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dating a foodie novice...

ok, just for a little fun.
so i am a big foodie (obviously since i spend my time with all of you!)

as a single gal... i have dated a lot of non-foodies. (meat and potatoes.. only orders sweet and sour at a chinese rest.)

so what do you think... deal breaker? i lean toward yes.. complete deal breaker. but if not... what is the best way to help break someone of this and lead them down a more adventurous culinary path? is it possible?

i look forward to your thoughts.


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  1. There may be hope, depending on the attitude.

    When I was a kid, I was such a picky eater that I would try to fish out the bits of mushroom from a dish that had been made with cream of mushroom soup. When the family would go out for very occasional Chinese, I'd order a cheeseburger. Things have gotten a lot better over the years, but I'm still very squeamish about some "gourmet" delicacies (caviar -- yccch) and have some definite aversions (don't like beans or avocado).

    Obviously, as a 'Hound I prefer to dine with companions with whom I can taste and share. A lot comes down to the attitude. Does your date turn up his nose (or make fake barfing noises) when you mention ordering something he won't eat? Is he just less experienced an eater and willing to try and taste new things or does he have preconceptions dating back to his childhood that he won't even attempt to break?

    I'm not saying it can be a successful longterm project to change him into a compatible eating companion. But if there is an open attitude and some willingness to experiment, then there is a much better chance at an evolution and expansion of his tastes.

    1. It all depends on how willing that person is to try new foods. There are some people who stick to chicken, steak, and spaghetti only because they've never been exposed to pad thai, curries, teriyaki, Indian samosas, and carne asada. Most people are willing to try something new, especially if they trust that you're not going to feed them cow brains or something weird. If this was the case, I'd happily take up the challenge of introducing my favorite foods to someone! You can always start with korean bbq (it's really just grilled meat), teriyaki chicken, tandoori chicken, California rolls (hey, it gets them in a sushi place and that's the first step!), and Japanese curries (very mild). Move on to Thai curries, other sushi rolls, and some Chinese dishes in lobster or black bean sauce. Hold off on dim sum until they're comfortable with all this new food - dim sum is harmless but it's a different eating experience. Cook something at home so they can see what goes into the dish and that it's not really that weird or scary.

      However, if they're always turning down your food requests and stubbornly refuse to try anything at all, I'd write them off as a lost cause and let someone else share their meat-and-potatoes lifestyle. Food isn't the only joy in life, but I wouldn't be happy if the only time I got to indulge in "exotic" meals was by myself or when friends have time for dinner out.

      If someone just didn't enjoy food like I did, if they were just as happy with grilled chicken as with chicken marsala or didn't appreciate a well-marbled ribeye, I'd probably have a problem there, too. I'd either end up lowering my food standards or thinking I'm wasting time, effort, and money on meals that aren't being appreciated. Not fun.

      I've found that most people are open to trying new things and find they like them, but hang on to food dislikes of "normal" things - avocados, radishes, tomatoes, etc.


      1. i love the suggestions. i will give it a try. thanks so much. mostly i am glad that i am not just CRAZY, but that this is a valid issue.
        i have to admit though, i am a little sensitive when it comes to my food. i dont mind when someone doesnt like something, but i get really ticked off if i am made to feel weird about eating chicken feet... haha

        having said that, i did have a great experience with friends recently. some of my meat and potato pals really made me feel good. they trusted me to show them the ways of the chowhound.. and they actually enjoyed it! hopefully this will work out. haha if not.. i will need to change my online dating profile so it reflects the importance of food. :)


        1 Reply
        1. re: coconutgoddess

          It sounds like you already have the natural ability to help someone become more interested in CH interests. If your friends trusted you to overcome their limitations then you must have presented the food to them in a non-threatening way. From what you wrote it seems like your experience with people making you feel weird about eating chicken feet has made you sensitive to your friends potential misgivings. Personally, I wouldn't let it become a deal breaker. I think if you can't find food in common and the person is worth getting to know better then it might be worth your time to investigate other potential common interests. who knows maybe the other common interest might make up for the fact that your sweetie is not a foodie.

        2. Definitely not a deal breaker.

          My husband and I have been together for 13 years. His idea of a great meal is whatever you can get from a diner or a simple meal prepared at home. Occasionally, we will go to a higher end restaurant, but he's simply not interested in this kind of thing. And truth be told, it keeps me grounded so I like it.

          Fortunately, I have friends who I can indulge with, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.

          1. Aha, see but the thing is, contrary to popular belief, men are trainable.

            The first month or two that I dated mr.goose, he wanted nachos and beer for dinner every night. So I, being totally smitten endured that for quite some time. 10lbs and two months later, I started to protest, asking "just this once, can't we please do something different??" he discovered he like sushi alot. From Sushi we moved on--upon hearing he hated chinese food, I almost broke down and broke up. But some research uncovered that he had only ever eaten it off a buffet in hometown of Indiana.

            Now we eat wonderufl delish-ness all the time. It took about a year to get him converted, but it was just about making sure we got the best of whatever--because I'm sorry, but certain things are just delicious! Not only does he now love the chinese place, the sushi place and everything else. I no longer carry 20lbs of Nacho weight, and a few weeks ago, he randomly turned to me and thanked me for showing him all the great food out there and how to really love good food.

            I almost cried.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dagoose

              that is really nice. i love it! i am hoping that this will be my final outcome...

              i have trained my kids to be really great little chowhounds.. so perhaps there is hope! we are going out this weekend and this time I AM picking.. i will let you know how it goes! (i will kill him if we go out for steak or burgers one more time. i love both.. but COME ON!!!)

