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Redditor Balks After Sister Demands They Create Vegan Menu For Her Boyfriend At Annual BBQ

Person grilling meats
Zbynek Pospisil/Getty Images

As fad diets come and go and being dairy-free, gluten-free, or vegan is almost “fashionable” at this point, it seems like nothing quite like the menu options will divide a family meal gathering.

When someone is attending who has special dietary needs or preferences, it inevitably becomes a hot topic of conversation, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITAH) subReddit.

Redditor GateTotal4663 was preparing for an annual summer event that they invited their friends and family to each year, this time including their sister’s boyfriend, who was vegan.

But when their sister began to make demands about changing the menu to accommodate just the boyfriend, the Original Poster (OP) knew that they couldn’t just “do” that.

They asked the sub:

“AITAH for refusing to adapt my annual BBQ for my sister’s vegan boyfriend?”

The OP was excited about this year’s ‘Meatstravaganza.’

“Let me set the scene: Every summer, I throw what my friends and family have lovingly dubbed the “Meatstravaganza,” a BBQ bash celebrating all things meat.”

“It’s an event everyone looks forward to, complete with a trophy for the best homemade BBQ sauce and a brisket cook-off.”

But this year, there were dietary restrictions the OP was expected to honor.

“This year’s curveball? My sister has a new boyfriend who is vegan. When she asked if he could come, I was totally fine with it—more the merrier!”

“But then she dropped that she expected me to provide vegan options for him.”

“I’m all for inclusivity, but this is a day dedicated to meat. I suggested, half-jokingly, that he could maybe just eat the garnishes (lettuce, tomatoes, onions) off the burgers, not thinking it would be a big deal.”

“My sister got really upset and said that it was rude to invite someone and not cater to their needs.”

“I argued that the theme of the event has been the same for over ten years and everyone knows what it’s about. Plus, last-minute changes to include a full vegan menu seemed daunting and honestly, a bit out of place for the spirit of the Meatstravaganza.”

The OP’s sister continued to press the issue.

“She accused me of being exclusionary and unsympathetic.”

“I tried to compromise by saying her boyfriend could bring his own food and use a separate grill I’d set up just for him.”

“She argued that segregating his food was even more insulting. Now, she’s threatening not to attend, and my mom thinks I’m being a jerk for not bending the rules of my BBQ.”

“She didn’t take that well. Now, she’s saying she might skip the event altogether, and some family members are siding with her, calling me inflexible and inhospitable. They’re making me out to be the bad guy for not wanting to alter a tradition that’s been set in stone for years.”

“So, Reddit, am I the a**hole for wanting to stick to my guns and keep my BBQ meat only, even if it means my sister and her boyfriend might not attend?”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some reassured the OP that the second grill was a wonderful compromise.

“Two grills is an absolute compromise! I probably would have just made sure there were a couple of suitable side dishes he could eat, like fruit salad, chips, and a veggie tray.”

“I wouldn’t think anyone attending a ‘meatstravaganza’ would expect the entree to be vegan.” – jujubeeee73

“Offering a separate grill is the compromise. That the sister doesn’t understand this means she doesn’t actually understand what being a vegan is.”

“I suspect the boyfriend would be fine, or even appreciative, of that setup… as long as he’s not one of those preachy vegans.” – Tyler_I_Relyt

“Setting up a separate grill sounded really accommodating. If that isn’t an option, I’ve wrapped veggie/vegan burgers in foil to prevent cross-contamination.”

“It’s not exactly the same, but my daughter has celiac disease. It’s great when people think to accommodate her. That said, we’re also really used to managing her food restrictions ourselves. It can take a lot of stress off the host and give us peace of mind.” – Amazing-Software4098

“This was literally the most inclusive offer he could’ve made, aside from buying and cooking the food for him. Obviously, the OP will be busy enough, so it makes sense for a last-minute request to be handled by the person requesting it. The fact he offered to have a separate grill set up was great!” – Autumnd**kingaround

Others agreed and reminded that the experience was more important than the food.

“I am a flexitarian who is in a relationship with someone who is vegan. Any time we go to a cookout we bring our own vegan burgers. It is simply not a big deal. Also, many sides (slaw, chips) are going to be vegan anyway.”

