Throwing a dinner party can be tricky if any of your guests have allergies or dietary requirements. I feel like I’ve heard every nightmare story in the book. One couple I know asked their guests ahead of time if they had any special diets, and they said no. When they served up lamb as the main course, however, one woman–a friend they’d known for decades–balked. She couldn’t eat the lamb because she didn’t eat red meat.
The hosts were incredulous. This woman had never claimed to be a vegetarian. What’s more, she had happily eaten the beef carpaccio they’d served as an appetizer. When they asked her about it, she admitted that she did often eat red meat; she just didn’t like lamb. She wasn’t a vegetarian. She was just picky.
These same hosts also threw a formal New Year’s Eve dinner party with six courses. One of the guests had her two grown children visiting for the holidays, and asked if she could bring them along. That was fine. It turned out that her son is a pescaterian, and only eats fish. As such, the hosts created a meat-free menu, with cod as the main course.
Sure enough, the woman called the afternoon of the dinner party to say that both her children had canceled. My friends were kind about it, but they were pretty put out by the last-minute change of plans. They’d already bought all the food and had started cooking a menu that had been created for someone who had simply decided not to show up.
The lesson: If you are a picky eater or have a strict diet, be honest and give your host plenty of notice. You may not like everything on offer, but fill your plate with the things you can eat and don’t criticize the selection. And if someone has gone to the trouble to cook for you, don’t cancel unless it truly is an emergency. And send a bottle of wine to apologize!