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Could You Date a Vegetarian? (If You Weren't One Yourself)

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Could You Date a Vegetarian? (If You Weren't One Yourself)

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I've written about bad foods to eat on dates, but today I want to talk about how awkward it is when there's a disconnect on food preference.

Things get weird when you go to your significant others' house for a holiday and they have a strange family recipe that freaks you out. 

My family is more carnivorous than a Tyrannosaurus Rex. If anyone ever brought home a vegetarian significant other, there would be problems. These problems wouldn't occur because my family doesn't respect vegetarians. The problems would stem from the fact that my family simply doesn't have vegetarian dishes in the family recipe inventory outside of vegetable soup (I think it's even beef-based), salads, and pasta. 

So, the vegetarian entering my house (cave) with my family (carnivorous cave people) would feel awkward. 

Do we need to consider another person's eating habits when we are deciding if they are compatible with us? If we do, that might explain why I have so much trouble finding someone: I'm picky about what I eat.

As part of my day job job, my co-workers and I go to dinners with business partners. Most people would love the opportunity to test out different restaurants in NYC for free. Not me. 

One time we went to this place called Per Se in Columbus Circle. I had to wear a suit: strike 1. I was told it was the "second best restaurant in NYC." In my mind I thought "they must have really really really good grilled chicken. I can't wait." 

Boy was I wrong. The menu had two options: Vegetable or Meat. Prix Fixe: strike 2. I hate not having control over what I eat. So, the meat is what I wanted at first, until I read the list of creatures that they were serving: clam, urchin, pheasant, and other species that I thought I'd only see in zoos or aquariums (why do fancy restaurants always do pheasant or quail instead of chicken??)

Strike 3.

So, I picked the vegetarian list which had a bunch of exotic vegetables like oh say, squash. All the dishes came out looking like snot smeared on a plate with a leaf, but unknown vegetable was safer than unknown meat. 

When I go to these fancy restaurant I gaze longingly at the kids menus which usually have mac n' cheese, chicken tenders and pigs in a blanket.

My friend Margaret finally classified what I do like, and I totally agreed: comfort food. I love grilled chicken, meat loaf, burgers, chicken tenders, fries. Soup is my favorite food, but only regular soup: vegetable, chicken noodle. I don't like soup that's too artsy: lentil whatever, squash, cold soup (an oxymoron like iced coffee). I love steak too. 

I love Southern food: blackened chicken breast, jambalaya, chicken gumbo.

All chicken must be off the bone (unless it's fried chicken breast), and I only like white meat, or I'll get freaked out.

I also don't like traditional "accompanying pieces" such as bread with soup. If I want soup, I want soup-- why would I want bread with it? Restaurants always assume I want bread.

Even my "cross-cultural" loves are comfort food: pasta, stir fry, ramen soup, etc. 

Girls I date who are "experimental eaters" clash with me. When I find a restaurant I love (such as Chic Fil A or Pho Viet Huong here in NYC), I stick with it. I'm loyal to what I love, and when I go out to eat, there's no reason to stray from what I love. This drives experimental eater girlfriends crazy.

There must be a compromise-- maybe make sure you tell your boyfriend/girlfriend what's being served? My friend Margaret says she would tell her boyfriend to bring a granola bar and deal with it. That's tough love.

Luckily, tomorrow, we will dine on something that is almost universally loved: turkey, mashed potatoes (I still make the gravy lake), dressing, etc. But, if you're an "adventurous eating" family or if you have crazy family recipes, remember to let your guests know because it could be awkward for them. And, if they are like me, they'll force feed themselves so they aren't rude...and then go home and cry in the corner of the shower later like a Lifetime movie heroine.

Is different food tastes a deal breaker for you? Do you agree with me that food can create awkward situations? Do you think that my finickiness for food is slowing down my dating life, or is related to my finickiness in women? 

Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/richravens

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