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When your spouse do not care about foods.

A Hypothetical Question:

I am sure that most of you greatly care about foods. Maybe you love trying the new restaurant around the corner, or maybe you cannot wait to try out the new key lime pie recipes, or maybe you have been saving money for the newest Green Big Egg smoker grill.

Now what if your spouse does not care what so ever about food? He/she realizes the nutrient importance of foods, but do not share the variety and enjoyment in food related issues. To your spouse, eating/drinking is like breathing air -- very important, but nothing to get excited about.

Is your spouse like this? If so, how to handle your food obsession about him/her? Do you tone it down? Do you hide it? Do you try to convince/justify? If your spouse is NOT like this, then can you imagine what you would in such a circumstance?

P.S.: It does not have to be your spouse really. If you have a story to share about someone very close to you, that is cool too.

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  1. I had a close friend who married a thin man who had once been obese. He ran miles a day and only considered food as fuel. She, on the other hand, was not thin, loved to cook and loved to have dinner parties. The marriage lasted 5 painful years....along with many others reasons the last straw was when he told her that remodeling their very out-of-date kitchen (they had bought the house 3 years before agreeing that would be done) was a waste of money and he would not allow it. PS The NYTimes ran an article today on a guy who keeps him self underweight whereas his wife loves to cook, eat and entertain...strains the marriage.

    1 Reply
    1. re: escondido123

      <ran an article today on a guy who keeps him self underweight whereas his wife loves to cook, eat and entertain...strains the marriage.>

      That is tough. It is like trying to quit smoking while the other one is a chain smoker.

      1. My husband isn't as into food as I am. He's a huge gym rat (and it shows :)) and considers food to be fuel. He "treats" himself with unsalted veggie chips lol. But, he'll eat whatever I make as long as it's healthy and he'll go to any restaurant I want to try out. He compliments my cooking and we've figured out a routine that works. I suppose it's like any hobby- your partner doesn't necessarily need to love it or participate but they do need to get why you love it and respect that you'll spend time and money (within reason) to pursue it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Hobbert

          <I suppose it's like any hobby- your partner doesn't necessarily need to love it or participate >

          Probably more though, just because your partner can participate most other hobby without being in your face. If you like trying new restaurants, then it would be tough to try the new restaurants with someone else instead of him. Whereas I can imagine you can join a tennis club without dragging him into playing tennis with you.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Nah, I just go with someone else. It's not going to be fun going somewhere with him if he's not going to enjoy it. Ideally, it would be nice to go to any restaurant together but it's never been like that, so I don't feel like I'm missing out. I can understand how it would be a deal breaker but we're pretty independent.

        2. Got a very longtime friend like that, we get together for a meal once in a while and I can't let him choose the restaurant because he chooses where to eat at random, to him all restaurants are the same, and I get stuck eating a lousy over-priced meal.

          3 Replies
          1. re: redfish62

            <because he chooses where to eat at random>

            Random can be fun. :)

            <I get stuck eating a lousy over-priced meal.>

            Think of it like -- donation.

            1. re: redfish62

              "to him all restaurants are the same"

              OMG. I cannot comprehend this.

              1. re: sandylc

                Actually I see this in my workplace. One of my coworkers is a foodie and loves to talk about foods, restaurants..etc, and ALWAYS bring gourmet lunch meals prepared by his wife -- who was a trained cook. The other of my coworkers do not really can too much about food. His goal is to minimize wasteful spending on foods. He buy boxes and boxes of frozen microwaveable lunches/dinner from Sam's Club -- in order to save money.

                I guess everyone has different priority. I can imagine this can cause some problems if spouses have very different values on foods. One want to spend time and money to prepare gourmet foods and dine at good restaurants. The other considers these as wasteful spending and rather use the money on elsewhere.

            2. My husband loves good food, but we have very different palates. I love most every cuisine. He prefers American, French, Italian and some Mexican.

              Lunch is my Utopia. I am fortunate to have flexibility at work and can have lunch most anywhere in town I want. Sometimes that means I drive 20-30 minutes for lunch (not all the time, but 1-2 days a week). I have Indian food at least once a week. And I also often have Thai and Vietnamese as well as authentic Mexican.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                <My husband loves good food, but we have very different palates>

                That can also certainly bring in some difference and stress. Thanks for sharing.

