Food compatibility and relationships

4th August 2010

Food compatibility and relationships

Could you stay seriously romantically involved with someone who didn’t care about food the way you do?

That’s the question posed over at the CNN blog Eatocracy and surprisingly, the majority of respondents say that it is indeed a dealbreaker in a relationship.  The gist of the post seems to be aimed more at epicurean foodies who look for like-minded palates in a mate, but it’s worth exploring other aspects of dietary discordance too, like sustainable food or vegetarian/vegan diets.  I had been vegetarian for a little over two years when I met Brandon.  Our whirlwind relationship moved quickly and I seriously think that the first inkling I felt that hey… this could actually be the one started when I looked in his refrigerator freezer that first weekend and saw at least five different varieties of Morningstar Farms veggie burgers lining the shelves.  Brandon wasn’t vegetarian then, but had undergone a kind of mid-life crisis months earlier and had ditched his fast food diet for veggie burgers and taken up running again.

Food played a large role in our budding relationship those first few months.  I was on the tail end of my recovery from an eating disorder and Brandon was a bachelor who cooked most of his meals in a microwave.  I turned him on to sesame rye crackers and hummus, veggie taco salads and homemade healthy pizza.   He reintroduced me to chocolate, bread and ooey gooey cheesy pizza from our favorite local pizza parlor.  I tried not to evangelize vegetarianism, but since we planned meals and grocery shopped together, our meals tended to be vegetarian.  In fact, I can recall only two instances after we met in which Brandon ate meat — once when he and his brother dined out together and without me and again when we dined out with friends at a restaurant with a very limited veggie-friendly menu.  Within six months after we moved in together, he went completely vegetarian.  My mom, who was slow to understand my vegetarianism for the longest time, chided me for “making” Brandon give up bacon.  “Let that boy eat some meat already!” she’d scold.  True, I didn’t exactly relish the idea of kissing Brandon after he’d eaten charred animal flesh nor did I want to see it in my refrigerator, but what my mom didn’t understand is that I didn’t force Brandon into anything; he went vegetarian because he loves me and knew how important it was to me.

Vegetarianism, however, is the point in which our shared taste in food ends.  I’m both health- and environmentally-conscious and also try to follow a relatively low glycemic diet for health reasons.   Brandon?  Eh, not so much.  I love green vegetables — kale, spinach, broccoli, okra, Brussel sprouts, salads…  The only vegetables Brandon eats are the “bad” white ones — corn and potatoes.  He can tolerate certain vegetables in things, like soups and stir-frys or on pizza, but you will never find him digging into a plate of freshly steamed vegetables on their own.  Here’s an example of our different palates: Neither of us are foodies nor do we even really like to cook.  One evening I was busy with work and other things and left dinner up to him.  After a half hour of rooting around in the cabinets and refrigerator, I asked him if he had any ideas.  “Veggie chicken nuggets?” he suggested. “And….?” I asked.  He shuffled his feet.  “Uhh, French fries?”  “How about Quorn chicken with a baked potato and steamed broccoli?” I asked.  He wrinkled his nose.

We try to prepare dinners that both will like and find satisfying, but often times we’ll also each fix our own dinners, too.  A veggie burger or chicken patty for him; a veggie burger or veggie chicken and a side of steamed veggies for me.  It may seem odd to some, but it works for us.  How about you?  Do you and your partner share similar or completely different dietary tastes?  Could you ever be in a relationship with someone who isn’t on the same page as you when it comes to food?

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  1. 1 On August 4th, 2010, Little D said:

    I was vegetarian for about a year and just recently went vegan. My partner of 5 years is also a vegan. We love to cook vegan meals together and share in our views about our health, the environment and animals. I have dated omnivores in the past, and for the most part they respected my choice to not eat meat. However, I believe that it is much more fulfulling to have a partner who shares my views about food and not just “tolerates” my lifestyle, but who also follows it himself.

  2. 2 On August 4th, 2010, Shinobu said:

    When met my fiancé he ate mostly chicken patties, frozen pizza, and hot pockets, thought potato chips were a side dish, and the closest he came to vegetables were corn and mashed potatoes every few weeks when his mom cooked. At first we just shopped together and picked out our own foods, but now we’re working on being able to shop together and eat the same foods. It isn’t easy…

    I’d like to fit some meatless dinners in, but I’m not much of a cook. Our food budget is about $50 a week so we can’t really do the packaged meat substitutes and we shop in a “This + this = meal” sort of way. If anyone has any ideas I would really appreciate it.

