In other words, should people on low-carb diets be treated the same way you would a vegetarian in a social setting where you’re having people over? The reason I ask is that a friend of mine recently had a small dinner party. Now, she knew that one of her guests was vegetarian. The guest had asked that there be a meatless option, or if that would be too much work, indicated that she would be happy to bring something herself. It was very nice of her, and my friend the hostess took her up on her offer because some of the invitees had (rudely) invited more people to come with them and hadn’t offered to bring extra food, so the vegetarian brought some great vegetable casseroles. Another guest told my friend he was allergic to peanuts and walnuts. My friend who was hosting the party had been about to make a walnut cake, a signature dessert of hers. Well, that idea was out the window, and all she had on hand was fresh fruit, and no time to get other ingredients to make something else. My friend the hostess thought that another one of her guests might be on the Atkins diet, but really didn’t have time to go out and get something to accommodate her, too, so she decided not to ask since she thought about it too late.
It turns out the person who my friend thought might be on the Atkins diet was, in fact, on the diet, and was angry with my friend that she decided not to ask her if she had a special request because of her dietary “needs.” The friend who was on Atkins complained that all she was able to eat was salad because the casseroles the vegetarian brought had too many carbs in them (breadcrumbs), and the fruit had too much sugar (she’s still in induction), so she couldn’t eat any dessert, either. And, of course, she couldn’t eat the lasagna for the pasta, and the bread for the, well, bread. I thought it was rude of my friend to be angry at the hostess - after all, she was getting a wonderful meal and some really great wine, at no cost to her. I said if her diet was that important to her, maybe she should have brought something she could eat or mentioned it to the hostess earlier, while the low-carb friend contends that if the hostess had an inkling that she might be on a diet, she should have asked. She went on to say that her diet choice was every bit as valid as a vegetarian’s or someone with a food allergy, but I disagree.
So, would a Miss Manners expert help me with this one? My friend adjusted her meal to accommodate the needs of two of her guests - should she have gone ahead and made sure no one was on a low-carb diet, too? Should low-carb diets be considered “special needs,” like a vegetarian diet or a food allergy??