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How much does food contribute to a successful marriage?

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I wouldn't say our lives together center around food. We have a lot in common, but looking back over our marriage (25+) it certainly has played an important role. We both love to be in the kitchen in our free time - he bakes (bread and pastries - FCI NYC), and I cook. When we travel - a big part of our travel preparation is where to eat. Birthdays gifts to each other consists of cooking/baking something special for the other. A great deal of the holidays are spent in the kitchen with our kids. On second thought, maybe our lives do center around food!

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  1. As you say, love of the same things and interests clearly aids a long relationship. On the flip side, it's hard to think that if my partner & I had little in common that we'd still be together.

    1. I found your OP adorable and very relating. I met my husband in an International Food warehouse. I think you could say that moment captured our future beautifully. We even have a photo of the two of us at that warehouse (before it closed) framed in our home. While our children remain the soundtrack of our life together, food is part of the way we show love. And like you, I'd be hard pressed to recall an occasion where food wasn't a big part of the pleasure we share. Three of our four children work in the food biz. I have worked in and around food specialists in four diff careers. My guy is a pilot and his career affords us access. We all take turns in the kitchen and enjoy entertaining and being invited to all sorts of food incorporating occasions. I can't think of the last time food didn't come up in conversation; at least 3x's a day. I'm not sure I'd call food the center of our lives as much as the tasty part of our day.

      5 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        Sounds very much like our house - except that my husband and I are both Engineers - I wish he were a pilot... I tried to get our kids interested in food - but they just like to eat and also went into Engineering (it must be the genes). In any case, thanks for sharing!!

        1. re: acssss

          A household of Engineers-how interesting! But what recipe are you asking for :)

          1. re: HillJ

            Sorry... my reply doesn't work. I have to refresh the screen before I reply to one and then the other. I replied to you and then I replied to Perilagu (comment above yours) - but it posted them both to you.

            1. re: acssss

              Oh np, I just didn't want to be guilty of missing something. :)

        2. re: HillJ

          hmmm - the recipe please?

        3. Wow. You and your hub sound an awful like the Khantessa and I. Hell, I think I won her over with my chicken-and-sausage gumbo. ;)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Perilagu Khan

            If I didn't know better, I might think you were my husband! He did the same for me, although his was a seafood based, chicken sausage gumbo. This was 20 years ago and we still joke about the most expensive pot of gumbo ever because he decided to make it in the dead of winter in NE.

            1. re: Perilagu Khan

              Hmmm... recipe please? (my reply to you was misplaced and was posted as a reply to HillJ - so here is another try)

              1. re: acssss

                I'll see what I can do. It's basically a modified recipe from The New Orleans Cookbook by Richard and Rima Collin.

            2. I think it can definitely help if both people are into food. And I do have a teeny bit of envy when I see couples talking about the finer points of a meal.
              But every couple is unique.
              Mr. gator is an eat to live person. And I love to eat, cook, read about, watch shows about any and all kinds of food. It's my main hobby. But our marriage is great, that's just one thing we don't have in common.

              4 Replies
              1. re: alliegator

                Same here allie. SO is not really a food person although he enjoys good food, just like anybody else does, and he appreciates everything I make for him. Me on the other hand, am rather obsessed. Like you said too, I am envious when I see couples who enjoy food together, but in the end that's just one part of our relationship, and we have plenty of other things in common that we like. Besides, I hate having people in the kitchen with me when I'm cooking haha

                1. re: juliejulez

                  Ha! Good point about other people in the kitchen. I hate that. It's the one room in the casita that I have complete control over and I like it that way :D

                2. re: alliegator

                  Same here - Mr. Muss eats because if he didn't, he would die. He's wistfully talked about a future where we could take a pill instead of eating. He also enjoys a good meal, and is supportive of my hobby/mania though, which is the important part. He'll manfully choke down whatever mess I put in front of him - and there are usually more misses than hits. I do sometimes wish for a couplehood that involves chopping side-by-side and taking turns stirring the pot. I put a dish in the oven the other night, set the time, and asked him to take it out when the timer went off. I hopped in the shower and came out to find a still raw dish sitting on the stove with 10 minutes left on the timer. He heard the oven beep when it preheated and thought that was that. Dinner was late that night.