              2. I could see it working with someone who didn't really care about food, but was willing to eat what was served. So if I cook a nice meal, he'll eat it without complaining, or he'll go along to a new restaurant with me and order something, and he doesn't object to me doing food related stuff. I could do the cooking, he'd do the dishes. We couldn't share my enthusiasm over the food, but his lack of interest wouldn't interfere with my fun.

                I don't think I could handle things with someone who actively disliked food or eating - someone who makes disparaging comments about what I'm eating, or refuses to go to restaurants, or where I cook a nice meal and they microwave their pre-made dinner and eat it. I definitely couldn't stay with someone who tried to interfere with my enjoyment of food.

                I think that food is a bit different from not sharing a random hobby, because it not just a hobby, but a necessary part of life, and it's also often an integral part of social life - a husband who refused to socialize at restaurants, or go out for dinner or have people over for dinner would be a social issue as well as a relationship one.

                It can also become a big issue if you have kids - try explaining to kids that they have to eat what's served, but Daddy gets his special meal because he doesn't like the other food.

                1 Reply
                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                  <I could see it working with someone who didn't really care about food, but was willing to eat what was served>

                  Yeah, but what if he/she does not understand why you spend more time or more ingredients?

                  <I think that food is a bit different from not sharing a random hobby, because it not just a hobby, but a necessary part of life>

                  I agree. It is easier if my spouse do not enjoy my sport because we don't have to go to the same game, but it is tougher if the spouse hates the food you enjoy. Let's say you like eating pasta and your spouse hates it. But this is another topic.

                2. Mrs CHM and I have been married for 27 years. I’ll eat about anything and love to try new restaurants and cook new things. It’s difficult because she will only eat beef (extra super well done), pork chops (loin only, no fat, extra super well done), and boneless, skinless chicken breasts (extra super well done). No seafood of any kind, no lamb, duck, anything weird. Usually she dumps ketchup all over the above. She mostly likes convenience rice, stuffing or instant potatoes. No weird veggies like Brussels sprouts although she does like asparagus. She favors canned carrots.

                  I roasted a chicken a few weeks ago. Just before it was done, she saw what I was making, got excited and disappeared. As I was pulling the bird out of the oven she got home with two packets of store brand powdered chicken gravy. I told her I was making gravy from the chicken drippings. She said the powdered stuff was better.

                  We’re compatible in most other ways, but I wish she was a little more into food.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chileheadmike

                    <got excited and disappeared....got home with two packets of store brand powdered chicken gravy>

                    This is an excellent story. Thanks for sharing.

                  2. Mine pretty much doesn't care. He also has an unbelievably sensitive stomach (not an excuse, I have enough experience to know). I probably wouldn't be much into food either if any new thing I tried had a 70% chance of making me ill. Our arrangement is that if I'm having something he doesn't want, I throw a steak in the G Foreman grill and some fries in the oven, i.e. 15 seconds of effort on my part. We don't eat out a ton but when we do he's pretty much game for anything-yes, he'll be that guy getting stirfry at the sushi restaurant, but he's there and keeps any comments to himself. If I could change one thing about him, I would make him a more adventurous eater, but there are an awful lot of things I would never want to change so it's okay.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: ErnieD

                      <he'll be that guy getting stirfry at the sushi restaurant, but he's there and keeps any comments to himself>

                      To be honest, you are already in a very good situation. He does not enjoy it, but he is willing to do it for you. What more to ask?

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Completely agreed. I would not be willing to eat what he wants most of the time, so he's probably technically the better spouse.

                      2. re: ErnieD

                        "I throw a steak in the G Foreman grill . . . "

                        That has a 70% chance of making me ill - and I eat evrything.

                        1. re: MGZ

                          Ha! I don't do it for myself but it was well worth the $20. If I can just gross you out even further-I clean it probably once a month. The husband loves it, and my experience has been that trying to change what people want to eat is slightly more frustrating than repeatedly slamming your head in a door.

                          1. re: ErnieD

                            I'd bet a steak coming off one of those grills would benefit from the thing being dirty. At the end of the day, I'm just not a fan of steamed beef.

                            1. re: MGZ

                              Have you been to Chinese dim sum? There is a steamed (beef) meat ball dish:


                              Of course, there is the steamed beef in rice noodle (wrap) dish:


                      3. My MIL doesn't enjoy eating. If she could, she would love to be able to pop a pill for her nutritional needs and never eat food. She's actual said that. MIL is a terrible cook. The FIL on the other hand isn't picky at all. He will eat anything that's put in front of him. So it all works out. Happily neither trait was passed on to the children. The stories I have been told by the wife and SILs about the meals they suffered through as children are very amusing.