            2. It depends on why they're non-foodies. If someone is obstinately closed-minded and unwilling to try anything new, the relationship is going to end. There is only so often I can eat burgers and pizza without feeling disgusting. And I will likely get pissed if you make faces at whatever it is I'm eating. But if your SO is willing to compromise and try eating your preferences every now and again, you have hope of broadening their horizons and ensuring that your relationship doesn't end up in a culinary black hole. I've been able to break down some obstinate chicken parm eaters and gotten them to try calamari and even goat!

              1. Not a deal breaker. I've said it before, and I'll say it again...

                When I first met my husband, he ate spaghetti with Kraft parmesan "cheese" from the green can every night for dinner. He had never even thought of buying real parmesan cheese.

                It took some time, and there are still some things that he won't eat (mostly vegetables and fruits), but he eats about 1000% more things than he did when we met 7 years ago.

                I never pushed him, just encouraged him, and eventually, he just started trying things on his own. He now prides himself when his friends ask him where to go for dinner, and he never wants to waste a meal at some mediocre place. He has become quite the chowhound!

                1 Reply
                1. re: valerie

                  I'd say absolutely NOT a dealbreaker...my beloved husband grew up on overcooked meat and tators. As a bachelor, he either lived in a bunkhouse and ate what the cook made (meat and tators) or in military chowhalls (meat and tators), and his first wife was a pretty lousy cook all around. He had never had cilantro or fresh basil!

                  After ten years of "food re-education" he will try anything, adores a huge variety of ethnic foods, brings me cookbooks when he sees something interesting, and loves to try new restaurants.

                2. I married a non-foodie and it's been difficult. I always liken it to an artist being married to someone who is colorblind. Or a composer being married to someone who's tonedeaf.
                  It's been my experience that it is impossible to convert most nonfoodies. There is a group in there who have just never had experinces with wide varieties of food and by introducing them to the world of the palate, they blossom. But for the most part non-foodies are stubbornly unadventuresome.
                  When my nephew was getting married here in California, he invited family members. A mother/daughter team from Ohio compained about EVERYTHING. From the herb-infused butter to the pasta sauce ("could we get it without cream and wine.") They kepy claiming they were "simple folk" and that they had no truck with these "fancy" California foods. In reality, they were just whining boors who demanded way too much attention and ran the waitstaff ragged. We still make fun of the "simple folk."
                  But overall I'd say the only real impact I've had on my husband is to make him aware of the foodie viewpoint so he can keep his "simpleness" to himself when we're out at a fine restaurant. As I often tell my non-foodie family members, "I don't give a crap what you do or don't like. Eat what's served with a smile if you're at someone's house and find something you can handle on the menu without comment if you're out."

                  1. I think it depends on the attitude of both the ch'er and the 'foodie novice'. It may be possible to educate the non-foodie and turn him on to new things. However if he constantly 'yucks your yum' it may be time to trade him in for a better model

                    I recounted this story in another thread:
                    Last summer I wanted to make a steak dinner for my (now ex) boyfriend. I bought beautiful ribeyes. I served them with haricot verts, baked potatoes, and salad. A day or so before the meal he told me that he wanted his steak marinated. I usually don't marinate good cuts of steak because I feel that would mask the flavor of the meat. I said I would marinate in wine and Dijon mustard. He said that he did not want the mustard. Fine - ok I did sneak some Dijon into the marinade (sue me). I start cooking. He starts complaining about my method of cooking. I sear my steaks and then deglaze the pan with wine and sauteed mushrooms and onions. He wanted me to broil the steak and serve it with A-1 instead of a home made sauce. Finally the meal is done and his steak is not cooked as well done as he would like. He complained and we argued until 4 in the morning. He also would call me a 'barbarian' whenever I said I liked a particular cuisine (French) This is when picky bothers me. I do not think I will ever date anyone who eats his steak well done again. It is not worth it. Recently I had a conversation with someone else I met on an online dating site. I recommended a restaurant for a first date. http://www.tapasteatro.net/ He looked it up online and said he did not understand the menu and "what is eggplant". When I asked him how he liked his steak he said he liked his steak well done. "Burnt" in fact. I was not looking forward to the date but had already said yes. Fortunately he stood me up

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: amethiste

                      I certainly wouldn't let the fact that my date liked his steak well done be a deal breaker....after all, my husband likes HIS steak well done (when he eats it; we are almost vegetarian and he would never order it in a restaurant.). We occasionally grill steaks during the summer when the kids come over and ask real nice....DH just keeps his on the grill a lot longer. No biggie, except maybe to him: we were invited to a barbque recently where steak was the featured item; the weather had turned very cold suddenly and we were up at the Lake where its even colder....so the two guys who insisted on well-done steaks were made to stand there and tend to their dinner while the rest of us took the party inside......

                      My husband has introduced me to foods I had never tasted before, and is adventurous about most foods, so I'll forgive him his meat foibles. Now, if only I could convince him to like dim sum....:-) (He finds it too "meat based.")

                      1. re: janetofreno

                        I think context is everything -- if a DH wants to stand outside and grill his meat to death, hey, it's a little difference that makes things interesting (and kind of humorous as I envision those two guys outside shivering...)

                        But it sounds like amethiste's ex's issue wasn't how he liked his steak (even that he likes A1!) it was his total lack of respect for the effort amethiste was putting in, or her interest in food in general.

                          1. re: Dizzied

                            You hit the nail on the head Dizzied. This guy constantly ridiculed my interest and got angry when he felt I spent too much time in the kitchen to prepare a meal. Don't get me started on the temper tantrum he threw at the farmer's market.