  3. 3 On August 4th, 2010, KellyK said:

    The hubby and I are on approximately the same page food-wise, though I’d have a hard time articulating where exactly that page is or what book it’s in. :) We both like to cook and watch a lot of Food Network, but we also both frequently tend to say “screw it” and order pizza or Chinese after a long or busy day (but usually not fast food unless it’s KFC or Arby’s or Wendy’s). We try to buy fresh and local veggies (shop at a farmer’s market, buy both a winter and summer CSA share). We’re also both pretty adventurous about trying new things. The biggest difference is that I have a *major* sweet tooth, him much less so.

    As I think about it, though, at least some of that similarity is a product of having been together for a while, and our tastes were different when we first got together. As a kid, Burger King was a treat for me, and I was really into Whoppers and other fast food. Him being very definitively *not* a fan of fast food burgers meant that if we were traveling together, we ate other places, since I was just as happy with KFC or Taco Bell or a sit-down meal at Friendly’s. And now I’m completely out of the habit of eating at BK. Similarly, I got into cooking a lot more when we moved in together, both because he knew more about cooking than I did and I started learning and because cooking for one person is a pain I didn’t bother with when I lived alone.

    I also started off *way* more into eating “healthy” than he is. For example, the fact that most of the bread and pasta we buy is whole-wheat was my idea. I was doing one diet or another most of the time we were dating and the first couple years of our marriage, and he was generally supportive of whatever restrictions I placed on myself, and when he cooked, he would try to make stuff that was “legal” for me. That was a source of stress and frustration because he ended up torn between wanting to be supportive and wanting to eat the things he liked, and I was torn between wanting to stick to a diet and lose weight and not wanting to be miserable to be around, or force him to adhere to my diet. So, when I discovered fat acceptance and intuitive eating and gave up on dieting, it made things a lot smoother.

    As far as “Could you ever be in a relationship with someone who isn’t on the same page as you when it comes to food?” I think it depends on how far apart you are and what kind of compromises both people are willing to make. Like, I would not be wiling or able to become a vegetarian for someone else. If my husband decided to become a vegetarian, I’d make an effort to learn about meatless cooking and would make things he could eat, but I wouldn’t give up meat myself. (Though if seeing me eat meat or having it in the house really bothered him, I’d do most of my meat-eating when he wasn’t around.)

    I think I’d have trouble being in a relationship with someone who flat-out doesn’t cook, because neither “live on frozen food and take-out” nor “do 100% of the cooking” sound appealing to me. I’d also have a hard time if the other person had really narrow tastes and wanted the same thing all the time.

  4. 4 On August 4th, 2010, WendyRG said:

    About six years ago I had major surgery that went really badly and had to be re-done. I spent pretty much a whole year unable to walk, except on crutches and even then. So hubby and I didn’t go out much. I developed an addiction to HGTV that year while my husband discovered the Food Network and a new foodie was born. I like to say that he was kidnapped by the aliens who replaced him with a perfect copy of my real husband–except this one can cook!

    Together, but mostly with my prompting, we have cut down our meat consumption. I don’t think we’ll ever go vegetarian, but we consciously make the effort to eat a lot less meat. We also buy a lot more organic produce and meat and try to eat more local foods.

    We’ve been together over twenty years.Although we still have our culinary differences, we have definitely grown much closer in terms of our food choices than when we first met.

  5. 5 On August 4th, 2010, Jerome said:

    This is an interesting topic. I was vegetarian (and also in the midst of recovery from an ED) when I first met my partner a few years ago, and he wasn’t. Within two months he had gone vegetarian (like you, I didn’t have to force him; he came to the conclusion on his own because he knew how important it is to me), and we ended up going vegan together a few months later, which was a HUGE bonding experience because we had to figure out an entirely new way of eating together and tried most things as a pair. I don’t think that someone’s food preferences necessarily need to be a dealbreaker for a relationship but it really depends on the people in question. I was willing to deal with someone who ate meat at that time, but at this point it would be a much larger problem.

