Ask Foodie Underground: What is Appropriate Dinner Party Etiquette?

Dear Foodie Underground

Are dietary restrictions a right or a privilege?

When you disconnect that IV (irrevocably vegan) drip and venture into someone else’s dinner party, should you ask or expect your frantic host to accommodate your dietary demands?

Is it the host’s responsibility to prepare an extra buffet table to deal with your antipathy for meat, cheese and wheat stalks? Or are you obliged to give your dietary mandates the night off?

I am eagerly awaiting your answer, if not the next bowl of edamame.

Hip Deep in Hummus

Dear Hip Deep in Hummus,

Dietary demands are a touchy subject, but with a little social finesse you should be able to wow any guest at your next dinner party. These days, it is in fact the host’s obligation to check in on dietary restrictions. You don’t want anyone passing out at the table because they’re allergic to peanuts and your chocolate mousse was sprinkled with them, now would you?

People are allowed to eat as they choose, whether or not what they’re eliminating from their diet will actually have a negative effect on them. It’s not up to you to determine what makes them feel good.

That being said, if you’re hosting and your specialty involves a hefty dose of dairy, gluten and carnivorous delights, make it. Extra buffet table? No. But be sure you have at least one dish that satisfies a variety of dietary restrictions; it will push your culinary limits after all, and you might find yourself concocting a recipe you soon can’t live without.

And a word to the wise: Eat what you want, but if you’re the kind of company that is off nightshades and eggs, but you don’t offer to bring your own dish so that your gracious host doesn’t have to go out of their way to cook for you, you can expect them to start befriending some new dinner guests.

With love and sea salt,

Foodie Underground

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