                            In the future, I have no interest in dating anyone who goes "Eeeeewww" upon looking at the rare steak or sushi or eggplant on my plate. So I use "So how do you like your steak?" as an acid test. I admit I may be a little gun shy after dealing with my ex. However it has proved to be useful

                            1. re: amethiste

                              If I were single, I think my litmus test would be sushi, but ther is a range of appropriate answers:

                              "Do you want to meet for sushi?"

                              Preferred: Yes, I love sushi

                              Acceptable: I have never tried sushi, but will give it a shot.

                              Still Acceptable: I don't like sushi, but I am sure I can find something on the menu I'll eat.

                              Unacceptable: Sushi, ew gross. How do you eat that stuff?

                              1. re: Honey Bee

                                I asked my wife about deal breakers around food, she said that the only deal breaker would be sushi, too. Her quote was "if he doesn't eat sushi, there is no possible way he can be good in bed." Otherwise, she says she could work with whatever.

                                1. re: amethiste

                                  Seeing you mention the farmers market reminded me that, despite my happy little story about me and Mr. Goose above, I will add that I once described a recent (frustrating) experience at a farmer's market as "like taking a blind man to the Louvre"

                            2. re: amethiste

                              That's awful amethiste but you know you're better off. I met my husband when we were teenagers. I knew he was a picky eater but I wasn't such a foodie at the time. Over the years, it caused problems, especially when we were living in NYC. Now we have little kids and the only thing I would say is that if you're a foodie and your spouse isn't, indoctrinate your children as early as possible. I took my kids out for sushi when they were babies. Thai, Indian, French, Italian (obviously) and every kind of vegetable and fruit I could get my hands on. Now they are preteens and will try anything. They've started to cook and are very interested in all things food. I may have married a man who finds Domino's Pizza too spicy (swear, he sweats!) but my kids can and do eat anything.

                            3. I actually think you can work this to your advantage. My last GF was not very adventurous when we met (food-wise) and I was able to turn trying new things into a fun activity for both of us. I'd cook new recipes at home and make her my sous chef/guinea pig, or we would try new restaurants together.
                              She told me that what made her willing to stray outside her meat n' potatoes diet was the enthusiasm and joy that I brought to these culinary adventures. I took her to dim sum and she loved how my eyes lit up whenever a new cart came rolling by.
                              Try and share your foodie exuberance with your dates and it will make you more attractive to them.

                              1. Not necessarily a deal breaker, no, but one of a host of other factors to consider. Being a foodie is, as Fuser has noted above, akin to having a more developed sense of taste, as being a music lover is like having a more developed sense of rhythm or tone, or loving art may indicate a greater sensitivity to color, shape or texture. None of these is an indication that a relationship will not work, anymore than if one of you loves animals and the other has never owned a pet and doesn't ever want to. A good relationship can survive many differences, and indeed, some differences add interest. When any interest becomes a sore point, however, then it's a negative factor rather than a positive. You have to look at the relationship as a whole.

                                1. Check out this post I started awhile back:


                                  Take my advice - it's not easy and I am starving for good food that doesn't come in styrofoam! Good luck! My DH is darn lucky I love him!

                                  1. It wasn't a deal breaker for me. I'm a major foodie and he is a career military person who likes 'American' food. Three years later and some of his favourite things are those that he hadn't tried before we met AND he loves to go out to new restaurants. A word of caution though - take advantage of the early lovey-dovey days where he is more willing to try things for you. I have noticed mine is less willing to try new things now as he isn't trying to impress me every minute!.

                                    1. I live to eat, my husband eats to live. He so disappears into a cerebral world that he can 'forget' to eat until either I remind him or he comes back to earth from science land and needs immediate gratification, i.e. easiest to drive to wendy's (he knows it's nasty food but unless I am right there with something that tempts him, it is a quick trip to Ws). It is very hard for me to understand how anyone can forget to eat but that's the man I love:)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: ElsieB

                                        Elsie, I love (and live with) one of these guys, so I sympathize completely. We worked together for a while and I actually had to stop and remind him to eat lunch, which was brought in by me and wolfed down in 15 minutes. That's OK. At home he is willing (usually) to try new things, and there are very few he wont eat.

                                        I was once married to someone who actually thought HE was a better cook. He got ME to try a few things (oysters) that I had otherwise been unwilling to touch, but now that he has passed away, I cannot cook/eat oyster stew, because it reminds me too much of him, and I will never be able to replicate his recipe (yes, on some levels he WAS a better cook!)

                                        1. re: ElsieB

                                          Elsie, I also live with one of those who resides in another world (in his case, space) - he has to eat every couple of hours else he becomes grumpy, but isn't particularly picky about what he eats. When we met his apartment was stocked with sour cream and onion Pringles, caffeine-free Coke, canned Beenie Weenies, Eggo waffles, and iceburg lettuce. I don't have to remind him to eat, but I have to make sure that he has healthy foods around to grab.

                                          When I spoke to him this afternoon, I asked what he'd had for lunch - where he works has a couple of great cafeterias (I'm terribly jealous of that fact) - his answer: salmon donburi and a side of roasted asparagus and broccoli with sesame oil. However, when I came home tonight I discovered that he'd managed to fill the apartment with the stench of scorched Beenie Weenies (got distracted, he says). All was redeemed, though, when he said he'd sliced some peaches and was macerating (I didn't know he knew that word!) them in a Riesling for dessert.

                                        2. It's a dealbreaker for me if the person is unwilling to try new foods. It's one thing if they don't enjoy them, but unwillingness to try new things makes me crazy.

                                          1. don't respect 'em, don't date 'em. pretty simple

                                            1. It's a dealbreaker. As a foodie, hound, etc, too much of my life is about going out to eat and at new and different places (I also like cooking new things). If this activity is terminally compromised by an SO who is relunctant or who goes through the motions, or who lets face it; can't share in this prized experience with us as we'd like them to, then what's the point?

                                              1. Only a dealbreaker if it is a part of being generally closed minded. Otherwise, nope, not an issue. The number of things that are more important than whether they'll find uni as luscious as I is just staggering.

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: ccbweb

                                                  But what if it isn't that specific? I had a girlfriend who surely wouldn't try uni but she wouldn't try much of anything else either. She subsisted off of fast food. When we'd go out for dinner to a nice place she'd often order dessert as her entree. Trying a new recipe from Food & Wine magazine was impossible. Wine and other alcoholic beverages were out of the question too because of her religiousness.
                                                  Sure there is more to life than eating but it is something that we do do everyday. And to me I found it frustrating knowing that everyday wasn't going to be the right day to share a new dining experience with her.

                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                    As I said, if it's a part of being generally closed minded about the world, then I wouldn't be interested enough to pursue it anyway. If it's only about the food, then for me, it wouldn't be a problem if I liked her enough to want to pursue a relationship apart from that. The uni was just my offhand example of something I love to eat as often as it's possible to get it in good form.

                                                    1. re: ccbweb

                                                      So just to be clear a person being utterly close minded when it comes to dining isn't a deal breaker for you.

                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                        If it is confined to closed minded about what they themselves are going to eat, right, not a deal breaker at all. Utterly closed minded about the rest of the world would be a deal breaker for me.

                                                  2. re: ccbweb

                                                    Well put, ccbweb. I am a more adventureous eater than my husband, but he is more open-minded than I am about other things in life that frankly are more important than him not liking sea cucumbers and me loving them. Sometimes I get frustrated when I go out with friends who would only order, say, pad thai at a Thai restaurant. I really wish they would try something new! But I remind myself in such situations that the glory in going out to dine with someone and in inviting people over is to share that person's company. And unless, as others have pointed out, a person not being a "foodie" is a reflection of that person's close-mindeness in general, I couldn't care less if you do not like sushi and I do.

                                                    1. re: gloriousfood

                                                      I understand clearly. You are saying that there is no threshold at which your SO's closeminded about food cramps your style as a foodie. Despite the fact that your SO might palpably blench at virtually all cuisine other than McDonald's and Wendy's (as a former one of mine did) this will not cause you any fatigue. Knowing that virtually any restaurant that you choose or dinner that you might prepare for your SO will always be met with derision and fatigue on their part does not phase you as a foodie.
                                                      For a summer I dealt with that. For a life time, I don't think so.

                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                        Actually, you don't understand at all, are incorrect on all accounts and have no idea of my husband's preference (for example, we do not dine in Wendy's or McD's, and since Chowhound has a whole board dedicated to chains, of which McD's and Wendy's are discussed frequently, I don't look down at those who do). It is a far stretch, IMO, to translate my description of my husband being less adventurous than I am when it comes to eating as him meeting with "derision and fatigue" any restaurant I may choose. I can assure you that's not the case (I plan our meals at home and choose about 90% of the restaurants we go to).

                                                        It sounds like you had a bad experience--which I'm sorry to hear--and transferring your experience onto mine and perhaps others. In this sitatuion, it's clear that we don't see eye to eye and that is fine with me. To each his/her own.

                                                        1. re: gloriousfood

                                                          To be clear, my assessment WAS of an ex of mine and WAS NOT an attempt to describe YOUR husband at all (I don't know him). Your husband IS the kind of person whom I could most likely share a good meal with (according to your description).
                                                          MY point is that there are some people (NOT YOUR HUSBAND) who have such very VERY narrow tastes (NOT YOUR HUSBAND) that I'd be surprised that any foodie wouldn't be off-put IMHO. ccbweb however stated that he wouldn't be turned off by this or any other type of food related closemindedness and I thought that you responded to him in agreement.

                                                          Sorry for the confusion.

                                                  3. I once had someone go out with me because when we were choosing a restaruant I mentioned that I didn't eat fish. I consider myself a foodie and am very adventerous but I don't eat fish or seafood. I don't have a problem with other people ordering and I find that it doesnt affect my ability to go out and enjoy a great meal and most restaurants. This guy was so offended that I wouldnt eat fish he insisted I was too closed-minded to date and we never went out and never talked again. I'd say his loss.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: jes

                                                      I guess for me it would depend on the person's reasons for not eating fish.

                                                      1. re: mollyomormon

                                                        Good point Molly! I got violently ill after eating fish one time when I was young and have shied away from fish ever since. I really don't like the smell, but I can tolerate it. As I have gotten older my friends have told me that if I had really good fresh fish I would probably like it, so I have been trying it whenever I am eating with someone who orders fish (with their permission of course.) I have found some that I like and some I don't care for, but at least I am trying!

                                                      2. re: jes

                                                        It's odd, but in your siutation, I find the guy to be more close-minded than you (I actually don't think you're close-minded as I know a lot of people who don't eat fish). It's almost like reverse close-mindeness.

                                                        1. re: gloriousfood

                                                          yea, that was my general opinion of him. He seemed to be uninterested in anyone who didnt completely share all of his interests.

                                                          BTW, my reasons for not eating fish is that smell of it (includnig realyl fresh fish) makes me ill and completely kills my appetite so I chose to avoid it and order something else.

                                                          I wonder how it would work if someone like him were to date a vegetarian or someone with food allergies or something?

                                                      3. Often they just haven't had an exposure to different foods. My ex refused anything with onions, mushrooms & a garlic when we first met. I just finely minced & slipped them in slowly & he thought my cooking was the best. 30 years later he is a very accomplished innovative cook!

                                                        I have dated non-foodies. When I first started seeing my BF & realized that our taste in food was in sync I was thrilled. I get so much pleasure out of flavor, texture & discovering new dishes & ingredients and it adds much joy to be able to share that with your partner. It made me realize how tedious it had been cooking for/with the non-foodies.

                                                        1. I've lived most of my adult life based in the Philippines and Colombia--both countries with the respective culinary fame of Nebraska or South Dakota in Asia and Latin America (with no offense meant to Nebraska, South Dakota, the Philippines, or Colombia--all where great food can be found). Although 99.9% of the people I've met in these two countries grew up with relatively un-exciting food, my various SOs in these countries really enjoyed exploring the limits of local and exotic (to them) foods to the max. It seems that I naturally never dated any local "meat and potatoes" partners. Does this make any sense? And to my Filipino and Colombian CH friends, don't be offended--I know you know what I mean.

                                                          1. I will try anything 3 times before I make a call on whether I love it or hate it. My husband will eat anything...hell my dad fed him a freshly cooked balut the first time they met. I won't eat balut but I have tried it more than 3 times. I use the 3 times rule, because it might taste different at first but by the third time the strangeness has pass and you can taste the flavors and decide if you like it.

                                                            If they are open minded and willing to try, then go for it.

                                                            1. This harks back to my old "Do you lie about food?" post...

                                                              When I first met Mr Goddess, we were on out maybe third date... and we'd got the the point where we were sussing each other out as potential mates, rather than casual **ahem** dates... and l had The List in my head.. ya know,, the questions you need answers to, and those answers might or might not be deal breakers.

                                                              His question was "So, do you like to fish"

                                                              to which I answered:

                                                              "yes, and I bait my own hook".. He was.. well... hooked!!

                                                              My question was "So, what do you like to eat?"

                                                              and the conversation went something like this

                                                              me "Do you eat Japanese?"

                                                              him "Raw Fish **insert horrified look** NO WAY!!"

                                                              me "Umm.. what about Thai?"

                                                              him "Never tried it. Don't think I'd like it"

                                                              me "What DO you eat?"

                                                              him "Pizza.. umm.. and spaghetti. and Chinese"

                                                              me (hopefully) "Asian??!! What about Vietnamese?"

                                                              him (horrified) " Don't they eat cats?? NO way!!"

                                                              **imagine pg mentally ticking off prospective mate**

                                                              I didn't write him off, but he WAS on notice... until about three weeks after this and we were at a party and someone handed around a tray of sushi and Mr Goddess blithely grabbed a nori roll and munched into it greedily. I watched on, fascinated as he asked me "what is this savory marshmallow kinda stuff?" I eventually told him.. about 3 months later.

                                                              At that point I realised that his food **phobias** sprang from ignorance, rather than an actual dislike of food, so I decided to start cooking (for him) more adventurous stuff and not telling him.

                                                              For a while I DID lie about food.... I called mousakka "lasagne" and he ate it happily. I called bhaba ghanoush "smoky dip" and he ate it happily. I called all sorts of things.. well.. all sorts of things...

                                                              And, as others have said, if he really DIDN"T like what I served (and there have been a few things, like he still won't eat his steak blue and refuses to eat baby octopus), at least he's tried it and made an**informed** choice, rather that just write off food out of ignorance.

                                                              Now he's a dab hand in the kitchen, making his own gow gees and mainlining pho and goi cuong and is a sushi FOOL!!!

                                                              5 Replies
                                                                1. re: purple goddess

                                                                  I do the exact same thing, though I didn't want to admit that in public lest a future SO figures out my modus operandi! When we had a cold snap in NYC a couple weeks ago, I made a large pot of callos: a soul-hugging stew of tripe, pork feet, beef and chorizo. A finicky visitor was hungry so I offered him a bowl, telling him it was made of "pork trotters" instead of "pig feet" when he asked the ingredients in between greedy bites. He sopped up the remains in the bowl with bread before asking for more of a soup for which I would only give him Spanish name. Even in my fridge I make sure the box of lard shows only the Spanish face. "Manteca" is a lot less scary than "lard" to a novice.

                                                                  Although I have to admit to feeling dishonest when resorting to obfuscation, it has really helped developed my friends' and mates' palates over the years, and in the end I think it's a good thing that we can now enjoy each other's company whether over a slice of pizza or a bowl of offal. Neither of us feels put upon come mealtime and there's always an adventure in store for the future.

                                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                                    i love that story. i had the same experience with a filipino dish called diniguan, basically blood stew with tripe, stomach... etc. i can not tell you how many friends have finished a whole bowl full before finding out what it is. thats how i started my kids on being adventurous. now i dont have to "hide" anything!

                                                                    1. re: coconutgoddess

                                                                      That's how my parents raised me! "Just eat it..." - I'd eat it, like it, then ask what it is, then ask for more. I pretty much eat anything now minus a few things that I've tried a few times and simply disliked.

                                                                  2. re: purple goddess

                                                                    Mr. Shallots got a laugh out of the alternative lasagna and then said, confindently, "You'ld never do that."
                                                                    No, but I am SO tempted.

                                                                  3. Food is such an important part of my life, my SO was pretty much a meat and potato person when we first met, but he would ask me questions about the food I would be jabbering about and was open to trying it. I can remember the first time he tried sushi, he couldn't drink enough beer.
                                                                    But now he is always ok to go with me when I crave it. And he'll ask me to order for him so I do. Yes he drowns it with wasabi and soy sauce, but he loves it now, and I NEVER thought he would ever like it.
                                                                    So the deal breaker for me is the personality one that's open, and that if in anyway they put down your interest or tried to make you feel like a "food snob" or bad about your interest then so sorry see ya later. They don't have to be as interested as I am, but it's fun to at least be able to converse and try things together. I wouldn't ditch a nice person too soon though, you might be able to teach them.

