So I married an omnivore.
That sounds ominous, doesn’t it? Apparently it is a big deal that Josh and I are happily married despite our differences of opinion regarding meat. According to some sort of reasoning, I was supposed to cave in soon after we were married and mend my evil vegetarian ways.
That didn’t happen. Shockingly enough, most days it simply isn’t an issue.
I suppose that many once-vegetarian women1 start eating meat simply because it is the norm for our country and so it is easiest to go along with whatever is, well, easiest.
But to me, that doesn’t make sense at all. In my mind, the vegetarian should almost always “win out” because vegetarianism tends to carry the weight of some sort of ethical choice, whereas the arguments for eating meat usually tend to come down to a perfectly legal form of self-indulgence. And in our relationship, the person who is motivated by something more than selfishness tends to “win.”
I won’t declare victory until Josh is the one pressuring me to engage my conscience more in food choices, but I will admit that we’ve both already “won” in the sense that we are happy with how things have worked out.
Here’s how it has worked for us:
We dealt with the issue prior to marriage. We did not live together before getting married, but we did seek out the benefits of living together without the downsides. That meant that we spent a lot of time grocery shopping, cooking, and eating together. There was no shock of going from only sharing meals together in a restaurant, to being married and really sharing meals. Because of this we were able to work out differences gradually. When I made Josh cook the chicken when he came to visit me he not only learned what a pain chicken is to cook, he also realized how much faster the other food was ready.
I adjusted my cooking to vegetarian and then vegan foods prepared in a style that Josh loves. Josh likes spicy foods. More to the point, he does not enjoy anything that he finds bland, and there is a lot that he finds bland. So instead of just making lentil soup, I started making curried lentils. A few trips to international food stores for lots of cheap spices and Josh was suddenly quite pleased without meat. I don’t even bother to hide my pleasure when he raves about an Asian fusion dish I whipped up with cabbage and tofu. Sure, I still think that it is odd to dump peanuts into the pan when cooking dinner, but I would much rather us eat peanuts than hot dogs.
Josh is free to prepare and eat whatever he wishes. We’re not under the impression that I must do all of the cooking or run the kitchen simply because I am a woman. If Josh wants to buy and cook meat then he can. In reality I like cooking more than Josh does and he finds it much easier to eat whatever I make. But he does not ever resent the lack of meat because if he really wanted it then he could cook it himself.
While I would be very happy if Josh stopped eating meat altogether, I find the low level of meat-consumption in our house ethically tolerable. I still have a long ways to go on the journey of wise eating, and I am pretty pleased that Josh and I will at least be staying in sight of each other during this grand adventure, even if we’re not always walking hand in hand.
The stereotype at least is that women tend to be vegetarians, and the few posts (with one exception) that I’ve seen about this were from the former-vegetarian woman’s perspective.
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