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by Abigail Van Buren

Vegetarians' Dinner Guests Shouldn't Find a Bone to Pick

DEAR ABBY: My partner and I are vegetarians. Occasionally we eat fish, but neither of us has had pork, beef or fowl for more than 10 years.

We were at a barbecue at a good friend's house a short time ago and our gracious hosts kindly prepared veggie burgers especially for us. Another guest at the party asked me if I'd be as good-natured as our hosts if I were to have a get-together at my house. (In other words, would I serve meat to our carnivorous guests.) I told him no, to which he (jokingly?) replied that I was "selfish."

Abby, the idea of eating meat is gross to me now. The reason I stopped eating it in the first place is my ethical opposition to how it's produced, and I would not want to compromise my ideals simply in the name of being a good hostess.

Am I "selfish"? Should I offer my friends meat if that is what they prefer? I'd appreciate your input. -- WHERE'S THE BEEF? IN HOUSTON

DEAR W.T.B.: A gracious guest does not criticize what his or her hosts serve. Your friends are aware that you are a vegetarian and why. As long as you make sure they don't go hungry, you are not obligated to serve guests flesh of anything that doesn't come from the ground, a bush or a tree. And you can say I said so.