Eating out with friends! For good meal Vegetarian Tips | If you’re invited for a meal at a friend’s house, it’s probably best to warn them in advance that your food preferences have changed and so avoid any problems. Otherwise, you might find yourself stuck in a situation that I’ve sometimes seen people in – being forced
to make do with a parsley and lettuce leaf garnish all evening (It’s alright, I’m not really hungry’).
Or, even worse, being so embarrassed for your host/hostess that you miserably swallow the meat course
in painful silence You can avoid both of these difficult situations by checking in advance – once is all it takes, and they’ll know in future There are a number of options open to you, usually a phone call something like this is all that is necessary: ‘By the way, I thought I’d give you a call just to let you know in advance that I’ve given up eating meat.
Eating out with friends!
I hope it won’t be too difficult for you? Usually, your friend will thank you for being so thoughtful and letting them know. Just occasionally, they will be stumped for an answer, in which case you have various possibilities. You could offer to drop by beforehand for a chat with a few recipe books, which could be another enjoyable social occasion in its own right.
Of, if you’re feeling brave you could offer to cook something yourself and bring it for everyone to try (be arned – cook enough, or you won’t get any yourself!). Whatever you and your friend decide, it’s likely to be the conversational and culinary centrepiece of the evening, and will almost certainly make you the party’s expert who everyone will want to talk to!
Eating Out! For good meal Vegetarian Tips
According to the latest information over 25 per cent of all restaurants in the United Kingdom now have at least one meat-free main course meal on their menu. The picture is getting better and better all the time, so you shouldn’t have too much difficulty when it comes to eating out.
Most restaurateurs know a good thing when they see one, and a meatless meal is actually more profitable for them to prepare and serve than all the fuss and wastage involved in cooking meat. So more and more restaurants are quickly realizing that what’s good for their customers is also good for their bank account.
Most Indian Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Greek, Jewish, Middle Eastern and of course health food restaurants will prove particularly easy to eat in. If you don’t see anything you fancy on the menu (Oh no! Not another cheese salad!’) get to see the owner or the head chef, who in my experience will be only too delighted to try and expand his culinary repertoire.
You may even get to try some unique ethnic dish that is usually reserved for the regulars (that’s how I first got
to try tofu in a Chinese restaurant). Dont let overbearing restaurant staff make you feel uncomfortable It’s extremely rude for them to say (as they used to in the past. But almost never do now): ‘Why didn’t you telephone before you came? We might have been able to do something for you!
This is a calculated attempt to make you feel like a social leper. who ought to warn people in advance of his likely movements so that others can take avoiding action. Whenever this happened to me. I told them that if they knew anything at all about cooking (which they clearly don’t) they’d know that it takes less, not more time to
prepare And you could try asking them what they would have prepared for you if you’d have phoned. I bet you’d get the following…
Eating out with friends! Answer and Questions
YOU: ‘What can you do for me without meat?
WAITER: Anything you want. What would you like?’
YOU: Well I don’t know what you can do, what do you suggest?
WAITER: ‘We can do anything. What do you want?’
And so it goes on. This sort of conversation is infuriating and unfortunately is a sign that you’ve found a really poor restaurant. What it means is that the waiter can’t be bothered to go and speak to the chef, and see what he suggests. So he’s trying to intimidate you to having the easy option – the inevitable cheese salad or
omelette – which is precisely what you don’t want when you’re eating out.
And even if you do come up with the name of a dish you fancy. Nine times out of ten he’ll tell you that it can’t be made. The answer is to call for the chef or the owner – or (my personal preference) walk out!
Eating out with friends! No hesitation
I have no hesitation whatsoever in walking out of a restaurant and neither should you. There are plenty more to choose from. And if no one has taken any trouble over your food or your service then you have a duty to show the management that their standards are slipping. Similarly, don’t hesitate to send food back that’s indifferent – you’re paying enough for it, and you’ll find you get amazingly better service next time!
