I don’t normally eat fish.

My daughter doesn’t eat beef, chicken or pork.

My Husband doesn’t eat cheese, butter or most dairy.

I know- at this point you’re all thinking- How is it that I’ve never invited LA and her family over to break bread…

We don’t have allergies. We either don’t like the taste or choose not to eat these things.

If you are going to someone’s house, do you volunteer this information, or do you wait to be asked if you have any food issues?

If you find out what your host is making ahead of time, and you know that you don’t like it, do you mention it to them?

For me, unless directly asked “Is there anything that you don’t eat?” I tend to just find something at the meal that I can eat. I don’t make a big deal about what is being served. I don’t want the host to go out of their way to satisfy me. I figure they have enough on their plate.

Do you make food requests of hosts?

Now let’s get a little tricky. If you found out that your host was going to make lobster, or buy expensive steaks, do you tell them not to buy a portion for you, because it is expensive and you know you’re not going to eat it?

How about if you are going to someone’s house, would you ask them to make a certain dish because you like it? (for the record, I don’t mean if my daughter is coming home and asks me to make something special, because I think in some situations it’s OK for a kid to ask their parent to make a “favorite” dish, and most parents are happy to oblige) I’m referring to a less close relationship than parent/child.

If you find out that you are going to someone’s house and find out that they are ordering pizza, do you tell them that pizza is not an appropriate food to serve guests?

When you are going to someone else’s house, should the food be a consideration? Or should the main goal just to be hanging out and spending time together?

Discuss:


110 thoughts on “Special Request

  1. When it comes to certain food restrictions, I think it’s appropriate and considerate to inform the host before hand.
    Secondly, I wouldn’t request someone (not so close family member or friend) to make something special for me, not that it sounds bad but because of my own reservation.
    Food should be the consideration if you’re staying for a longer time and I would suggest that we should also bring some food to the host as a kind gesture.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. File under cranky old woman: I find it off-putting and rude when someone makes an issue of their food preferences. I want to say, “If you’re that delicate, stay home.” This from someone who became a vegetarian nearly 50 years ago, when it was less common in our culture. I never mentioned it when I was a guest, and would either not serve myself any meat if that was a choice or, if it was placed on my plate, would try to move it aside without drawing attention to myself and eat the salad, bread, vegetables, etc. However, when I am a host I always ask my guests to be: “Is there anything you don’t eat?” And I do try to accommodate their needs. But when someone has a slew of demands, I generally fume a bit and don’t invite them again.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I don’t have people for dinner anymore. While some of my friends have legitimate food issues, some of them are just a pain. I’ll go out to eat with friends. Just easier

      Liked by 4 people

    2. No kidding. About a ton of demands. That’s when something like “Wow. Never mind…” would be on the tip of my tongue. I do the same- rearrange my plate and watch for a good exit As far as the plate of food.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Our son is vegan, a friend is mostly pescatarian – we know this. When they come by the house we try to provide options more agreeable to their food choices but at the same time, they don’t expect us to adhere to their lifestyle, to their choices. Mandating that your host complies with your food lifestyle is a little self-centered and rude. The same can be said for the host that offers steak tartar to a vegan – you should see my son tear through a homemade hamburger. A meal should be a social gathering, a time to enjoy company, not another stressful encounter. Relax and enjoy that pizza. Just a thought.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I agree with you. We were going to a relatives house a few months ago, and people other than my husband and I were telling the host what to serve, and make. I just can’t do that. I figure I’ll go and find something I like and try not to bother the host too much