“Further, if one of us does not get any/enough protein at a cookout, guess what? We are not going to die! We will get enough protein in the other 20 meals we eat that week.”

“But also, it is not hard for the person throwing the barbecue to make a few tweaks. Offering a separate grill and maybe even buying the vegan burgers as the host… like what little bit of effort does that take?”

“And the OP already offered to have a separate grill. I’m surprised this offends the sister because every vegan I know (about two dozen of them) will want exactly that.”

“My partner and I have this attitude that sharing a meal with friends, at the end of the day, is not about the food. Or it is not mostly about the food. It is about spending time with friends and maintaining those relationships. It is about enjoying each other’s company.”

“And if that is the goal then it looks like people on both sides would be knocking themselves out to be accommodating to the other side. In this case, it seems there are deeper relationship problems between the sister and the brother.” – Accurate_Shower_9630

“Your sister is getting upset on her boyfriend’s behalf without even consulting him. Does he want to come to a meatstavaganza?”

“When I was a vegetarian, I always brought my own veggie burger to BBQs. I’d throw it on the grill and there was usually a fruit salad or corn on the cob I could eat.”

“It’s entirely possible she’s making a big deal out of it when it doesn’t need to be, so I think further discussion, with the actual vegan, is necessary.”

“Also, I think the company will be more interesting than the food!” – amesaskew

“I’ve always said that not every event is for everyone and that’s okay. I don’t think people should ALWAYS have to cater to you. If they can that’s nice, but they shouldn’t have to.”

“The topic came up the other day when some friends and I were talking about going out for tapas, but one of our friends is a super picky eater. The whole point of tapas is to share but they wanted to pretty much only order vegetarian food because they hate seafood and are weird about other meats.”

“Like that’s fine but maybe don’t come to a sharing food dinner then? Maybe we can organize another dinner? Where we can have more fun together? Together? And not stress about the menu?” – littlebetenoire

“Vegan of 20 years here. You literally offered a separate grill. What more does she want?”

“I’d thank you for your kind thoughts but say I didn’t want to be in trouble and I’d happily bring my own precooked food if that was ok with you. I have never expected to be fed. Not once.”

“H**l, I’d rather eat beforehand and just socialize than offend you by bringing my own food if it hadn’t been pre-discussed. I’ve excused myself to go make a phone call in the car and eaten a quick “emergency” sandwich to tide me over and then back to the event rather than offend the host.”

“And I’d happily come to your BBQ, but I would appreciate a warning if there’s a whole pig because that does turn my stomach so I’d just be thankful for a warning where it was located so I could avoid it, or not come if totally unavoidable.”

“NTA. Veganism is my choice, like my religion. It’s no one’s responsibility but my own.” – Rosalie-83

“NTA. We have a very similar event (Meatfest) that we host and have had vegans/vegetarians attend with no issue. We just frame it more as a potluck and be very clear about what we plan on providing so that others can plan appropriately.”

“So typically we’ll say, we’re smoking brisket and pulled pork, and providing potato salad, mac and cheese, a veggie tray and pies for sides/desserts. Then we have others that decide to bring portable grills to contribute burgers/brats/chicken, others want to bring other side dishes, dessert, beer, etc.”

“Then we leave out notecards along the long tables so that people can label what they made and note any allergens or meats included. It works great, still keeps the spirit of Meatfest, and lets everyone find something that works for them.” – tga_hammertime

After receiving feedback, the OP expressed their thanks.

“Wow, this really blew up! Thanks for all the upvotes and comments, everyone. It’s been enlightening (and entertaining) reading through your thoughts.”

“Clearly, this has sparked a lot of opinions on both sides. I’m taking all your feedback to heart as we approach the big day.”

“I’ll keep you updated on how the Meatstravaganza goes—whether the vegan burger makes its aerial debut or not! Stay tuned.”

The subReddit was appreciative of the OP’s thoughtfulness and their willingness to provide a whole second grill to prepare vegan options for the event. That all said, they could also understand why the OP wouldn’t want to completely erase their original event idea for the sake of one guest, and they urged the OP to discuss this with the most involved party: the boyfriend himself.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.