A friend handed me an article, torn out of her NY Times, last Sunday, titled Going with your Gut First, Then your Heart. The article is lighthearted but the author talks about a somewhat serious subject, that I have thought about many times. She discovered that she couldn't date someone (nor have a real relationship with someone) who did not eat as she did. She could not be with someone who did not value the same foods, and value eating them as she did.
"You should read this", my friend said, as she ripped the article out of her paper and handed it to me across the table. Was it really that important that she had to rip it out of the paper and hand it to me, right now? I was a little hesitant because I felt like I was about to face the music.
Brian and I differ a bit when it comes to food. Not that it is bad, but it is definitely not perfect, although we are not incredibly at odds. We both love fresh vegetables, lots of spice, and healthy food. We both appreciate a chef's great execution of anything, and we both like to spend time creating in the kitchen. We both are anti-fast food, although he slips up a little when he sees what I call the Jesus Chicken (Chick-Fil-A), although he does feel guilty about it on some occasions. It is mostly just that he loves different styles of food than I do, like Southern and Asian (Chinese, Vietnamese,etc)
where I have an Italian background in cooking, and prefer to eat whatever is most healthy, local, and ideally vegetarian. I will cook for him, and sometimes he for me, but it is rare that we can cook one dish and both eat it from the same pot. We do respect each other's eating habits and make it work...easily, usually. However, one thing that I agree is difficult in a relationship, is the pattern or timing of eating.
I get up early, sometimes make a quick smoothie for B to take with him, then I go to the gym. I start off my day with a strong cup of coffee or cappuccino (B is not a coffee drinker), then get lots of work done all day,etc...but by the time 5pm rolls around, all I can think about is a glass of wine and something delicious to eat. B is a night person. While I am staring into the wine cabinet, trying to decide on a bottle, at 6pm, he prefers to catch up on email... go the gym...stretch... shower..and then finally enjoy a glass of wine around 8:30 or so.
In the past, in hopes of coordinating our enjoyment, I have usually foregone (and suppressed) my early thoughts of wine and food.. I can technically wait until his 8:30 to eat, and I do, when there are dinner reservations involved. I won't pass out or get cranky...but I usually lose my appetite, and especially don't feel like cooking anymore. I just feel better when I eat earlier and I do not like sleeping on a full stomach...go ahead, call me old.
He is not bothered by our eating differences, even though he would prefer otherwise. And I do have to give him credit, on those days that we have off together (like the weekends), he is willing to eat wherever at whatever time I prefer...and I am more open too. However, on the majority of days, it is I, that is bothered most.
It seems like it would be nice to be able to share all of my meals with someone. It seems it would be wonderful to cook something that we can sit down and eat together, out of the same pot, both tired and happy. It seems like a fairy tale to have him come home and be excited to eat whatever I have cooked... Although, there could also be a bit of a silver lining in this cloud. He is never counting on me to cook for him, nor counting on me to eat dinner with him, and the same for me. If we do, we are happy and appreciate it all the more. And one thing that we can always count on, is each other's company, even if we are not both holding forks to our lips simultaneously. Tough call, but maybe it is a little bit of independence that we each still hold on to...?