      Liked by 3 people

  4. This is not something I have to deal with much. I will eat pretty much anything and rarely have dinner with anyone but family and book club. Family and book club both know each other well enough to know of any food issues/preferences. Back when one book club member was vegetarian I always made sure to have an option for them. It’s much easier now that everyone is a meat eater again.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. To be perfectly honest, one of the positive things during the pandemic has been not having to worry about these things! It wouldn’t cross my mind to tell a hostess what I don’t like, as opposed to what I might be allergic to or being vegetarian, and if someone I had invited to my home told me what they didn’t like, I might remind myself not to invite them again! But then again, I’m 75 and no invitee has ever mentioned anything other than allergies or being vegetarian to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I can choke down most foods with the exception of liver, tuna and salmon. Still though I would never make a request. Once my MIL planned on having us for lunch—tuna sandwiches- and my husband told her that I don’t eat tuna—you could tell she was mad. Not sure what I would have done otherwise—make some polite nibbles from the sandwich?
    My son has a girlfriend who is vegetarian. It was a busy day and he wanted to have her over last minute for supper–I told him she’d have to come over another day where I actually had more options than a few lettuce leaves to feed her. She is a nice young woman but the vegetarian stuff is tricky to navigate.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My daughter has been a vegetarian for awhile. When she was younger I catered to her more. As she got older I made her more responsible for her dinners a few times a week. It’s too hard to coordinate what we do and don’t eat

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m never particular about my food preferences when someone is making me food. I’m mostly vegetarian (I’ll eat meat, but rarely), and if I don’t want to deal with the meat dish, I just won’t eat it. The only thing I’m adamant about is not eating ranch dressing (which I hate), but that’s easy to avoid, too. I don’t want to be rude to a host by demanding they go way out of there way to make a particular food just to appeal to my tastes. Unless it’s my birthday, in which case my friend who loves to cook and bake asks which particular cake I want her to make for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This seems like a good time to share a MIL story (you might relate). Well into our marriage, I’d learned to manage my in-laws rather bland palate whenever they’d come for visits…but one Thanksgiving, with both sides of the family filling our home to the brim (in-laws were from out of town and didn’t normally come up to our place for that holiday) with fun, kids, food & festivities I’d set out the ‘hors d’orves’ around the house as usual…along with the ‘traditional’ ones we (my family’s side) gleefully expect on holidays. A basic one is shrimp cocktail – made with fresh shrimp and a hot (with horseradish that tickles one’s nose) sauce. Remember this is just one item amongst many others to choose from. Out of nowhere there is this screeching heard through out the house, “I can’t eat this! I’ll die if I eat this! Why is it here? Doesn’t anyone care?”
    First off, I had no idea (neither did my husband) that my MIL was allergic to shrimp/shellfish. I didn’t set it out to kill her (hmmm).
    But honestly, out of platters of other stuff (the shrimp were in a separate container/platter and didn’t touch anything else) why focus on what she couldn’t eat? I was mortified, then angry, then, well…she pouted in the rec room for awhile and life went on – sort of.
    As always, a sideways answer/contribution to your post discussion!
    🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh…I can relate…and yes…is that worth the, let’s call it, theatrics? You can see it’s shrimp…it wasn’t like the whole menu had shrimp….I mean…people with allergies still eat at places where these foods are served

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I knew you’d ‘get it’ HA! As for the ‘theatrics’ if you’ve ever read Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” you’d recognize it as a characteristic of what she calls ‘crazymakers’.
        Her word, not mine.
        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. If I invite people to eat who I don’t know well, I usually ask if there are allergies or sensitivities. I started this when the kids were young and kids came over.

    With adults I keep an eye on a variety of dishes presented so there is something for everyone.

    But it depends. I typically don’t make requests myself when invited over but sometimes offer to being something that I know will be accepted by my own family. But this is only in closer social circles.

    Note, we haven’t really done these types of visits since before covid. Before that the socializing happened at rinks or in sports bars where you buy your own meal.

