I am invited to a wedding in Mexico where I am certain there will not be any vegetarian food.
The night before the wedding, I'm invited to the grandmother of the bride's house for dinner. These are my stepmother's relatives, and I don't want to impose on them to make something special for me.
Is there a polite way to indicate that I will eat earlier and they don't need to make anything special for me?
I am not sure anyone will remember that I am a vegetarian until the actual meal begins, I decline most of the foods, and I don't want anyone to feel embarrassed or that they have slighted me by forgetting.
I plan to eat before both occasions so as not to go hungry or have my stomach growling while saying that it's no problem that I am not eating. - K. R.
Dear K. R.,
You're between a rock and a hard place. It's an honor to be invited to help celebrate a marriage. So, you should try to accomodate your hosts, and avoid anything that could detract from the joyous occasion.
On the other hand, your hosts may be offended if you don't eat. They could be upset if you DON'T let them know that you're vegetarian so they can make something for you.
Better to impose a little than to reject their hospitality! Perhaps you could sweetly ask your stepmother if she would be willing to diplomatically mention to the hostess before hand that a vegetarian will be there.
If they do remember that you're vegetarian, and make something for you, of course eat it and praise it to the skies and thank them profusely, even if it's not quite the vegetarian food you would like!
If they know you're vegetarian, and forget to make anything especially for you, it's because they're understandably distracted, in which case, you should eat lots of rolls.
I'm sorry to say, there is no polite way to indicate that you will eat earlier and they don't need to make anything special for you.
Yes, you could eat lightly before, but please don't tell them you've eaten. Don't eat so much that you can't eat something, especially if they do come through and make something special for you.
It could be better NOT to call attention to your vegetarianism. There might be occasions when it's OK to say, "I can't eat that because I am a vegetarian", but this isn't one of them! Just take whatever food is offered, and eat what you can. It's one day of your life where one meal may not be so great! (ok, maybe two)
Have fun at the wedding - dance your (umh) FEET off!
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian