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To not tell my colleague the meal she's been eating is against her religion

(53 Posts)
CrystalBeth Wed 23-Apr-14 11:04:24

I regularly attend conferences with my colleague (who I don't know particularly well), there is usually a couple of us who go and we always visit a particular restaurant afterwards. Said colleague often moans (don't blame her) that there is limited things she can eat on the menu because the meat isn't halal and she can't eat anything that anything that's cooked in alcohol, therefore she always orders a particular fish dish from the menu (there are other options).

So, we went for the meal yesterday and I fancied having the fish dish myself (it was very naice) and notably said in the description that it was cooked in gin. I have this morning realised that my colleague has been eating a dish cooked in alcohol that's against her religion confused surely she has noticed in the 5+ times she's eaten it as it's clearly stated on the menu?

I should tell her, I know I should, but I don't want to really upset her or make her feel like she's done wrong in her religion and given it's just me and her and a four hour train ride this afternoon I don't know if I can face it. AIBU?

NoArmaniNoPunani Wed 23-Apr-14 11:06:41

Why would you tell her? I think it's best not to

EmmanuelWoganberry Wed 23-Apr-14 11:09:05

I wouldn’t. But next time might point at the menu and say something like "oh no! They’ve started cooking the fish in gin"

PlumpPartridge Wed 23-Apr-14 11:09:26

I think I'd probably mention it and then soothe her upset by talking it over. She ate the dish in good faith, she didn't realise, God forgives such things. She doesn't need to worry but she probably won't want to eat it again.

I grew up in a Muslim country and have dealt with similar situations before - those are my qualifications grin

Youdontneedacriminallawyer Wed 23-Apr-14 11:09:56

What Emmanuel said. What would you achieve by telling her now? Just bring the "change in menu" to her attention next time.

daphnehoneybutt Wed 23-Apr-14 11:15:36

I mentioned to my colleagues who don't eat beef that there was beef products in Haribo.

This was in no way connected to me wanting more Haribo for myself...

I wouldn't tell her - where will you eat then? I reckon she is turning a blind eye...

CrystalBeth Wed 23-Apr-14 11:15:39

Well I thought I should tell her to avoid the mistake happening again, but good idea about the change in menu, I will definitely mention it next time we go.

sashh Wed 23-Apr-14 11:21:57

Tell her, she might never have heard of Gin.

One of my colleagues brought Shandy in, thinking that because it is sold next to coca-cola it would be OK.

I would also tell her that most of the alcohol will have been cooked out so what's left is probably about the same as a piece of ripe fruit.

ClearlyMoo Wed 23-Apr-14 11:23:07

I once told a muslim colleague that Sherry trifle contained alcohol after he'd eaten it (and enjoyed it). He was SO ANGRY and upset. I wish I'd never told him!

DrankSangriaInThePark Wed 23-Apr-14 11:23:40

I'd tell her.

TheAwfulDaughter Wed 23-Apr-14 11:27:40

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MysweetAudrina Wed 23-Apr-14 11:32:03

Surely when you cook something in alcohol the alcohol cooks off and therefore it is no longer alcoholic. I stopped drinking alcohol for religious reasons but would still use it in cooking where a recipe called for it.

Nocomet Wed 23-Apr-14 11:32:49

Assuming your colleague has read the menu, I'd say absolutely nothing.

My DF is Jewish, she likes to keep Kosher, but she doesn't live in an area with a large Jewish population, so no kosher restaurants or butchers.

She knows when she eats out that she cannot guarantee the veg will be checked for insects or the pans used cleaned to orthodox standards. She doesn't worry too much about non veggie cheese. She goes to a progressive synagogue and says exact interpretation of the food laws is not something you ask people about.

Eating out in a country where yours is not the majority faith, requires a bit of pragmatism. Your colleague may decide the alcohol has boiled away, may not care (and may even drink in private occasionally). It's non of your business.

GotMyGoat Wed 23-Apr-14 11:33:47

Stephen Fry told me it was a bit of a myth that all the alcohol gets cooked off...