                  1. re: alliegator

                    Yep, we fall into this category too. DH likes to eat but when he cooks, it is bare minimum, can-opening stuff. He doesn't share my interest in recipes, markets, cookbooks, etc.

                    We do, however, have lots in common and it has worked for us for 25+ years. Fortunately, I have plenty of friends who enjoy cooking and opportunities for cooking outside of the home so it all works out.

                  2. My husband and I share a love of cooking, though we are not always compatible in the kitchen. :-) In our 32 years of marriage, we have had times when one or the other of us have been more into cooking than the other, or have had more or less time to cook than the other so it definitely hasn't been a consistent thing.

                    Unfortunately, we aren't much alike in what we enjoy to eat, especially since he adopted a vegetarian diet about 15 years ago. I am an omnivore and could not imagine living without seafood and pork in my diet. Our 12-year-old daughter is a proud omnivore despite her father's attempts to lure her over to the dark side of vegetarianism. Her motto is "I'll eat anything, as long as it's dead." Love that girl!

                    Thankfully, we have other interests in common and are very much aligned in our core beliefs, so it all works out okay. Still, I try every now and again to lure him back to meat. Two years ago, I told him all I wanted for Christmas was for him to eat meat again. The perfect gift--no shopping, no wrapping, no thinking involved. Alas, I had to settle for a lovely Coach handbag instead.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jlhinwa

                      I like meat more than my husband as well - but I usually make dinner that has enough items that both of us can enjoy it all. For us the bread is what connects us. It's the bread - the bread is a passion that we both share - and can be eaten with meat and vegetarian food!

                    2. I really love to eat and travel, both alone and with my partner. I can't imagine being with someone who was unadventurous in either area. Resort vacations and dealing with picky eaters are not my thing.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LeoLioness

                        I absolutely love to travel - one of my great passions! In fact, most of my recipes are from my travels - we should make a new thread of travel stories!

                      2. Depends on how things are going in that "other" room.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Ah, yes, mating socks together in the laundry room...

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Veggo, you are a hoot. Keep up the good work.

                          2. re: ipsedixit

                            You can always take food in the "other room"

                            1. re: acssss

                              acs, there is an interesting thread about eating food in your bed in the CH archive. not everyone saw the experience as pleasure...really fun read tho.

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/888614

                          3. a great deal....................
                            and to quote my 90+ yo mother:
                            "The key to being a good mother in law is to keep your mouth shut and your refrigerator open."

                            Lack of in-law interference, especially when it comes to food helps make a great marriage.
                            Don't tell your wife that her XXXX doesn't taste/look like your mother's XXXX
                            Don't let your MIL insist that food be prepared the way it is in her home.

                            Sucessful marriages develop their own take on food. How important it is to everyday life, cuisines to eat together, and those eaten without the spouse. How much to spend on groceries, dining out, etc. Even what time to eat.

                            One of the breaking points in my first marriage was a spouse who never ate supper before 11PM. After the first month of marriage, I told her that I was eating by 8PM with or without her, It's now many years that's she eating alone as a divorced single.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: bagelman01

                              Was this 11pm meal before or after she fed her other appetites? Did she have another appetite? If so when was it "satiated" ?
                              Was she a vegetarian? If so what kind?

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                "Don't tell your wife that her XXXX doesn't taste/look like your mother's XXXX"

                                My SO did this. I took it as a challenge to make mine better.

                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  I agree.
                                  When we were first married, my husband used to compare his mother's cooking to mine. I looked him in the eye and told him either he stop saying that - or he'll end up eating at his mother's from now on. He stopped. But I must admit, his mother WAS a great cook and I stole a bunch of recipes from her and perfected them.

