106

Some years ago, I was invited to a friend's place. The home-cooked food contained alcohol, and I don't eat or drink anything that contains alcohol (religious reasons). I was shy enough to eat it to avoid embarrassments.

Anyway, I am not planning to do that again, and I have plenty of friends around the world. So, is it rude to ask if the food contains pork or alcohol? Or even better, if I am to be invited, can I mention that earlier?

In a restaurant or a hotel since I will be paying, I never had an issue in mentioning that.

I am mainly asking about the US when invited by Westerners (white Christians to be specific), but I think it will also work in other Western countries.

  • 26
    I do see this question as very relevant to travel, as person who has stayed in peoples houses and has been invited even more often for meals while traveling. – Willeke Dec 25 '15 at 14:10
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    As you mention "the home cooked food contained alcohol", you may want to be specific when asking, depending on what you want to know. For instance, a cake prepared with alcohol clearly contains alcohol indeed. However, a warm meal cooked with alcohol would often be said not to contain alcohol (because most, if not all of the alcohol disappears during the cooking), even though alcohol was used in its preparation and the food got in touch with it. – O. R. Mapper Dec 25 '15 at 17:30
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    I recommend stating what you don't eat when accepting the invitation, and I don't think it's rude. Especially, frankly, with alcohol, because everyone knows someone with a history of problem drinking. Religious reasons are also accepted without further ado. – Andrew Lazarus Dec 25 '15 at 17:34
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    @O.R.Mapper Alcohol does not boil off nearly as much as most people think: cooking.stackexchange.com/q/659/1672 – Cascabel Dec 26 '15 at 3:41
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    @Jefromi but that's exactly the point. You have to be careful. Someone may have made a sauce by deglazing a pan with wine, and they may not think of the fact that the dish contains alcohol. They may think of the fact that it was made with alcohol but believe that the alcohol is all gone, and therefore not mention it. That is why O. R. Mapper is recommending a specific approach. Perhaps rather than asking if a dish "contains" alcohol, itwould be better to ask whether it was "made with alcohol" or "using" or the like. – phoog Dec 26 '15 at 4:58

17 Answers 17

124

As a white, Christian, American person I can definitely say that nobody would (perhaps should) be offended by your dietary restrictions. I have a number of friends who are vegetarians for no reason other than they decided they wanted to be. In my opinion, that is far less sacrosanct than religious reasons, and I have always made sure to accommodate them when I cook. IMO it is rude to not consider your guests' dietary restrictions.

As CGCampbell pointed out, I would say something like "I am an observant Muslim and cannot have pork or alcohol in my food. Would it be possible to make something that avoids those ingredients?"

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    In my experience of such conversations, it's not that you ask or why you ask but how you ask. Asking with a smile in a way that makes it clear that you appreciate your host's efforts and are making it as easy as possible for them to accommodate you, and any reasonable person will be fine. Ask in a way which implies you disapprove of what the host offers or ungratefully expect special treatment, and many people will feel put out and defensive - whether it's allergies, ethics, religion or anything else – user568458 Dec 25 '15 at 17:15
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    @user568458 nailed it. Totally right. Also give them them plenty of notice so they can adjust accordingly. Usually it's not hard to work around dietary restrictions, but then again I'm not an all-pork-all-the-time, raging alcoholic ;) – Chris Thompson Dec 25 '15 at 17:17
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    Also, that while the internet is full of horror stories of hosts who without any provocation pull utterly foul moves like deliberately and stealthily sneaking ham into vegetarians' food, this is not typical behaviour no matter how defensive such people might get if called out on their awfulness. – Steve Jessop Dec 26 '15 at 21:36
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    As a brown, Buddhist Sri Lankan, I can also say that nobody would be offended. But I would appreciate if my guests let me know them at least a few days before. – Ayesh K Dec 30 '15 at 13:11
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    But you should say at the time you are invited, not wait until the meal is being served. If the hosts have made pork, and they put the plate in front of you and then you ask, what are they supposed to do now? Also, if you are the only guest, and you tell the host about dietary restrictions at the time of invitation, a polite host will prepare something that you can eat. If this is a big party and there are many guests, accommodating them all may be more difficult. On the other hand, the bigger the party, the more likely there will be many different foods, and they could get something in, etc. – Mark Daniel Johansen Dec 30 '15 at 14:38
67

Not rude here in the UK, or anywhere in the western world so far as I'm aware.