CrystalBeth Wed 23-Apr-14 11:41:12

I did once mention that the alcohol is cooked off during cooking but she was absolutely adamant that she couldn't eat anything cooked in alcohol.

Maybe she actually has noticed and has decided to eat it anyway? Then if I told her I'd make her feel guilty and forced to stop eating it!

oscarwilde Wed 23-Apr-14 11:44:41

If you are all regularly attending, I would ask her if there is somewhere else she would like to try this time and don't be selfish just because there is a majority.

Alcohol does cook out, but there is residual alcohol depending on the length of time it has been cooked for. I forget the exact times but something along the lines of 45 mins for a glass of wine. It's unlikely therefore, it will have been cooked out in a fish dish unless it was a dash in the sauce. Any decent chef will be able to leave out the alcohol in any case unless it is something like beef bourgignon smile

Point out the change in the menu if you feel that she might have never heard of Gin, otherwise I would assume that she has decided its the least of the evils present on the menu and is being pragmatic.

oscarwilde Wed 23-Apr-14 11:45:40

Maybe she actually has noticed and has decided to eat it anyway? Then if I told her I'd make her feel guilty and forced to stop eating it!
Exactly. You can always tell her that you never drink Gin & Tonics and see if she asks what Gin is.

Yambabe Wed 23-Apr-14 11:46:25

Fish cooked in gin? hmm Really?

I love to cook and I love to eat out but I've never encountered anything cooked in gin before! How did it taste?

lurkerspeaks Wed 23-Apr-14 11:56:12

I wouldn't tell her but would highlight it if you go back.

Out of interest why do you always go somewhere that is difficult for her? I have several muslim friends of varying degrees of observancy - finding interesting food they can eat isn't difficult.

One my the above friends is a bit of a foodie and prone to ordering things she wants to try even if she suspects she isn't meant to eat them eg. me pointing out lardons were bacon was deemed unhelpful as that meant she couldn't now have it whereas if she hadn't known it would have been ok!

The food stuff that I confess to keeping quiet about containing alcohol is posh vanilla extract - makes cakes taste so much better… neither of them have ever asked if I use it and I don't volunteer the info.

Birdsgottafly Wed 23-Apr-14 11:56:23

Alcohol isn't burned off. It certainly won't be in a dish with fish in.

I'm Vegan and have had Muslim/Indian friends, they (and I) have found out later that something has contained Bovine Gelatine etc.

Most people in this situation process this as it not counting as it was not a conscious act.

I would do as suggested, being up that they are now cooking the fish in alcohol.

It is then an informed choice, she may have to take the lesser of evils, I have had to, on occassion when dropping to Vegetarian.

Andrewofgg Wed 23-Apr-14 12:02:43

if you might go again, tell her. If not, not.

TillyTellTale Wed 23-Apr-14 12:43:26

If she's previously said she's strict about alcohol in cooking, I think it's quite likely she just doesn't know what gin is. A Muslim from a Muslim family could easily be unfamilar with the less common kinds of spirit.

If you go again, go with the "they've changed the menu!" suggestion. Or, go somewhere else with good vegetarian/pescetarian options.

bigdog888 Wed 23-Apr-14 12:45:55

She can eat anything she wants on the menu - she chooses not to. That's a big difference in my opinion. I wouldn't say anything and just let her get on with it as I would anyone who chooses to restrict their diet.

TheScience Wed 23-Apr-14 12:47:06

Most (not all) alcohol is cooked off in slow cooked things - a casserole or bolognese that is cooked for an hour or more.

Most alcohol will remain in something like a fish dish that is cooked quite briefly.

eightandthreequarters Wed 23-Apr-14 12:51:17

Said colleague often moans (don't blame her) that there is limited things she can eat on the menu

Choose a different restaurant?

But I wouldn't say anything about the gin. I think she knows what it is. If I see an ingredient I'm not familiar with, I ask what it is. This option must have occurred to her!

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