    But in your example, I’d take it case by case.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do ask about allergies. That’s a given. But to start getting into other stuff? You could have five people at dinner, each requiring a different meal. I’m all for eating out when in a group

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is my whole family at holidays. Everyone has a special diet. As a host, It can be very complicated. Typically I would say bring a dish to pass that you can eat. Then everyone is happy. Because I bet sometimes you like to go to someone’s house and eat dairy or your husband would like fish if it’s served. My motto is if you are cooking make what you want. But I do inquire about preferences and allergies.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hmmm, interesting questions. First of all, I do tell people that I don’t eat red meat. I wouldn’t want someone to buy me a steak. But if it is a barbecue I will bring my own veggie burger, or I’ll bring a salad or a dish I can eat. One I can put on the table for others to enjoy as well.

    My BFF passed away a few years back. She loved to cook. It gave her great pleasure. Later in life, when her kids were grown and she was no longer married, she missed cooking for a big family, so she would make monthly dinners and invite a few friends over just so she could cook. And she would go to town making authentic Italian dishes using her grandmother’s old recipes. Now I don’t ordinarily eat sausages or meat. But her flavoring for Lasagna and other Italian dishes often had some of these ingredients. I wasn’t going to tell her to reconstruct her beautiful dishes. They were works of art. So I would eat her meals, leave the sausage, and enjoy the rest. The thing is, I don’t like the taste of meat. It’s not a health thing. I just don’t like it.
    Oh, I absolutely love fish! Any kind pretty much. But I do share before I eat something that I’m highly allergic to mango. Otherwise my throat will close up and paramedics will need to be called. I’ve learned the hard way that I have to speak up about mangos. I ate a fruit salad at a party once and spent a couple days in the hospital! So, I check for mangos for my safety!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Allergies I totally get. But once you start dealing with allergies and insensitivity’s, then you add in likes and dislikes, and food preferences, it’s hard to make dishes that everyone can eat. Imagine having a paleo, a vegan, a vegetarian over along with gluten free, lactose intolerant and shellfish allergy.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, that’s crazy. Normally I keep quiet except about my allergies. But living in Florida there are always lots of barbecues and I just bring my own stuff and give it to the person grilling. I cant see having someone spend a fortune on a steak for me when I won’t eat it. So I just bring my own.

        When my son first married his wife, who is from the Philippines, the first time I was invited to my daughter In law’s sister’s home, she had a huge spread and there was literally nothing I could eat. Plus, I was horrified that there was a huge roasted pig! Oy Vey! Not something a Jewish girl sees every day. At gatherings I started bringing my own salad and would eat that. Now my daughter in law makes a better salad than I do, but 13 years ago it was different. Now we combine cultures and food well. It’s funny, my grandson loves Italian food and meat and potatoes like my son, and my grand daughter only likes Filipino food like her Mom. Lol

        Obviously, due to covid and cancer I’m not hosting dinner parties any longer. But normally as long as there is a salad or bread I have something to eat wherever I go.
        I remember for a time my brother’s daughters were vegans and it was challenging when they came to town to visit . Now that they have children they eat healthy but aren’t so strict with their food.
        I don’t think it’s fair for people to demand their host cater to their individual needs.
        That is rude. If someone invites you for dinner, be polite and eat what you can. On the other hand, if someone does serve highly allergic food, label it and or let their guests know. (Like I said, I once ate a mixed fruit salad where I thought it had cantaloupe not mangoes mixed in). That was almost deadly! 🙀

        Like

  12. My friends know what I can and cannot eat. If it’s going to be tricky For them, I bring my own dinner with me but I have to bring plenty because I know everyone else is also going to want to try it. In the UK, I used to ask people if there was anything they didn’t eat. I did the same thing in France and was advisec that the French eat everything, and they do!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. As someone with a myriad of food issues, I usually don’t eat in other people’s homes. I don’t accept many invitations to food-centered gatherings. Sit down dinners are a nightmare…not because it bothers me to watch people eat, I love the conversations and the interactions around a table and I always make my host aware of the fact that I am there for the company, but cannot partake of the food. When I do attend, the host is usually sympathetic and understanding and doesn’t have a problem with the situation (if not, I decline the invite). I don’t ask other people to accommodate my dietary needs, I don’t make a big deal of it. It is just something I have to live with. But, I have been and continue to be astounded by the number of people who think what I eat or don’t eat is their business…and become offended because I don’t conform to their idea of what should/shouldn’t be consumed.

