food

Seders go better if you have substantial food for karpas

Anonymous said to realsocialskills:
One of the things that’s hardest about Seders is how long they can be. I pretty quickly become exhausted and by that time I haven’t eaten anything of the meal yet. Advice?

realsocialskills said:

One thing I advise seder leaders to do is to use substantial food for karpas instead of just having parsley dipped in salt water. I do that when I lead seders, and I’ve found that it makes for a much better discussion. People don’t tend to have good conversations when they’re hungry and exhausted, and making food available makes a huge difference. 

The point of karpas was originally to dip food in other food. This was apparently not a normal thing to do at that point in the meal, so it was supposed to be unusual and get the kids to ask questions. 

For some reason, that got reduced down to dipping parsley in salt water in a lot of communities. What I do is include more substantial kinds of dip and foods that can be dipped. (Eg: chips and dip, strawberries and chocolate syrup, etc. I know someone who sometimes uses fries and ketchup for karpas too.).

Is there a way you could make that happen at the seders you go to? Might whoever is in charge be open to that?  I’ve found that a lot of people dislike the way that the storytelling part drags on because everyone gets hungry and grumpy, and only do it that way because they don’t know there’s an alternative.

If you’re concerned with the halakhic or ritual structure of the seder, you shouldn’t eat matzah/matzah crackers and haroset until later in the meal. Other dipping stuff should be fine though.

One advantage to seder stuff is — if people will think it’s weird and question it, that’s actually a good thing! Because seders are actually supposed to involve doing weird things to get people to ask questions. So if someone says “but people will think it’s weird”, sometimes you can successfully convince them that that’s a good thing and not a bad thing by saying “then they will ask questions and we’ll be able to have a good conversation about it.”

If you can’t do that, might it be possible to sneak off for a few minutes and discreetly eat a snack?  

tl;dr The storytelling part of the seder can get very unpleasant when everyone is hungry and grumpy. One solution to this is to make substantial food available during the karpas, instead of just parsley and salt water, and then leave it on the table during the storytelling. That tends to make for a much more pleasant discussion.

About the word "vegetarian"

“Vegetarian” is a word that means somewhat different things in different subcultures. If you’re feeding a vegetarian, it’s important to make sure that you know which definition of the word they mean.

In most English-speaking cultures, “vegetarian” means “someone who doesn’t eat animals.”. That includes red meat, poultry, fish, and anything else you’d have to kill an animal in order to eat. 

In some subcultures, “vegetarian” can mean “someone who doesn’t eat meat”, where meat is defined more narrowly than “all animals." 

For instance, in the observant Jewish community, most people don’t think of fish as meat (in part because it’s not defined as meat in the rules about keeping kosher). So, in many Jewish circles, a good percentage of people who describe themselves as vegetarians eat fish, but not other animals.

From both sides of this, it’s worth being aware that "vegetarian” is a word that’s used different ways in different communities. If you aren’t sure, it’s ok and good to ask what someone eats. Similarly, if you’re vegetarian and someone asks you whether you eat fish, it’s a legitimate question, not them being willfully ignorant about what the word means.

tl;dr “Vegetarian” is a word that’s used differently in different subcultures. If you’re a vegetarian eating with someone from a different community, it’s important to make sure that they understand what you don’t eat. If you’re feeding a vegetarian, it’s important to make sure you understand which definition of vegetarian applies to them.

Vegetarian happiness on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday focused around coming together and eating a big delicious meal. The traditional version of the meal centers around eating a turkey, and many traditional side dishes also contain meat.

This can make Thanksgiving unpleasant for vegetarians and for people who want their vegetarian friends and relatives to eat Thanksgiving dinner with them. With some planning ahead, this is a problem that can be solved.

