You Say Vegetarian, I Say Carnivore: Five Ways To Have Harmony In The Kitchen

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Once upon a time, there was a husband and wife.  They lived in a paradise by the blue Pacific, feasted on her wonderful home roast chicken or his perfectly grilled steak.  Their breakfasts were affectionate and hearty with poached, scrambled or soft boiled eggs.  But one day the polite husband peered at the chicken so lovingly prepared by his wife and said, “Honey, I can’t eat this. I’m sorry.”  The wife was puzzled, but not offended.  Secretly, she was happy that she had more of the juicy fowl to herself.  Especially the crispy, succulent skin.  But at that very moment, everything changed: their castle now held a vegetarian prince, and a meat eating princess.

And they still lived happily ever after.

Though this fairytale is actually true, it’s actually more of a parable.  Some couples have similar tastes, with others being completely out of sync.  I know a marriage where the wife hates cheese, the husband has an obsession with it.  One of my friends is a full-on carnivore that barely touches vegetables, while her boyfriend loves preparing fresh vegetables from his garden.  The differences are striking, so how does a couple with opposite tastes make a meal together?

My husband hasn’t really touched meat since that day in our kitchen seven years ago.  And I flat out refuse to give up sushi. But we still make it a point to eat together for at least one meal per day. There’s no one-size-fits-all remedy here.  But I did develop a guide for those of us meat-eaters that find blocks of bland soy unappealing, and for types like my beloved that refuse to eat anything with a face.  No matter what your palate prefers, my guide has everything to do with why I created my blog:  it will enhance your relationship if you find a way to eat together.

Five Ways To Have Harmony In The Kitchen

1.)  You get to be right, or you get to have an orgasm.
Just a few weeks ago, I overheard a woman in the grocery checkout line rant about, “How gross it is to watch any meat eater.”  I also knew a man who refused to live with anyone that cooked meat.  And just a few months ago, hundreds of PETA activists protested in front of my neighborhood McDonalds for an anti-McNugget protest.  Righteousness, I have two words for you, “NOT SEXY.”

To the lady in line: try a little tenderness, and please let go of those control issues.  And my meat-scorning friend:  you’re clearly not getting laid enough.  The aforementioned woman isn’t either.  I can’t speak about the PETA folks, but the overall discussion of a McNugget protest causes boners to deflate.  Openness equals sexy.  This applies in the kitchen and especially the bedroom.  There are more subtle and effective ways to suggest that you want your partner to try something new, rather than forcing a holier-than-thou rant or unwanted foods down their throats.  The same goes for those that enjoy a steak, please don’t sneak bacon fat into a vegetarian’s meal thinking they won’t miss it.  It’s their choice, so love them all the way they are – or don’t.  (I give you permission here, if they’re unbending in his/her requirements and force an ultimatum about why your diet sucks, DUMP HER/HIM.  Pass go, do not stop.)

My husband coaxed me into eating healthier when we first started dating.  But his approach was a loving, ‘partnerific,’ gentle and patient approach that left me craving much more than just the food.  Take a hard mental note here: this is the basis of Cook This…Get Laid.  Men: THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT.

2.) Communicate
This solution is so simple, it almost sounds stupid.  But you’ve got to know what foods your partner enjoys this to work.  At my home, we have two different go-to recipes.  His is the signature Craig Salad (eggless egg salad with sprouted tofu), while I have grilled salmon over a bed of mixed greens with a lemon vinaigrette. When I think for even a moment that it’s too much work, I’m quickly reminded that us eating together is a beautiful thing.

3.) Gimme that “base”
There’s a vegan restaurant we both love in our neighborhood, called Flore.  I recreated one of their recipes, which is a simple brown rice bowl with bok choy, marinated-baked tofu, sunflower sprouts, sunflower seeds and a ginger, lemon-tamari sauce.  I substituted the soy for tilapia, marinated both proteins, wrapped them separately in foil then baked the tofu in the toaster oven, with my fish in the oven. Making both was not difficult, it took an extra three minutes.  But the BASE was the same.  In my life, you simply can’t get enough base/bass.  (Sorry, couldn’t resist. I used to be a music journalist.)

4.) Go Raw
I’ve shared my experience with raw food (sprouts, nuts, fruit and veggies heated only up to 118 degrees) and believe all of us can eat more raw fruits and vegetables.  I eat mostly raw during the day.  And if you live in a city like Los Angeles, there’s many of these options available.  Cafe Gratitude can convert any meat eater into one that keeps repeating the following phrase between bites, “Oh my god this is so good!”  And those of you who are quick to ask, “But where do you get your protein?”  Just relax and stop worrying about that idea that the meat industry put in your head.  Lentils, peanut butter, almonds, spinach, kale and white beans have just as much or more protein than meat.  I much prefer the idea of my husband steering clear of soy products, and giving my body a break from meat while experience something that is both healthy and tastes fantastic.  I just finished off a raw key lime pie that rivaled a baked one.  The best part? It is a completely healthy meal.

5.) Read
Keep coming back to read my blog, but definitely go out and buy this book, “The Flexitarian Table: Inspired, Flexible Meals for Vegetarians, Meat Lovers, and Everyone in Between” by Peter Berley.  His concept is a thoughtful and organized book that outlines how families and groups can eat together.  Peter’s moniker reveals something that makes for an easier life altogether: be flexible.  If you remain stubbornly attached to a certain way, you just might miss out on something spectacular.

One final note, in a Cook This…Get Laid fairytale, the ending is slightly different than the traditional: you both live happily ever after. Why?  Because you both get laid.

I’d love to hear from you. Does your partner eat differently from you?  How do you manage your food life together?

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About Mona

I'm a food writer and home cook that loves to talk about healthy food and romance.
This entry was posted in Breakfast, CTGL Tip, Dessert, Dinner, Gluten-free, Go Out...Get Laid, Lunch and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to You Say Vegetarian, I Say Carnivore: Five Ways To Have Harmony In The Kitchen

  1. Jason says:

    Mona can always find ways to compromise without “giving in.” She is creative and thoughtful, as evidenced in the post above. This I know first hand. Thank’s for the reminder, Mona! XO

  2. Karen says:

    Sounds like a beautiful relationship, Mona. Lovely article, too.