    It has gotten a little better over the last several years as varied diets have become more the norm in society. Initially, almost 30 years ago, when my diet had to change it was disheartening to attend any gathering. I will say, family were/are the worst offenders and have leveled countless verbal attacks regarding my food choice. I never understood it. I didn’t ask for special food, I didn’t bemoan the fact that I “couldn’t eat”. I just wanted to enjoy the company of people I cared about. It took a while for me to accept that, in a food-centered society, I was going to stick out like a sore thumb. So, I would love to come to dinner…as long as you are ok with me not eating, lol.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. My husband doesn’t eat dairy cause he doesn’t like it. The amount of grief he gets is astounding. They’ll say things like…but it’s cheesecake…or what do you mean you don’t like butter…

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  14. I’m with you. If there is something I don’t choose to eat, I put other things on my plate. Of course, it’s hard to find something I don’t like. Food comes to me as if I’m magnetized.

    We had a guest who flew to stay with us, so she certainly knew ahead of time she was going to eat at our table. She had visited before with no problem. As we sat down at the dinner table, she announced that she was vegetarian. I could have dealt easily with that if I had known ahead of time. Some people don’t play fair!!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. There is a myriad of cultural influences surrounding food. Cooking, serving, eating, remarking on and complimenting, or god forbid disliking or declining specific items. I wonder just how much people choose to be intentionally unaware of these influences…until they aren’t? Cultural, familial and societal ideologies can creep in at the most unexpected moments.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am a ridiculously, stupidly picky eater. There are so many things that I won’t eat, it’s really not funny. Some are simple dislikes and some are “if I eat that, it will come back up on my plate a second later” kind of bad. It is something that really makes me uncomfortable enough that I don’t normally accept invites to meals with people that I’m not comfortable and trust enough to not slip something in (yes, I’ve had people try to “test” me on some ingredients they thought I was exaggerating about). If I’m forced to for some reason (which is exceedingly rare), I make sure I eat before I leave and usually find something I can at least make a show of eating.

    Because I have so many issues with this myself, it effects how I feed others. I will ALWAYS make sure that there is at least something on my table that everyone will like and can eat. It makes me feel absolutely horrible if someone feels like they can’t eat anything at a meal I serve. And yes, I go way out of my way to ensure that everyone is satisfied, even finding a new recipe for something I’ve never made before and doing a trial run before hand just to make sure I get it right (did that with cupcakes for a party I did cake for and a young girl attending had celiac disease, so no gluten). That doesn’t mean that I’ll serve steak, lobster, and caviar to someone just because they expect it, but I will make sure that I make the effort to find something a guest can eat and will enjoy.

    For me, when it comes to sharing a meal and feeding others, it is about connection and caring. I find it difficult to create that kind of environment if the time isn’t taken to consider the needs of everyone gathered, at least to some degree.

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  17. I have my SIL staying with us this week. I asked her what she liked to eat etc. before she got here. As for going to someone’s house for dinner, I’m on your side. Find something you can eat. We were invited to a dinner club when visiting friends out of state. They had four couples and a themed dinner each month. The theme was onions and scallions which my husband my husband can’t digest.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. We don’t have people over which solves that problem. I think too much is made of the food situation and it should be more about the being with friends, unless there is a clear allergy. Our daughter dated someone with a peanut allergy once and we definitely had to make sure that his food was safe but that’s the last time I remember caring about food. If I don’t like it, I won’t eat it. God knows I won’t starve to death missing one meal.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Forget going to s dinner gathering…I have no idea how you cook for your family at home! In this day and age of allergies and food intolerances, I believe a host/hostess needs to ask those questions before planning a menu. Some allergies are life threatening. As for food preferences, it’s little trickier. It might depend on how close the invitee is to the host/hostess. The closer the friendship, the more comfortable in sharing preferences. Our daughter is dating a man on a keto diet. My pantry is not conducive to keto diets so outside of the steak, she brings whatever he can eat. Same for those on gluten free diets. Ideally, a dinner gathering would have something for everyone. Better yet, have it be a potluck and everyone contribute a dish to share. Even better….meet at a restaurant. 💙