                                2. I look at it as another area of sensual sharing.

                                  And a source of new experiences, memories and connection.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                    Nothing like sharing a bottle of wine while cooking next to each other.

                                    However, my kitchen is galley style and when I'm in there alone it's crowded. So, that wine helps me loosen up for hubby to join in. LOL!

                                    We too love to cook & plan our trips with great restaurants on the agenda. We're adventurous eaters too, I can't imagine living my life with someone that's picky; no to onions, only eats Romaine (really?), won't eat carrots.......

                                    1. re: chloebell

                                      Oh yes, wine while cooking is a MUST :)

                                    2. re: maria lorraine

                                      Yes, yes, yes and yes!

                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                        Yes he is... and Great story, kcshigekawa, thanks!

                                      2. My mother was less interested in cooking than almost anyone I've known...she wasn't a bad cook, but there were so many other things she'd rather have spent time on.

                                        At the end of every dinner, whether it was hot dogs and B&M baked beans, or baked chicken, or tuna salad and toasted english muffins, or fish sticks and frozen fries, my father would say "Great dinner, Mum, thanks!" My father is a very wise man...

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: kcshigekawa

                                          I replied to you, but for some reason it jumps. But I didn't want you to miss it - I loved your story

                                          1. re: acssss

                                            Many thanks, acsss!

                                        2. My husband and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary and we always joke that the only thing we have in common is that we love food. Politically, how environmental we are, how we like to vacation (I can't sit on a beach; he hates to get out of the chair); types of car we drive; finances; down to his being a Redskins fan and me, a Cowboys fan. Night and day but we eat.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: chowser

                                            So many marriages on this post past the 20 year mark... Inspiring

                                          2. DH and I met in high school 31 years ago. Even at that young age, we agreed that we would rather eat once a month at a nice restaurant than several times at a fast food type of place. We still love to eat out, and it is really one of our favorite things to do together. As far as cooking goes...he only recently started to cook, due to some health issues I was experiencing. Before that, he would keep me company and was enthusiastic and encouraging in my culinary adventures. Now, we share cooking, and he is becoming a fantastic cook! We have even taken a few classes together at the local adult ed program.

                                            So no, not important to this 25.5 year marriage at all ;)

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: justme123

                                              justme123 - what a great story - and I can understand how you are together for so long.... and I hope your health is better

                                              1. re: acssss

                                                Thanks! all is well! we really do bond over food, and we entertain often and always around food! Sounds like you do as well. I think as others have said, it is about shared interests. For most of our relationship it was about me cooking and him eating my creations. Now, it really is shared and is so much more fun. Mother's day brunch is next-we don't have kids and so host all of 'our' moms, and then the very stressful book club the following week :) If we go more than 2 months without hosting a party. I will say 'Hey! I have an idea...let's have [insert food here] night!'

                                                1. re: acssss

                                                  UGH! I had typed a reply that the internet ate.
                                                  Anyway, I think, as others have said, that shared interest is what it is about. we love to entertain, and if we go more tha a month without an event, I say--how about we host [insert ethnic food type here] night!. Our next event is Mother's day brunch (we don't have kids, so we host all of the mom'
                                                  s in our life), and then the very stressful book club. Which, admittedly is as much about the mixology as the food. LOL

                                              2. well it depends on the couple. believe it or not, there are people who treat eating as they do eliminatory functions, An Inconvenient biological function that must be attended to for no other reason but necessity. as difficult as it is to picture that kind of life, it's obvious that a couple of (whatever term is used to classify them) would not have their marriage center around food.

