October 12, 2009

Vegetarianism 101

On Saturday, my husband took Kellen and Cortlen to a football game. Camber decided to stay home after I promised that she could invite a friend from school over to our house to play and eat dinner.

In an attempt to impress our guest, I offered to take my daughter and her friend to Taco Bell. As an added treat, I told the girls that they didn't have to limit their selections to the Value Menu. Just this once, they could order whatever they wanted. My daughter forced me to intervene when she ordered three bags of cinnamon twists and an extra large soda. Her friend, who claimed that she and her family were regular customers at the restaurant, ordered a Crunchwrap Supreme.


Sunny was half way through her meal when she told me that it was against her religion to eat meat.

My husband gave me the thumbs up sign through the receiver when I called to break the bad news.

To say the least, I felt awful. After a few minutes of wringing my hands and sweating bullets, I did all that I could do in such a situation: I apologized profusely to the girl's parents and told them that they could give my daughter a cigarette to make up for it.

Thankfully, the mom was very forgiving and told me not to worry about it.

I hope that if I am ever faced with a similar situation, I can be as equally gracious.

*****
Have you ever unknowingly given/fed/offered something to your child's friend that was against her family's moral/religious code? Ugh. I feel so dumb.

47 comments

That Kind of Girl said...

Yikes, what an awkward situation! But it was obviously an honest mistake. I'm glad to hear the other mother was so understanding about it! (And presumably it will serve as a reminder to her to mention vegetarianism in advance of playdates next time. Learning experience for all.)

Homemaker Man said...

Hello. Wonderful blog. I was raised a vegetarian. Parents not religious, just hippies. Don't worry too much about the faux pas. My paternal grandmother used to try to sneak meat into my meals all the time. She'd put hamburger in a casserole and when I asked she'd tell me it was mushrooms. 'Course, she's a bit nuts, but the point is solid. No harm done by you really.

Scrapingirl said...

If the girl is a regular customer, she should know what she usually gets and should've ordered that. Totally not your fault. But it is funny.

Shosh said...

haha thats funny. but kinda weird that the parents didnt tell you....

jennie w. said...

I had my son's best friend over last week and ordered pepperoni pizza for them (what 12 year old boy doesn't like pizza, right?) Only he's Muslim and there is pork in pepperoni. So we offered him hot dogs (more pork!). Finally, I ended up making him a quesadilla and all was well.

I felt so culturally insensitive!

stewbert said...

Not a child's friend, but my daughter's babysitter. Vegetarian for religious reasons, I made a delish roast chicken for her for dinner.

Fail.

April said...

That girl knew what she was doing. And I'm sure the digestive issues of starting out with Taco Bell as her first meat choice will serve as punishment enough.

Kim said...

Yes, I'm an idiot... My kid eats anything that people hand him, no allergies, observances to follow, nothing to worry about. But I forget this, when I visit with my friends, who won't let their kid have any milk products, for dietary reasons. What 2 year old can't eat cheese?!?! Yet, I forget, and every time, I'm halfway to stuffing goldfish crackers, cheese cubes and sippy cups of milk into the kids mouth when his mother graciously enters the kitchen to say "Eli - what are you getting for a treat?!" Oops! Failed... Again... I wonder why she never needs me to babysit?

Julie Harward said...

Once I handed out candy after my sun. school class to my students..later the parents called me and said their son had to sluff the rest of church because he was allergic to peanuts! It wasn't serious but it gave him a reason to go home from church! (Yes, I know it can be a real thing..but it wasn't in this case)

Sinclair said...

As a vegetarian, I will say that one of the only items edible to us on the Taco Bell menu is the crunchwrap supreme...sub beans for beef. I no longer eat fast food, but when I did, this was one of the staples. She probably HAS eaten it before, but has perhaps not been the person to do the ordering...and the person ordering has probably been the one to omit the beef for her...

babs said...

I swap non-student days babysitting with another working mom. On Friday, I gave her son, who is allergic to wheat, ranch dressing. I knew he was allergic but dummy me, I asked him if he had it for dinner last night, he said, yea. when his dad picked him up and I confessed, he said they have special ranch dressing that costs about $8 a bottle. I didnt tell him that his son also played with Playdough. I would have never guessed that playdough has wheat in it, glad he didnt eat any.

Shelli said...

You are so funny!!!! I would have never thought to tell someone they could exchange my goof up with something against my religion. My husband and I laughed and laughed at this one!

Emz said...

Ummmmm - does that time I offered a Muslim a pulled pork sandwich count?

Anonymous said...

My folks once fed a Muslim friend something made in a wine sauce. At that point in my life, I didn't know that Islam meant no alcohol, so I didn't understand why they were upset until a significant while later. Friend didn't notice that there was wine in the food (or didn't say anything to indicate it), and friend's parents were not told (parents didn't know each other, and we were old enough to take responsibility for our own food intake anyway). Hopefully all the actual alcohol was evaporated out of it...then again that friend was rather reluctantly religious, so they might not have cared.