                                                                    These days, my DH is proud of my cooking skills, his coworkers always want to know what I made him for dinner the night before. If it's something different, he'll always ask me, "Now what was that dish called". He never gets it right but I think its very sweet that he's proud of my cooking.

                                                                    1. As a single guy in LA, I consider it a deal breaker. I'm enough of a foodie where it reflects a part of one's personality -- the openness to new things, the love of all cultures, the adventurousness, the courage to shed re-conceptions, the lengths to which you'll explore, and the ease with which you engage in social situations like restaurants.

                                                                      I'm sorry, and you might be the greatest woman in the world, but if you're in your late 20s and living in Los Angeles and won't try sushi, I'll say this out loud, You're Not My Type.

                                                                      I'm more than happy to escort you down the garden path. Especially in a town like this where everyone has something to learn food-wise, it can add to the enjoyment of a relationship when the two of you share in that sense of discovery. I myself will be the first to admit that I have much to learn, and I would love to accompany you in any capacity (whether it be a tasting menu paired with wine or a hole in the wall where you're kinda worried about your car), not only to explore the city's culinary possibilities, but to share in the experience with you specifically.

                                                                      But if you're not down with that, then I'm sorry sorry, honey: Deal Breaker.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                        SauceSupreme, I wish I was in LA to do that with you. . . . my type of guy for sure!

                                                                        I have tried dating non-foodies and it just didn't work. . . . I live to eat and frankly felt like I had to compromise this to accomodate my non-foodie partners, ending up at McDonalds one too many times . . . . The ideal for me is a man who gets just as excited about trying and cooking new food as I do, a man with whom I can spend many happy years cooking and dining out with. We would share our common love of food that would last our lifetime. . . . A gal can dream can't she :)

                                                                      2. So mabye I am a foodie in training, however my husban of 15 years is or was meat and taters all the way...then we started traveling around the world and trying new things and he found he really liked some of it! There are many nights I make two meals or an extention of his M&T into my wounderfull food...thank-God we have a dishwasher...
                                                                        Sometimes I even cook for our pets including the horse...So tell me is this what a foodie is???...anyway I love my Husban and being with him is the best,foodie or not!

                                                                        1. If a guy really likes you he will try to embrace new cuisines and learn about food because he knows that it's important to you. If he doesn't care enough to try then it's not really about food. I think the same thing goes for you. If you really like the guy, it won't matter too much whether or not he's a foodie, or how long he takes to become one but if you don't, it could be a deal breaker. It's usually a compromise but I'm sure you can find a range of things you both like. I try to keep in mind the fact that my guy compromises as much as I do in the food arena and the fact that I may "know" more about food doesn't change that. I eat more burgers, he eats more tofu, we make it work.

                                                                          1. The opportunities for hilarious practical jokes on the less experienced foodie alone might keep me in the game! Long ago, when I was young and innocent of the perils of the food world, I had an eggroll annointed with about a tablespoon of hot mustard urged upon me by my (more worldly- wise) companion. They were actually even able to eat a commensurate amount without tears to demonstrate it's deliciousness. You can only imagine how much we laughed and laughed after the top of my skull was put back in place and my sinus has ceased throbbing and weeping!

                                                                            1. If she's pretty, smart and excellent in bed, who cares what she eats.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: beevod

                                                                                Maybe it's an age thing, but I'd rather my partner be good in the kitchen than good in bed!

                                                                              2. As a single gal in my 30s who's all but given up hope of finding someone with even the basic necessities in a long term mate, I would definitely not call it a deal breaker. I would love to meet someone who shares my love of all things culinary, to would be a bonus, but as long as I can enjoy what I like, he can enjoy what he likes, etc. And someone else said that's what friends are for and I agree.
                                                                                And to echo "beevod", if he's cute, smart and excellent in bed, who cares what he eats.

                                                                                1. Have you tried getting your date into the kitchen? For the past year, my boyfriend and I have had weekly cooking dates where we cook a gourmet meal together. It's been instrumental in getting him to try new foods and new methods of cooking!

                                                                                  When we first met, he was the furthest thing from a foodie. He ate at least once a day from McDonald's, Wendy's orTaco Bell, and his version of cooking was putting BallPark franks on the Foreman! In comparison, just last night, he surprised me by coming over and making me a meal of seared scallops with a grand marnier sauce on top of couscous and wilted arugula. The scallops were a bit overcooked haha, but still... it's been quite a transformation!

                                                                                  1. It's difficult but I'm sure people are generally open to expanding their minds. Suggest restaurants where you can both find something to eat. He can order his steak and potatoes and you can order your fois gras, yellowtail carpaccio and sous vide pork belly. I find that it's generally more a problem if the person just isn't into eating - eating disorders, generally forgets to eat.

                                                                                    I've more than transformed my SO and ex SO in the food department so I definitely believe it's possible for a person to become a foodie-or chowhound, or at least, more adventurous.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: kayonyc

                                                                                      "I've more than transformed my SO and ex SO in the food department so I definitely believe it's possible for a person to become a foodie-or chowhound, or at least, more adventurous."

                                                                                      And by the same token, it's also possible for you to become *less* of a foodie.

                                                                                      1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                        My biggest mistake was assuming that I could get my DH to be more adventurous. Other than eating ham, grapes, and an occasional chicken kiev, he really hasn't made much progress in 31 years! WAA! I had to become *less* of a foodie, but suffer because of it. I should have known when we were dating, but I was very young and "in love."

