(Closed) Reception Food choice might cause guests to not come

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 227
Member
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@bklynbridetobe:  Sorry, I must have been reading up on how to be a good hostess when that memo went out!  

Post # 228
Member
2902 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

lol this is the most over the top thread. Ive never seen people get so upset about spices! 

 

Post # 229
Member
495 posts
Helper bee

@FauxBoho:  No kidding. This is the first thread I’ve told my fiance about that he was interested in enough to ask me about the latest: “So, what other ridiculous ultimatums are people making about Indian food now?”

I even asked my mom, who didn’t have Indian food restaurants available to her (nor did she seek them out), really, until her 50s, what she would have thought about an Indian-food wedding, and she said, “That’s the first place I had it! I never would have known I liked it until then. It’s just FOOD.”

Post # 230
Member
523 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

+1 to all who said that dietary restrictions (like vegetarianism) should be covered, not picky eaters.

 

Personally, I’ve tried Indian food about a half a dozen times, and will probably keep trying it even though I don’t like it- there’s got to be something I’m missing! But as long as I could eat the food, I’d be a happy guest.

 

My only suggestion is to do a buffet, and have spiciness and main ingrediants on the name cards for non-obvious dishes. This way, those who have sensitive tummies (especially for spice) can have a good idea of the food prior.

 

ETA: As for how to let the guests know, I’d just do a word of mouth thing after invites have gone out

Post # 231
Member
9916 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

@fishbone:  The problem people have with Indian food is that it tastes “different”, “spicy”, and “flavorful.”  So, to accommodate those guests, you’d HAVE to go with bland and boring, no?  Since they can’t handle flavor.

Post # 232
Member
989 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I think a fine compromise would be to have grilled chicken and vegetables available for guests who don’t wish to have Indian food.  Guests can supplement with rice, samosas, and some of the other less exotic options, and I don’t think it would be too much more expensive.

I do feel for the OP.  We hear so much about how guests think wedding food is boring and tasteless, so she’s trying to think outside the box.  I agree that you shouldn’t force a culinary education on folks at a large event like this, but I have heard of plenty of other weddings where BBQ, Chinese, Mexican or other non-traditional foods are served, and I wonder where you draw the line between “you can’t please everyone” and “you can’t force people to eat that!”

Post # 233
Member
1326 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I also love Indian food, but I would not serve it if I knew that most of my guests wouldn’t like it! That seems pretty rude, actually. Being a good hostess means taking into account your guests’ preferences. 

 

Post # 234
Member
7369 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I find it hilarious that because people are suggesting ONE alternate dish that it has to be boring, bland and flavorless. Really? If that’s the case then maybe your palate isn’t as expanded or refined as you think. Because food in my home even with minimal spices has never been bland.

I come from a Caribbean background that cooks with amazing flavors. Personally, I constantly eat spicy food. My motto has always been the hotter, the better.  I love ethic food, since I grew up on it. I don’t consider Indian food out of box. However, that doesn’t negate that when you choose to have a celebration, that considerations shouldn’t be made for small portion of your guests.

I fully intend to have bold dishes at my event, and it will be expected since I am of that background. However, I still have some more middle of the road, yet flavorful dishes. And isn’t ironic, that a number my guests who grew up on the same cuisine that I did, and who can even cook it flawlessly, can no longer tolerate it, because of health issues and/or developed aversions to spices. To me that’s what a host does. You can’t please 100% of your guests, but you sure as hell don’t try to alienate 1/3. 

This has become a pissing contest in culinary posturing. Give me a freaking break. The reception is about your guests not your culinary ego.

 

Post # 235
Member
1397 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Crigger5:  Indian food is amazing, and it’s what we’re having at our reception, as well. I know for a fact that my entire family and many of our friends love it. For those who may not, though, there are a few more neutral Indian choices, as well as salad, rice, bread, and dessert. On more than one occassion my non-meating-eating-self has dined on those options or less.

 

Even if someone was serving food I didn’t like at a wedding or other event, I’d still go. I’d just try to find something tolerable to eat or feed myself at home before/after. Allergies and serious beliefs should be accomodated (within reason). Not liking it/having never had it/thinking it looks weird should not.

