Spice stores turn me on…

Cracker Barrel is not the way to my heart
My husband came home with Cracker Barrel Cheese again. He eats soup and things like baked beans from a can. He loves potato chips. He used to drink Chock Full o’Nuts coffee.

Coffee out of a can? Not for me.

Shudder. Shudder.

Food is a big part of my world. I venture around NYC looking for the best coffee. I love things like organic single-sourced chocolate and other handmade chocolates. I buy cheese from Saxelby Cheesemonger, not at a supermarket. Take me to a Greenmarket in the spring, summer or fall and I’m all yours. Spice shops turn me on. Oysters are like candy to me (hubby has never eaten one). I’d spend my last paycheck on dinner at Le Bernardin, not on the cable bill. When I travel I arrive armed with a list of food places to check out.

I love food, real food and I love it for the experience it brings.

So what do you do when a loved one has different food preferences? Can it make or break the relationship?

It’s a topic I’ve been milling around in my mind, not that I would leave my husband for his “taste” in food. But at times I question if something is awry if I’m in the kitchen making bouillabaisse and he’s reaching for Progresso.

And then I came across something that Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine, said on BigThink.com:

I think that there actually should be a dating service for foodies, where you identify the type of food you like and then you can find your match. And I believe that that would be a better predictor for a happy life and marriage than almost anything else. So, for example, if you want to eat, you know, innards from Uzbekistan, and so does somebody else, that says so much about you. It means you’re adventurous, it means you want to travel…

Now, I do also think that it’s very hard for someone who really loves food to be married to somebody who really doesn’t care. I mean, there is nothing worse than sitting at the table and saying, “Oh my God, that was the most amazing pasta sauce I have ever had! Wasn’t that great?” And they’re like, “Yeah, whatever.” It’s just a conversation stopper. If you, you know, kind of embrace this love of food, it’s also just embracing a love of life. And that’s why it’s great for relationships.

If I’d read this before I met him I would have agreed 100%. Now, I’m not so sure. In the best of all possible worlds, yes, I’d love someone with similar food taste as mine, but every relationship has its differences. For now I will dine out (with friends) and enjoy the food I love, while he’s home crunching chips.

Oh wait, as I write this I hear him chopping fresh fennel…there’s hope! (And recently I was able to turn him onto great coffee.)

So what do you think…can diametrically-opposed food taste predict a relationship?

I’d love to hear your stories. Tell me below or on Facebook.

  1. Ha, ha, this is my life! When I married my husband I couldn’t wait to cook for him. I would spend the day chopping ravishing red peppers, stringing beans, and crying over caramelized onions to make my grandmother’s soup and he would look longingly at the Lipton’s box. When I stopped taking it personally and just continued to make the foods I loved, leaving him to purchase his prepared foods (parallel play at the dinner table), he eventually started taking an interest in my food selections. His plate is looking a whole lot more colorful these days, though it isn’t quite “my” plate.

    He still munches on chips. I snack on jicama. But every now and then we share a foodie moment.

  2. It’s nice that I have someone else to relate to about this! Sometimes it’s frustrating that he’s not my partner in crime on my culinary escapades, but mostly I just accept that we’re different in this regard. I love the image of your husband eating chips while you’re snacking jicima! Thank you, Sue Ann.

  3. Tracey, you are speaking my language!  Too funny (and too true?) about creating a “foodie” based match-making data base.  My husband and I are polar opposites when it comes to food — he’s more than happy to eat beans out of a can, while I prefer to soak them, spice them, simmer them and savor them! 🙂  On the plus side, he also enjoys MY enjoyment of food.

    I truly enjoyed your perspectives on “food diversity” —  especially the conversation-killer moments that can potentially dull our “foodie” rapture.  (I hear ya!)  Attitude is everything, and you have a GREAT attitude.  As long as he’s happy with what’s on his plate and you’re happy with what’s on yours, that’s all that matters.  And if you should both happen to share the same plate (and express mutual enjoyment) — well, ya never know.  Thanks for a TERRIFIC post!

  4. Tracey, this was so on point! Since my divorce several years ago, I have discovered a whole world of food I never knew existed, and when my ex-husband would visit my house in the first few years after our divorce (we’d sometimes still have dinner together, just ’cause…) he would wrinkle his nose in disgust at things like… (wait for it…) homemade pesto! I’d be like, “Really? It’s basil and garlic, parmesan and olive oil!” and he’d be like, “No WAY. Ew.”

    Food wasn’t (even close to) the reason he and I ended our marriage, but I have to say, I’m pickier these days about men who don’t know that, for instance, arugula is NOT bitter. And Insalata Caprese doesn’t include Romaine lettuce. And Ruffles and Lipton’s onion dip are NOT an appropriate appetizer when friends visit. 😉

    Loved this Tracey- but even more so, I love that you are admitting that it would be lovely if your husband shared your foodie nature, but that there are LOTS of other reasons to love him. There’s no such thing as ‘perfect’, unless you’re talking about ‘perfectly imperfect’ and then, yes, there’s every such thing as perfect. 🙂 xoxo

  5. I love your idea of a “foodie” dating site, I really think that woud WORK big time! What an amazing idea.  I remember dating a man a long time ago and him telling me he was allergic to onions and garlic and I knew it would NOT last, he was amazing in every way BUT that one fact 

  6. Ahhhhhhh… Tracey!  I have been fortunate to have partners who have appreciated good food.. though we have differed at times.  When I wanted to stay macrobiotic and into other healthy almost vegetarianism, he didn’t.  He grew up with a very strict mother who led a whole organization that had to follow her diets… from fasting to macrobiotics to no sugar of any kind no alcohol and on it went.  Extremes.  He came out of that and said… no more!  I realize that I also didn’t want my sons reacting to me like that so when they got old enough to ask for meat and other foods, I began cooking it for them.

    What I do know is that my son has grown up to be have quite a culinary palette and drive and has challenged me often (balsamic vinegar vs. umeboshi vinegar!  haha!) and sometimes way over spicy for me.  My now love is a great cook and though he likes more meat than I do, I am influencing his palette to more veggies and way less meat.  He has influenced and introduced much to me.

    so… I have grown in my relationships with regards to food.  I know we do influence each other… and sometimes that is as much about not being so elitist as it is about being into too much junk food.  We ARE good for each other.