                        1. I'm a "single again". At this point in my life it would be difficult to get serious with a person who wasn't somewhat adventurous and open to exploring food. It is an area I would want to share frequently with a partner. If they were not interested in food it would probably limit our shared experiences to the point that the relationship just wouldn't have a chance to get off the ground.

                          1. At bottom, the more important to you that something is, when it is comparably less important to your partner, the relationship is severely handicapped. It may be surmountable, but it's an uphill climb. If your not really a food geek and just some kind of trendy foodie, then it shouldn't be so bad. It's really about the level of passion.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MGZ

                              <At bottom, the more important to you that something is, when it is comparably less important to your partner, the relationship is severely handicapped>

                              Excellent point, but I just feel food is more infused in family lifestyle than many other things. What I mean is that if I like to watch football and my spouse likes to watch Oprah. I can watch what I want and she can watch what she wants. We don't have watch the same TV shows all the time. Food is a bit difficult because that would means we have to prepare meal separately and we eat out separately -- that is just tougher than many other things.

                            2. My husband is very much an "eat to live" kind of guy. He's very into fitness and keeps track of his body fat % and all that. But he tolerates my hobby of cooking and eating just fine. He doesn't grouch at me for buying kitchenware or ingredients that other people could find frivolous. And he does like and compliment my food, but doesn't fully appreciate it. But I have a close knit group of pals that do and that's good enough for me. And sometimes I just enjoy my own food or a new restaurant alone. That sort of thing doesn't bother me.
                              I don't enjoy his main hobby, and we're fine having our own little things. I actually think it's part of the reason we have such a strong marriage, that ability to enjoy thing independently.

                              3 Replies
                                1. re: alliegator

                                  Sounds like my husband. I didn't know we had to be equally as enthusiastic about food til I read this thread :)

                                  1. re: Hobbert

                                    Me neither! Geez, it has only been 16 years... maybe I should call up a divorce lawyer just in case :p

                                2. Well this is the story of my marriage, basically! Mr. Sueatmo loves to eat but he will eat almost anything, and he doesn't have a strong sense of smell, or a discriminating tastes. He had to learn to eat spicy food, grated cheese in soup and salad, fish, and dishes he had never encountered. He had several rules about food. (He likes rules.) I had to learn to cook for both of us, not just for me or him. I had to learn to provide him with food he likes.

                                  I also had to get tough on fats after his bypass, He had to learn to live without a lot of carbs when I went very low carb. Somehow we manage to have pretty decent meals now. He is a better eater than he used to be, that is he appreciates quality more than quantity. He isn't attached so much to soda or dessert. I've learned than I can provide a starch to him, and not feel deprived if I don't eat it. I've learned that he gets to eat some things he really likes, and so do I. For his birthday I will make him spaghetti, because he loves it, and I love him. And he will eat almost anything I fix for him after 42 years.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                    <He is a better eater than he used to be, that is he appreciates quality more than quantity. He isn't attached so much to soda or dessert>

                                    Mr. Sueatmo sounds like a very likeable and generous man.

                                    <I also had to get tough on fats after his bypass>


                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      <Mr. Sueatmo sounds like a very likeable and generous man.>

                                      He is indeed.

                                  2. In short, it's a deal breaker.

                                    1. My boyfriend of 4 years was not a foodie at all when we met. For instance, no mushrooms, olives, blue cheese. Although he still somewhat of a "simple" palate (we laugh when I call him a simpleton) he has a growing interest in food and cooking. He's a rock star on the grill.
                                      I have adjusted my cooking style. Lucky for us both he eats all vegetables! That would've been a deal breaker. I try to include him in meal planning, cooking (I give him things to do), and discussions about food (like food science). He has expanded his palate by leaps and bounds and is proud of himself for that.
                                      He does roll his eyes every time a new cookbook arrives in the mail! And, we don't make it to the latest, greatest restaurants very often. But, his Christmas list includes his own chefs knife! I'm winning him over..slowly, but surely.
                                      Good luck to you. Have you tried to get him in the kitchen with you and praising the hell out of him when he does? Every little experience is a victory!

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: pagesinthesun

                                        <But, his Christmas list includes his own chefs knife!>

                                        He asked for it? Or did you tell him that he is going to get a chef's knife?

                                        In all honesty, I think it is "generally" easier for some guys to start with "grilling" because they feel it is more of a guy thing and that he would be a guy-guy if he is good at it. Pastry baking is the opposite.

