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Jun 7, 2002 12:22 AM

Can you have a fulfilling relationship with a non chowhound?

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I am just curious. If one of your strongest passions is food and you have someone who hypothetically thinks food is for sustenance, does not cook nor has a desire to learn and can't understand what it is about food that moves you. They say that a person who is passionate about food tends to be passionate about life. What do y'all think. For those that are married to non chowhounds in the most extreme sense. Are you fulfilled? Or do you wish you were with someone that shared your love of food. For singles, can you be happily married to someone that has no passion for food?

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  1. I have been in relationships with non-hounds in the past but it is now one of my top requirements. I won't even think of a relationship with a smoker, vegan, or a non-hound ever again. It makes me have to give up too much that is important to me. Why have a difficult life and relationship? Of course this is just my personal view. I admit I've become both picky and selfish as I got older.

    7 Replies
    1. re: the rogue

      In response to Hallie's post, oh but I wish it were true. I have an otherwise good relationship with a man who considers cream cheese and jelly on white bread to be among his favorite "meals." Although he will usually eat what I prepare, he is suspicious of most green vegetables and cannot tolerate any form of spice. When he consents to a Chinatown (NYC) meal, he will order sweet and sour chicken and I consider it quite a feat to have broadened his horizons enough to include roast pork and wonton soup at Noodletown...npow that he has discovered that soup he will look no further on their menu. Needless to say this is VERY frustrating for me.......especially since a large portion of my free time is devoted to thinking about/shopping for/reading about food.....What to do????? How about linking up others in this position for dinners in, say, Chinatown, where it is especially frustrating to be accompanied by a non-foodie???

      1. re: erica

        My sympathies to you Erica, I was there once too. Give it time. Horizons do expand. I'm still the most gourmet minded of the two of us. My husband still craves Burger King - no one is perfect.

      2. re: the rogue

        You have to go with what's important to you. You of all people know that we can't count on other people to adapt to our needs. I was married for years to a man who thought it was a waste of time to put effort into cooking complex (or even just enjoyable) meals. His mother never did. He didn't hesitate to tell me so, too.

        Eventually, it got to the point that he was critical of the fact that, after cooking a nice meal, there were more dishes to wash (additional waste of time) than if something had been slapped on a plate and popped in the microwave.

        He thought he'd show me how it's done in an efficient manner. I got home from work to find meals like canned beef stew, or mac and chewy cheese (no sauce) with mushrooms that hadn't had the grit removed, or spaghetti that had been boiled, but not drained, and held in the pot of hot water until serving time.

        "I can laugh about it now" implies I didn't find this hysterical even then. I remember stifling a smile about the grit dish.

        He's now married to a woman who also dislikes food, cooking, and eating. He needs to find other things to criticize her about. My daughter tells me that once, she heard him say to his wife, when she was refusing to cook a meal, that I used to cook all of his meals gladly...

        1. re: ironmom

          May I also vent here?

          I have it better than you, but the same problem. On the one hand, my husband is a serious foodie, and loves to tell people what a great cook I am. Is always complementary of my efforts, etc.

          However, he is also an anal-retentive clean freak. So he alternates the comliments with telling me he would rather have no dinner than me making a mess in the kitchen.

          This problem was compounded when I broke my leg (pun?)and he "made dinner" for weeks without making a mess. The fact that my Mom kept the refrigerator stocked with food which he merely put on a plate and nuked does not seem to compute.

          It has gotten so bad that we argue every night about putting dishes in the dishwasher. He believes using the dishwasher is "lazy" and now washes the dishes. He has a chip/break average that would just about get him in the major leagues.

          ARRGGGHHHH!!!!! Thank you for listening.

          1. re: anon

            Tell him you want to use the dishwasher for the sake of the environment! It's supposed to use less water than washing by hand. My parents used to fight over whether silverware should be sorted when you load or unload. My mother finally came out with 'but the spoons stick together if they're in the same compartment' - winner!

            1. re: anon

              The dishwasher also sterilizes the dishes, using much hotter water than hand washing! An impt point for someone who wants clean!


            2. re: ironmom

              Wow... At least he's your ex...

              I would think that I'd be ever so appreciative for someone who put in that much time, even if I didn't care for it. But then again, I have had times in my life where I didn't know how to accept things gratefully or show appreciation... it was a long, hard learning and growing process.

          2. Yes, Of!Course. Cooking and Eating are two different things :)

            1. When I met my husband some 7 years ago he was a non-hound. Since we have been together he's been totally converted. Our joint passion is food and fine dining -this was a man who was brought up on frozen pizza, now he won't go near anything but the fresh, wood-fired variety. Good things can happen. Chowhounding, I believe,is contagious. Those who eat to live (rather than live to eat)in many cases just never had the exposure to good food or fresh food or properly prepared food - when you finally do expose them to it an entire world opens up for them.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Hallie

                I agree; my husband was not a chowhound when I met him but has converted smashingly. I don't think I ever made an effort to change him, but this happened gradually as he expanded his frontiers because of what I was eating or where I wanted to go.