Some general principles:

  • Since the meal is centered around being big and delicious, it’s much nicer if vegetarians also get very delicious things to eat
  • Some things that often have meat in them can also be made delicious without meat
  • Vegetarians need protein as much as meat eaters do
  • Vegetarians don’t want to eat things that are made of meat or flavored with meat

Some examples of common Thanksgiving foods other than turkey that vegetarians probably won’t want to eat:

  • Pie that contains lard or schmaltz
  • Brussels sprouts that contain bacon bits
  • Green beans made with bacon
  • Gravy made from turkey drippings
  • Stuffing that has been inside a turkey
  • Stuffing made with chicken broth
  • Anything else with meat or meat derivatives in it

Some thoughts on how to make food options for vegetarians:

  • Artichokes are delicious, especially with dip. If that’s one of the vegetable side dishes, it can be a happy thing for vegetarians to eat
  • If you make mashed potatoes and meat gravy, serve them separately, and use separate spoons so that the potatoes won’t become meaty
  • Consider also making vegetarian mushroom gravy. It’s delicious and will mean that vegetarians get to share in the deliciousness of potatoes and gravy
  • Bake some stuffing outside the turkey (safer anyway), and use vegetable broth or wine or something else non-meat and delicious rather than chicken broth to flavor it
  • Use butter/vegetable shortening instead of lard/schmaltz for pies
  • It’s ok not to make all the sides vegetarian, but make sure it’s clear what has meat in it and what doesn’t. Vegetarians don’t like surprise bacon.
  • Some vegetarians enjoy Tofurkey fake turkey roasts
  • Find out whether they eat fish. (Some people who identify as vegetarian do, and fish can be a good delicious protein source for those who eat it. Don’t assume in either direction. Ask.)
  • Ask them to bring or make something delicious and vegetarian for the meal. Group contributions are fairly normal in Thanksgiving meals, and most vegetarians have something delicious they like to make/share

tl;dr If you’re making a Thanksgiving meal and inviting vegetarians, the meal will be much more fun for everyone if you include delicious vegetarian dishes in your meal and avoid feeding them side dishes with stealth meat. Scroll back up for examples and concrete suggestions.

Anyone want to weigh in? Vegetarians who celebrate Thanksgiving: what do you like to eat? What makes you the most comfortable at a meal hosted by meat eaters? People who host vegetarians at a meal meal: what have you done that worked for everyone? What would you like vegetarians to do to make it work for you?

Hello, I wanted to write a response to the post about ordering food with dietary restrictions. I work the counter at a restaurant and would recommend specifying the dietary restriction you have and asking about the menu or specific dishes in relation. Also, where I work we have an allergy guide the lists all the ingredients in the dishes, so you could ask if they have one of those you could look at. At least where I work we’re trained to know the ingredients and what contains gluten, soy, etc.

asmileisamask:

ischemgeek:

Ordering food when you have dietary restrictions

realsocialskills:

What is the right way to ask over-the-counter-food selling people about the food? I keep having the problem where I ask things (like, what is in…

asmileisamask said:

I find that smaller businesses are more helpful than big chain restaurants, vegetarian cafés more helpful than non-specialty cafés, and anything in a health food shop is generally the best.

In my town, I’ve only ever found one place that hasn’t given me the wrong food/drink. It’s a little vegetarian café that caters to vegans as well, and the ladies that run it are the kindest and friendliest people I’ve ever met.

They put a chocolate-coated hazelnut on the spoon when you get a coffee, and the first time I went I carefully asked what it was. They told me and I said nervously that I was allergic. She immediately said she’d get me a different spoon. Ever since, I’ve never gotten one on my spoon and I’ve never had to mention it again.

When I order soy, I get soy. Every single time.

I see some posts on here that concern me, about people switching low-fat and soy for regular milk. I’ve lost count of how many times my drink has come out with regular milk, but it’s often enough that I sniff, take a wary sip, and if it’s not soy I spit it into my water glass before informing the wait staff that I was given the wrong drink.

ischemgeek:

Ordering food when you have dietary restrictions

realsocialskills:

What is the right way to ask over-the-counter-food selling people about the food? I keep having the problem where I ask things (like, what is in the food, for instance) and they interpret this as me ordering it and start making it for me. I…

ischemgeek said:

“Do you have an ingredients list for [item]? Can I see it?”

In many places, food providers are required to keep ingredients lists on hand and provide them to people who ask (most places in Canada and several American states have these laws). It is the single most reliable way of telling whether or not the item has whatever-you’re-allergic-to/can’t-eat in it, in my experience. Neurotypical people with dietary restrictions ask to see ingredients lists all the time, so if you’re worried about passing, asking for it won’t make you look neurodivergent.

