A Vegetarian and a Meat-Eater Walk Into a Coffee Shop
It’s quite comical in retrospect.
On our first date, my now-husband expressed some hesitancy and concern about me.
And not because I was yet to be legally divorced.
Or because I was engaged in a confusing and overwhelming legal battle with a criminal ex.
Or even (okay, especially) because I was still an emotional wreck trying to learn to walk again on my own.
No, none of that (at least from what was divulged that afternoon over coffee) scared him.
What made him dubious was an off-handed comment I made when he tried to get me to order food.
“No thanks,” I said. “I’m kind of a pain to feed since I’m vegetarian and gluten and I don’t get along. Don’t worry about me,” I said with a smile as I accepted my welcomed coffee.
It was only years later that I learned that he was concerned that our dietary differences, specifically in regards to my avoidance of meat, would be insurmountable. I was surprised, to say the least. And relieved that he took the leap regardless and that we’ve negotiated a respectful relationship around food.
I love to see the ecstasy on his face when he enjoys a good crab cake more that I dislike the smell. In fact, I even made them from scratch for him as a birthday present. With the house wide open. In the middle of an early freeze. He’s understanding of my inability to buy raw meat and courteous to air out the house when he cooks it. When we are traveling, I frequently offer to forgo restaurants that work better for me so that he can partake of the regional carnivorous delights. Besides, salads only have so much variation:)
Last week, I realized how far he’s come from being afraid of our differing diets. We bought a grill – our first together – both for ourselves and for a party we just had yesterday. When we ended up selecting one too small for a “veggie only” patch of real estate, he immediately went over to the accessory section to find a dish that can be placed on the grill to keep any veggies (or tofu!) safe from any offending meat grease. When I labeled one of two spatulas “VEG,” he commented that it was a great idea. And then last night, he suggested I hide my spatula to keep it from inadvertantly being chicken-christened by an uninformed guest.
He doesn’t understand my revulsion around meat, but yet he respects it. I don’t understand his desire to eat flesh, yet I honor it. We both come from a place that the other person is more important than what is on their plate. After all, it’s not really the differences that divide a couple; it’s the reaction to them.
Little did he know years ago that one day he would actually be protective of my eating habits and that he would still be putting up with some of my occassional emotional wreckedness.
It reminds me of that quote often misattributed to Twain –
I’ve had a lot of worries in my life. Most of which never happened.