I make a point of always asking everyone who visits what their dietary needs are well in advance after almost cooking meat for some vegetarians. They didn't bother mentioning it, or their food allergies, so it was a good thing I thought to ask right before I started cooking. Now I make sure my dinner invitations come with food checklists or make everything vegetarian with as few major allergens as possible, just in case.

Liz said...

I would think the parents should be responsible to tell you ahead of time that their daughter doesn't eat meat.

The P*dunc's said...

My son loves chocolate milk. We have a problem on our hands with chocolate milk right now. He has started to call it coffee. We figured out that this recent obsession has come from his preschool teacher who loves coffee. That, and having an actual "coffee table" in our family room. In our religion, we follow a health code called the Word of Wisdom. Part of that is that we do not drink coffee. So, we have been trying to teach our son that we do not drink coffee because coffee is all that he talks about anytime he is drinking lately.

And I quote: "I LOVE coffee. Coffee sooo good. Coffee my favorite! Chocolate milk coffee!"

Parenting Ink said...

Does serving cupcakes in lieu of lunch count?

Serendipity is Sweet said...

I agree the parents should have mentioned it, but since they weren't too upset by it I wouldn't worry. Still, it does make for an akward situation since they didn't tell you.
Your post cracked me up though, lol!

BTW, I left you an award on my blog :D

No rules...just kudos. Do with it what you will.

Rocket Ma'am said...

I nearly broke a kid's heart by denying him. One summer the neighbor kid in a cramped navy housing community came over at supper. He was really eyeballing our cheesy potato soup and asked if he could have some, using that tone that says he's STARVING. At first tried to tell him that it was all gone, but the kids ratted me out that the pot on the stove was full. Then I had to tell him I put bacon and bacon grease in it and his Jewish mother would kill me if I gave it to him. I thought he was going to cry!

Lynn said...

Not to children, but to adults. My husband asked me to make funeral potatoes for a work potluck. He told everyone that it was a potato casserole. When I didn't have time to make it the next time, he had to do it himself. It was then that he realized that funeral potatoes aren't exactly vegetarian: cream of chicken. This wouldn't normally be an issue, but one of his coworkers is a vegetarian and another is jewish, and this dish is neither vegetarian nor kosher-meat and dairy. I'm not sure how he broke the news to them the second time around, as they all ate it the first time and were looking forward to it again.

Michelle said...

No, but there was the time that I gave a kid a piece of peanut brittle, and as he sat there crunching, he mentioned he was allergic to peanuts!! This freaked me out bigtime, because his dad IS deathly allergic to peanuts, but I hadn't even considered that he might be. Thankfully, he wasn't, really. Kids just like to be funny like that sometimes, I guess. Hmph.

Christa said...

HAHAHAHAHA!! So sounds like something I would do. I have a friend who's kids don't eat dairy products, which is wierd to me, but to each their own. My mom offered her daughter a Wendy's frosty one day, and she got so exctied, then suddenly she said "is it cow ice cream... I can't have anything from cows." My mom was glad the girl reminded her.

JackieMacD said...

I find it hilarious that my blog is suggested after you ask about someone's moral code. Just sayin'.

That being said, I've only gotten the stink eye on those rare occasions I pour the kids a stiff drink and let them share a cigar. Otherwise, it's all good.

Marie Says Yes said...

they can give her a cigarette?!? muh-ha-ha!!!

Tarcoulis said...

My parents' dinner guests who said they were vegetarian but did eat chicken and fish ...and sometimes steak when their bodies told them to.

Laura said...

Actually it happened with my parents. We had a Japanese foreign exchange student living with us and she invited her Indonesian friend (who was Muslim)over for dinner. We served her pepperoni pizza. The worst part was when she asked if the pepperoni was pork we assured her it wasn't. We found out later that it was but it was too late. She was very nice about it though. What a nice welcome to America!

girlnblack77 said...

Two thoughts:
1. It is utterly and completely the responsibility of the child's parent(s) to inform you of any special dietary concerns before entrusting you with their child's care.
2. This sort of situation is exactly what my mother sought to avoid when I was a child, which is why I was allowed to have only three friends over during my entire childhood - all three of whom were carefully selected by my mother based on similar religion, political views, and states of origin. (Makes me want to scream: "Hey, Ma! Yea, diversity!" ... right?)

marybt said...

You should quit beating yourself up. The child didn't tell you so it isn't as if you knew and gave it to her anyway!

Besides, most religions teach forgiveness for just this reason. :)

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

Wow, it is awkward.... but surprising her mom wouldnt have let you know!

Stressed said...