In a restaurant or other place where ingredients lists aren’t on hand, “I can’t eat [thing you can’t have]. What foods are safe?” works if you don’t have anything in particular you’ve picked yet. Otherwise, “I can’t eat [thing you can’t have]. Is [item] safe for me?” works pretty well for me. I find starting out with whatever you can’t eat tends to get their attention better than including it in the same sentence. I don’t know why, but it works.

A final point: If you’re sensitive to cross-contamination and the person is unsure, I would really strongly recommend you pick something else because “I’m not sure” often means “sometimes and I can’t be arsed to ask the chef which it is today” and if you press things, they might just pretend to go ask the chef and then you can get cross-contamination. That’s a thing that’s happened to me. I find it’s a lot safer to err on the side of not getting the thing.

Ordering food when you have dietary restrictions

What is the right way to ask over-the-counter-food selling people about the food? I keep having the problem where I ask things (like, what is in the food, for instance) and they interpret this as me ordering it and start making it for me. I want to be respectful and not a jerk to the people, but I can’t just let this go, because the reason I’m asking is that whether or not I can eat the food depends on the answer.
realsocialskills said:
 
I’m not sure, because I have a lot of trouble talking to people who are selling me things.
 
I suspect that part of the problem might be tone, or not using clear enough words.
 
If that’s the problem, then stating the problem first and then asking about the food might help:
  • “I’m a vegetarian. Does the lentil soup have any meat in it?”
  • “I can’t have gluten. Can you tell me which dishes are gluten-free?”
  • “I’m allergic to mushrooms. Does the chicken sandwich have mushrooms in the sauce?”
  • “I don’t like olives. Does the bean salad have olives in it?”

In terms of not being a jerk, it helps to say thank you when they answer the question, and when they give you edible food. 

It’s ok to interrupt if they’re in the process of making possibly-inedible food, but I don’t really know how to do it effectively.

Does anyone else know good ways to handle this? How do you get information at food counters that will tell you whether or not you can eat the food?

parizadhe:

realsocialskills:

The sound of an apple being chewed drives me up the wall. Usually, when I am eating with someone and they pull out an apple, i can come up with a reason to excuse myself (bathroom, gotta take a phone call, etc.), but not always. I have also tried telling the…

parizadhe said:

I’ve had severe misophonia since I was a kid. It’s not just apples, but a LOT of noises–particularly relating to the mouth and nose–that set me off. I have to be very careful in noisy situations that it doesn’t trigger a full-blown panic attack, and I’ve been known to pass out from thee stress of “dealing with” my aversion to noises.

The best thing I’ve found is to carry headphones and an iPod or something EVERYWHERE I go. I have headphones or earplugs with me at all times. And when the noise gets too bad, I put the headphones on and crank up the music and try to divert my attention. I find it’s best to just be very honest with people you’re around, if you feel they may be insulted by this. “I’m not trying to ignore you, I just have a severe reaction to certain sounds.”

I’ve found that it helps to just be honest with people about it. Telling them about your sensitivity, tell them *it’s not their fault* and *it’s not something you can help either,* and tell them you will be right back/you’ll take off the headset when they’re done with the apple.

At the end of the day, your mental health trumps their right to eat an apple anyway, so you’re perfectly justified finding a solution that works for everyone involved.

realsocialskills said:

Thank you for your reply. I think your suggestions about how to discuss this are really good.

I somewhat disagree with you about “your mental health trumps their right to eat an apple anyway”. Sometimes that’s true, but not always. Sometimes it’s a competing access need.

There are all kinds of reasons why people sometimes have to eat right now, and why they might specifically need to eat an apple or something else that makes horrible sounds. It’s probably not usually going to be possible to tell from the outside whether someone has an important need to eat an apple.

I think that it’s better to err on the side of assuming that both people involved have needs that matter.

dysfunctionalqueer:

realsocialskills:

slepaulica:

realsocialskills:

wikdsushi:

[GJ] Great Post About ASD Diagnostic Process!

girljanitor:

realsocialskills:

I don’t really know how to say this the best way, but apparently I “might” have Aspergers. I had been having some trouble at college, and the woman we spoke to at disabilities services said that…

wikdsushi said:

Hang on, forgetting to eat is an Aspie trait?

realsocialskills said:

It can be, yes.

