Organising a training day and ensuring that all dietary requirements are catered for
Is there anything hugely difficult about organising an event if the venue provides catering?
I used to do some work for a local branch of the National Union of Teachers and one of the roles included organising training events. We provided a meal during training days and snacks for other events, such as, meetings after school.
To ensure that everyone was catered for, and so we were aware of allergies, I'd ask those who registered, if they had any dietary requirements. Unfortunately, sometimes I'd wished I hadn't!
Ordering food which goes against your ethics
I sometimes regretted asking about food requirements because, as it wasn't an event that I was hosting personally, I had to arrange for the provision of non vegan food.
On training days we usually offered a choice of three starters, three mains and three desserts. For one event, I finalised the menu which offered the three starters and mains. The three options were meat, vegetarian and vegan. I received feedback saying that if the vegetarians and vegans got one option each, there should be a fish option and a meat option, because meat-eaters don't class fish as meat.
When choosing vegetarian and meat options, I found it hard to look at the menu objectively, and the dessert was no different! Why? Two of the options needed to be vegetarian. I don't think I would have been able to choose 3 vegan desserts.
It was particularly hard for me because I view vegetarian food, (which includes dairy), to be as cruel and violent as meat. So choosing meat starters, mains and desserts, was just as difficult as choosing vegetarian ones.
How I did my job with as little disturbance to my peace of mind as possible
I had to be quite firm with myself to stop me dwelling.
I told myself that I wouldn't offer these options if I was hosting the event myself.
I had to remind myself that everyone thinks differently and I can't impose my beliefs on those attending these events.
I also told myself to be kind to myself! To know it wasn't intentional violence and that I was doing the best I could in the situation I was in.
I would focus on finalising the menu and then work on letting it go.
For a number of reasons I am no longer involved in this role and I am thankful for it. No more looking at non-vegan options and choosing which ones sounded appealing.
The venues catered for vegans so well
Most of the staff who I liaised with knew how to define a vegan diet, and those who didn't had no problem once I'd explained.
The best part of all these events was the spread that was put on for those who wanted a vegan option! Here's one of the desserts I've enjoyed at these events.
"Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."
- Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)