I love to know that I am not the only one who can get into awkward situations! You handled it very well! Kudos to you!

Marianne said...

My cousin was hired as a nanny for a Jewish family. One morning she decided to make the kids a big breakfast of bacon and eggs.

The parents walked into the room and the kids shouted, "Hey mom and dad, bacon is REALLY good!" They had eaten a ton of it. My cousin was immediately fired.

Anonymous said...

Eh, could've been worse. My mom once made that same offer to a little girl who said, "I really want some orange juice. I loooove orange juice and have it all the time!" Turns out she was (knowingly) allergic...like, deathly allergic. Oops.

Religion faux pas vs. life threatening throat swelling? I think you're in the clear!

Renny said...

Haha. Don't feel dumb, if its a religious thing they should have told you before hand. Kids... what are ya gonna do?

Heather said...

I worked at a mexican restaurant and one lady order a fajita she didn't know it had pork in it. But once she took a couple bites and found out it did(apparently all the other meats are okay) she went outside to cry for 30 minutes and to throw it up.

Too Many Hats said...

Oops, now you know. The mom should have thought to mention it to you.

metaphase said...

In college, a friend and I made dinner for some other friends. Well, I didn't think about one of guys in attendance was Jewish (he was a rather close friend, too!) and the dish we served had pork in it. Well, the guy I made the dinner with convinced me to just not tell the Jewish guy about the pork. My Jewish friend totally loved the food and kept raving about it! I never told him...pretty sure I'm going to burn in hell (or where ever) for that one.

regina said...

if my kids friends go home without hearing a single benign swear word i have had a successful day. a little meat will not excommunicate her. try steak next time.

Twinlinebackers said...

Why do you feel dumb? You shouldn't send a kid to someone's house for dinner without explaining any allergies or beliefs!

Meeko Fabulous said...

Came over here from The Chief's blog. I like your blog. Hope it's ok if I follow. Don't feel bad . . . I was making one of my good friends a "vegetarian" meal onto to discover that Worcestershire Sauce has anchovies in it! My bad.

hansenfive said...

on my brothers mission he was served a large piece of chocolate cake with a runny inside. He said it was pretty nasty, and then the people told him it was a liquer filled inside. lol

Madeline said...

I used to babysit for my daughter's friend when they were in preschool together. Her mom was (and still is) insane about food. She keeps a stash of edamame beans in her purse. Her daughter was never allowed to have anything other than what was packed for her. The little girl would watch my daughter eat lunch and beg for a taste of Fluff or bologna. One day I caved and let her try some bologna. As soon as mom showed up to pick her up, I knew I was busted. The little girl said, "Mommy I tried bologna. Is it a thumbs down food or a thumbs up food?" Mom said, very loud and clear, "bologna is SO thumbs down it's off the chart." Eek!

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Anonymous said...

Just a couple months ago, a neighbour of mine had a baby so I dropped off some food for her. It wasn't until her mother answered the door in a sari, and I noticed the wedding picture on the front hall table featured my friend in an elaborate red and gold dress with a dot on her forehad, that it occured to me that maybe chili and beef vegetable soup weren't the best choices. Later she very politely told me how much she had enjoyed the muffins and asked for the recipe. I didn't have the courage to ask her how she enjoyed the chili!!

Anonymous said...

I haven't done that, but when I was younger I DID take communion, complete with wine and wafer, at a Catholic church when I was a: not confirned nor baptized and b: not even Catholic. My friend very meanly told me that I had negated the whole service for everyone present. So I guess you could say that I ate something which was someone else's religion.

Anonymous said...

We're Lutheran and eat anything. Except my child has one friend who doesn't eat dairy, or wheat, or peanuts, but he still has a gross runny nose all the time that he apparently doesn't know how to wipe with a tissue. Go figure.

Meagan and John said...

hahaha, this reminds me of the time when I was about 15, we lived in a tiny town, so tiny we would ride our 4 wheeler to the only fast food location in town--Arby's. It was a hot summer day so we rode to the field where we would hide and park the 4-wheeler and walked to the Ardy's not to far away (legally we weren't suppose to ride to arby's on the road, but we found a busted fence so we went the backway) and went in to get milkshakes, I have bad hearing and when the lady asked me I just said yes, little did I realize what I was agreeing too. as we walked out the store I took a drink of my very weird colored chocolate milkshake, it tasted so funny so I asked a friend to drink it--sure enough, it wasn't chocolate, it was a mocha latte shake.

both my friend and me are/were LDS and coffee is against our religion, not to mention because of my ADHD my mom didn't allow me to drink caffeine and at the age of 12 I swore off of it for good--I felt so bad, and had completely forgotten about it till now, you think it was me who started her into a life of drugs and alcohol?

Melissa said...

You had me laughing out loud at my desk on the cigarette comment!! Too funny!