Tops on The New York Times “most e-mailed” list this week is an article I knew I could relate to even before I could move my mouse over to click on it. “I Love You, but You Love Meat” talks about several couples trying to negotiate relationships despite varying differences in eating beliefs and preferences. There’s the omnivore and the vegan, the carb craver and the gluten-free, the kosher and the vegetarian.
Compromise and tolerance are key in maintaining such a relationship, those relationship experts quoted in the article say (and aren’t pigheadedness and disrespect detrimental even if all parties rapturously rip into a T-bone?).
My husband and I are one of those seemingly incompatible pairings: He’s a meat eater; I’m not. I think I would be labeled, if I had to file myself away, a pescetarian: a vegetarian who eats fish. But I’m an egg-any-way-you-can-cook-it consumer, and I’m equally enthusiastic about chèvre and cheddar and Greek yogurt. So does that qualify me as an ovolactopescetarian, then? Or would it be a pesceovolactarian?
Whatever. There’s scant ethical basis for my strong displeasure regarding meat and poultry. My opposition has mostly to do with taste and texture. And smell (please don’t take me anywhere near a brisket). All of which is precisely why my husband counts himself among the omnivores.
You’d think this could be problematic, but it’s not been impassable. What would be worse is the marital food situation of a friend of mine, who is the bored-palated spouse of a perpetually picky husband. So picky, in fact, he only eats three things: pasta, salmon patties and chicken.
As for Brian and I, we’ve managed to navigate things this way: Once I got past my fettucine-from-a-box ways and realized there was more to a no-meat diet than noodles, he was able to move beyond his attachment to burgers and potatoes. I started cooking salmon and lentils and quinoa; he started eating it all. And declaring himself satisfied.
I’m rolling my eyes at our supposed cute couple-ness, same as you, but it’s true: our success at the dinner table has been a matter of open-mindedness on both our parts (see? compromise and tolerance work every time), a general willingness to experience foods we’re not sure we like or not, within certain parameters.
Yet every couple of years or so, he puts together a mean meatloaf — an activity to which I offer my full approval, as long as I don’t have to be in the vicinity.