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Oct 5, 2007 10:54 AM

Married To A Non-Foodie, How To Cope?

From reading many of the postings on the Chowhound boards, it appears that many of you are either married to or have sig. others who are also Chowhounds and "foodies". That's great, because you can discuss and obsess over wonderful food.

However, my (wonderful) husband is not into food at all. He's a very picky eater and will not eat: raw tomatoes, cooked tomatoes unless pureed, onions, any color bell pepper, anything spicy, brocolli, shrimp, scallops. Let's just say that the only veggies he'll eat are lettuce (not too dark green either!), peas, green beans, and sometimes carrotts.

I cook most meals at home...
how in the world can I remain a Chowhound and cook something that my husband will eat?

Any suggestions will be appreciated.


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  1. Well, flowers, you have my sympathy. Mr. Diane is a Meat & Potatoes kind of guy and after 25 years of marriage, he isn't going to change. He only eats chicken or beef, we don't eat pork and he has an iodine allergy (no fish or seafood). MANY eveings I find myself preparing separate meals. When all the kids were home, this was a true PITA. He won't eat cooked vegetables beyond the starchy ones (corn, potatoes), is allergic to sweet potatoes, bell peppers, hates any kind of nut except peanut, is real h**l to cook for. Through the years I have developed a stiff back bone and a lot of nights cook to please myself. The good news is that it's relatively easy to grill a steak or piece of chicken and he could eat the same thing 7 nights in a row and it wouldn't bother him.

    You can remain a Chowhound, have a wide palette and indulge in exotic food by not caring that he isn't going to join you. Very hard to change other people. Find some family, kids, or good friends who will enjoy the things you make. The people in my office consider themselves very lucky as I often like to experiment and bring my leftovers in for others to critique and sample.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Diane in Bexley

      Maybe I should intoduce you to my wife who could care less what she eats, has to eat all of her beef very well done, her chicken dried out, she rarely will eat "ethnic" food and she won't eat lamb, veal, salmon, swordfish, just to name a few.

      1. re: Diane in Bexley

        Thanks for all the ideas. I really would like to avoid having to cook two different meals at dinnertime. Seems I'm always cooking chicken with different veggies for me and seperate veggies for my husband. And...oh, I husband hates rice, go figure!

        I've tried "hiding" veggies in pasta sauce....for instance, brocolli or zuchinni. He'll find the pieces, pick them out and say "I told you I don't like brocolli", why do you keep trying to hide it in my food?". It only makes him mad.


        1. re: ctflowers

          My parents used to hide onions in my food and then get mad when I picked them out. I recommend that you don't do that anymore. Chances are he doesn't want the veggies in his pasta cause he doesn't like them. I would get mad at you too.

          My other recommendation is to let him cook for himself if he doesn't like what you are cooking. When I would come home and ask my parents what was for dinner they would get mad at me when I screwed up my face cause it was something I didn't like. Then my father would tell me to make my down damn dinner then. I was quite happy with this option. That way I got to eat something that I like. =)

          I do the cooking now!!!!

          1. re: ctflowers

            My sister is married to a VERY similar man. They have worked it out so that she cooks whatever she likes and he can decide to eat what she's made or fend for himself. You would be surprised what he's learned to eat when he's too lazy to cook for himself.
            BTW IMHO this all goes back to his can thank them for his expansive palate.

            1. re: amy_rc

              i'm in agreement with camp and amy on this one.

              i understand your desire to take care of your husband, but if he's really that difficult and particular, it's unreasonable and unfair for him to expect you to accommodate all his 'issues' and prepare EVERY meal according to his wishes...particularly when that means sacrificing your own preferences and pleasure. after all, you're the one doing the work!

              considering that your palates are so different, i assume it's neither food in general nor your cooking in particular that brought the two of you together in the first i'm guessing it's safe to say he didn't marry you solely for your culinary skills. in which case i honestly don't think he's going to divorce you if you don't bend over backwards to please him at every meal.

              i don't mean to sound insensitive fact, i used to be the particular one. i was a vegetarian for 21 years, and grew up in a family of raging carnivores. i had to accept the fact that i had no right to expect the rest of the family [or - once i was older and had left home - my friends] to modify their habits to accommodate my choices.

              so they didn't. if i couldn't [or wouldn't] eat what mom had prepared, or the restaurant they chose didn't offer many options for me, i had to fend for myself or be creative in my ordering.

              the payoff? i became one hell of a cook.

              i recently started eating meat again, so i no longer have the same restrictions when we all eat together. the irony is, now i'll eat ANYTHING. i've become so much more adventurous than any of them ever were. my entire family is now a bunch of picky, boring eaters. so i'm still often the odd man out, but it's for an entirely different reason!

              look, relationships are about compromise. sure, prepare some of your meals according to his limitations, but balance them out with others that YOU want to eat. if he refuses, he's on his own. he's an adult...i'm pretty sure he can figure out how to cope and find some other way to feed himself. and if he's that resistant to doing it on his own, he'll just have to eat what you've prepared. hey, you never know...maybe he'll surprise both of you by learning to like something new.