  6. 6 On August 4th, 2010, Penny said:

    As I’ve never had enough of a love life to be able to say for sure, I have to fall back on speculation. I suspect that my attitude about food compatibility would be pretty much the same as for anything else that matters to me—as long as there’s no outright hostility about the issue or any attempt to change my mind for me, I think I’d be OK with a partner who didn’t approach food the same way I do. I love to cook, and I’m usually a fairly adventurous eater (I’ll try most things at least once unless they contain an ingredient I think is disgusting, like liver or bugs), so I might even welcome the chance to try something new. Different eating habits wouldn’t necessarily be a deal-breaker for me, especially if we were compatible in other important ways, but if my partner tried to dictate my food choices or expected me to cook two different meals with no help to compensate for the extra work, *that’s* what would lead to trouble.

  7. 7 On August 4th, 2010, Sarah said:

    My boyfriend of 15 yrs or so and I used to have pretty similar eating habits until a few years ago. I developed a peanut allergy and suddenly my dietary choices took a huge plunge downward. He developed a stomach problem around the same time (which after about 2 yrs he finally figured out was lactose related). Now we eat almost completely separate meals. Even going out to restaurants together is becoming impossible. It hasn’t been easy – hell simply adjusting to our own necessary changes has been difficult, but adding trying to make meals that we both can eat? It just isn’t happening. If our eating issues had been like this when we first met, I don’t know that we would have bothered to work at it. Its only because of having already invested a dozen yrs in the relationship that we are working out these food problems. I miss sharing food with him.

  8. 8 On August 4th, 2010, Lisa said:

    J and I are rather strange when it comes to food. Our day-to-day diets are somewhat predictable – scrambled egg substituted+veggies, packaged tuna or salmon, etc. But on occasion, we really go all-out and cook; on other nights, we might trek to our favorite Thai place. Usually we’re on different eating schedules; occasionally we’re both up for something tastier.

    I really do have to credit him for at least some of my recovery. Eating with someone who truly enjoys cooking and eating was pretty powerful for me.

  9. 9 On August 5th, 2010, drummergrrrl said:

    I was engaged to a Type I diabetic. He resented me for what I was able to eat, and I resented him for not having an eating disorder. Food was a huge bone of contention (no pun intended) in our relationship. I don’t think I’d ever be able to go back to that. Also, I love to cook, and it would break my heart if my partner didn’t enjoy the food I made for him. Food is such a fundamental element of our human experience that I think tastes have to match to have a successful relationship. My mom cooks for my dad, but he has such a tough palate that he can’t taste any of the subtle flavors she incorporates. It drives her mad.

  10. 10 On August 5th, 2010, Food compatibility and relationships » | Bitter And Sweet Blog said:

    [...] Link: Food compatibility and relationships » [...]

  11. 11 On August 5th, 2010, linsey said:

    We are not 100% compatible – my partner buys lots of treats, which I would prefer to have once-in-a-while, and isn’t as excited about food as I am. But, we eat pretty healthy, and I do almost all the cooking which I’m fine with. I do think a chronic dieter would be a deal breaker. Or someone who ate junk food all the time. That stuff is still really triggering for me. Plus, once you have kids those kinds of issues just get worse.

  12. 12 On August 5th, 2010, Lampdevil said:

    Compatible taste in food is a key part of any relationship that I enter into. I cook for fun, and I cook a wide variety of things, and I find just about everything to be tasty if it’s well-prepared. I do most of the cooking in the house, and I’ll tend to modify what I make to cater to the tastes of the people I’m cooking for. Hooking up with someone that refuses to eat much of anything is just not going to happen. It’s one thing to leave out the mushrooms (as I did for one ex) or dial back the spice (as I did for an old roommate), but it’s another thing to have a dish contain none of the things I like at all, just to please a picky palate. If I get fed up or cravey enough, I’ll just make exactly what I want and order the but-I-don’t-like-it-er to warm up a frozen dinner and STFU.

    (It was really liberating to eat mushrooms again after that ex became an ex, let me tell you.)

    I may have a bad case of confirmation bias or small sample size happening, but it seems like most of the guys I know have a vegetable aversion. And I see it all the time online, the “my boyfriend doesn’t eat broccoli, or anything green, and blah blah blah” thing. I don’t see as many women being picky to that degree. I wonder if diet culture has something to do with it? The message that you should eat THIS and THAT because it’s GOOD FOR YOU is pushed more at women than men? I’d be happy for some examples otherwise.