It is polite, though, to tell your host at an early enough opportunity that they haven't already bought the ingredients and cooked the meal!

Really you don't have to just ask them what's in the meal so much as tell them your dietary requirements - it would be inconsiderate of your host not to take into account your medical and religious dietary needs and cook something suitable.

It's not at all unusual for people here in London to have particular dietary needs - eg halal, kosher, vegetarian, vegan, non-dairy, non-gluten, etc etc. If I'm organising the food for a social or work event then I'd normally ask people about their dietary requirements beforehand.

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    Yes, it is rude to demand special treatment by someone inviting you for a dinner or similar. How to handle this is to you say "I can't eat/drink whatever, is it ok if I bring my own food/drink?". A considerate host would most of the time simply reply "That's not necessary, I cook something/buy something else to drink for you" but in some cases, e.g., when the guest has very complicated and extensive allergies or the main ingredients is the purpose of the dinner (such as an asparagus festival) you better bring something you can eat/drink yourself. A private dinner is not a restaurant. – d-b Dec 26 '15 at 22:10
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    @d-b, I guess that's a cultural difference of some kind then, because here in London it's definitely not rude (or even particularly demanding) to ask that food not contain particular ingredients if the reason is either religious or medical. I'm not saying the whole world sees it that way, but that's how it is in middle-class London. Accepting an invitation to a dinner party but saying "I'll bring my own food" could be seen as rather passive-aggressive, because it seems to imply that the host isn't considerate enough to cater for the guest's needs. – A E Dec 27 '15 at 22:39
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    Oh, and vegetarianism / veganism is a totally socially accepted reason too. – A E Dec 27 '15 at 22:43
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    As a UMC WCA, I'd say it's not rude, but it is somewhat high maintenance. Whether it's appropriate for the particular situation depends on your relationship and the size of the event. When my daughter brings my grandchildren, I cater to their special dietary needs as a matter of course. When a colleague joins us for supper, I'm happy to tailor the menu to comply with dietary needs requests. But for a random person joining a neighborhood party? Asking for a change in menu is over the top. They should ask if there will be food that meets their restrictions. – CPerkins Dec 28 '15 at 21:50
39

I can not answer for the average USA person, but I can answer for the Dutch and likely also for those of Dutch descent who still hold most of their Dutch habits.

For us the worst question is the one that is not asked but should have been asked. If you can ask before the cooking is done, like a few days ahead of time when you are invited, your question will be taken as matter of fact and will be considered in making the menu and cooking, maybe by making extra dishes besides those that contain the items you do not eat.
If the dinner is already cooked when you are invited or when you think about reminding them you do not eat certain foods, you might be told to not have something and in the worst case, some cans will be opened to serve you an alternative dinner.
(But if they know you keep to certain food rules you may be catered for already.)

A friend of mine has a like list of items she cannot eat, in her case because of allergies, and nobody has ever been offended by her asking.
While your reason to ask may not be seen as as strong, many people will take it as very serious and rather tell you than have you finding out by the taste.

Added: This Chrismas my mother served the sweet course at the end of dinner and only then one of the guests (who has been to the house and joining dinner at least once a year for years) mentioned not having eaten dairy for a few years. If she had mentioned it before, even only a few minutes before, an alternative could have been served or at least offered and my mother would not have felt the embarreshment of serving 'non allowed' food.

The polite way to handle it, if possible, is to say 'thanks for the invitation, did you know I do not eat ...?' at which point the host can either confirm it will not be a problem or he will tell you that the food has already been prepared or the whole of the meal as planned will not suit you, sorry but alas and not go on with the invitation.

34

Last year, I was in the Middle East (in one of the countries where pork and alcohol are available, at least in major hotels) and I invited a colleague to dinner at the hotel restaurant one evening. This person happened to be deeply religious. Before accepting my invitation, he asked me, very apologetically, if I had any plans to consume alcohol at the table, because in that case, he would respectfully decline my invitation. I assured him that even if I was inclined to drink alcohol (which I almost never do in restaurants these days) out of respect for him it would not even cross my mind to do so while we are sitting at the same table. Thus assured, he joined me for dinner and we had a very pleasant evening and a good conversation. I certainly did not feel the least bit offended by his request.

