To be or not to be…Vegan / Vegetarian

You can just order the rubber chicken and say “well if they don’t like it they don’t have to eat it” Today most hosts and hostesses are concerned with the likes and dislikes of their guests and want to offer choices that will please most everyone’s palates based on personal preference or dietary concerns. Offering vegan, vegetarian, gluten free or being aware of allergic reactions to certain foods and accommodating your guests requests is not only courteous but becoming the norm.

The growing popularity of the slow food movement, sourcing foods that are produced locally and organically grown has got the attention of those with particular dietary preferences, meaning some of your guests. There is a new idea, organic restaurant or food show each day that spotlights the movement so it makes sense to offer it at your event. You can note the selections on your invitations. For a plated meal you can have them select the vegan option and on a buffet inform them a vegetarian menu option will be available. You can also ask your guests to contact you if they have allergic reactions to gluten or other foods. Budget concerns should not be an issue. Organic products might be more expensive, but you can go with fresh well prepared products and still make the statement.

You can’t just get away with a plate of pasta tossed with zucchini. Remember these folks are educated and know there are other options. You also don’t want to serve a fillet mignon to one guest and then a plate of steamed broccoli to another; they will notice the lack of concern on your part. Consult with your caterer for menu creations that are vegan or vegetarian using ingredients, wording and preparation techniques that will get the attention of even the die hard meat lovers. Here are some examples. Tender pasta pillows filled with a sauté of wild mushrooms, side of wilted greens with caramelized garlic and shallots on a bed of butternut squash puree. Garnish this with some of those wild mushrooms and a fresh heirloom tomato & tarragon salsa glistening with extra virgin olive oil. Crisp eggplant fritters on red pepper hummus, accompanied by fresh field greens, roasted yellow peppers and feta dressing for those who still eat cheese is exotic, interesting and delicious. Roasting vegetables brings out intense flavors, think root vegetables like parsnips, carrots and turnips. Not a root vegetable but roasted cauliflower on fresh sliced bright red heirloom tomatoes and Italian parsley garnished with olive tapenade and served with warm artesian bread makes a great starter.

Don’t let the stress of having to decide what to serve your vegan or vegetarian guests turn you into a couch potato. Get up and go to your caterer, offer him a carrot. Tell him he’s got the event if he or she can come up with an interesting and delicious menu. You never know what they will turn up with. Gosh that sounds corny!

Imagine the possibilities.