                                                                                        1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                          I never considered that but then with me, it would never happen. Maybe the love/lust is so overewhelming that the foodie loses her appetite for a short bit! Haha - that's happened to me... I just take my food a bit too seriously to make sacrifices in the long run. I'm sure it's a bit more complex than a black and white answer we're all trying to express here. But really, it depends on the person and on the couple and how seriously each wants to make a relationship work (with or without foodie type issues) I guess I'm real lucky that it's never been a problem for me.

                                                                                        2. re: kayonyc

                                                                                          Not all people are open to expanding their minds. I've definitely dated people who refused to try new foods and were not the least bit interested in expanding their culinary horizons. I think, at least in these cases, that that attitude extended into other areas of their lives. So I won't date people like that anymore.

                                                                                        3. People say that the family is the fundamental unit of society, but it's the dinner table. That's where you learn to share, to communicate, to provide for others, to nourish and watch grow. It's where you pass tradition, it's where you discover new cultures, it's where you enjoy camaraderie and spend time with people you care about; it's where you branch out to new ideas and celebrate old ones.

                                                                                          The kitchen, too: it's where you learn to divide labor, to give credit and learn how to temper the praise, it's where you learn patience, cleanliness, read instructions (even if you choose to ignore them) and ultimately have a sense of delayed gratification when it's all said and done.

                                                                                          My advice here is: how a person behaves at the kitchen and dinner table reflects how that person behaves in the rest of the house.

                                                                                          1. I used to think that it was a total dealbreaker. It was actually one of the issues that made me feel like ending one relationship once.

                                                                                            I am currently married to a non foodie... But she's willing to try food. The thing that helped me a lot getting her into food was cooking for her.

                                                                                            1. I dated my fair share of non-foodies, but I decided to throw in the towel when I ended up eating a Valentine's Day dinner at Swiss Chalet, staring at my quarter chicken and fries while my soon-to-be ex raved about how you'd never catch him buying into the whole idea of a fancy romantic meal to celebrate.

                                                                                              So when I kicked his meat-and-potatoes-no-veggies butt to the curb, I vowed that from then on I'd only date people who understood that to me, eating isn't just about fuelling the machine... it's a hobby, and one I'm damn good at (I have been practicing for nearly 30 years, after all). No more anniversary dinners at Jack Astor's, thankyouverymuch.

                                                                                              So I knew I'd lucked out when I met The Boy, because he understood why I think Montreal bagels are the only kind worth eating... and then we went on to fall in love over pear tart and sushi and seared marlin with orange/olive/mint salad and french toast and... well, you get the point. Our relationship history reads like a menu.

                                                                                              Looking back, I can't possibly imagine what would have possessed me to think I could make a life with a man who refused to look beyond meat and potatoes. Yikes.

                                                                                              1. In my experience when I was single, dating a foodie novice wasnt an automatic "deal breaker" as long as the individual was open to trying different things, and not closed minded bout ingredients,or different cuisines .

                                                                                                I had more issues when I tried to date people who were vegetarians, or wouldnt eat things for religious issues. Towards the end of my time on the dating scene, these peoples eating habits were considered "deal breakers" because it conflicted too much with my lifestyle/beliefs. I could respect their beliefs/lifestyle, but it made things tough when choosing restaurants, and cooking at home, and dating, and finding someone you click with is tough enough without these obsticles in my humble opinion.

                                                                                                1. some people are pathologically adventurous, exploratory and into food as an experience

                                                                                                  some are adventurous but with not much experience with different foods (upbringing, limited travel, etc)

                                                                                                  some are pathologically safe-bet types unwilling to go outside their comfort zone, zero risk, fraidycats

                                                                                                  some simply don't care about food

                                                                                                  the distinctions are important-- embrace and learn from the first type; nurture and explore with the second, although this type will take a lot of WORK, remedial palate training, and missteps "these cheese rangoon things are the best food i've ever had! let's come here every week!" :)

                                                                                                  don't bother with the third (deal breaker). the fourth, hmm. your call. if they have other interesting attributes and respect the fact that you live to eat, and will tag along with you, humor you, buy you pretty things to eat-- no foul that i can see. . .

                                                                                                  1. What is all this crap about guys not wanting to try anything other than pizza or pasta? What's the world come to? Why the hell are you ladies dating guys, excuse me, boys like this? If he doesn't want to try some real food he's a SISSY. KICK HIM SQUA IN THA NUTS! Ooh... you don't like onions, nancy boy? HUMBUG! God forbid anything should have any strong flavor! Yes, let's all just sit around eating bread and water. HIPPIES AND COMMUNISTS! THAT'S ALL THESE SISSIES ARE.

                                                                                                    I personally have a meal of haggis with a side of either limburger or casu marzu cheese which I serve with a habanero hot sauce, which I of course I make by grinding them with my eyes, and for vegetables I eat whole, uncooked, bitter melons, and maybe some chunks of horseradish straight off the root (carrots are for sissies) and I use raw garlic and onions as a nice sort of relish, and of course I down an entire durian for dessert, which I open with my bare hands

                                                                                                    And THAT'S HOW A REAL MAN EATS

                                                                                                    Maddox actually covered this topic a couple of times:

                                                                                                    You can't be around food-timid sissies like this. If they can't eat a simple onion, how the hell are they going to get though life? Ooooh, onions and garlic are stinky? Peppers are too spicy? LIFE is stinky and burns, hippies! BAH!

                                                                                                    1. Oh and I see a lot of people commenting about kids being picky eaters. You guys do know it's not just a mental thing, right? Scientists found that kids actually have much stronger taste buds than adults - so many things taste bad to them because they taste them SO strongly. From personal experience, there also seems to be some weird fear of something tasting bas, as though it would harm you. For most adults, we'll try it, and so what if it ends up tasting bad? It's not like you're going to die just because you had something unpleasant in your mouth. But kids for some reason seem to have a fear of the sensation of something insipid.