  13. 13 On August 5th, 2010, DaniFae said:

    My husband and I both grew up poor in the Midwest, but while my mom worked magic in the kitchen, turning empty cupboards into delicious food, lots of fresh fruit and veggies, homemade cookies, and so on; his mom bought everything prepackaged, canned and frozen, nary a fresh apple, carrot, orange or cucumber in sight.

    Which lead to a difference in tastes, he has a very immature taste for food, lots of sugar, salt, and so on, while I can enjoy bitter, or sour. Dark chocolate, dry wine, all right up my ally, not so much for him. But since things like that are more luxuries than survival food, we just buy separate stuff. For the most part I converted him, which wasn’t a fight. There were a few things here and there he was convinced were odd, like buttered spaghetti with sauteed mushrooms and onions, or meals without meat (I’m not a vegetarian, but a lot of my favorite meals are), but he got used to it. Now we just argue over weird things, like bread.

    But I am the type of person who would dump someone over taste in food, I could not be in a relationship with a very picky eater, just because I love food, I love trying new foods, and I need someone with a bit of a sense of adventure, or else I’d be very unhappy.

  14. 14 On August 5th, 2010, Rachel said:

    Lampdevil wrote: I may have a bad case of confirmation bias or small sample size happening, but it seems like most of the guys I know have a vegetable aversion. And I see it all the time online, the “my boyfriend doesn’t eat broccoli, or anything green, and blah blah blah” thing. I don’t see as many women being picky to that degree.

    I dunno about other guys, but in my husband’s case, I blame my mother-in-law. She also hates most vegetables and didn’t prepare them often and/or make her boys eat them. Brandon’s two brothers aren’t so hip on veggies, either. My family didn’t eat all that healthy growing up, but my mom did fix veggies as side dishes often and none of my siblings nor I ever had any of the issues with veggies that some kids seem to have.

  15. 15 On August 5th, 2010, Rachel said:

    Little D wrote: have dated omnivores in the past, and for the most part they respected my choice to not eat meat. However, I believe that it is much more fulfulling to have a partner who shares my views about food and not just “tolerates” my lifestyle, but who also follows it himself.

    Same here. I dated a few guys after I turned vegetarian and before I met my husband and all were omnivores. They respected my vegetarianism, but continued to eat meat themselves. Vegetarianism was very important to me, but it wasn’t a dealbreaker in a relationship… or so I thought. Now after being with someone who not only tolerates my beliefs but also shares them, I don’t see how I could ever be in a committed relationship with someone who isn’t vegetarian. I consider it kind of the equivalent to someone who’s an evangelical Christian trying to make it work with an avowed atheist — even with mutual respect, friction is bound to arise with such drastically conflicting views.

  16. 16 On August 5th, 2010, xina said:

    I think food compatibility is really important. Three years ago (at the age of 35) I became disabled and unable to work and had to move home to live with my mother. As we share food and eat many of our meals together, I am so happy that we are on the same page with regard to food. We are both food snobs! And it’s hard out here for a food snob, let me tell you. We eat lots and lots of fruits and veggies and one of our favorite things to do on the weekend is go to the farmers’ market. We eat a wide variety of food and prefer healthy cooking methods (so no frying). Mom eats red meat, while I really don’t – but we eat a lot of chicken and turkey and fish and pork. During the summer she is the grill master! We love to BBQ and her turkey burgers and grilled corn on the cob are legendary. I honestly cannot imagine how it would be to live at home with her if we did not have the same love of good, brightly colored food. She dated a man for 10 years who barely ate vegetables. She got him to eat some throughout their relationship, but it was like pulling teeth. His favorite meal was hamburger helper. It was a constant battle and for me, it would not have lasted 10 years. If I were in a relationship it would have to be with someone who has an appreciation for good, brightly colored food. My sister does not eat a wide variety of food (though she at least eats vegetables). I lived in Seattle prior to my illness and last year we went back for a 2 week vacation and my mom invited my sister to come with us. Seattle is a FOODIE PARADISE let me tell you! There are so many amazing restaurants you could eat at one every night for practically a year. It was extremely frustrating to me that my sister did not want to try new foods and was really insistent about eating her basic, American fare. Why not TRY something? Why, in a city where you are surrounded by some of the best food in the world, would you want fried chicken and mashed potatoes? I hated it and I really resent her for it. I feel like she ruined a good portion of my vacation. She doesn’t eat seafood. She doesn’t like Thai or Indian or even really Chinese food. If my mother’s food tastes were like my sister’s or even her ex-boyfriend’s and I had to live with her it would be horrible. My mom and I really enjoy the food we eat and take great pleasure in simple, healthy meals. Tonight we’re having grilled tilapia (which I am going to marinate in a yummy, spicy, citrusy marinade) with a broccoli cole slaw that we’re going to put almonds, grapes, and apple in to chunk it up. Yay for us! : D

