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"I Love You, but You Love Meat" - NYT

Hey all,

I came across this article in the New York Times this morning and thought it was a really interesting topic. Here's the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/din...

What do you guys think? Have you ever have to deal with this issue on a personal level?

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  1. It is an interesting article. Food is an important element in bonding, but it's not everything. I'm actually a bit surprised by the people who won't date somebody because of different dietary preferences. However, I grew up in a family where my dad was super-strict about his health regimen than the rest of the family -- eg. strict vegetarian for a few years, no refined sugar, no fried foods, etc. It really didn't affect us. When we went out, we just made sure the restaurant would be able to accommodate him.

    Many years ago, I also used to live with a roommate that kept Kosher. Because I liked to spend time with her, I would eat at Kosher restaurants. Hey, I would even have pizza at Jerusalem II in Midwood, Brooklyn when the legendary DiFara was next door. It's really not that big of a deal. She opened me to a world of schwarma, malawah and burek.

    From the article:
    "Judging from postings at food Web sites like chowhound.com and slashfood.com, people seem more willing to date those who restrict their diet for health or religion rather than mere dislike."

    I'm not bothered by people who dislike different things. If you don't like something, you don't like something. But I do have problems with people who are close-minded and refuse to try new things because I feel that it reflects in other matters as well.

    1. When I was dating I never considered dating a vegetarian too different of a lifestyle. So I would have never married a vegetarian.

      With the above said, I think I only know one vegetarian, one of my neighbors who seems nice, and does not frown about others eating meat at one of my bbq's during the summer. I make sure to always have plenty of non-meat items for her, all part of being a good host.

      9 Replies
      1. re: swsidejim

        "I'm actually a bit surprised by the people who won't date somebody because of different dietary preferences"

        In your family's case, it was a choice made for health reasons. That is a lot easier to accomodate than when the choice is made for "moral" reasons and there are plenty who are vegetarian or vegan because of such feelings.

        IMO, it would be impossible to maintain a relationship with someone who believed you 'murdered' your dinner (or who felt that the source of chicken Kiev was an equivalent sentient being to a human).

        Heck, I had a relationship break up with a meat eater over veal.

        1. re: FrankJBN

          While you may have a problem with this morality issue, there certainly are a lot of people who don't.

          I used to date this guy for seven years and he refused to eat mammal meats for moral reasons. I didn't get on his case defending mammals, and he didn't get on mine for eating beef. My sister-in-law is an omnivore and her husband is a vegetarian for ethical reasons. They've been happy together for over 10 years. For moral reasons, I'd rather eat lower on the food chain as much as possible. However, my husband doesn't really care and will eat a good deal of veal, foie gras, pigs (which are highly intelligent animals), etc. That's his business, and I can't see myself forcing my views on this grown man.

          Everybody has their own comfort zone. Some people are more rigid than others about these things. It is certainly your perogative to break up with a meat eater over veal. I just don't feel the same way.

          1. re: Miss Needle

            I didn't say I had a problem with the morality issue - I'm the meat eater.

            You seem to read my post entirely wrong: " It is certainly your perogative to break up with a meat eater over veal" Again, I don't know how you missed it, but I am the meat eater.

            I have found that those who believe it is immoral to eat meat are very often proselytizers of their viewpoint. Is it your experience that those who are vegetarians and vegans for the alleged moral reasons are generally tolerant of the slaughter and digestion of animals?

            "I can't see myself forcing my views on this grown man."

            You are very different from a lot of 'morality based' vegans, because indeed there are many who believe (as I posted) that it is equivalent to murder to slaughter for food and that human beings should not have rights or privileges that supercede those of animals.

            I am sure that you should have seen tape or at least read accounts of vegetarians shouting "Murderer!" and "You're the animal!" at hunters.

            1. re: FrankJBN

              I find it interesting that I don't see these people yelling "Murderer" to a lion and trying to convince them that Tofantelope is quite tasty.

              DT

              1. re: Davwud

                Dude, I have a friend (acquaintance) who is vegetarian, *very* involved in animal rescue, etc. -- which is all great in my book. But she actually believes that the world would be "a better place if we could also teach animals not to eat each other".....

                Guess nature just isn't moral enough '-)

                1. re: linguafood

                  Does she think the collapse of every ecosystem on earth will make the world a better place?

              2. re: FrankJBN

                "Heck, I had a relationship break up with a meat eater over veal."

                Sorry for misunderstanding your post. Totally got it the reverse. I interpreted that you broke up a relationship because you had a problem with a carnivore eating veal. My bad.

                And, btw, I'm not a vegan. I'm an omnivore, but try to limit my consumption of meats for many reasons that I won't get into here. But I do have a lot of vegetarian friends (for moral reasons), and they're not the preachy judgmental types -- probably because I choose not to surround myself with those type of people in general (whether or not I agree with their philosophies).