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Maybe you could look at it as fun, and it would become a new adventure. One thing I learned about cooking for a spouse is, I had to make the meal as if it was for me. The satisfaction lies within. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  20. I don’t entertain a lot, but when I do, I always ask my guests if they have any food preferences or needs. There are just too many people out there with food issues of various types. It was never a problem for my down-home cooking mom who was used to cooking for a large family. When we had guests, she always fixed two meats, multiple vegetable dishes, a bread, and a variety of deserts. This was all just in case someone didn’t like something. I’m with you on just eating my choices of what is served, but during a time when I absolutely could not eat certain foods, I did mention it. Hosts seemed grateful for the information. I don’t think I would say “don’t fix an expensive…” for me, because it might be insulting. That is a tough one, and you would need more context to make that decision. I hope no one needs an etiquette book to know that telling a host that a certain food is not appropriate for a gathering would be extremely rude! These are all good questions, but your closing is spot on–it’s about the friendship, not the food.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. My friends are usually pretty open the second time for an invite. If they don’t like something they let me know, but they’ve been polite enough to try as I would in return. A lot of my friends are pretty open in regards to special dieting, so this has never been an issue. I personally wouldn’t berate someone for getting pizza ya just never know the host could be tired or financially strapped.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We rarely if ever host dinner parties even tiny ones. But we’re both adventurous foodies so if someone presented us with an option we’re not used to we will try it. My wife and I mainly eat salmon, cod, barramundi, shrimp, chicken, turkey and bison in regards to protein. Being mostly pescaterian, we so looking forward to vacation in Cape Cod.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. This is the problem theses days. In the “old days,” we looked forward to visiting someone and didn’t even think about what they would be making, we just went and enjoyed the evening. NOW, everyone wants to have it their way. This is tricky. I find this SAME issue when getting together with my daughters. One time, we all brought what we wanted to eat. It DID NOT FEEL like a get together. It felt like being at work and everyone brings their own lunch. So, we decided we needed to change this. We agree on what we eat ahead of time or go to a restaurant, we all like. WITH YOUR SCENARIO — I have become a picky eater too… so I guess I might just be coming with my own lunch box, LOL — OR HOPE they have a nice salad and focus on that. LIFE THESE DAYS… shaking head. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. You always come up with the best questions, LA. Seriously. This is an important one for me, as my diet has iterated considerably in the past two years. Hmmmm. More reflection is needed, yet, for now, I for surely would not ask someone to make me something special, just for me. I would, however, if they told me they were going to serve meat, for instance, let them know I choose not to eat meat right now, they don’t have to make me a portion. With me, as long as there is a veg, it’s all good. Hmmm. Reflecting…oh, one more question connected to this. What do you do when you go to someone’s house and they pressure you into eating the food there? I’ve been in this situation before, super uncomfortable…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can thank my family and friends for the inspiration….this is based on my thoughts after a real life event…I hate the pressure to try something. Or the “how do you not eat X” comments. People get way too involved with food. I wish I knew how to handle it well, or what to say. I’d say we all have some sort of eating disorder

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Understood and understand. I’ve done that before too. Now, I choose differently, however, it does open up the possibility of inquiry from people…since when did what I/we eat have anything to do with anyone else?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Understood and understand. Seriously. Been through it. I remember when we first moved to OR and people said, “ try X pizza place,” it’s just like pizza in NYC. I know, I know…signs abound…anyway, let’s just say it was, ummmmm, not even close, and I’m being nice here. As to the previous conversation, boundary issues abound…😉

