Dinner Party for Meat Eaters & Vegetarians

Karen W

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I would go with your Mom's favorite (vegtarian) dish, since it's her Birthday. For dessert, l'd go with her fave as well; or a special birthday cake homemade or store bought. Ice cream cake, or whatever looks decadent. Maybe special order, if you're not a big Baker. Some tips, imo, unless you're a well-seasoned cook, I would keep the menu simple. No individually prepped small dishes, unless it's for the Birthday girl. I don't load up on starters or apps. Kills the appetite for the main dish. Sometimes soup or salad, Depends on the menu. I mentioned paella and eggplant parmesan, as examples, as they are pretty much one meal dishes. I wouldn't try to make too many new-to-me dishes for a party. Save to experiment for yourself first. Indian or spicey foods may not appeal to everyone. Stick with what you know. Two menus, veg & non veg, will keep you busy. Spend time with your Mom, & have fun.
 

jojopops70

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I would go with your Mom's favorite (vegtarian) dish, since it's her Birthday. For dessert, l'd go with her fave as well; or a special birthday cake homemade or store bought. Ice cream cake, or whatever looks decadent. Maybe special order, if you're not a big Baker. Some tips, imo, unless you're a well-seasoned cook, I would keep the menu simple. No individually prepped small dishes, unless it's for the Birthday girl. I don't load up on starters or apps. Kills the appetite for the main dish. Sometimes soup or salad, Depends on the menu. I mentioned paella and eggplant parmesan, as examples, as they are pretty much one meal dishes. I wouldn't try to make too many new-to-me dishes for a party. Save to experiment for yourself first. Indian or spicey foods may not appeal to everyone. Stick with what you know. Two menus, veg & non veg, will keep you busy. Spend time with your Mom, & have fun.
Thanks for all your advice, really helpful You're right, having fun and spending time with mum is most important.
 

Mountain Cat

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Probably not appropriate for you - I was cooking for Cinco de Mayo and so it was a Mexican theme.

I had a LOT of different food things going on there. As I had: vegetarians, omnivores, a legume-allergy person, a lactose intolerant person, and a gluten-free person. In that case, I made a soft taco bar with corn tortillas and a variety of meat and meat-less toppings to use, and I had a vegetarian chili pot going - which obviously the legume person couldn't eat but there was plenty for him to gnosh on at the taco bar. I also had salad. And yes, at the last moment (when she arrived), I discovered someone couldn't eat very many nightshades - she stayed with the taco bar (omnivore otherwise) and the salad - which did have a way of avoiding the tomatoes.

Dessert was a flourless, chocolate "cake", which everyone devoured. (The lactose-intolerant person could eat butter. He actually has Crohns, for which for him milk and many cheeses are a true trigger.) You could probably consider something like that to end with?
 

jojopops70

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Probably not appropriate for you - I was cooking for Cinco de Mayo and so it was a Mexican theme.

I had a LOT of different food things going on there. As I had: vegetarians, omnivores, a legume-allergy person, a lactose intolerant person, and a gluten-free person. In that case, I made a soft taco bar with corn tortillas and a variety of meat and meat-less toppings to use, and I had a vegetarian chili pot going - which obviously the legume person couldn't eat but there was plenty for him to gnosh on at the taco bar. I also had salad. And yes, at the last moment (when she arrived), I discovered someone couldn't eat very many nightshades - she stayed with the taco bar (omnivore otherwise) and the salad - which did have a way of avoiding the tomatoes.

Dessert was a flourless, chocolate "cake", which everyone devoured. (The lactose-intolerant person could eat butter. He actually has Crohns, for which for him milk and many cheeses are a true trigger.) You could probably consider something like that to end with?
Wow I love Mexican food!! Sounds great what you did and be able to accommodate such a varied group. The chocolate cake sounds fab too, everyone likes chocolate don't they lol?
 

Mountain Cat

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Wow I love Mexican food!! Sounds great what you did and be able to accommodate such a varied group. The chocolate cake sounds fab too, everyone likes chocolate don't they lol?
Apparently, my friends do like chocolate... Just to note, there were 14 of us. Depending on dietary needs you may want to figure out how to spread choices out. If it is just between vegetarian and non - there are plenty of vegetarian meals that can satisfy omnivores as well. Or, provide add-ins that will satisfy all guests to a base dish.
 

jojopops70

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Apparently, my friends do like chocolate... Just to note, there were 14 of us. Depending on dietary needs you may want to figure out how to spread choices out. If it is just between vegetarian and non - there are plenty of vegetarian meals that can satisfy omnivores as well. Or, provide add-ins that will satisfy all guests to a base dish.
Luckily it is just vegetarians and non, so much simpler than your feast. Before joining this forum and starting this topic I was really struggling with what to do but have been given so many great ideas from everyone. I didn't realise I had so many options lol
 

Mountain Cat

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When serving a combination of vegetarians and omnivores … I look to cultures that have a history of providing nutritious meals to vegetarians. More tasty AND nutritious than saying, oh, here: Your salad, have fun.
 

Mountain Cat

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Addendum regard that vegetarian chili - I had one guest who wanted to take some of the leftovers home who was a die-hard near-carnivore "vegetables are what food eats" was her signature saying. She left with some of the little that was left over.

Unfortunately it was such a hectic weekend I didn't record the exact recipe but I plan to re-create it later this fall. I know the ingredients but not the exact amounts.
 

TastyReuben

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We did this recently with a pizza party. My brother and I made all the doughs, and we told people to bring their favorite toppings, so the ones with specialty diets brought their stuff.