So please, if someone invites you to dinner, do not hesitate to let them know your preferences. There is absolutely nothing rude about this. Whether you explain your reasons or not should be entirely up to you: You most certainly should not feel embarrassed about your religious reasons, but if you are not comfortable discussing it with others, simply state that you are not able to consume food that contains pork or alcohol and leave it at that. Others may have similar preferences (e.g., vegetarians, people with medical allergies, etc.) and any thoughtful host would take these preferences into account when deciding what to serve for dinner, as their goal is to make you feel comfortable as a guest. They may, in turn, ask you if it bothers you if others at the table consume food you would rather not (e.g., a pork dish, a glass of wine); it is up to you to decide if it is something that you can accept and tolerate.

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    I would never invite(or be friend) of someone who can't tolerate other people in the table drinking or eating pork. I don't like people who think they can impose their faith on others. So don't pretend is not rude to try to stop others to have their alcohol or pork – Freedo Dec 25 '15 at 21:06
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    @Freedo Nobody is pretending it's not rude. Many people just happen to be of the opinion that it's not rude. These people disagree with you. You are accusing someone with whom you disagree of being disingenuous, and that is rude. – phoog Dec 26 '15 at 4:47
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    It's rude to impose restrictions like this at the last minute @Freedo, it's not rude to politely inform your host in advance that you have certain restrictions and give them the option of working with your restrictions or saying "sorry, there will be alcohol" etc. – Ben Dec 26 '15 at 10:02
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    @Ben - I'd agree that it is not rude, it's actually terrifying. Religious zealots who can't tolerate even seeing other people eat food they dislike are terrifying. – Davor Dec 27 '15 at 16:25
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    This is the most gentlemanly and thoughtful invitation to dinner I've ever seen discussed on SE. It reads like a Sir Richard Burton travelogue. And then I read the first comment... – Ivan Dec 28 '15 at 20:07
25

I am a Christian born and living in Lebanon which is a country populated with an almost 1:1 ratio of Christians to Muslims. I have as much Muslim friends and as I have Christians and we invite each other for meals all the time, and almost always my Muslim friends ask if the food contain any alcohol or pork. This is very normal to a point that I don't actually notice it, and I've only thought about it now after reading your question.

Sometimes if we're having a certain food that usually contains pork (pepperoni pizza for example) but on this occasion was prepared with non-pork ingredients (say beef pepperoni) I would tell them myself that this is not pork.

In fact, while I was living in the US (went to school there for 3 years) some of the friends I made over there and who had invited me over had thought I was a muslim, and on a few occasions when they were offering drinks had asked me if I'm "allowed" to drink alcohol. They were pretty casual about it as well.

Respecting your guests comes naturally and respecting their religious beliefs is part of that.

So long-story-short, your question is not offending at all; and if I were in the place of your hosts and I hadn't thought of the possibility that not everyone eats pork and alcohol, I would be pleased to have learned this so I can be a better host in the future.

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    An excellent presentation and some nice thoughts this holiday season! – Fattie Dec 28 '15 at 16:40
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    This reminds me of a Muslim Pakistani colleague, who took the kosher meal at the office party, asking one of our Indian colleagues about the fact that there was beef in one of the dishes. The Indian colleague said "it was very tasty. I am Christian, beef is no problem for me." It's very difficult to judge people's dietary preferences from appearance. It's better just to ask. – phoog Dec 30 '15 at 18:33
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    @el3ati2: Was it actually sufficient for them that it was beef and not pork? Didn't it need to be halal too? – Mehrdad Dec 31 '15 at 10:51
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    @Mehrdad believe or not I've never been asked if whether the meat was halal. Your question go me wondering why this was the case. IMHO there could be 2 possibilities; either they took it for granted that the meat must have been halal, since the majority of meat suppliers in the country "claim" so; or that they didn't really care. – el3ati2 Jan 2 '16 at 0:20
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    @HeidelBerGensis glad to know that :) ma te3tal ham abadan. Your question should always be – el3ati2 Jan 2 '16 at 0:23
22

No, it would never be considered rude to inquire after the contents of food being offered for your consumption, whether for religious or health reasons, as long as you yourself are not rude in your manner of inquiry.

"I'm personally deeply religious and my faith precludes me eating pork, or consuming any alcohol; may I ask if you were planning on using any of either in the ingredients of the meal?" ... nice, polite, non-confrontational.