  17. 17 On August 5th, 2010, julie said:

    While I am not vegetarian, I don’t like meat, and have a vegetable based diet. My bf eats meat, with veggies on the side, while I eat veggies with cheese or maybe a bit of meat or whatever. It’s a stretch between us. Also I am Ms. Frickin farmers’ market, bulk groceries, etc., while he is Mr. Safeway. At least neither of us do much in the way of processed, though I eat a lot more grains, even processed ones, since I don’t eat much meat. He likes my food, mostly, though I won’t eat his.

  18. 18 On August 5th, 2010, Alyssa (The 40 year-old) said:

    My husband and I have been together for 15 years. he likes food, but doesn’t think about it unless he’s hungry. I have a history of EDs and obsess over every crumb. He tells me I look great, no matter what my weight happens to be, and I choose to believe him.

  19. 19 On August 6th, 2010, Trenia said:

    I think it matters if the differences in how you eat are more about politics than the palate. For example, I was vegan for a couple of years but my choice was health-related and had nothing to do with politics, so it never bothered me to share a fridge or kitchen with a meat eater. I think it’s more about lifestyle, I enjoy cooking and dining out and I would much rather prefer to cook with someone in the kicthen but it’s not a deal breaker.

  20. 20 On August 7th, 2010, Nicole said:

    My partner and I are on completely different pages when it comes to food…not because of a vegetarian/non-vegetarian perspective, but because of the kind of food we like. I love seafood and I enjoy trying new, inventive dishes. She likes meat and potatoes…so it’s frustrating to try and plan a menu. Usually one of us ends up disappointed by the meal. And going out to eat is just as challenging when I want sushi and she wants burgers.

    But honestly, our relationship is so fulfilling in every other way that this is a very minor struggle. I’m surprised at how many people need their partner to eat what they eat! Even if we don’t like the same things, my partner and I agree that food is just a way to survive and we don’t think about it like a religious or cultural difference.

  21. 21 On August 7th, 2010, Liza said:

    This hasn’t come up for me because of my pathetic lack of a love life, but I think that I could be OK with less than compatible food as long as we had mutual respect.

    I’m a vegetarian, too, and fairly health conscious. I actually like most vegetables, I actually like cooking, etc. If I met a guy that was all meat n potatoes or all about the fast food, I’d try to make it work. I’d probably cook what I wanted, he was welcome to have some, but if he wanted something else he was on his own. Likewise, if he were cooking, it would be nice if the things we both liked, he cooked enough of for two, but I wouldn’t expect him to make me tofu since I wouldn’t be willing to cook him meat.

    That’s just me. And it’s speculation. But again I think it can work as ling as there’s respect and some sort of system worked out.

  22. 22 On August 7th, 2010, Liza said:


  23. 23 On August 8th, 2010, meerkat said:

    I really, really do not want to be one of those vegan women with meat-guzzling boyfriends. This is one of many reasons I will die single.

  24. 24 On August 11th, 2010, Wogglebug said:

    Shinobu, transitioning from meat-based dinners to non-meat dinners is different for everyone. The key is to find things that work for you nutritionally and make you feel like you’ve eaten a complete meal. A lot of meat-eaters are so locked into the idea that there is meat and then there are side dishes that they don’t think to make anything non-meat attractive or central.

    Maybe eggs would be a first step? An occasional omelette or stirfry using vegetables and eggs?