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: peanuttree

                                                                                                        well.. i am mom to three little chowhounds. some of their favorite foods are steamed tripe, whole fish (they fight for the head) and well... pizza. the are kids after all.
                                                                                                        again, just reinforcing the importance of food in my little world culture.

                                                                                                        1. re: coconutgoddess

                                                                                                          dang, you got lucky with your kids - most kids are so whiny and annoying about what they eat

                                                                                                          1. re: peanuttree

                                                                                                            I spent a whole day last week with my four-year-old nephew. I knew we were going out for Mexican food, so I convinced him that he really wanted to try guacamole. Even taught him how to say it properly. He said something to his dad about it, and didn't say the word, so Jeff thought he was talking about some kind of candy, so Cameron thought guacamole was candy.

                                                                                                            I got guacamole on my meal, and gave him a little on a chip. He wouldn't eat it. His dad took it and ate it and made yummy noises. Finally, he consented to taste it. He didn't like it, as it turned out, but the fact that he tried it was a big step in the right direction. I told him when he turned five, he should try it again.

                                                                                                      2. The food peculiarities of some of the people that I’ve dated are really confounding. One woman stated that she found FRENCH FRIES particularly McDonald’s fries to be “DISGUSTING”. Another stated that although she didn’t mind making apple pies she would never eat a piece of one (even of her own) because she found them to be “GROSS”. Sometimes I think these were merely attempts on their part at being interesting or iconoclastic.

                                                                                                        1. I know that this is hard for any one poster to answer, but why are almost all the non-foodie dating candidates I read about here MEN? Is it that the majority of CH posters are women? Or just that this topic hit a raw nerve with women?

                                                                                                          Bottom line: are the intransigent non-foodies causing friction with foodies overwhelmingly male? (from a male foodie)

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: WNYamateur

                                                                                                            As a guy I don't think that it cuts on gender lines. I believe that some men and women are just less curious or picky about food but express it in different ways. For instance I personally have never heard a guy (without a dietary restriction) say "I can't eat anything out of the ocean". This is a fairly common statement among women however, I've noticed (foodie and non-foodie alike [and w/o dietary restrictions]). Guys just tend to be stubborn about getting out of their particular food comfort zone in general and don't feel the need to explain any further.

                                                                                                          2. I'm married to a non-foodie, so it wasn't a deal breaker, but it is frustrating sometimes. Luckily, my son is a boy after my own heart and is definitely a foodie. Even when he was in elementary school, his teachers were telling me stories about his restaurant reports and how, when they had the kids wrote "What I Did Over Summer Vacation" essays, he always mentioned meals we had.

                                                                                                            1. There was once a very sweet guy who was interested in me. After we got to know each other a bit, and he asked me out on an official 'date', i refused stating there was no chance that I could ever date him seriously. "Why?" he asked. I replied, "There are three reasons that we could never be in a serious relationship:
                                                                                                              1. You don't eat cheese.
                                                                                                              2. You don't drink wine (or any alcoholic beverage for that matter)
                                                                                                              3. You are just way to religious (christian) for me.

                                                                                                              Now, i may be a bit close-minded, but I did not really see a future filled with fun with this fellow, as nice as he was.
                                                                                                              I'm now married to a guy who likes trying all kinds of food. And, we're members of cheese of the month club for the last 3 years.
                                                                                                              When the right fellow comes along, you won't have to second-guess if he's worth dating, trust me!

                                                                                                              1. I share your pain, Coconutgoddess!!

                                                                                                                It is only a dealbreaker if said love interest isn't open minded about trying new things. I've dated men who were open to new things, and I was able to turn them on to the culinary arts.

                                                                                                                I've also dated men who wouldn't budge with what they consumed (absolute deal breaker), or men who would go places with you- but just didn't get "it" (another deal breaker, but not as severe an offense).

                                                                                                                1. I would have said deal breaker a few years ago, but then I met this wonderful man who likes bland food (his mom's british, what can I say? :P) and married him. Now it does mean that I'm not always eating the food I like when we cook together, but his horizons are expanding. Even if he is a picky eater, he will try new foods.

                                                                                                                  1. i've dated people who live as "foodies", one boyfriend of 3 years wanted to try all TONY 100 restaurants in NY. that was his goal. in fact he valued the Time Out guide more than my own opinions. Someone else I dated briefly in college, who was a law student, was generally a hedonist. he loved to try different things, and was also a commitment--phobe. i'm not sure if i want my guy to have as much of an interest in seeking out food as I do. my dad annoys me when he interferes with what i'm doing in the kitchen. i prefer my current SO's take on it, he loves everything I make and is only rarely picky when we eat out.

                                                                                                                    1. Hey all,

                                                                                                                      I've been lurking here for a while now and decided to join in the fun. I'm a Baltimore foodie and former restaurant employee (Charleston, Roy's, a few others). While hanging out with some former co-workers, the topic of dating and eating out came up. Since people like us (foodies and restaurant people) generally will place a higher importance on when, where, what, and how to eat, dating people from the Applebee's and Subway mentality generally won't work.

                                                                                                                      One of the girls that was with us mentioned a website she likes called foodservicesingles.com, which is a place for people like us (foodies and/or restaurant people) to communicate, date, chat, hang out, whatever . . . I actually thought it was a pretty good idea and surprised no one thought of it up to this point.

                                                                                                                      If you sign up and you're from the area, my name on there is "lbiars". Always looking for new foodie friends.