                We gave a party a few years back, for which my husband turned out pizzas on the grill, with toppings such as gorgonzola, sun dried tomatoes, sauteed shiitakes, smoked salmon, etc. A very old friend of his was there and remarked on the change: "When I knew him before, if you could drive up to it, he would eat it. Look at him now." (He still likes the drive up stuff, but now he swings both ways.)

              2. I spend every waking and sleeping moment considering my next meal; where it will be, what I'll order, accompanying wine, etc. I spend hours and hours reading magazines and cookbooks. I spend everynight on this addictive board. I spend weeks planning menus at home. I get totally excited finding new asian markets, a new source for salt cod, or fresh sweatbreads at the butcher.

                My wife wouldn't eat, if you didn't remind her. And then she'd probably grab a yogurt, and only eat half.

                But she loves me, and she totally indulges me. We go out for Vietnamese for example, I order, and she picks at the food, usually finding something she likes. I know to order one "safe" dish like grilled beef, and then softshell crabs and green papaya salad for myself. At home, my hobby is cooking, and she enjoys the time to herself while I'm busy chopping and saute'ing.

                It works. It's not perfect. But if the non-hound is reasonably flexible, and appreciates your love of food, it's not a "deal breaker."

                3 Replies
                1. re: Pappy

                  just curious, is she skinny? I'm starting to have a problem being a 'hound and a size 2 now that i'm AGING.

                  1. re: danna

                    She weighs the same today as the day we got married!

                  2. re: Pappy

                    I could have written Pappy's first paragraph myself. I'm happiest when I'm reading a cookbook or culinary magazine; I plan my next meal continuously and obsessively; I've devised and written over 1,000 recipes; I food-shop EVERY day, scrutinizing at least three stores and, on its four-days-a-week schedule, the Union Square Greenmarket; even if I already have the ingredients I'm going to need; restaurants are my passion; and most of my friends and family are at least on the same wave length, if not nearly as obsessively.

                    My life partner (of 11 years) is NOT on the same wave length, but he really understands my passion. He grew up on Michigan's Upper Peninsula in a huge, rather poor family, and when I met him, the fanciest dish he'd ever tasted (once) was coq au vin. His palate is timid and quite fussy. He can't tolerate anything spicy, he's allergic to nuts, he loathes all seafood (except clams, shrimp, and the occasional tuna), and there's a substantial list of foods he hates (beets, cold soups, raspberries, etc.)

                    But he really tries. I cook all sorts of dishes, and he likes many of them. He's become passionate about certain foods, most of them prohibitively expensive: seared oie gras tops the list (but he doesn't like any pâté!).

                    When we met, he was perfectly happy feasting on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich--for dinner! Now he loves hanger steak in a shallot-red wine sauce, new potatoes roasted in goose fat, and roasted asparagus with manchego cheese. He's a dessert freak and I'm not, so I make him all sorts of sorbets, fruit pies, and cookies. Perhaps because he's 13 years younger than me, I think of his palate as pretty childish, but he's come a very long way.

                    Two things make all of this a non-issue in our relationship: (1) He completely understands my obsession and indulges me fully; and (2) he really is willing to taste almost anything--at least taste it. And when he likes something, he'll eat it night and day.

                    I don't think it would be possible for a hound to be with a non-hound for very long if those two factors weren't at work. Opposites may attract, but they don't usually stay together.

                  3. I recently mentioned on the Pennsylvania board that my husband is excited about the Olive Garden next to his hotel, and that his favorite meal is Shake & Bake chicken & boxed mac&cheese. (Another favorite is boil-in-bag creamed chipped beef and instant mashed potatoes.) He is perfectly happy with frozen whatever, and loves fast food.

                    We do get along fine, even though he teases me about reading cookbooks and mags for hours on end, and thinking endlessly about restaurants. He even likes the shape my body has become due to my passion. And yes, he forgets to eat if I'm not there, spending his per diem on clothes and beer (PBR no less!).

                    Some of them can be trained. He now loves the meat at my favorite independent grocery. He eats Chinese (although I doubt he has had authentic - it just isn't available where we live). He devours my cooking, and now prefers homemade white bread to Wonder, quite a step up. In fact, when I tentatively suggested the Italian alternatives to Olive Garden that I collected from the Pennsylvania board (thanks again guys!), I expected a lukewarm reaction, and expected to have to trot out the "bad memories" stories. Instead he said, "We don't have to do Italian. There is a Vietnamese restaurant here, and also Ethiopian." I nearly died of shock!

                    That said, I *was* on a diet when I met him. I might not have gotten involved at all if I had known his background (food background, of course).