                                        1. re: pagesinthesun

                                          Careful--next he'll be wanting an outdoor kitchen ;)

                                          1. re: foiegras

                                            Isn't a grill the same as an outdoor kitchen?

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              No, an outdoor kitchen includes a sink, small fridge, and at least 2 burner cooktop.

                                              1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                Maybe, but to an average man. A grill is his entire outdoor kitchen. Just so you know, when I was young. A large cardboard box was my home:


                                        2. The relationship would never work, I don't think it would get past the second date. I am too much of a foodie to date a non-foodie.

                                          1. Mr. Sunshine likes good food, although he's not really one to seek it out on his own.

                                            He loves my cooking, and has point-blank told me that we go out to dinner so that *I* get a break, because he finds my cooking far better than most restaurants. He has always said that taking me to Europe was the best thing he'd ever done, because he couldn't read the menus most of the time, so would go with the lowest common denominator -- but I understood the words on most of the menus, so the quality levels of his meals in Europe went up considerably!

                                            He buys me nice things for the kitchen -- I would never have bought the KA 6-quart Pro model that he put under the Christmas tree for me -- and actually had to nudge me to buy really nice appliances when we had to buy all new appliances when we moved to Europe.

                                            I've taught him to eat (and enjoy!) stinky cheeses and foie gras, and have turned him into an oenophile --

                                            -- so while he isn't really a foodie per se -- he's most definitely a happy passenger on my kitchen bus.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              <because he couldn't read the menus most of the time, so would go with the lowest common denominator>

                                              Sunshine, so what was the "lowest common denominator" for him -- since he could not read the foreign languages. You being the translator as the lowest common denominator? Or was he just looking at the prices?

                                              He sounds like a real good sport.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                he'd end up eating at tourist places with English menus, often with pictures...he's not the most adventurous eater you've ever met (although he's gotten much more so!) -- so he was always leery of getting something he wouldn't like.

                                                On our first trip, I couldn't speak a lick of French, but I could read the menus! He speaks French, but real quirk of most language learning is that they teach you to conjugate verbs and carry on a conversation...but they don't teach you food words!

                                                And yes, he's a really good sport about my foodie-ism.

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  <he'd end up eating at tourist places with English menus>

                                                  Oh I see. Thanks for the explanation.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    and to clarify -- back in those days, English menus were pretty much reserved for the most touristy of restaurants and accompanied by photos, so you could just point...i.e., the lowest common denominator of "authentic" (whatever that means) and flavor that you can possibly find, although usually not the cheapest!

                                                    Nowadays, a huge number of places have English menus (with varying calibres of translation!), but now the places I described above now have banners proclaiming "ENGLISH MENU" and are rarely located more than a few steps from any tourist attraction.

                                            2. I can't imagine living with someone who doesn't enjoy food as much as I do. Anyway. You'll just have to deal with it I guess. Feels like kind of lonely though.

                                              1. When I was dating it was always a deal breaker for me if the woman I was seeing had broad dining limitations. It wasn't gonna work for me. My wife is more adventurous than me so its great. Only trouble is w/ friends and/or friends spouses who have food issues. Typically when a dinner out is planned with them we've learned to let them lead and make the best of it. But like most foodies we always see dining out as an opportunity for us to find something new or to introduce others to something new so it can be disappointing. We've found that our non-foodie friends just don't get it and kinda feel left out of the experiences. Their only recourse is telling jokes about how the meat is too rare: "I can still hear it mooing". It's a huge waste of time.

                                                1. Reading through here makes me glad that I'm the one who is more into food.... I might have been kicked to the curb if I was on the other end!

                                                  I grew up in a Hamburger Helper kinda family and am really more of a foodie-in-training. BF's family is... redneck.

                                                  Eating out: He favours buffets, as he sees that as the only way to "get his money's worth". I successfully got him into an Indian restaurant recently, so I'm making progress on that front. (But we still went to a buffet on Saturday.... So slow progress.)

                                                  Cooking at home: I get frazzled when I cook, and I have really high standards for the outcome. I am almost never satisfied with what I make. He doesn't like that I get so stressed out about it, so he has often asked why I always need to try new "fancy" things instead of just making something simple. He eats anything I make, so it doesn't matter at all to him.

                                                  Basically, he tolerates my food habits but wouldn't care in the slightest if I reverted to meals out of boxes and cans. But I'm okay with that.

