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Who is coming for dinner?


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This post is inspired by this thread about entertaining guests with religious perferences. Did I miss anything or have I gotten anything wrong? Please contribute the missing bits.

Seventh Day Adventists: The most devout are vegetarians and the strictest form of dietary restrictions involve being a vegan. Mostly prohibited are pork, shellfish, alcohol, coffee, tea.

Buddhists: Mostly vegetarians. Staunch Buddhists lead a vegan lifestyle.

Hinduism: Not all Hindus are vegetarians, although most will not touch beef as the cow is considered sacred. Some communities dont consider ingestion of fish, shellfish, eggs or dairy as a hurdle to remain moral vegetarians according to their religious beliefs.

Judaism: Kosher laws prohibit shellfish and pork. Meat and dairy in the same meal is not considered kosher. Leavened bread is restricted during certain times. Kosher law requires ritual slaughter. Fasting is part of the annual religious Jewish dietary calender.(regular coke is prohibited during passover and not considered kosher because it contains corn syrup...maybe someone here can explain why it is so...)

Islam: Halal laws also prohibit shellfish and pork. Ritual slaughter, like in Judaism, is required to certify meat as 'halal'. Strict Moslems do not imbibe and avoid tea and coffee. Moslems fast and practice moderation for part of the year.

Church of Latter Day Saints/Mormons: prohibition of tobacco, alcohol, tea and coffee. I am not sure if the caffine in fizzy drinks like coke, pepsi or *gasp* mountain dew is prohibited.

Roman Catholics: Fasting is observed. There are restrictions on meat(although not on fish) consumption and alcohol. During Lent, no meat is to be consumed on fridays.(?)

Eastern Orthodoxy: Moderation is encouraged when it comes to meat, fish, alcohol, tea, coffee and abstinence from certain foods during fasting periods.

Jainism: Jains are vegetarians and will not imbibe. They will not eat anything that grows underneth the soil or consume honey.

Sikhism: Sikhs will not eat beef but pork is permitted. Their dietary laws are slightly different from the Hindu food laws. Alcohol is prohibited.

Rastafarians: Their food laws permit only "I-tal" foods. I-tal foods are generally foods that are natural and untouched by chemicals, preservatives, artificial colourings etc. Most Rastafarians wont touch pork and a large number of them are strict vegetarians.

Druzism: Alcohol, pork and tobacco is banned and most Druze take their religion very seriously.

End note: Almost all religious dietary laws were designed for healthy living in harmony with the environment. No religion promotes gluttony(infact, almost all of them consider gluttony as a sin as the body is where the 'soul' resides...hence 'body as a temple' etc...maybe the early founders of Religion saw something that we are missing today.). Do not assume that a person of a certain faith strictly adheres to their faith re diet. You may be denying them their favourite drink or dish! Enquire.

Some guests might insist on 'purity' and something called hygiene....(gah!)...double dipping is frowned upon by some...using the same spoon/ladle in two different dishes for serving is sooooo not cool for others...spoons, forks or glasses are not to be shared...simply put, exchanging bodily fluids when sharing a meal is a no-no according to 'purity' laws.

Re: praying before a meal. The most religious will say a prayer of thanks before beginning a meal. If you do not subscribe to the habit, simply bend your head. Do not scream your prayer over their prayer. If you are the guest, ask for permission before you begin pray. If you are the host, always be gracious. Do not force any of your guests to join you in prayer.

Should you let your other guests suffer because some others have religious (or otherwise) dietary restrictions? Well..this is tricky...these days, nobody is going to be offended if you exclude them from enjoying a dish that they have voluntarily decided to avoid..however, it is better to find all of your guests' dietary restrictions, allergies, religious prohibitions etc before planning a meal. Some may refuse to eat from the same table from where meat or alcohol is served.(I can speak for my own Hindu family...onions, garlic, eggs are usually cooked in seperate utensils in some houses..elder members will only eat from their own plates or from plantain leaves which are discarded..something like organic disposable plates..water is usually not sipped as it taints the glass with one's saliva...drinking of water is a hilarious, precarious glass balancing act where a stream of water will flow from the glass to the open mouth cavity...as children, we were trained to NOT sip from glasses offered in restaurants, other people's houses etc...obviously, it has had little impact on me as I leave my lipstick smudges like the The Ghost Who Walks leaves his skull mark)once again, all this depends on your guest list and whether they are part of your inner circle whose pet peeves, likes and 'urghs' you have endured before..

personally, i like to keep my guests happy. as luck would have it, my social circle has almost always been one that has mirrored my own culinary habits or someone who doesnt mind indulging my eccentric mood swings(more than one guest has been asked to wash his own dirty plate)...as my grandmother used to say, 'adithi devo bhava'...when a guest graces your home, consider that as a visit from god...well..or your favourite rock star... :biggrin:

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Bearism: Alcohol, pork and tobacco is worshiped.