For a couple of reasons:

  • Autistic people have trouble with sensory processing, and noticing hunger relies on accurately interpreting certain sensations
  • For some autistic people, this means that it’s actually hard to consistently notice hunger
  • Autistic people often have trouble with executive functioning that can make the process of getting food confusing enough that you end up not bothering often enough
  • Autistic people also often have trouble identifying things as edible and realizing that it’s possible to eat them and not be hungry anymore

I wrote a post a while back on how to cope when food is too hard.

slepaulica said:

I have a lot of trouble with the last one.  I will go into a store that only sells food and look at all the things and none of it will look like food for reasons I don’t fully understand and I will walk out of the store having only bought a chocolate milk.

it can help to have a plan for what i’m trying to make out of the food, sometimes. but not always.

it’s like:

me: are you food?

carrot: no, i’m not food. i’m an ingredient.

me: oh, oh well.

(completely forgetting that i like carrots and that they go well in many of the things i like to cook)

if I can hold it in memory that I’m looking for ingredients, and even better, that i’m looking for certain ingredients, my success rate improves.

realsocialskills said:

This. Or I’ll buy a random assortment of things, none of which seem edible when I get home.

dysfunctionalqueer said:

I tend to have really specific sensory desires for food, and if they can’t be met i’ll just not end up eating. Like if I’m hungry for salty chicken soup, and we don’t have chicken soup, i’ll just not eat, because even if we have something close it wont be the same. Plus terrible exec functioning skills means that even if we do have that food, i might not be able to make it. this is why i live almost entirely off of popcorn and diet coke, because those two are always sensory friendly.

realsocialskills said:

I do that too, so I try to always keep around the foods that are reliably edible for me.

slepaulica:

realsocialskills:

wikdsushi:

[GJ] Great Post About ASD Diagnostic Process!

girljanitor:

realsocialskills:

I don’t really know how to say this the best way, but apparently I “might” have Aspergers. I had been having some trouble at college, and the woman we spoke to at disabilities services said that…

wikdsushi said:

Hang on, forgetting to eat is an Aspie trait?

realsocialskills said:

It can be, yes.

For a couple of reasons:

  • Autistic people have trouble with sensory processing, and noticing hunger relies on accurately interpreting certain sensations
  • For some autistic people, this means that it’s actually hard to consistently notice hunger
  • Autistic people often have trouble with executive functioning that can make the process of getting food confusing enough that you end up not bothering often enough
  • Autistic people also often have trouble identifying things as edible and realizing that it’s possible to eat them and not be hungry anymore

I wrote a post a while back on how to cope when food is too hard.

slepaulica said:

I have a lot of trouble with the last one.  I will go into a store that only sells food and look at all the things and none of it will look like food for reasons I don’t fully understand and I will walk out of the store having only bought a chocolate milk.

it can help to have a plan for what i’m trying to make out of the food, sometimes. but not always.

it’s like:

me: are you food?

carrot: no, i’m not food. i’m an ingredient.

me: oh, oh well.

(completely forgetting that i like carrots and that they go well in many of the things i like to cook)

if I can hold it in memory that I’m looking for ingredients, and even better, that i’m looking for certain ingredients, my success rate improves.

realsocialskills said:

This. Or I’ll buy a random assortment of things, none of which seem edible when I get home.

Food delivery etiquette

kittensandfeminism:

nerdloveandlolz:

realsocialskills:

vampirequing:

realsocialskills:

I feel silly asking this but: what is the etiquette for answering the door for mail/pizza deliveries? Specifically, is it rude if I answer the door in (non-revealing) PJs with unbrushed hair and just generally looking like I’ve been hit by a truck? On low-spoon days, I’d like to just order pizza, but I often can’t bring myself to do it because I feel I need to look human for the delivery driver and obviously I don’t have the spoons for that either. (I’m a girl, which shouldn’t matter but does).
realsocialskills said:
I actually don’t know, but I bet someone who reads this will.
Do any of y’all know whether it’s ok to answer the door for food deliveries wearing PJs?
And what else should people know about the etiquette of ordering delivery food?

vampirequing said:

One time I was super low on spoons so I didn’t even answer the door. I wrote “Payment for pizza in ziplock bag” on a ziplock bag and taped it to the door. The delivery being left the pizza on the porch and I got it after their vehicle left.

