Moral/Ethical Question

A situation came up a couple days ago that I have spent some time thinking about and I’m curious what the blog world thinks …

If you are vegetarian than you will understand, but if you aren’t, just pretend with me for a minute …

So, you are at a restaurant and you order a dish that you expect to be vegetarian. When you receive the dish you notice it actually has meat in it … what is better at this point morally or ethically to send the dish back? or eat it? Knowing that the meat (animal) will go in the trash can if you send it back. Or by eating it that it will nourish you (therefore serving a purpose) but you will break your “vegetarian vow”.

This situation happened to my husband a couple days ago, and he chose to eat the meat so that it served a purpose instead of going into the garbage can. I can certainly understand his reasoning and rationale. However, I think I probably would have sent the dish back on principal.

What do you think?

Tonight’s dinner was a very interesting veggie plate. I made Greens and Quinoa Pie again from the March Vegetarian Times issue. It was even better tonight because I added Goat Cheese (which I didn’t have last time). I love Goat Cheese like I love oxygen!


My dinner also involved: Grilled Zucchini marinated in Feta and Sundried Tomato Dressing, Creamed Corn and Mushrooms marinated in Red Wine.

Deeeeeee-wish-cious! (As Lincoln says).



Filed under Food, vegetarian

7 responses to “Moral/Ethical Question

  1. Personally, I would send it back. I have taken a quiche back to a bakery once. I asked for the Vegetarian Quiche. I got back to work and broke ipen the quiche only to see bits of bacon in it. I took it back. But then I would do this any time I got something I didn’t order.
    With regards to expecting something to be vegetarian, if I am not 100% sure I ask. Even if it is called a Spinach something or a Veggie something – if the menu does not specify it is a vegetarian dish I ask, that way if there is meat in it I can say – but you said… and send it back with no reservations. My theory is the customer is the one handing over the cash, they should get what they pay for.

  2. I totally understand why your husband did that and I think it’s admirable.. but I could never eat it. Meat creeps me out a lot now.

    Interesting dilemma though and it makes sense your Hus was perplexed!

  3. alecia

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I can tell you from working in a restaurant that it won’t go in the trash 🙂 Someone back there who is hungry will eat it and be grateful!! haha! 🙂

    • Tim

      Thanks Alecia, that makes me feel better. Perhaps at a large restaurant that would be the case, but in this particular instance it was a Thai restaurant where I was the only customer. The order wasn’t a mistake, I just forgot that the dish has chicken in it.

      I think the worst part is that the meat didn’t really bring anything to the dish (it was Tom Kha Gai soup). The chicken was kind of bland and tasteless. I don’t blame the chicken, I blame Tyson 🙂

      As penance for this unnecessary chicken-cide, I’d like to take a moment to remind people that meat is not a flavor, and issue a challenge: for the next week think about what you’re eating and if it contains meat ask yourself, “is it the main ingredient or just an ingredient?” If the answer is flavor, then is it really necessary?

      • Tim

        sorry for the crappy editing, folks. The last sentence should read “if the answer is ‘an ingredient’…”

  4. I think because HE is a little more flexible (if I understand right) on his vegetarian lifestyle that not wasting the food was the right decision, but if he was more like you and strict in his lifestyle then I would have sent it back. It’s disrespectful for someone’s dietary considerations to not be honored when that sort of request has been made. Tough question though!

  5. Cherri Slomiany

    It would depend on your reason for being vegetarian. If you would be breaking your moral beliefs then by all means, send it back. In no way should you have to pay for something if you really don’t want it and it’s not what you ordered.

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