Recently my husband and I went to dinner at an underground restaurant. If you haven’t heard of this phenomenon, it’s when an experienced chef prepares meals outside of a traditional restaurant setting, usually in a private home. You BYOB and make a “donation” instead of paying a check. In our case, it was a 10-course dinner in the chef’s home, complete with entertaining descriptions of each course. Unlike making your own selections at a restaurant, each dish was a complete surprise.
For my husband and I, this experience was utterly delightful because one of the things we share is a fondness for interesting food and new restaurants. Just to be clear, we are not foodies. If you put a whole fish in front of me, I will look in its eyes and lose my appetite. The same will happen if my husband finds avocado in his food. Still, we will both say yes to any restaurant (under or above ground) that we believe would pass a health code inspection.
Our shared gastronomical propensities are not something I take for granted, especially knowing how much this subject causes problems in other relationships. I first remember
reading about food incompatibility in an article by writer Jane Black. She told the story of a woman who broke up with a man because he only ate spaghetti, pizza, steak and milk. Black went on to say, “…in today’s food-conscious culture, what and how a significant other eats is becoming one more proxy for couples’ deeper conflicts about control and respect.”
For people I’ve spoken with, this conflict is more about being health conscious and open to experiences. As my sister put it, “If you’re going to eat fast food and drink soda everyday, you’re going to be someone I’ll have to take care of in later years. Why should I take care of someone who doesn’t take care of himself?” She is also looking for someone adventurous, and extreme food limitations signal limits in thinking and being open to new things.
If you decide to pursue a relationship with someone despite different palates, you will have to strike a culinary compromise. Just be careful not to make promises you can’t keep.
In her article, Jane Black detailed the story of a woman who agreed to not having meat or dairy in the home she shared with her vegan boyfriend. Everything was fine until he caught her in the kitchen with a piece of leftover pizza. As is often true when someone cheats, they eventually broke up.