                                                  13 Replies
                                                  1. re: Kontxesi

                                                    You might want to try things a little simpler (not out of boxes and cans!) - until you're really comfortable with the recipes and stop stressing over how they turn out.

                                                    Cooking is a lot like sex -- it should be fun, not stressful or anxiety-inducing -- and it's okay to laugh once in a while, too!

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      It happens no matter what I'm making. Everyone else is RAVING about what's on the table, but I just am not crazy about it.

                                                      For example, I made shrimp alfredo for his birthday. Everyone said it was the best sauce they'd ever tasted, but I thought it was awfully bland. I made cauliflower soup on Friday; BF and his nephew both ate three bowls each, and I had trouble choking down one.

                                                      I think I'm just broken. :/

                                                      1. re: Kontxesi

                                                        Kontxesi....I find that I enjoy food more when someone else makes it. I find I tire of the dish many times (especially if it's something that's an all day event like braising or lasagna) by the time it hits the table.

                                                        And soup is always better made by someone else IMO.

                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                          The night I made the shrimp alfredo my mom said something about "cooking the fun out of it" for myself. I guess I'm just so over it by the time it hits the table that I just want to let everyone else eat while I go take a nap! :p

                                                          It's good to know that other people experience this, too.

                                                        2. re: Kontxesi

                                                          Smelling the food for a while before eating it can dull your tastebuds for that dish. That's why restaurants season/flavor things so strongly, so that you can still taste it after sitting in their building smelling it.

                                                          1. re: Kontxesi

                                                            <Everyone said it was the best sauce they'd ever tasted, but I thought it was awfully bland>

                                                            I do that often too, but I try not to stress over it too much. Yes, I often am not happy about what I make -- especially baking -- since there is no good way to adjust the recipe in the middle of it. That said, most people love my baked goods. In fact, I like other people's baked good too. I think it is more than high standard, but expectation. Whenever I bake, I have an expectation of how the baked good should turn out -- how tender or how flaky or how sweet it should be, but they usually do not turn out the way I want, so I get disappointed. However, other people do not have these expectations, so they like them for what they are, not what they could have been.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              I have found for this very reason that it's best to have flexible expectations ;)

                                                              And the nice thing about cookies is that you can bake a batch, taste, and then make some adjustments to the remaining dough if necessary. But the very best thing is to use really good recipes that make this unnecessary ...

                                                          2. re: sunshine842

                                                            <Cooking is a lot like sex -- it should be fun, not stressful or anxiety-inducing>

                                                            What are you talking about? Sex is stressful and anxiety inducing.

                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                  Clearly there is a difference between men and women mentality :P

                                                          3. In all honesty, I would not marry someone like that. Cooking isn't like other hobbies, where you can each go your own way. It has to be shared.

                                                            However, I do have a 15 yo son who only eats to live. I think he must have a mutated chow gene or something because he is super picky and truly doesn't understand food as entertainment and pleasure. I usually just make whatever I want to make, then let him deconstruct it or make himself a burrito or cereal.

                                                            The one thing I don't do is tease him about his pickiness. My mother used to give me a hard time about my "gourmet" palate (I couldn't stand the taste of the boxed, preservative-laden stuff she sometimes served) and used to mock her in-laws behind their backs for enjoying food so much.

                                                            I think it's best to just let people be when it comes to food. I can't convince anyone to love trying new foods any more than he or she could convince me to love watching a violent movie.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                              I have been fortunate to marry and/or live with men who actually enjoyed food and cooking. Mr. Cheflambo (we've been a couple 15 years) is not as interested in the subject as a whole, but has always been willing to try new things, and is honest with his critique (less of this, more of that). His mother was an uninspired cook, so I guess I am lucky there is nothing on that level that I have to live up to. He's willing to try new restaurants, but we eat at home more often than not because he knows my cooking is reliable, not so much for some restaurants. I only had 1 boyfriend, long long ago, with whom I just could not agree on food. He wanted everything cooked well done - not just the meat ... potatoes, veggies, etc. He would not touch mushrooms, sour cream, cheese of any kind ... I just couldn't deal with it, My family still refers to him as Mr. No Fungi.

                                                              That said, I have a whole collection of "foodie friends" who came together with the impetus that their spouses/partners were NOT as interested in food as they are. We regularly host food-related events in each other's homes, share recipes, and visit the new restaurants in our city (Houston is a hotbed of culinary adverture these days) and our mates can come along if they wish, or stay home with their Lean Cuisine.