According to a 2009 Vegetarian Resource Group/Harris Interactive survey, it is estimated that around three percent of the U.S. adult population is vegetarian. With holiday meals just around the corner, this could present a bit of a challenge for millions of households.
With holiday meals just around the corner, this could present a bit of a challenge for millions of households.
Learn the Lingo. Understanding what a vegetarian is and what they eat can be one of the most difficult areas people face with this issue. A vegetarian does not eat any type of animal flesh, whether from fish, fowl or other animals, although some individuals choose to eat dairy and/or egg products.
Someone who abstains from all forms of animal products is referred to as a vegan (pronounced VEE-gun). Knowing this will help you to avoid offering foods that aren’t actually vegetarian.
• Understand Ingredients. Animal origin ingredients to disclose or avoid include chicken/beef stock, marshmallows, gelatin, cochineal, lard, butter, and some salad dressings.
• Be honest. If you put an animal-derived ingredient in a dish, no matter how small the amount, let your guest know. Your honesty will gain their trust, and they will be more likely to eat food at your home again. Other things to avoid include using the same knife to cut both the turkey and the bread. Your guest will be gratified if you prevent vegetarian food from coming in contact with non-vegetarian food.
• Don’t badger. People have a tendency to question vegetarians about their beliefs, especially as people sit down to eat. It makes for an awkward conversation and can cause your guest to be uncomfortable. If you are really curious about their diet, bring it up after the meal.
Most vegetarians do not expect the host to make special accommodations. But having a few things they can eat will make for a better experience. Don’t hesitate to discuss it with them; they may even offer to bring a vegetarian dish that they and others can eat.
Vegetarian Resource Group. How Many Vegetarians Are There?