"I'm a Muslim and we can't eat pork, you Christian wanker! What are you DOING?!" ... not so much. :)

  • Thanks for the edit... heh, port...guess I was thinking of the alcohol. – CGCampbell Dec 25 '15 at 19:40
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    Wait, surely port does not contain alcohol right .. omg .. – Fattie Dec 28 '15 at 16:41
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    Don't know if you're being serious of sarcastic. Just in case you didn't know, here is Port – CGCampbell Dec 28 '15 at 17:00
  • Lol no just joking there... ;-) – Fattie Dec 29 '15 at 0:32
15

I know this question has been covered pretty extensively, but I thought I would put in my two cents worth:

  1. If a dish is prepared with alcohol, and there is just the taste of the alcohol left, sometimes just the taste of alcohol can be deadly to a person who is an alcoholic and is trying to stay away from abusing it. So whether or not it is burned off is not the issue. A good host would never endanger the health of his or her guest.

  2. As advances in medical tests occur, it has been found that SOME foods are actually harmful to SOME people (for example, as in biopsy-diagnosed Celiac disease). Following this to its logical conclusion, we might be in a time when certain of our friends and family find out that they must stay away from certain foods to enhance their health. Again, a good host would never endanger the health of his or her guest. Maybe we are in a time when a dinner invitation should also include the tactful questioning of what foods to avoid in the dinner preparation.

  3. Lastly, to reference the original question: I, as a 60-year-old white, western Christian, with many white, western Christian friends and family, have noticed this: everyone I know already asks this question, and is delighted to prepare special, new dishes to accommodate our friends and family. I now know many, many vegan, non-gluten, no-alcohol, no pine-nut dishes! All delicious, might I add!

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    "...taste of alcohol can be deadly..." [citation needed] . – Carl Witthoft Dec 28 '15 at 1:42
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    @CarlWitthoft deadly in the sense that alcohol can cause relapse apparently even reading the alcohol content on the label can be enough. – Wayne Werner Dec 30 '15 at 19:20
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    @CarlWitthoft read the answer again: deadly to a person who is an alcoholic and is trying to stay away from abusing it. I don't suspect that Karen was claiming the taste was deadly because the taste itself would cause alcohol poisoning, but because it would trigger a relapse in the addict (leading to <insert fatal outcome of alcoholism here>). I could be wrong, as it's not my answer, but that's how I understood the statement. – Wayne Werner Dec 30 '15 at 21:00
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    First of all, the answer is hyperbolic. Second, your alleged citation refers to poisoning from other chemicals, not alcoholic relapse. If reading labels caused alcoholic relapse, every liquor store would be surrounded by dead bodies. – Carl Witthoft Dec 30 '15 at 21:07
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    @CarlWitthoft Does this count as a citation? recovery.org/topics/… – Pharap Jan 1 '16 at 5:14
14

Not rude at all! Even more : the substances you've mentioned are potential causes of an allergic reactions and conditions, so it's nothing bad in asking if there's such a substance in the food you're about to eat.

11

Are Allergies Rude?

Imagine you were allergic to, say, garlic. Would you feel rude to mention this to your host? In my opinion you should not. Similarly, should not feel rude when mentioning any other dietary restriction or preference, regardless of the reason behind it. It makes no sense to compare the importance of one dietary restriction over the other, nor does it make any sense to grade personal reasons on someone else's scale: my coriander allergy is not more important than your no-vegemite religious reason.

Plan and Inform Ahead

Personally, whenever I have dietary restrictions I mention them and people are usually most accommodating. In fact, what usually happens is that the host asks for dietary restrictions before I even mention them. In any case, be sure to mention your needs early enough to allow your host enough time to accommodate them by planning alternatives. Showing up to a dinner party, openly stating that you don't eat kiwis on Thursdays and spending the whole night fasting will definitely be perceived as rude.

If All Else Fails

If, upon stating your dietary preferences, you perceive unhappiness in your host then by all means change host. Why would you want to have dinner with someone with whom you are incompatible?

  • It's quite a leap from "perceived unhappiness" to "stubborn, close-minded," and force-feeding. If you perceive unhappiness, it could be that they are unsure of their ability to accommodate. Bow out gracefully. – WGroleau Dec 29 '15 at 4:44
10

A a westerner who doesn't eat onions, it's fine to tell someone you can't eat something, but do it in a nice way, and ask far ahead of time.

  • 1
    Also a very polite form! – Fattie Dec 28 '15 at 16:39
8

(expanded from my comment above)

Background: I am an atheist and will-eat-all-that-stays-in-my-plate.

I can also understand that some people find some food disgusting and would prefer not to eat rather than witness that. This can be pork, alcohol, cheese, dogs, reptiles, humans - whatever.