It worked out really well, because some people who felt so inclined got to sample some things they'd normally never eat.

Even though I'm omni, the one thing I did like is that everyone got to feel like they were partaking in the same dining experience. I always think it looks bad when folks have a big meat-centered meal, and plant eaters are told to make do with the salad, or everyone's eating roast and they're told to heat up a veggie burger...that they had to bring themselves.

With the pizza party we did, everyone contributed, and we all shared what we wanted, so instead of everyone having big bowls of chili except the folks who were vegan stuck with eating some hand-me-down salad, we all had pizza, it's just that mine had pepperoni on it and my niece's had grilled artichokes. Nobody felt singled out or excluded.
 

jojopops70

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When serving a combination of vegetarians and omnivores … I look to cultures that have a history of providing nutritious meals to vegetarians. More tasty AND nutritious than saying, oh, here: Your salad, have fun.
Makes total sense, look to the experts. I have so much to learn :rolleyes: it's quite exciting, Im going to be busy trying lots of different ideas.
 

jojopops70

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We did this recently with a pizza party. My brother and I made all the doughs, and we told people to bring their favorite toppings, so the ones with specialty diets brought their stuff.

It worked out really well, because some people who felt so inclined got to sample some things they'd normally never eat.

Even though I'm omni, the one thing I did like is that everyone got to feel like they were partaking in the same dining experience. I always think it looks bad when folks have a big meat-centered meal, and plant eaters are told to make do with the salad, or everyone's eating roast and they're told to heat up a veggie burger...that they had to bring themselves.

With the pizza party we did, everyone contributed, and we all shared what we wanted, so instead of everyone having big bowls of chili except the folks who were vegan stuck with eating some hand-me-down salad, we all had pizza, it's just that mine had pepperoni on it and my niece's had grilled artichokes. Nobody felt singled out or excluded.
What a fantastic idea, I really like that, must have been very enjoyable for all.

Thats exactly what I'm worried about, I want to make sure I can give everybody a (hopefully) great evening and put the effort in equally all round.
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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We did this recently with a pizza party. My brother and I made all the doughs, and we told people to bring their favorite toppings, so the ones with specialty diets brought their stuff.

It worked out really well, because some people who felt so inclined got to sample some things they'd normally never eat.

Even though I'm omni, the one thing I did like is that everyone got to feel like they were partaking in the same dining experience. I always think it looks bad when folks have a big meat-centered meal, and plant eaters are told to make do with the salad, or everyone's eating roast and they're told to heat up a veggie burger...that they had to bring themselves.

With the pizza party we did, everyone contributed, and we all shared what we wanted, so instead of everyone having big bowls of chili except the folks who were vegan stuck with eating some hand-me-down salad, we all had pizza, it's just that mine had pepperoni on it and my niece's had grilled artichokes. Nobody felt singled out or excluded.
My last place had a wood fired pizza oven which was fantastic but I found that pizza parties stew a problem.

I had 10-12 guests. 3 were couples, so only half could share a pizza. Plus myself and my husband. Pizzas took roughly 12 minutes each to cook. So I had all the dough ready for an 11 o'clock start, reckoning that people would be late etc. It was exactly the same as you, bring your own toppings though in our case we provided the tomato sauce, onion and seasonings and asked people to their meat and cheese. Eggs were numerous because of our chickens so we provided those as well. Now if you factor in taking 1 pizza out and putting the next in whilst everyone say around taking etc you're looking at 15 mins a pizza. That's only 4 pizzas an hour... even with only 12 people eating pizza that's a minimum of 3 hours for everyone you eat. We had people double up and eat half a pizza each until everyone else had eaten, then get their second half... But it was a long meal with all the nattering and alcohol (it was the bring your own, we don't drink approach). Needless to say we didn't finish using the pizza oven until early evening approach the next meal time and some did stay. By the end, everyone realised why we had said lunch not evening meal!

I did suggest doubling up and using the gas oven, but the novelty of a wood fired pizza oven is such that people wanted a pizza from there. Great idea it needs to come with a warning on how many pizzas can be cooked inside an hour even ensuring people prepared the next pizza whilst one was in the oven so that we could do an immediate next rather than a few/5 minutes later job.
 

morning glory

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Pizzas took roughly 12 minutes each to cook.
I think with a really top range wood fired pizza oven it should only take literally 2 or 3 minutes per pizza. In fact I've several times seen that demonstrated in cooking programmes. James Martin, for example, has one in his garden and it has featured in his shows. I take me 12 minutes using kitchen oven which obviously doesn't reach the high temperatures of a pizza oven.
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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I think with a really top range wood fired pizza oven it should only take literally 2 or 3 minutes per pizza. In fact I've several times seen that demonstrated in cooking programmes. James Martin, for example, has one in his garden and it has featured in his shows. I take me 12 minutes using kitchen oven which obviously doesn't reach the high temperatures of a pizza oven.
mine was an old brick one with a dodgy door. I know we did a 5 min alarm, rotate and 5 min more, but we were raising the pizza off the base using a couple of house bricks because the metal base of the pizza oven where the pizza was really meant to be sitting was very very rusty and no amount of scrubbing was going to get it all off. but even so it was air blasted so reached exceptionally hot temperatures.

how do toppings even heat through quickly enough at that timing to be warm to a safe level (thinking meats here) let alone cooked? 2-3 mins must be hot toppings going on surely. cold meat just wouldn't be hot enough to be safe at 2-3 mins even at 400C or so. Commerical pizza ovens all take roughly 10 mins as well to the best of my knowledge from my (ex-chef) of a brother.
 
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