and will usually have some items that are vegan, gluten free, etc. I think that Sandra likes to call attention to herself by bringing her own food to a dinner party. Surely, she could have eaten her big meal of the day earlier before the party and then enjoyed salads, vegetables and fruits that the hosts were sure to have.

    I’d be curious to know what she brought. If the host was serving a nicely sweetened dish (say lamb w/ mint, or chicken with apricot) and the person sitting next to Sandra had to smell something pungent like okra with garlic or kimchee, that would be extremely rude.

    As far as Carrie, the hostess, complaining that she would have bought less meat, that’s absurd. No one buys just enough so that each guest has an alloted amount and there is no more should someone want a second helping. She can always enjoy the leftovers the next day – most people do.

  2. Annie says:

    How awkward and embarrassing. Sandra should not have brought her own food; she should have explained her needs ahead of time, even if Carrie didn’t think to ask her guests (which Carrie should have). Sandra should also have brought something for everyone to share, but Carrie should let that go because it’s more of an embarrassment for the guest who brings nothing than it is for the hostess. Also one person not eating does mean extra food, but it’s silly to be upset about. You always want to have extra so people don’t leave hungry. Leftovers are great anyway.

  3. saniel says:

    yes sandra should have told carrie her dietary restrictions
    no she should not have brought food just for herself

    however, being a vegan all my life i know the feeling for going somewhere and not having food you can eat. for an occasion like that i would have told the hostess ahead of time with all my restrictions. in most cases i ask questions if something is made with animal by product and try not to make more attention for myself.

  4. Lola says:

    Sandra’s heart was in the right place. It would have been more thoughtful to inform Carrie she was on a special diet. It would also be nice the bring something for everyone to share. But hey, it’s the holidays, we are all busy and a little scatterbrained. It’s not the end of the world. Just enjoy each other while we have each other and shake off the trivial things.

  5. Karen says:

    I whole heartedly agree. Sandra should have told her she was a vegan and explained her dietary restrictions. And what would have been the harm is Sandra has asked her to bring a vegan dish to share.

    I have been a vegan for years and when invited places, I offer to bring a dish that I love to share. My host loves it and it gives people a chance to try something different.

Any Thoughts?