My first serious relationship included a marriage, despite being very young, and any thoughts of suitability and sustainability of the relationship were not important and food discussions were definitely not part of picture despite the fact that we were from two different cultures. His dad was Hungarian and his mom was of British descent, as am I.
The food of my childhood was your typical 60’s meat, potatoes and vegetables (canned) with cookies, canned fruit and/or ice cream for dessert. Sunday dinners were roast beef, roast potatoes and Jolly Green Giant lima beans (ugh), sweet peas and corn followed by pie and ice cream. Friday nights were my favourite and were often spaghetti and meatballs, or Roman Holiday, or (horror of horrors) tuna or mushroom casserole. There was white bread and butter available for filler at every meal and milk was the drink of choice right up until I left home at 18.
My next long term relationship was to someone of a similar culture and upbringing and so our food choices were similar and yet not consciously a part of the thought process.
After the end of that relationship, “dating” through the online process had just started to become a “thing” and so the ability to be more specific and thoughtful about the characteristics of the person you were considering also came into the mainstream.
I remember one gentleman that I dated for a short time who liked only plain burgers on a plain bun and maybe a bit of salad. No spices, no garlic, nothing interesting or different. It was only one of the reasons that we didn’t date for long however the thought of ‘food compatibility’ entered my consciousness, for the first time and became one of the ‘criteria’ after that.
On the evening before the day that I drove 3 hours to meet my spouse (he drove 3 hours also) for the first time, we both had dates with other people we had met online. In fact, we were having a telephone conversation as we were getting ready to go out and we were discussing GARLIC and how we both loved it and could never date someone who didn’t. Long story short, neither of our dates liked garlic and we decided, the next morning, that we should meet each other that day and now, 17 years later we are still together and still eat a ton of garlic.
All of this to ask, can you have a good long term relationship with a partner who does not share your food preferences? The question becomes especially important if you are vegetarian or vegan or pescatarian or a starchivore or if you just prefer a Standard American Diet (SAD).
My spouse and I have tried, over the years, to get healthier and tried a vegan type diet about 5 years ago and stuck to it for awhile and then reverted to the norm although a number of the habits stuck. Habits like having plant milks in the fridge instead of dairy and only occasionally eat meat, chicken or fish.
Just over one year ago, after listening to Dr McDougall on Coast to Coast AM, we decided that a whole food plant based starchivore lifestyle was for us. Starchivore is, basically, beyond vegan in that besides eliminating animal products we also limit oils, sugars and salts. We now enjoy amazingly delicious foods without worrying about portion sizes and are happy that we are healthier, don’t harm animals and do less harm to the environment.
Could I do this if we both weren’t doing it? I am not sure although I do know that I am less of a ‘cheater’ than he as is as, occasionally, he will have a bit of parmesan and some anchovies on his pasta (with lots of garlic too). I would not be comfortable cooking animal products anymore and likely would not buy them at the grocery store either (and I do the grocery shopping in our household).
I was going to postulate that sharing a common appetite, when it comes to food, could be age related, ie the younger you are the less it matters and then I remembered that veganism is a growing (pun intended) social phenomenon and now involves younger and younger people. With more dating sites providing “diet” as criteria it would be interesting to know to whom it is more important, people in their twenties or thirties or the older generations. Is it a good idea to limit yourself to only those that share your food preferences or is your perfect partner a Grill King? and you are a raw vegan…. “food for thought”.
A child of the 60’s who has had a varied an interesting life.