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Vegetarian invited to a BBQ - Should I offer to bring something for my entree?


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Vegetarian invited to a BBQ - Should I offer to bring something for my entree?

owen_meany | Apr 18, 2012 07:50 AM

I've been invited to a BBQ. Only a few people will be there - 6 adults and 5 kids. 3 of the kids (6 YO) are friends at school so the get together is a play date for them with the opportunity for the adults to get to know each other better.

The invitation mentioned the possible menu: "We'll probably be cooking shrimp, chicken and hot dogs on the grill."

So, here's my dilemma: I don't eat chicken or hot dogs. I do eat shrimp. None of the above sound like a given. Normally I would certainly offer to bring something (with the expectation that they might decline) and normally I would not expect there to be something at a BBQ that a vegetarian would necessarily eat (especially as they don't know that I am a vegetarian) and normally I wouldn't give it a second thought...I would just load up on salad or sides and not draw attention to the fact that I'm not eating anything off the grill.

But, I feel like this gracious invitation deserves a different response for a few reasons:
1. The group is small (so everyone's eating or not eating is likely to be noticed)
2. As she mentioned a possible menu I would feel very strange to show up and not eat. I envision the conversation: "Oh, I told you what we were having...why didn't you say something?"

Here are the options that come to mind: All of the below are preceded by a gracious acceptance of this invitation and expressing our delight at attending.

1. Ask if she would mind if I would bring veggie burgers to share. The downside I see to this is that this creates additional work for the host and also that it doesn't sound like she's serving hamburgers so perhaps I should offer to bring buns too? But then it seems like I'm taking over the menu.

2. Offer to bring a main dish sort of salad or maybe something like hummus. I guess I would preface this by saying "I don't eat meat. Would it be all right if I brought some veggie items to share?"

3. Say nothing other than my usual offer to bring something nonspecific.

4. Your thoughts?

I do want to reiterate that if the situation were different I would be delighted to go without any fuss, flying under the radar screen and enjoying whatever food was offered that I eat. I'm not a big fussbudget in that regard (other ways to be sure!).

Your constructive ideas are appreciated.


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