        Liked by 1 person

  24. First off, let me just say that this made me think of how difficult making dinner every night at home could be for you. Secondly, I’m even more grateful that we don’t have any restrictions here, except maybe that (x) isn’t someone’s favorite meal, but they’ll eat it. So I’m not sure what I’d do considering I’m lucky to not have these restrictions. But I do have friends who have them and I try to accommodate or we go out so that they can get whatever works for their palate, allergies.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hmmm…. That’s tricky. I have found if I don’t tell somebody I have a food allergy and I get there, and don’t take a serving of something they made, usually they will say “you should’ve told me.” I think it depends on the relationship with the host. Tough question.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, that is true. I don’t have any allergies, nor do my children. But, I do have friends that do and I try to accommodate. I feel horrible if I knew and forgot, that’s for sure.

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  26. This reminds me of something. Years ago when my kids were younger, we used to go up to my dad’s riverside property. My stepmom would grill hotdogs on the open fire. But she always burnt them…like really bad, My kids would barely touch them and she’d make comments. So finally, one year, I asked (in a kind way), if she wouldn’t mind taking the hotdogs off before they burned because the kids won’t eat them. I offended her. They never had hotdogs again….sigh.

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  27. It’s tricky! I don’t like butter (and it doesn’t like me either, so I eat it at my peril) which is hard, because people automatically add butter to so many dishes without asking if you want it first. If I know the person well, I let them know up front. But if I don’t, I still struggle with this issue!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Funny story…hubby and I were invited to listen to jazz, eat appetizers, and drink wine on a rooftop. We got there, and it was too packed. Hubby’s friend was like, so-and-so just called and he’s about to order pizza and beer. Maybe we can go to his house. To which I replied, NOPE. Not going over so-and-so’s house to eat pizza and drink beer. They looked at me like I was crazy.

    I don’t make requests of anyone, but for some reason, people do make request when they come to my home. I recently just started saying, no, I’m not making that.

    Buuuut after Christmas, we’ve been invited to spend time with some cousins at a resort. Instead of asking us to pay for our room, they said we have to prepare a meal. Out of consideration for everyone involved, I’ve asked for food allergies, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get it about the pizza/beer thing. Iasmit though that I’m just not inviting people to eat at ,y house anymore. The most I’ll do is a dessert party where I ask everyone to bring a dessert, and I have fruit, a chocolate thing and a not chocolate dessert. (I don’t eat chocolate desserts😝

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  29. My daughter & her (now) husband were vegetarians, which I quickly learned to cater for, so I was surprised when she related a story of being invited to the party given for her long-time vegan’s friend’s birthday in her family’s restaurant. There was nothing on offer which her vegan friend could eat. So the birthday girl got to watch as her family ate, drank & made merry, while she drank water and ate nothing – ostensibly in celebration of her birthday. My daughter was aghast & invited her friend home to eat with us.

    My ex also had friends with whom we regularly did the dinner party thing. I enjoyed cooking and liked them both very much, but did find it strange that she laid out – and in no uncertain terms – what she thought qualified as acceptable dinner party fare. Bizarre!

    My tiny monthly book group included one vegan, one vegetarian, one who ate no fish/shellfish, one who didn’t eat chicken, and one who only ate chicken. Cooking a meal was out, so we made an agreement to opt instead for a range of hors d’oeuvres to cover all tastes and as everyone ate cheese, it was frequently a fabulous cheeseboard with home-baked breads.

    In short, allergies and other adverse reactions, genuine vegetarian or vegan – please tell me. Food preferences – please keep to yourself (unless I like you a lot!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. I totally accept and agree with your logic. Allergies are never to be trifled with. However…when it gets to a point where you need to make 6 different dishes, I throw my hands up

      Liked by 1 person

  30. With my son being Autistic we don’t go anywhere to eat BUT if we did i would feed him beforehand. In all honesty I’d probably give my daughter and myself something light as well just in case we did not find the whole meal pleasing we could still eat some to not feel rude.

    Liked by 1 person

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