However, that really is the ultimate deterrent. Most of the time you’ll find that eating out has regained a fresh novelty for you and you’ll discover a whole new cuisine – you may get some stimulating ideas for cooking at home, too. And, because you’re not just run-of-the-mill customers, you’ll find that the staff take much more
interest in you, and the chef will also take more personal pride in making you something, and he’ll want to know whether or not you liked it (remember to tell him!).
I’ve often been with a mixed meat/non-meat party where everyone has enviously agreed that my food has seemed much better and more attractively presented than other people’s. That’s the reason why.
Be Prepared for the Nuts!
I believe in being assertive when it comes to personal matters such as food. I don’t believe that anyone (such as a restaurant, an acquaintance, or even an entire food industry) has the right to tell you what to do. Unfortunately, at some stage you’re almost bound to come up against some ill-inspired personal criticism, perhaps from family or just casual acquaintances, so let’s consider various ways of handling it.
The first thing to realize is that there’s always a reason for any criticism that’s sent in your direction. If you can discover what it is, you’re half-way to overcoming it. I’ve been at perfectly normal parties when suddenly someone will make a terrifically aggressive and provocative remark that’s obviously intended to hurt those
of us who didn’t happen to be devouring a lump of animal flesh at that moment.
Eating out with friends! Why do people behave like that?
Perhaps you’ve already come up against that sort of person. They may sneer at you if you’re wearing leather shoes, or tell you that carrots scream when they’re boiled, or make some other mocking remark. Personally, I believe we’re dealing here with the phenomenon psychologists call projected guilt: The classic example
that psychologists tell each other about the lady who, when shown a series of random ink blots, exclaims to the psychologist: ‘How dare you, sir! How dare you show such disgusting pictures to me!’
The fault lies mainly in the eye of the beholder, and perhaps you should point that out if it ever happens to you.
On the whole, it’s probably best not to be provoked if you can help it. After all, why should anyone get their perverse entertainmentat your expense?
There are actually several good ways of handling this sort of situation. The first is to treat the question absolutely
seriously (with more seriousness than it really deserves), explore the reasons that lie behind it, and give it a precise answer. That will impress anyone else who happens to be listening, and may win you some grudging admiration from your assailant.
Eating out with friends! Another Ways!
Another way is to simply put the questioner down by poking some fun at them. Of course, they’ll hate you even more if you do this! My personal preference is to treat any critical remarks as veiled requests for information, until, of course, it’s quite obvious that the questioner is lusting after your blood, when you’ll have to do something to defend yourself.
If you’re prepared to ignore any preliminary insults (that some people, possibly insecure ones, feel they’ve got to make almost as a formality), then you may well strike up quite a good conversation. This dialogue took place when I was a guest at a wedding, and is a good example:
The Eating Dialogue!
QUESTIONER: ‘I see you’re not eating any meat’.
ME (examining plate): ‘Goodness me, you’re quite right, I’m not.
QUESTIONER: ‘Is that for religious reasons?
ME: No. Are you eating meat for religious reasons, then?’
QUESTIONER: ‘No, I just like it. Why aren’t you eating what the rest of us are eating?’
ME: ‘There are several other people eating the same as me. I
hope it doesn’t make you feel too uncomfortable
QUESTIONER: They say that carrots scream, you know, when you boil them.
ME: Well, personally, I tend to eat them raw. But I doubt whether they scream. They don’t have a central nervous system, so they don’t have the same ability to suffer that animals and humans do. But a lot of people are cutting down on their meat these days, often for health reasons. How about you?’
QUESTIONER: ‘Well, I suppose I am eating less than I used to. It doesn’t seem to taste the same as it used to. But I wouldn’t know what to replace it with.’
My favourite dishes for friends
And so we got into a discussion of meat ‘replacements, and I told him about some of my favourite dishes, and we struck up a good conversation that several other people joined in with. By standing your ground quite firmly, but not responding to an aggressive preliminary, you stand the best chance of avoiding a clash and maybe making a friend. Go out and make it work for you!