  25. 25 On August 12th, 2010, Layla said:

    As others have said, I think it really depends on how different you are in your preferences. Both my guy and I are pretty well in the middle ground of foodland (as much of a middle ground as there can be really I suppose) with tendencies to lean away from meat and penchants for a wide variety of food styles, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Indian, etc. He tends to be more of a meat eater than I am but he’s also much better at cooking meat than I am. We both enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes together but we’re also just fine with heating up a frozen veggie pizza and having Doritos for a side if we don’t feel like cooking. So it’d be easy for me I think to accommodate someone who was practically only a carnivore or someone who’s a vegetarian. I will say though that I do tend to take issue with picky eaters. Having a food allergy or digestive problem that limits foods is one thing. But outright refusal to try something tends to drive me bonkers. So I’d probably have a hard time with someone who outright refused to try sushi or curry.

  26. 26 On August 19th, 2010, E-x said:

    Cooking and eating are pretty big hobbies for me, so it would be a dealbreaker to date someone very picky. This probably runs in the family, as my father’s only romantic advice to me ever was “make sure you’re the picky eater in your marriage, you’ll be miserable if it’s the other way around.” But I like almost everything, so this is probably not advice I’ll be able to take…I could deal with a vegetarian, since I mostly eat vegetarian anyway, but would have trouble with a meat at every meal kind of guy or one who disliked spices or vegetables. A friend is actually planning on breaking up with a new guy in large part because he’s very picky about food and drinks, and worries that it sounds petty – but when going out to eat or to bars is a common, fun thing to do with friends and dates, and when you eat together most of the time if the relationship gets serious, and you can’t do those things happily together, it actually is a big deal to be incompatible around those things.

    My boyfriend has a few things he dislikes that I love – seafood, mushrooms, eggplant – so I’m a bit whiny about avoiding those sometimes, but I also take nights we’re apart as opportunities to cook some up. Still, we’re both pretty willing to try new things, so we’ve found common ground on things we both love, and food has always been a big part of our relationship entertainment. For example, my roommates try to keep kosher, so once in a while he makes me bacon; we have friends with whom we have potluck dinner parties every month or so; we like to try new restaurants in our city; and he’s turned me on to trying lots of fancy craft beers that I wouldn’t have known how to navigate when we met.

  27. 27 On August 23rd, 2010, Twistie said:

    I can’t believe I didn’t weigh in on this one before!


    I’m a foodie. I love to cook. I love to eat. Baking is one of my favorite things to do. I have an adventurous palate and am eager to try all kinds of new foods. I own well over a hundred cookbooks and my Amazon wish list is brimming over with more cookbooks I want to own. My idea of a great day is a visit to the Le Creuset outlet followed by a trip to the farmer’s market to find exotic new things to cook up in my new purchase. I have no food allergies. And while there are things I dislike intensely, they are all things I have actually tried repeatedly and served in very different ways. The couple of things I flat out refuse to try, I will cop to as pure mental blocks.

    I married a notoriously picky eater who also has type II diabetes, hypertension, and a strong tendency to high cholesterol. He commonly informs me that he ‘hates’ a particular kind of food. Then when I ask him when last he ate it, he tells me he’s never tried it. Oh, and he’s slightly lactose intolerant, too. He also has a lot of ‘rules’ about what foods do and do not go together and how they are to be prepared. It took me ten years to figure out that ‘hot meal’ did not mean the physical temperature or spiciness of the food involved, but a specific combination of scrambled eggs, rice, and sausage with a little onion and garlic tossed in.

    I like a lot of things as close as possible to the natural state of the ingredients… he needs everything cut, diced, deboned, and preferably either breaded or in a sauce of some kind. I’m a happy omnivore who will cheerfully eat vegetarian or vegan meals without a second thought. He wants meat in nearly every meal.

    In short, we are a culinary Mutt and Jeff. We celebrate when we find a food we can be mutually thrilled about.

    But give up Mr. Twistie over it? No freaking way, nohow. I may delight in the times when he’s away as a chance to exercise my taste buds, but I light up when he comes home again.

    Is it always easy? Of course not. Sometimes he gets a little freaked out at what I put in front of him, and there are certainly times when I grumble about not being able to eat things I’m desperately craving. On the other hand, on nights when he brings home takeout because there’s been an emergency or I’m not feeling well and just am not up to cooking dinner, he brings me things he finds personally revolting because he knows I want them.

    In theory, I probably would have considered eating compatibility a deal breaker. In practice, it has turned out not to be the case for me.

