Not all vegans are created equal, it seems. While some genuinely embrace the vegan diet for the sake of health, protecting the environment, and fighting for animal rights, others are more flippant with their veganism. For a rare few individuals, veganism is something to shout about loudly from the rooftops to improve their social reputation. But when push comes to shove, they don’t mind eating animal products—they just say they do!
This is exactly what happened to redditor u/myredditusername28, who cooked up a fabulous British roast dinner (my personal favorite!) for her friend and her boyfriend. In fact, she made two dinners: one regular and one vegan. All because he explicitly demanded that his dietary requirements be taken into account. As it turns out… he doesn’t mind eating animal products sometimes.
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Unsurprisingly, the redditor, who slaved away in the kitchen for hours on end, got mad and turned to the AITA community about whether or not they or the friend’s boyfriend were in the wrong in this situation. Scroll down for the full story, Pandas!
I was interested to learn more about dinner party etiquette regarding dietary preferences, so I reached out to pie artist Jessica Clark-Bojin, the author of ‘Pies are Awesome’ (it’s out next month!), who recently baked her first ‘Piescraper’ of the season.
In her opinion, accommodating dietary restrictions at dinner parties is a “thorny subject.” She told Bored Panda: “Personally when I’m hosting, I ask if anyone is vegetarian or gluten-free and try to have at least have something on hand for them to eat since those two diets are very common in my circles. But beyond that, there are so many variations—folks who are lactose intolerant, doing keto, allergic to eggs, nuts, or seafood, or who just hate vegetables!” she said.
“Just remember that the main point of dinner parties is to have a pleasant evening with some lovely people, have some nice conversations and maybe make some new friends. If you just want an epic meal where your specific tastes are catered to, you may be happier going to a restaurant instead!” Scroll down for the in-depth interview.
A Sunday dinner went disastrously wrong. One of the guests demanded a separate vegan dinner only to do something that made the host really annoyed
Image credits: Sam Moqadam
Here’s the intriguing story of dinner party drama, in full
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Image credits: myredditusername28
“Unless it is a small intimate gathering for a few people and you are quite familiar with their tastes—in which case you can tailor the whole meal around them—you are probably okay simply letting people know what you’ll be making ahead of time,” pie artist and food expert Jessica told Bored Panda that a host can’t be expected to do a hundred tasks to accommodate everyone’s specific dietary preferences during larger social gatherings.
“You can add something along the lines of, ‘I’ll also have a vegetarian entree option and if anyone has any special dietary restrictions you are more than welcome to bring an entree of your own too—I’m sure everyone would love to sample your signature dish!’” Jessica suggested inviting the guests to participate in the food prep as well.
The food expert said that when it comes to guest etiquette, it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect the hosts of large dinner parties, for example supper clubs, to have more than meat and non-meat options for guests. “Unless it is a dinner party specifically designed around a certain diet, like a farm-to-table vegan meal,” she added.
Jessica explained what dinner guests with complex dietary restrictions could do if they want to attend the party just for the company. Diplomacy is key here! “It’s okay to eat something before you arrive and just nibble on the sides. If anyone asks what your deal is, you can always go with a polite, ‘Oh, I’m actually allergic to eggs, but it’s okay, I’m really enjoying this salad. The entree looks amazing and I’m glad everyone is enjoying it!’” she said.
My kingdom for a Sunday roast…! I can’t imagine anyone not being appreciative of eating a fabulous homemade roast dinner. Especially one that’s been hand-tailored to that person’s particular dietary requirements. It takes a lot of patience and hard work to take everyone’s preferences into account. Not to mention the budget expenses.
What really sticks out in the redditor’s story here is the contrast between the boyfriend’s public image (he demands a separate dinner because he’s ‘vegan’) and his flippant attitude while at dinner. It’s entirely fine to indulge in animal products from time to time if you don’t present yourself as a hardcore vegan while making the host jump through hoops to keep you happy. Stealing the host’s dessert though? That’s a whole new level of rudeness.
It’s no wonder that the host got mad. Time wasted? Check. Wallet lighter? Check. Dessert stolen? Check! However, the redditor still turned to the AITA community for their opinion. They overwhelmingly pointed out that the friend’s boyfriend was definitely the jerk in this case.
However, what do you think, Pandas? Who do you think could have done better? Do you have any suggestions about how this entire situation could have been avoided? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Here’s what some Reddit users had to say about the entire Sunday roast dinner drama
BBC Future explains that the annoyance that some people feel towards vegans is off the charts: “Research has shown that only drug addicts inspire the same degree of loathing. Though it’s natural for people to disagree, the passionate rage—and even mild irritation—that veganism stirs up seems to defy rational sense.”
Some reasons why so-called ‘veganophobes’ get irritated by vegans include the idea that they’re hypocritical (for example, regarding the environmental cost of growing vegan food), that they tend to be ‘over-smug’ and ‘over-zealous’ in their pursuits. However, some psychologists believe that these reasons don’t explain everything. Instead, they turn to deep-seated psychological biases for an explanation.
According to social psychologist Hank Rothgerber from Bellarmine University in Kentucky, the irritation towards vegans comes down to the so-called ‘meat paradox’ (aka ‘moral schizophrenia’). In short, our brains try to protect us from unpleasant realities as we try to juggle incompatible views in our minds. An example of this would be to eat fish and chips for dinner while keeping a goldfish at home. Or looking at photos of cute animals on your social media feed and then tucking into your dinner that contains meat from other animals.
This cognitive dissonance creates a lot of stress, irritation, and unhappiness. As a result, people tend to lash at others, for instance, vegans, instead of us changing their beliefs to be more consistent. The existence of vegans, according to Rothgerber, forces people to confront the ‘meat paradox’ and leads to a lot of anger.
Though, of course, this wouldn’t necessarily apply to fake vegans who change their beliefs when it suits them. They get people angry for different reasons entirely.