RE: Meals and Dietary Preferences & Requirements
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2001 22:55:01 -0600 (MDT)
At Sharingwood accommodating dietary preferences and requirements is
entirely to the discretion of the cook. Most make some effort, but some do
not. Dietary information is posted so anybody who cooks can know what to
accommodate if they want. People with vegan diets are not usually
accommodated, thus our one vegan rarely comes to meals. Dairy or wheat
allergies seem to be poorly accommodated and a source of frustration, so
again, those folks tend to drop out of meals. Leaving the  omnivorous

Since meals are seldom  posted in advance (although this is supposed to
happen), this further discourages the non-omnivorous minorities because they
might be signed up, but have nothing they can eat when they show up.
Technically they are supposed to sign up, or off the eating list a day in
advance of the meal, but in practicality they sometimes cross off the eating
list on the night of the meal(so they won't be charged), go home grumpy and
make their own dinner. For example, recently burgers were on the menu and
while veggie burgers were on grill too, they were being placed on the animal
fat areas left behind by the beef burgers. This was not appreciated by the
vegetarians apparently. So, interest in accommodating and tolerance of
dietary issues is not high in some people here. This is not a general
position, but when say three meals a month are offered as wheat and dairy
free, and those that desire those preferences don't show up, the cooks
quickly punt accommodating this. There was a particular disconnect with one
girl here, who would be signed up, the cooks would make a special dish for
her, and she would not show up.  This food would then get thrown away. Then
her mom would complain about the cooks that did not accommodate her.

So to generalize (which is risky) I'd say that our particular system does
not cater to the needs of dietary restrictions on dairy or wheat very well,
and is often frustrating to vegetarians. Also, these folks make up a tiny
minority of the eating  population, and by dropping out they become
non-factors. The cooks convenience is  what we cater to, since a meal will
happen without the wheat and dairy free eaters, but not without cooks. I
don't personally recommend this approach.

Rob Sandelin

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