My son has an almost-vomit reaction to cheese (and yes, we are French...) and we do not force him to watch us when we have some. There is a difference between "you are impure/an animal/[insert insult here] for eating [insert food here]" and "due to my upbringing/culture, looking at [insert food] being eaten is just too much, I will pass".

So, in addition to other answers, most civilized people will understand that being part of a dinner where the food is incompatible with you is not a great experience However:

  • it must indeed be incompatible, that is: you are sick looking at that and not merely do not like it. I would be devastated to spend an hour looking at someone who eats kittens alive by biting their head off, but I do not care if someone eats andouillette even though I would not bring it close to my mouth (yuck!).
  • the host must be warned in advance. If you do not warn him or her, then it becomes your problem and you suck it up. Now, if the host had an idea about you (and specifically about your religion or strong feelings about a food culture), he should have anticipated (if you have suspicions that someone is a pastafarian, you will be nice and not prepare noodles broyh-bramlack).

EDIT: Following David's comment I updated my answer with the only (made up by me) meal pastafarians must not eat or their beer turns stale.

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    Pastafarians consider the eating of noodles to be holy and strongly encouraged. During the month of Ramendan, if your party or event is after sundown, your Pastafarian guest may only consume pastas and noodles (and beer). Of course, they're not punished or looked down on if they fail to observe, so... – David L. Dec 31 '15 at 6:27
  • @DavidL. following your comment I actually read the Wikipedia entry for pastafarianism - I did not know much about it, particularly why it was created. Brilliant. – WoJ Dec 31 '15 at 22:05
  • @DavidL. Answer updated – WoJ Dec 31 '15 at 22:09
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    Ha, you did more research than I did. I went through a Japanophile phase at one point and found Ramendan while I was comparing what we Americans call ramen noodles and what Japan calls ramen noodles, so I happened to have that piece of random trivia. Pastafarians are interesting, especially the ones that actively practice another religion at the same time, citing, for example, that Christianity's commandment specifically says "...no other god before Me." and not "no other gods at all." – David L. Dec 31 '15 at 22:14
6

If you feel too shy for even the suggestions already given, how about, “I appreciate the invitation, but I have too many dietary restrictions to bother you with.”

  • 2
    A lovely polite thought! – Fattie Dec 28 '15 at 16:38
6

There have been a lot of excellent answers, and I agree with all/many/most of them.

However, to simplify matters: it is as rude as informing people of dietary allergies.

You can't/won't eat something for whatever reason.

Personally, I cannot tolerate mushrooms, simply for their texture. Sometimes I lie and tell people that I am allergic. More often, I simply say that I won't eat mushrooms.

I have lived/worked 30+ years in countries/cultures other than the one into which I was born. Until now, no one has ever been offended if I asked "does this contain <mushrooms>", and I am sure that you can substitute <mushrooms> with pork/alcohol. I strongly doubt that anyone is not aware that some people will not consume these.

If it happens once, refuse. If it happens twice, leave and don't go back.

5

As others have said if there are items that you must, or wish to, avoid then politely stating so as soon as possible, possibly including giving the host a chance to withdraw the invitation if the restrictions are severe or contrary to point of the invitation, e.g. Shellfish allergy at a clam bake or pork at a hog roast.

Do be prepared to need to clarify the level or degree of restriction - for example I have heard that some strictly kosher practices insist that food cannot be prepared, nor consumed with, equipment and tableware that has been in contact with non-kosher material and some people not only do not consume alcohol they are uncomfortable with others doing so in their presence.

If your restrictions extend to others it is probably better to use the form of "I would love to come but I cannot because...." as in many of the places that I have been placing restrictions on yourself and asking others if they can accommodate them is considered fine, with the proviso of politely stated restrictions and plenty of notice, but attempting to force your restrictions on others is not considered acceptable.

Also it is sometimes necessary to ask for clarification - I had one friend ask what a stew being served at a mass catering even was and on being told it was pork he explained that he had dietary restrictions that forbade pork and said he would go and find something else. The caterer asked if he was OK with beef and offered to see if the beef stew was ready. On checking she stated that it was not ready and offered a ham salad as a "suitable" alternative.

Many people are not aware of what is in the food that we eat ourselves, I am remided of a well known brand of Vegitarian foods that it was revealed the "secret ingredient" that made them taste so good was pork fat, and this can lead to confusion.

Do be aware that you may encounter a certain amount of wry humour if your restrictions seem contradictory, e.g.: I know a number of claimed "vegetarians" who do eat sea food, poultry and bacon - I accommodate them but I may also tease them about it.