            2. re: ctflowers

              So don't hide it. Leave it in big pieces and tell him to just fish them out! Or cook the broccoli for yourself in the microwave and add it to your plate while he has plain al fredo...

              DH is a very picky eater (but not as fussy as your husband) and he's ALWAYS telling me he 'won't like this' or he 'doesn't like' that... Sometimes I let him pick what we're eating even though I know he'll pick something that I loathe or don't like, sometimes I choose to make something that I know he likes, sometimes I ask him if it's okay if I make something that I particularly wanted (even though he thinks he doesn't like it) and sometimes I say the hell with it and make exactly what I want even though I know he hates it, and then we eat different meals.
              There are also times when I make his favourite meal (hamburgers/steak) even though I loathe them - living together is about compromise and nobody can be happy ALL the time, including me.

            3. re: Diane in Bexley

              ITA with this post. I've been married for 18 years to a man with very similar dislikes to this poster's husband. I cope be using most of the same strategies, too. Luckily for me, my 15 year old son is a foodie, but that's something that has evolved, so it has only been over the past few years that I've had someone with whom to regularly share my foodie-ness.

            4. Luckily my husband is as "chowish" as I am. The rest of my family isn't though, so having my mom over for dinner is always tough. I like to make some things we can all agree on, then change a few things up a bit or put items on the side. For example, I have a recipe for skirt steak with a cilantro sauce that everyone loves, so when cooking for mom, the sauce goes on the side. When everyone else gets sea bass or swordfish, mom gets skewers of shrimp. I try to keep the cooking methods the same so I'm not truly making 2 dishes. So for the seafood example, all would be grilled. In your case dh could have chicken instead of a fish, but still it would be cooked the same way the fish is.
              also, I tend to try to fill up on veggies and my hsuband doesn't eat nearly enough of them, so I give him extra rice, pasta, meat etc and I make whatever veggies I want, he ends up eating some, but they are almost always for me!

              1. My sympathies - this type of mixed marriage is a challenge!

                A lot depends on your husband's attitude towards food. If he's willing to try, or at least doesn't sneer at your food preferences, there's hope. Gentle, slow experimentation with food may eventually turn your husband into a foodie. Try simple preparations, roasted or caramelized vegetables (that's how I got my husband to eat onions, eggplant, and asparagus), and top-quality, farm-fresh ingredients.

                But if he's completely hostile to all but a few foods, you have a real challenge. I'd be tempted to cook what I wanted and tell my husband to fend for himself. At least once a week....

                Try this thread for some more ideas:

                Married a Meat and Potatoes Man....Help!

                Good luck,

                1. how about making dishes more palatable to you via interesting sauces/salsas/chutneys/etc? for example, you can make grilled chicken and serve it to him plain, but top yours with a yummy something-or-other. you can make mashed potatoes plain for him, and then just mix a little pesto into yours.

                  if it were me, i'd try to think in terms of base items that appeal to him that i could add to in an easy way to make them chow-ish for me.

                  good luck!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: missfunkysoul

                    In sauces, treat him as one might treat children - puree the h--- out of the onions/garlic(not too much garlic!) and whatever else you want in the darn sauce (use your blender on "liquefy," not the food processor!) - most of the time, peoplel will simply think you've done a really stellar job on that sauce. And roasted vegetables are a splendid idea - was the way a couple of my sisters-in-law discovered they wouldn't die eating parsnips, turnips, and other vegetables. (Hint - grilled also works well).

                  2. Back when I was single, one of my prime requisites in a date (or husband) was that he love food. That was right up there with must be kind to children and animals. The enjoyment of food and cooking is such a big part of my life, that I knew I had to find a mate of the same stamp. My DH and I started dating 32 years ago, and have had many excellent food adventures together. You have my sincere sympathy.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pikawicca

                      Yes, how on earth did you ever become attracted to such a person? I "went out" with such a guy for about a month and a half once. It did not last.