                Yes, and those vegetarians shouting "murderer" annoy me to no end. Just walked by New York's fashion week a few days ago, and witnessed PETA members yell just that to people wearing fur. Besides, I'm wondering if they tell whether people are wearing the real thing or not?

                1. re: FrankJBN

                  It's certainly true that there are self-righteous vegans and vegetarians. I dated one for a while, and he would never have gotten near me if I hadn't been a vegetarian (which I was at the time). When he would go off on one of his rants, sometimes I would say "You know, that just makes me want to go out and eat a nice big steak!" I wouldn't say this was why we broke up, but it was part of a pattern of rigidity and self-righteousness that eventually led me to break it off.

                  On the other hand, having been a vegetarian for many years, I have also had a lot of opportunity to see how defensive people can be when they find out the person they're talking to is vegetarian. People were always saying things like "don't try to tell me not to eat meat," or "well, I'm not about to stop eating meat." Okaaaay. Believe it or not, my decision to be a vegetarian wasn't made simply to make you feel criticized. Eventually I quit mentioning it unless it was absolutely necessary (like, my co-workers were suggesting having lunch at a steak house), and even then, I never used the word "vegetarian" because it really seemed to set people off. I would say "i don't eat meat." So the projection and intolerance can go both ways.

                  1. re: jlafler

                    I've been a "non-meat eater" for over 30 years and I think I've seen almost the entire spectrum of vegetarianism.

                    I've never not dated anyone because they were a carnivore, nor have I been rejected because I don't eat meat. That I know of, anyway.

                    My one observation on the us vs. them mentality, the hardliner stance that some veggies take is that every single ranting, self-righteous vegetarian has turned out to be a fair weather vegetarian returning to an omnivorous diet usually within a year of adopting vegetarianism. I think it's because it takes so much energy to be the one who educates the world. It could also be because they lose a lot of friends.

          2. I have relatives and friends who are vegan or at some sort of level, vegetarian for their own reasons (ethical, environmental, etc) and on the whole, it does not bother me since they do not impose their eating habits on me. I am more bothered by picky, close-minded eaters -- and people who like their steaks burnt to a crisp to "get rid of the germs."

            1 Reply
            1. re: Vshu

              Yeah, I have issues with people who tell me what I can and cannot eat. I've got no problem with people giving me their viewpoints, and I will certainly hear them out. But I will ultimately make the decision for myself on what to eat.

            2. Huh. I dated a string of vegetarians before settling down with my Partner in Crime ... they seem to be attracted to me, for some reason. It was fine, but I would not want to date a vegetarian who maintained that meat eaters "smell bad." I gotta say I also would really not want to be with a vegan (unless I abandoned the idea of ever cooking for us), someone who kept kosher (I have Issues, okay?), or someone who, like my friend's husband, only eats processed foods and looks askance at mashed potatoes that don't come out of a box.

              But I hope I wouldn't dump someone for having the misfortune to be allergic to wheat.

              1. I don't think it's food likes/dislikes as much as personal lifestyle. I married a man who was as interested in trying new foods as I was. Cooking and eating new foods is my hobby and passion, so I needed someone who I could share that with. That's the important thing for living with me. I don't think I would be happy trying to feed someone for the rest of my life who only ate 10 foods, because it would restrict me from doing what I love or force him to do what he hates. I don't see this any differently than someone who is an exercise fanatic - they wouldn't marry a couch potato because they live differently. If something is essential to how you live, then you should be able to share it with your spouse.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jboeke

                  I fully agree with jboeke, for me it's more a lifestyle choice than a food choice. My fiance and I both love to cook and love to eat. It is the one hobby we share and I don't know that I could live with somebody who wouldn't eat my cooking. I can and do make vegetarian meals for health and budget reasons, but I certainly wouldn't want to give up on braised short ribs, roasted chicken, smoked spare ribs and homemade sausages (just to name a few things). And I can't even contemplate living with a vegan...cheese is a major food group in my world and ends up in nearly everything I cook. It mostly boils down to the fact that I love to cook eating together is a big part of every adult relationship I've had.

                  But that aside, I have very little patience with the moral argument. If you have a problem with the treatment of animals raised for food, then you shouldn't have a problem with eating venison shot cleanly by a skilled hunter. If your belief is that you shouldn't kill anything to eat, then what makes it ok to murder those soybean plants that were happily growing before somebody came along and heartlessly ripped them out of the ground. If there's no "Ok to eat these things" line somewhere between humans and pigs, then why does it suddenly existing between chickens (who are dumb as dirt) and potatoes.

                  On the other hand...the environmental argument (less energy intensive to eat lower on the food chain) does make sense to me. Not enough for me to give up meat all together...but a bit.