  • 1
    Do you have a reference for the "secret pork" story? Sounds like either an urban legend, or a distorted version of a recent study showing cross-contamination, or of the reasonable warning that many foods which seem like they should be vegetarian are made with animal products (e.g. McDonald's fries and beef fat). – mattdm Jan 2 '16 at 16:48
  • I remember it being widely reported at the time but cannot find a current reference. – Steve Barnes Jan 2 '16 at 21:55
4

No, it is not rude (unless the inquiry itself is made in an obnoxious way). People have all sorts of dietary restrictions for any number of reasons (religious/cultural, allergies, interaction with medications, other medical conditions, etc.) After all consuming food is an intimate act and no one should expect anyone to ignore what they are putting into their body and respect their guest's boundaries in this matter.

Of course out of courtesy one should make these restrictions known at the earliest possible time to give the host the chance to accommodate those restrictions.

2

Mentioning this at the time of the invitation is indeed ok. The problem might be in mentioning this while eating and causing an awkward situation. The hosts might feel bad if they cooked and then you simply do not eat.

1

The alcohol one and the pork one are, in my mind, different questions.

Most dishes cooked with alcohol do not have alcohol in them. Alcohol is only part of the cooking process, but the alcohol itself boils away extremely quickly and 100% thoroughly. You usually can eat a big dish of whatever cooked with tons of booze and never blow numbers. So they aren't an issue. You are no more consuming alcohol in those dishes than eating sea salt means you're drinking sea water...the water (and the alcohol) are long gone.

Food items prepared where alcohol is actually present in the end product you should already know about. Nobody should be slipping you morsels that are boozed up without telling you. That would be extremely rude on THEIR part, and even have borderline legality in some places. You get to choose whether you want to be intoxicated at a given moment, and if they're gonna make booze food they darn well better tell you what you're eating. What happens if they just fed the designated driver 4 shots worth of whatever without telling him? No...alcoholic stuff is practically always well explained or labeled, and there are plenty of people that choose not to drink at any given moment for many reasons.

The pork question, on the other hand, is a different matter. If it's an apple pie then you'd look a bit foolish...but meat dishes where the meat is not clearly known it's absolutely reasonable to just say "Is pork in it? I just ask because I don't eat pork, I'll just eat the other dishes if there is."

One addition: I'm a bit skeptical of one of your commentors suggesting you state this at the time of invitation. This might be fine in some settings...but in many settings you giving your list of acceptable food at the time of invite would be quite rude. For small stuff this might be ok, but for large stuff the implication that they should make a menu for 30 people around your preferences would not go so well. So use a little judgement there.

  • 12
    The thing about alcohol and cooking is wrong, it never boils away 100% as most people believe. Check this question in Coocking.SE. Anyway +1 for the other parts of the answer as they make a lot of sense. – Nean Der Thal Dec 26 '15 at 0:05
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    I do also disagree about it being rude about mentioning dietary restrictions when you're invited - if anything, it's rude not to mention them. If it's a personal invitation, then you were invited because someone wants you to be there (and to eat), not because they specifically want you to eat pork and drink alcohol. If it's a catered event, then the caterer will have tons of experience dealing with dietary restrictions, and want to know ahead of time. What is rude is waiting til you get there and making everyone feel awkward seeing you not eating! – Cascabel Dec 26 '15 at 3:58
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    Another thing: for a religious dietary restriction, it really doesn't matter whether anyone will "blow numbers." It's entirely possible that the actual presence of alcohol molecules is of secondary importance, and the food would be forbidden even if there literally was no alcohol in it, simply because an alcoholic beverage was used in its preparation. – phoog Dec 26 '15 at 5:06
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    I wouldn't discount pork in the apple pie either - a particularly southern-inclined American cook might use lard in place of other fats in preparing the crust. Ask, don't assume! – Phil Miller Dec 26 '15 at 5:59
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    Regarding the alcohol thing: it is utterly irrelevant whether it boils away or not. Some people, as it happens, do not want their food made with alcohol. OK, so this is crazy ;-) But it's their life. There may be powerful religious reasons that is their belief. Just as @phoog explains above. {And yes, as a purely technical matter - go tell an actual alcoholic that the alcohol "boils away" - just silly.} – Fattie Dec 26 '15 at 19:29

protected by JoErNanO Dec 31 '15 at 17:50

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