Great read. Thanks. Consider yourself bitten.

-- Jeff

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." -- Groucho Marx

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Buddhists: Mostly vegetarians. Staunch Buddhists lead a vegan lifestyle.

Islam: Halal laws also prohibit shellfish and pork. Ritual slaughter, like in Judaism, is required to certify meat as 'halal'. Strict Moslems do not imbibe and avoid tea and coffee. Moslems fast and practice moderation for part of the year.

Roman Catholics: Fasting is observed. There are restrictions on meat(although not on fish) consumption and alcohol. During Lent, no meat is to be consumed on fridays.(?)

1) Buddhists: the Dalai Lama himself eats red meat, as suggested by his personal physician. (He tried being a vegetarian and developed jaundice. He eats meat every other day.) Buddhist dietary restrictions are individual, though many may be vegetarians. I do not know many "staunch" Buddhists (it's kind of a contradiction in terms), and few vegan Buddhists.

2) Roman Catholics: I think that some Catholics need to weigh in here: no meat on Fridays during Lent?

I thought that what one gives up for Lent is voluntary, and varied from person to person. It doesn't necessarily include dietary restrictions, but many people I know give up the things they love most (chocolate being a primary example) for those weeks. (On the other hand, I probably know some liberal Catholics.)

I've never heard of restrictions on alcohol (Catholics?!), and I thought the "no meat on Fridays" thing had been lifted, as well--I think this happened when I was a little girl.

3) Islam: it's important to know when Ramadan is (high holy days), for this is when they fast until sundown. The Muslim month of Ramadan is from moon to moon, not a calendar month.

Finally, Hari Krishnas are vegetarians, and every Hari Krishna restaurant I've ever eaten eat could cook circles around just about anybody. I wish we had one here.

Here is an article on business etiquette: Taboo Table Offerings: The Intricacies of Intercultural Menu Planning, which is very well-written and informative.

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I've never heard of restrictions on alcohol (Catholics?!), and I thought the "no meat on Fridays" thing had been lifted, as well--I think this happened when I was a little girl.

The lifting of restrictions which happened when you were a little girl, presuming that you're my age or a little older, was when the Catholic church went from restricting meat on Fridays throughout the year, to only restricting it on Fridays during Lent. As far as I know, observant Catholics should still be avoiding meat on Fridays during Lent, but they are allowed to have fish, so it's a pretty mild restriction even so.

As far as giving up something for Lent, it is a choice, but it should be something you're fairly attached to. If you're normally a teetotaller, you're not going to get big points with God for giving up booze.

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Thanks for this article, Tana, and it does lay out some very detailed concepts for each religious group. The only one I can personally vouch for are the restrictions on kosher foods. And the author has a correct take on that it seems.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Yep, married to a Scottish Catholic, with a lot of inlaws--no meat during Lent, but fish on Fridays is okay---and what you give up during Lent is supposed to be very close to your heart--for my hub, it's chocolate. I am very glad when Lent ends.

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St. Peter is walking through Heaven, and comes across God sitting on a cloud, sobbing inconsolably.

"What's the matter, Lord?!" asked St. Peter.

"I'm in love with an atheist, and she doesn't know I exist!"

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

- - - - - - - -

FoodTutor, I read that the Church lifted the ban in 1966.

Also, I have heard that the ban was lifted because, presumably, the Crusades were paid for. This is perhaps apocryphal.

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FoodTutor, I read that the Church lifted the ban in 1966.

Also, I have heard that the ban was lifted because, presumably, the Crusades were paid for. This is perhaps apocryphal.

1966 sounds about right, so that was before I was born. I do remember hearing stories from older Catholics, however, about being invited to a steakhouse on a Friday night by their heathen, Protestant friends.

As far as the Crusades being paid for, well, I guess that makes about as much sense as anything else the Catholic church does.

I'm an atheist, too, and the only hard part is not having anyone to talk to when I'm having sex.