 

Post # 236
Member
351 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Such a fascinating quandary!

I guess if you know for a fact that a third of your guests won’t feel comfortable eating the cuisine, yeah, you might want to rethink that. But on the other hand, if you think this because a third of your guests have never TRIED Indian food, what a great adventurous experience you’d be offering to them!

One thing that occurs to me: Indian food is properly eaten with your hands. You can get around this, of course, but some of the dishes (like daal) get messy, otherwise.

On the question of Indian food being a special case: I think folks need to lay off the suggestions that those who dislike Indian food are either inexperienced, boring, or close-minded. I worked and lived in India for several years, and while there, tried just about every major cuisine from that country. Alas, I’m still not a huge fan. The spices just don’t tickle my palate. What to say? ~shrug~

That said, there are plenty of simple Indian dishes that would fail to offend even the pickiest of palates. I know, because I LIVED on those foods for a long time!

A nice appetizer: Paneer tikka – cheese (think the curds in cottage cheese, only slightly more firm) grilled on skewers with (optional) bell peppers.

Tandoor chicken: because c’mon, who (save the vegetarians) is averse to plain old baked chicken?

Palak paneer can be a safe bet – again, (cottage-like) cheese in spinach sauce (sometimes tomato-spinach, depends on the region).

Yogurt – well, often raita, which is yogurt with chunks of veggies, but I’d recommend just straight-up yogurt. This has the effect of massively cutting the hot effect of any spices in the food, which is how I’m able to eat Indian food without turning into a sweaty old puddle.

Moving south, I’ve been to some awesome weddings with a “make your own dosa” bar. And THIS is one type of Indian food that most people LOVE: a fried cone of dough around potatoes! Keep the spices in the potato mixture to a minimum and most everyone will be glad to eat that.

Uttapam is also a delicious southern Indian dish – dough with veggies baked in. It’s India’s closest equivalent to pizza! Both uttapam and dosa are served with daal and a delicious coconut-based relish.

Look into those, OP!

Post # 237
Member
4304 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@fishbone:  I think you’re the only one making sense here.

 

I have tried a LOT of food.  I will eat anything once, and try it again if I didn’t like it the first time.  I have had the opportunity to eat Indian on several occasions and each time I was displeased with the food.  It just does not agree with my palate.  Just like Mexican dishes do not agree with some.  Or French.  Or Italian.  Or Arabic.

 

Let’s look at it from another standpoint – because I am not a rude guest and if I saw this on the invite I wouldn’t be like “fuck it, I’m not going”.  I would still go, and you would get my RSVP, but I would probably eat very little or none of the food.

 

That’s a waste of your money dude.  Any way your slice it, no matter how snotty you think I might be, you ordered food, paid for it, and it’s going in the trash.

 

Offering an alternative known by most people will save issues on both end.  If you want to make a moral stand on fucking butter chicken, by all means, please do.  But don’t do it at your wedding and waste money like a fool.

 

Post # 238
Member
54 posts
Worker bee

I think it’s very thoughtful of you to want to “warn” your guests ahead of time that you will be serving Indian food but I really do not think it is necessary. There will be plenty of mild options for the picky eaters to eat so it is really not a big deal (salad, naan, rice, chicken). Indian food is delicious and one of my favourite cuisines. Maybe some of your “picky” guests (some of whom may be picky due to lack of exposure rather than sense of taste) will discover a love of Indian food this way! 

Post # 239
Member
206 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

Speaking as an Indian married to another Indian: people generally expect (and want) to be served Indian food at my home and I usually oblige. But speaking from the perspective of a host, I have a few friends who try as they might, just cannot tolerate it for whatever reason…so I make them American food that I know won’t have them leaving my house hungry after politely not eating. My nephew has severe food allergies that limit what we can serve when my in-laws come over-his allergies get priority. Similarly, I ordered my menu at my wedding (in India) to satisfy the vast majority of my guests who would be attending. I’m not looking to prosletyze my lifestyle, palate, religion or culture at a party…just trying to balance making the most people happy, I suppose. 

I think you should split the diff and order a few dishes of each that will leave all your guests full but let you get your inner Indian foodie out. Congrats on your upcoming wedding!

 

 

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