Sunday, November 25, 2012


Every week there is an ongoing discussion in my household. I ask my vegetarian boyfriend the million dollar question: “Is there anything you would like for me to cook for you this week? Anything special?”  And the answer I get is always “Let me think about it.” I realize now that the answer is a polite way of avoiding an unpleasant situation. He really doesn’t want me to fix anything for him. 

There are times when I have offered to make one of his favorite meals and yet I still get a very polite response such as “Don’t worry about me, I’ll figure something out.”  This answer makes me sad.  Even though I have grown tired of suggesting meals that don’t appeal to him, it still doesn’t feel right for us to eat separately.

For me as many other people I know, sharing food with those I care about is an act of nurturing and an expression of my love. It can be quite hurtful when someone you care deeply about rejects the food you have painstakingly prepared. On the other hand, food choices are very personal. 
Another thing I have realized is that my boyfriend has very limited food preferences. Unlike myself he limits himself to a few familiar items and eats fried foods, white bread, cheese, butter and lots of sweets. Since I will not spend my food budget on sweets or snacks he finds this discouraging. And since I do not fry anything he seeks it elsewhere.  
Here are some of the common remarks I have heard from him:
I don’t like beans...
There’s nothing to eat...
It just doesn’t taste good to me...
Why do you always put tomatoes in it?
Does it have “real” sugar in it?
Don’t you puree that corn!
What’s in this!?
Where’s the cheese?

Sometimes I give him a hard time about the food he is eating, but usually I try to ignore it as much as I can. One reason I might give him a hard time is because he is a diabetic. It’s when I see him eating way too many sweets or fried foods and I get concerned.  I try to remind him that he needs to eat for his health.
You see, when I first met him he was 50 pounds heavier than he is today. When he was diagnosed with diabetes we both adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. His weight dropped off--and a year later he went off the diabetic medication and is healthy.  Not long after becoming a vegetarian, I went on to make another change--I became vegan.  This change affected everything. I had to learn new cooking techniques and began experimenting with new recipes. For me the choice was all about my health and improving my numbers.  Apparently, he wasn’t so happy with some of the dietary changes. Now he just seems complacent and indifferent to the food I prepare.  Too bad, because people who taste my food tell me it’s really good.  
I’m more than happy to cook yummy vegan things and if he wants to eat them, he’s more than welcome. Each weekend I spend time cooking to make food that will last through the week. I usually make a  big crockpot of steel cut oats, a big pot of soup, homemade hummus, and some rice & beans to take me through the week. There’s always plenty of dark green leafy vegetables in the frig and fresh fruit. Here's some of the recipes I made for this week:

Hearty Corn and Potato Chowder 
From 1,001 Low Fat Vegetarian Recipes by Sue Spliter

2 cups frozen whole kernel corn, thawed, or fresh
1 medium onion, diced
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups potatoes, unpeeled and cubed
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 3/4 cups milk alternative
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute corn and onion in water or vegetable stock in a large saucepan until the onion is tender, approximately 5-8 minutes.  Process 1/2 of the vegetables in a blender or food processor with the stock until finely chopped. Return the mixture to the saucepan.  

Add the potatoes, celery, and thyme to the saucepan. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the milk and cook until it is heated, about 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spicy Orange Hummus 
From 1,001 Low Fat Vegetarian Recipes by Sue Spliter

1 can (15 oz) chick peas, drained & rinsed
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup orange juice
2   teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2   teaspoons grated orange rind
Salt & white pepper to taste

Process chick peas, garlic, orange juice, soy sauce, mustard, curry powder, and ginger in food processor until smooth; stir in orange rind. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Refrigerate 1-2 hours for flavors to blend.

Bourbon Street Red Beans and Rice Recipe
From 1,001 Low Fat Vegetarian Recipes by Sue Spliter

1 cup red beans
3 tablespoons baking soda
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup bell pepper
1 cup celery
1 Jalapeno chili, finally chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2   teaspoon sage
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper sauce
1/8 cayenne pepper
4 drops liquid smoke
1 Salt to taste
4 cups cooked rice

Wash and sort beans, discarding stones. Cover beans with 2 inches water and baking soda; bring to boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Drain.

Add stock to cover beans and heat to boiling; simmer, covered 30 minutes. Add vegetables and herbs to saucepan; simmer covered until beans are tender, 45 to 60 minutes, adding stock as needed (beans should be moist but without excess liquid). Remove bay leaves

Stir in red pepper sauce, cayenne pepper, and liquid smoke into beans; season to taste with salt. Service beans over rice in shallow bowls. 

Since I’m the only one doing the cooking, he has to live with what I make, or make his own food. Unfortunately, when it comes to eating we go our separate ways. He doesn’t cook and I love cooking food that I know is good for me. 

Do any of you have a similar situation with your loved ones? Have you ever had to defend the food you prepare? What do you do when the people you care about criticize the food you prepare?


  1. Everything you said rings so true with me, except that for the word "vegetarian" I would substitute "carnivore"! My husband does not even attempt to eat a healthy diet and refuses to try anything I make. (All the recipes you posted sound fabulous, by the way!) Like you, it makes me sad and isolated from the one I love. All of the comments your boyfriend makes echo the comments my husband makes. The only thing I can do is hope that eventually he will adopt a plant based lifestyle because he sees how much it has done for me. Someday I pray that he will care as much about himself as I care about him! Thank you for such thought provoking and heartfelt post.

    1. Kathleen,
      Thank you so much for your comment and for checking out my blog. It makes me feel better knowing that I'm not the only one dealing with these issues. I know you are very concerned about your husband and you could help him if he would follow your lead. My boyfriend made some changes, but for some reason he thinks the choices I have made are "radical." I will continue to help him if he asks for my help and I pray that he continues in good health.

      Good luck with your husband and don't give up!