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Judaism: Kosher laws prohibit shellfish and pork. Meat and dairy in the same meal is not considered kosher. Leavened bread is restricted during certain times. Kosher law requires ritual slaughter. Fasting is part of the annual religious Jewish dietary calender.(regular coke is prohibited during passover and not considered kosher because it contains corn syrup...maybe someone here can explain why it is so...)

I am sure the observant Jews will have definitive answers for us after Shabbot, but it is my understanding that the corn syrup thing has to do with "kitniyot", things that resemble the "chametz" grains -- wheat, spelt, barley, oats, and rye -- which are forbidden during Passover if they have been leavened or processed for more than 18 minutes (which is why matzoh is produced the way it is).

Ashkenazic Jews (those from Eastern Europe) avoid kitniyot (including things like corn and peas, lentils, etc.) during Passover because, since they resemble the chametz grains, the kitniyot might in theory contain undetectable amounts of those grains.

Sephardic Jews, as far as I am aware, never developed this prohibition.

I hope bloviatrix or someone will correct anything I have gotten wrong.

Cheers,

Squeat

Oh, and the change in that Catholic meat/fish/Friday thing was the result of Vatican II, right?

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Don't know when it was, but it used to be a great boon to those of us who had no usual access to fish (imagine Arizona in the 60's). There was fish in the butchershop on Fridays, and we were some pretty happy little campers, I tell you! Otherwise, we only had fish on camping trips, after fishing, or -gasp!- in cans.

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unquestionably the strangest meal of my life was thanksgiving dinner the ifrst year i was in America at a hare krishna temple in san diego. i was invited by my not at all hare krishna but very vegetarian Phd supervisor, who is a very hardcore european intellectual, and his SoCal good time girl wife. The food was a peverse mix of thanksgiving day concept and very very very bad Indian. tofu-turkey substitute with marsala mashed potates. hmmmmmmm......

to make the day even more confusing we followed it with drinks at the sports bar in the la jolla marriot. weird, truely weird. when my mother told one of her friends that i'd been at a hare krishna temple for thanksgiving she sent her some anti-cult websites. my mother explained to her that if that food was their attempt at brainwashing they didn't have much chance.... but if other people speak more highly of hare krishna food maybe i was just unlucky...

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I trust none of us will take anything that's said here as gospel, any more than you'd depend on a legal defense in court based on what someone said on the Internet. I'm not someone who could correct any mistakes or even fill in the blanks on what's been posted so far, but focusing on the dietary restrictions of Judaism, I'd say the the comments are incomplete, not necessarily balanced and possibly misleading by exclusion. Shellfish are among the many sea animals proscribed and I do not believe pork is actually mentioned. Pigs and a number of other four footed animals don't meet the qualifications required which included having a cloven hoof (pigs meet that qualification) and chewing one's cud. I'm not sure which animals chew their cud besides cows. Leavened bread is proscribed only during Passover and the laws about what's allowed during Passover can be complex.

When you invite a person to diner at your home, a good deal of the burden is on the guest to inform you of his, or her, dietary restrictions, especially if they are of a moral, ethical or religious nature. Coming from a family that paid little more than lip service to tradition and much less to religious observance, my background may not be representative of much, but I was always told it was a disservice to the higher power to make a fuss in someone's house or make a host feel uncomfortable and thus a refusal to eat proscribed meats might well be seen as a the greater sin.

I will take exception to the statement that "almost all religious dietary laws were designed for healthy living in harmony with the environment," although I don't want to start a discussion on that. In my view, many, if not most, are quite arbitrary and seemed designed mostly to foster a kinship and shared set of rules and values to protect the community, i.e., to keep it intact and apart from other communities. Many, if not most, of the explanations I've heard defending dietary laws on the basis or environment, health, etc. seem to searching for a rational explanation that says we're not different from other people, we just knew more earlier. Either that, or they're searching for a rationale not to keep the dietary restriction today when sanitary conditions and testing are better than they were millennia ago. Most of us can explain our points of view, but it's rarely useful to discuss them as there's little reason for anyone to change his mind and discussions of faith are not within our policies here on eGullet.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I'm going to be proactive and give a warning before anything happens in this thread which we might regret.

There is to be NO comparitive religion talk whatsoever unless it pertains DIRECTLY to the food-related topic discussed above--documentation of the roles of particular foods in particular religions

We aren't asking this to squash anyone's freedom of expression. As long as you are on topic, and remain respectful, civil and within the bounds of decorum set by our User Agreement, please feel free to express whatever opinion you want. But please remember that this is eGullet.com and not eReligion.com. We've got to stick with the food.