                                                but for people like us, gourmets, gourmands, foodies, and food snobs, it isa given that our relationships would revolve around food to one degree or another.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                  ... and it's hard to believe that unless evolving into a "food snob" later in life and only by one person in the marriage and not the other - that couples that love food/cooking/baking would have it any other way :)

                                                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                    We have several family members like that! they say to us 'why do you have to cook so fancy' when I roast my own chicken! they love to come for whatever event we are hosting, though! so funny to us. To us, good food =love. That explains my waistline ;)

                                                    1. re: justme123

                                                      I hear you justme123. My mom hates cooking. She views all food except chocolate as fuel. It makes her mentally uncomfortable to have a meal at our house because it is "so much work for you" It drive me nuts.

                                                      Early in the relationship, Mr. CB was a better and more willing cook than me. We both enjoyed going out to nice restaurants. As the years progressed, I got bit by the foodie bug. He is a happy consumer so it works for us.

                                                  2. When I was 25, it wouldn't have occurred to me to consider food as a big deal. I'm now 54, and food compatibility feels like a good part of knowing someone.

                                                    I can tell you that my man got bonus points when he told me that my cooking made his house feel like a home.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Terrie H.

                                                      MANY bonus points!

                                                    2. My husband's not a cook, but he is an adventurous, uncomplaining eater and is very appreciative of what I make. And we both love good food. I laugh to think that when we were saving for our first house, our budget included dining out "only" twice a week and we considered this a real hardship. We were so glad when we had enough for that down payment and could get off the wallet diet!

                                                      Now, even though we are better off than we were in those days, I prefer to cook most meals at home because a lot of restaurant food just isn't worth it to me.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: Isolda

                                                        This describes me and my DH as well - he CAN cook, but doesn't really enjoy it, and isn't particularly confident in the kitchen. However, he LOVES to eat (my cooking especially), explore new cuisines, go on food-related road trips and adventures, and if I give him a glass of wine and explicit instructions, he makes a decent kitchen slave. And he does the dishes. We're a match made in heaven. :)

                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                          Yes, mine does dishes and much of the shopping. There is ALOT to be said for that.

                                                        2. re: Isolda

                                                          Isolda - sound like your marriage centers around food about as much as ours... Both loving good food!
                                                          Oh, and thumbs up about home cooking - I agree... and Italy - I absolutely love the area you are talking about!

                                                          1. re: acssss

                                                            BTW - the Italy part was for MissBubbles (sorry)

                                                          2. re: Isolda

                                                            So I guess the answer is: a lot :)

                                                          3. In our case it is our shared passion. We cook together all the time. In fact we try to have dinner together every nite if possible because it's our time. When we travel we love to find new food discoveries off the beaten path more than anything else. We once detoured 100 miles from our route up central Italy to get more of the fresh mozzarella from a roadside stand near Gaeta. I think our relationship would be good but notas close without this shared bond.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: MissBubbles

                                                              Sounds just like us. And off the beaten path is the best way to travel - I have the best recipes from people I met in those areas - I find that it's the most authentic and the best tasting and we love that part of Italy!

                                                              1. re: acssss

                                                                it so is. I remember cities by the food we ate there. It's in Italy where I learned to use older fresh mozz in fresh tomato sauce. Diced and added at the end.

                                                                1. re: MissBubbles

                                                                  Also, I found that when you go into the little towns where not many tourists go, the hotels are small and mostly for locals, and they have much more authentic food. Not only that, but because there are not a lot of outside visitors and they are very small and private, they are much more inclined to give you their recipes, let you into their kitchens and teach you the tricks of their trade.

                                                                  1. re: acssss

                                                                    Couldn't agree with you more. Even in tourist cities like Venice if you just go a few blocks down a random street and find a pub where all the patrons speak Italian you are better off.

                                                            2. Sounds like us with no kids. Just celebrated our 38th. at a top notch restaurant of course.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Candy

                                                                ...and here's to another 38!

                                                              2. He don't share my food obsession but knows that i'm loving him up when i make nice food for him. It's a form of affection and that is surely good for our happy marriage!
                                                                :)

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: bonoeuf

                                                                  So he does share your food obsession - he likes you eat it!