realsocialskills said:

Folks with food delivery experience - does it bother you if people do that?

nerdloveandlolz said:

With regard to the original question, you are under no obligation to look beautiful for the world. This is something us girls do to ourselves. Men generally don’t feel bad for rolling out of bed and walking to the deli/corner store for coffee/cigarettes/whatever. Men don’t feel the need to shave their faces every day before they answer the door. You don’t have to be perfect and beautifully groomed in order to deserve respect from others, particularly in this context. As long as you’re polite to the person, give as decent of a tip as you can generally afford, it’s fine. I think a few words to the person like “boy it’s cold out, hope you stay warm!” or something like that, something to let them know that *you* know you’re talking to a human — that kind of thing is a million times more important than whether or not you’ve brushed your hair!

Again: you are under no obligation to anyone at any time to be perfectly beautiful.

kittensandfeminism said:

agreed. i used to do deliveries and i didn’t care what the person looked like as long as they didn’t stiff me on the tip. and the whole leave the money in the ziplock bag thing happens so often.

lanthir:

Food delivery etiquette

vampirequing:

realsocialskills:

I feel silly asking this but: what is the etiquette for answering the door for mail/pizza deliveries? Specifically, is it rude if I answer the door in (non-revealing) PJs with unbrushed hair and just…

lanthir said:

I used to be a pizza delivery guy!  

As to etiquette, food deliverers really do not care what you’re wearing or if you are adequately groomed.  I’ve had people come to the door in everything from a three-piece suit to just wrapped up in a huge blanket.  One time I showed up just as the person was trying to catch her toddler and make them put their clothes back on, so there was a naked baby running around.  It doesn’t matter.  We really don’t care.  

As to leaving the money and a note on the door?  Um, I dunno.  I guess if you are really careful to make sure it’s the right amount (please include a tip!!)?  I think if someone had done that when I was delivering, I might have thought it was kinda weird, but I wouldn’t have been offended or thought it was rude.  This really only works if you’re paying with cash though!  So, remember that if you pay with a card, you’ll have to sign the receipt.  

Basically, delivery drivers are used to having people treat us badly.  Our standards of etiquette are generally pretty low.  Just, remember to tip, have payment ready when we get there, and don’t come to the door naked unless you’ve given advance warning.  And don’t yell at us.  That’s pretty much all it takes to make a delivery driver happy.

I used to work at Domino’s as a delivery driver and I can tell you from personal experience that we don’t really care how you’re dressed. I’ve had people answer the door in just a towel or looking like they’ve cried a five gallon bucket worth of tears. We’re there to bring pizza (or other foody) goodness into your lives. Also - fyi, if you give a tip in cash we’ll love you forever. We don’t typically have to include that in taxes cause our bosses don’t care. Means we can fill up our gas tanks.

More on how to eat when food is too hard

katalogofchaos:

When food is too hard

dyzzyah:

luxuryofconviction:

bramblepatch:

ktempest:

feministbatwoman:

realsocialskills:

Content warning: This post is my reply to someone who reblogged calling some of my low-spoons food strategies lazy and unhealthy. Some of y’all might be better off…

katalogofchaos said:

I’d like to add some tips which are helpful for my partner (and me) when he is struggling.  

In addition to getting the motivation to make food, he can get overwhelmed by the decision of what to make. There was a suggestion above to have a friend text you with a reminder to eat, but taking it a step further and having them tell you what to eat can be useful too.  I sometimes leave notes “chicken in tupperware” or he will text me “I’m hungry” and I reply with something like “there is peanut butter and honey on the counter and bread on the table, make a sandwich.” If I can take the burden of that choice away, that increases his chances of eating. 

Ordering pizza or take out is a great way to avoid the stress of preparing food, but it can sometimes mean even more choices than eating at home. One solution is to have a go-to order. At some point pick a pizza place, pick a pizza and toppings and save that as your default pizza.  If you pay with a card save your card information in the system.  In the future, ordering a pizza is reduced to one decision and one click. 

He also finds it helpful to have a generic/default order when we go out. He gets a bacon cheese burger with fries at any restaurant that has it, because then when he’s sitting at a table with 4 people and a waiter standing over him, he doesn’t need to make that choice.  