    But I do admit I would love, love, love to be able to have Brussels sprouts any time I want them.

  28. 28 On August 28th, 2010, Suzanne said:

    Sigh. I’m vegan – have been for years. My partner, who lives with me, is… not. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me watching him tear into a hunk of steak right in front of me, but even moreso than watching him eat these things is dealing with the smell of them. When he cooks that steak in our apartment, or even brings home chicken from the deli, the smell is repulsive to me.

    So it’s not easy, and it’s also not easy understanding his mindset. He understands my veganism perfectly, and I believe he even thinks that it’s the “right thing to do” – but he simply feels that he could not live without eating meat. I’m not going to change his mind, so I just kind of bear it. When he cooks meat in our apartment, I go for a run. When he puts it on the table, I go in the other room.

    But this isn’t a deal breaker. It would be a deal breaker if he wasn’t the man I loved, the man to whom I’ve devoted my heart. But the fact is that I do love him terribly, and I can only hope that one day he’ll scale back his meat consumption enough that he doesn’t feel the need to bring it into our kitchen.

  29. 29 On August 28th, 2010, anna bananpants said:

    I absolutely LOVE vegetables and enjoy cooking so it would be hard to be with someone who only liked the boiled dinner of meat, potatoes, and gravy. While I do have certain food sensitivities (cannot eat fish, turkey, much shellfish, or dairy) there are plenty of things I can eat. I would have trouble with someone who didn’t have a sense of adventure or at least would try things.

    I have tried all the things I don’t do well with, and do so every so often to make sure I haven’t outgrown it (was allergic to cow milk until I was about 5, and chocolate until about 9 or so). And, of course, there are things I do not like: parsnips, turnips, anything excessively bitter, burdock, butterburr, gamey meat, too many bones or veins, and too processed or bland (mushy peas on french fries?! who could think that was a good thing?!).

    While living in Japan I found a country enamored of vegetables as I am, and it was wonderful! Japanese children are statistically different as they do like their vegetables. I suspect it has something to do with the old cultural ideal that to be healthy one should eat at least 30 different things a day. There are far more vegetables than meats easily available. I loved going out to bars and finding a great selection of vegan, vegetarian, meat and seafood dishes. I wish America had a similar approach to bar food, although I don’t know that you’d want to try grilled sparrow keelbone (mostly cartlidge) or fermented squid intestine, both of which can be found in Japanese bars.

    I have tried insects, not too bad really as long as you don’t get too much chiton, raw meat, raw shrimp, although I do draw the line at raw chicken and egg. I would love to find someone who loves to try things and has a sense of adventure who also knows their way around the kitchen. I find the fact that many do not know how to cook very well disheartening.

    Even living in the foodie-friendly NW, there are plenty who only know how to use the microwave, or XX-helper, and I think it’s sad that they are unnecessarily limited in their choices. In fact, I found it quite funny when a friend of mine worked with exchange students from Africa, and they found American high school students sadly lacking as they couldn’t farm, hunt, or cook. And, the American students thought they were lacking as they didn’t have electricity, indoor plumbing, or had computer skills.

    In the end, everyone needs to eat, and I try to be open minded towards others, and will share my tasty meals if they get close enough.

  30. 30 On September 20th, 2010, Em said:

    Though I’ve never had a long term partner, this is an interesting topic to me. As a Protestant dating a Jew who “kind of” kept kosher, I did feel really weird eating pork around him and completely avoided ham and cheese sandwiches if I knew we’d be spending time together.

    I realized that in general, however, more than what we were eating, I had issues with how — I was raised in a family that encouraged a) not taking more food than you want to eat and b) cleaning your plate. The former mostly because waste is probably the worst sin you can commit at my house and the latter because of that and as a favor to the dishwasher (often a human). My plate is almost always notoriously spotless, and although I am aware that most people aren’t going to bother sopping up ALL the salad dressing with their last piece of lettuce… I find that I perceive leaving a bunch of food on the plate to be disrespectful to the food, the cook(s), and the animals and plants who went into the meal.

    I also don’t think I could deal with someone who always eats fast food or does not have the same idea of a meal that I was raised with. For us, dinner took at least an hour, and that was a fast supper. And food matters–it’s not just fuel, it’s culture.

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