Also, this topic is very close to another recent topic. At this point, I'm not going to merge the topics, because this topic is ABOUT the rules and the other one is about instances where people ignore them... but please be careful to try and avoid overlap. Also, an unfortunate consequence of such similar topics is that often people state something is one thread and then get angry in the other one when someone doesn't seem to have read their posting in the first location. So let's try and be aware of that as well.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Lalitha, I truly admire your effort to go out of the norm and simplify dietary laws for your own comfort. I think that making an effort to not make guests uncomfortable reflects one of the oldest laws in existence--that of hospitality. Really, come on down anytime you are in Montana, and eat at our fire!

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Islam: Halal laws also prohibit shellfish and pork. Ritual slaughter, like in Judaism, is required to certify meat as 'halal'. Strict Moslems do not imbibe and avoid tea and coffee. Moslems fast and practice moderation for part of the year.

Muslims are allowed to eat shellfish. They shouldn't drink alcohol but I've yet to meet a Muslim (strict or not) who goes easy on the tea & coffee. Some Muslims frown on smoking but most of the ones I know smoke like chimneys. The fasting is during Ramadan, as someone mentioned, but you can also do it sometimes outside Ramadan, if you have days to make up or are feeling particularly erm, "atoneful". I can translate the passage from the Koran if you'd like, I've never heard of the shellfish thing. (In large part, I suspect it just didn't come up that often, being in the desert and all...)

Also, there is another big difference between jewish kosher and muslim halal: Muslims are allowed to eat the entire animal, whereas in Kosher you can only eat the front bits, right? the moderation thing is amusing to me. It is mentioned in various hadith, but tell that to your average muslim grandmother when the grandkids are coming to visit :smile:

Oh, here's a neat factoid -- I read somewhere that the prophet's wives were vegetarians. I can't say that one has caught on with anyone I know...

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Church of Latter Day Saints/Mormons: prohibition of tobacco, alcohol, tea and coffee. I am not sure if the caffine in fizzy drinks like coke, pepsi or *gasp* mountain dew is prohibited.

my dearest friend here in nj is lds. we have talked many times when first getting to know each other about what is and isn't ok to serve to her or her children since i was interested in not making them uncomfortable when visiting us. it is the caffeine that is prohibited so i make sure i always have caffeine free soda, coffee and tea available when they come over. when we celebrated the wedding of one of her daughters at the local lds meeting house everything was caffeine free including a really yummy punch.

neighbors of ours are church of christ philadelphian. when we get together the prohibitions are shellfish and pork. luckily we have plenty of finned fish and game we all love to eat :biggrin:

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Most LDS don't care about Caffeine as such. It used to be that they did not drink cokes, but since the church purchased the coca cola bottling plant in Salt lake it's ok now..

Now most do not drink coffee or tea. But do drink an extreme amount of hot chocolate.

Never trust a skinny chef

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Most LDS don't care about Caffeine as such. It used to be that they did not drink cokes, but since the church purchased the coca cola bottling plant in Salt lake it's ok now..

Now most do not drink coffee or tea. But do drink an extreme amount of hot chocolate.

wow- interesting since 'chelle and her three children will touch nothing with caffeine in it. do you suppose that since she is originally from england and was raised there they are more strict? also matthew - the sil who's wedding party we were at - his dad who is up in the church's education section, mom and siblings who are temple recommend never - and i do mean never- touch caffeine including hot cocoa.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Hmm, perhaps the early prophets had wives who cook like the ladies in my childhood Baptist church. Charred, dry beef, leathery chicken, tons and tons of hot dogs on white bread, warm, smeary potato salad, jello salad with Kool Whip, served with horrid Folgers coffee (black). :rolleyes:

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Mary Baker

Solid Communications

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How about if we get back to Lalitha's topic at hand and continue with her question in her post :

Should you let your other guests suffer because some others have religious (or otherwise) dietary restrictions?

Since I often have guests who are observant Jews who observe the laws of kashrut, as do I in my home, I prepare what I know is going to make them the most comfortable. If there are others present who do not care about the issue, then we all eat the same thing and, thus far, there have never been any unhappy guests leaving my home! The latter group always know that there will be no shrimp or pork products served to them here ...

My rule of thumb? Always offer that which makes the most strictly observant comfortable .. in that way, pretty much everyone is pleased!

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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