When he is feeling more stable, it also helps for him to cook for us instead of just him.  I still pick a meal, and make sure he has a recipe, but if he is cooking for me, he will follow through and cook the meal, and then there is something for him to eat as well. Strategies for living with a partner struggling with anxiety/depression is another post, but him cooking meals also helps to balance the support/supported roles in our relationship in a way that helps us both feel better. It helps him feel useful and that he is contributing, and it helps me feel cared for. 

When you prefer not to decide something

velarapproximant:

thegreatgodum:

michaelblume:

realsocialskills:

Read the post about consent problems. Curious about not quite opposite problem. Lack of opinion/preference being mistaken as consent problem e.g. “Where do you wanna go for lunch?” “I’m fine with wherever you want .” “Yeah, but, where do /you/ want?”
realsocialskills said:
Sometimes you can solve that problem by telling them explicitly that you want them to decide. Eg:
  • “I’d like you to pick a place.”
  • “I’m kind of tired of all the places I go, do you know of somewhere good?”

If you say it this way, it’s clearer that you’re actually *expressing* a preference (that they decide), and it looks less like you’re avoiding saying what you want in order to be polite.

Another possibility is to ask them for help narrowing it down, eg:

  • “Can you give me some options?”
  • “What are some places you like?”

Then, if you really don’t have a preference, you can pick one of their suggestions at random. And if you do have a preference, hearing a list can make it easier to make a choice.

These approaches don’t always work, but they do in a lot of situations.

michaelblume said:

I think it’d be cool if “decision fatigue” became a codeword the same way spoons already has.

“Where do you think we should eat?”

“…Decision fatigue”

“Pizza it is then!”

oh god, so much. but you tend to get the problem where both people have decision fatigue, and then you’re like… idk, flip a coin?

No one in my family liked to cook or had a very large cooking repertoire. So we collectively had decision fatigue about what to eat for dinner for years. No one knew what they wanted to eat for dinner, but they knew it wasn’t pizza. 

What The Fuck Should I Make For Dinner can help with that problem.

It works this way:

  • It gives you one suggestion
  • If you like it, you click the recipe and make that thing
  • If you don’t, you click “I don’t fucking like that” and it gives you another suggestion

Supercook is also useful. You tell it what ingredients you have, and it gives you a list of things you can make with those ingredients. 

Food Delivery

I’m no expert, but here’s what I know.

Most food delivery people use their own method of transportation, and pay for their own gas, which is why a 15% tip is a pretty good standard minimum.  Delivery fees almost never go to the driver, this is especially true of chain stores like Pizza Hut (local businesses may treat people better). 

As for a general how to?  I order online because it’s easier for me to avoid using the phone and it limits the number of times I have to talk to people, I’ll put some links to websites that make that easier down below.  Then I wait.  I have some mobility issues that make it harder to get up quickly so about the time the food is supposed to arrive I get up and wait by the door.

The delivery person should confirm your name or order and give you your food it set inside, then either take your cash (including tip) and hand you a receipt or take your credit card.  If you pay with a card, you’ll have to sign it etc. and either tip with cash or write the tip and total down for the driver.

I’m not sure what else to include, these are all the things I wish I’d known the first time I ordered in on my own.

Most major pizza places will deliver, but pizza is a pretty limited selection and not all other places that deliver have online ordering on their website, a lot of local places are set up with eat24 though.  eat24 lets you see all the places that will deliver to you, when you want it, in one place and then lets you order from any of them.  Here is the link  eat24.com

I haven’t used grubhub before, but it’s pretty much the same thing.  I checked it out, it gave me the same resaults as eat24 but they have less contrast between text and background which may or may not be an issue for you (it is for me) but here is the link:  www.grubhub.com

Question for y'all about food delivery

matchbook-stories:

realsocialskills:

I know that it is possible to order food and have it delivered, but I don’t quite know how it works.

Specifically:

  • How much are you supposed to tip on delivery orders?
  • Sometimes there is a delivery fee. Does that count as a tip, or do you still have to tip on top?

matchbook-stories

I’m not 100% on this so I’m interested in other answers. But I used to order food from an aggregate service called grub hub, and it offered the chance to automatically tip. The denominations were 10, 15, and 20%. I suspect delivery fee goes to the restaurant and not the driver.