Food and Marriage

In the last post I mentioned that a couple (H &S) were visiting us. The Husband (H) is TBH’s friend for almost 15 years and they are like brothers; spouses at times and also business partners in real life. H & S married just two months after our wedding almost two years back. The guys were out for a meeting and S and I got some time to catch up alone. While having lunch S mentioned how the food cooked by me reminded her of her maiden home/mom cooked food. She said it has been long time since she had proper man ka khana.

I am pretty aware of the fact that H’s food habit are very different from others. TBH and I have discussed it many a times. His food habits are not only different but unhealthy in all possible ways.

Few of his quirky habits which runs in his household:

  • He wants ghee with almost everything. He can actually drink ghee.
  • He can’t eat any meal without sev (namkeen).
  • He eats very spicy food all the time.
  • He doesn’t like/eat fruits.
  • He is not at all fond of any other cuisine than Indian.
  • He eats dinner really late at night.
  • Once during their latest visit, he prepared lunch for all of us and used oil which I manage to use for a week.

How it is different from S’s original habits.

  • S has been raised up in a household where healthy food comes over anything else.
  • She loves fruits/raw vegetables.
  • She loves simple food with less oil/spices
  • She can’t stand sev with the main meal
  • She loves Chinese

Their Set up

During their early days of marriage S was nearly shocked to see how the food is prepared in H’s household. As a background, they both live together with H’s parents. She used to eat less than her normal diet because of totally different style of cooking and also because of kind of vegetables being bought which were different from her choice/habit.

She was encouraged to cook and prepare Chinese too as she loves it, she did that only to realize now there are three people on the table who are not able to eat properly. She got back to their cooking style, trying to put less oil/spices to every body’s benefit whenever possible.

She was telling all this to me and saying now its effecting her health to an extent, considering her diet has reduced to a large extent. I couldn’t agree more, in fact I also believe how food plays major role in your moods and general energy levels. I was like, ‘now your newly married/ shyness phase is over, you can absolutely voice your liking and prepare separate food for yourself at least on some days’. She said she definitely can and everybody will understand but it is too much of an effort for her with a nearly 9 to 9 job.

She was true, and I felt sorry for her. Even I felt how difficult it would be for her. This time during their trip I coaxed everybody to go to a Chinese restaurant as S likes it so much and realized H really ate very less and is not experimental at all. It’s disheartening to be sharing a table and seeing someone else not eating to his/her heart’s content. I was wondering that even when H would take S to her favorite food places, he would probably ask her to prepare something or would help himself once they enter home and as much as I know S, she would hate that and would skip the eat-out plan altogether.

This isn’t just S & H story, it must be true for so many couples at so many different levels. Though I do believe their case is a bit extreme and there are a very few possibilities of change.

I have similar story to share about another friend. It is not about the style this time, it’s about quantity. This friend of mine belongs to a big Indian joint family with all the ladies representing a different state. Abundance of choice is how the food at her place is described, I was a regular at her home, before her marriage, rightfully asking for my favorite food and joining any of her cousins on the table. But when I first visited her in law’s place or her place after marriage, I was taken aback. ‘Calculated food’ is their way. Less quantity, minimal wastage; it is okay and appreciated too, but so much so that the guest feel uncomfortable and eats less so as to not to spoil their daily/weekly or for that matter monthly calculations. She was reprimanded if any left overs accumulate in the fridge. Needless to say that was my last visit to her place.

This is such an understated fact in the marriage scenario. Food should be discussed in length before marriage. It is such an integral part of lives for people like us, that I dunno how I would have managed if I had to face something similar situation a daily basis. And unfortunately in most scenarios it is the girl making compromises/adjustments specially if living in a joint family scenario.

What do you have to say on this? What did you face when you got married? Did you had to adjust or not? Who adjusted in your relationship? How do you manage the differences on day to day basis? Basically how did you cope up with the different food choices?

I can only say I am very lucky in this regard. TBH and I have a lot of similarities, though we are two totally different individual but sometimes we are surprised with the kind of same habits/choices we have specially as regard to food. Or maybe we both are very experimental and not at all fussy eaters so probably life is easier this way. But I swear our Moms are more similar than us :P. That’s for another story btw.

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20 thoughts on “Food and Marriage

  1. Santulan November 27, 2013 at 1:37 pm Reply

    Then there is veg – non veg ka problem

  2. Zarine Mohideen November 27, 2013 at 2:17 pm Reply

    I feel really bad for your friend S. It always irks me how people automatically expect the girl to adjust to everything even things like food habits which is so hard to change. I’m so thankful that both my husband and I enjoy food.

    • onehonestwriter November 28, 2013 at 8:25 am Reply

      Glad to know that…. but I don’t think it is always the case that the girl is expected to change the thing is we consider it as too much of an effort to make something exclusively for us. We can make hundred of things for our closed ones managing time, place and situation but can’t do the same for ourselves.

  3. Nisha November 27, 2013 at 3:06 pm Reply

    Every relationship is titled more towards one person. If not, they end up fighting more often than not. Peace lies in balancing it out. When you start a relationship, everything is new and both are ready to adjust. I guess that is the time when you should lay the foundation of balancing it out. After a few years, it is too late. If your friend had tried to convince the husband in the early days that once in a while we will eat chinese, by now he would have his favorites in a Chinese restaurant. I’m saying this with experience 😉

    • onehonestwriter November 28, 2013 at 8:29 am Reply

      It is just not about Chinese or any particular food item/cuisine for that matter. It is more the daily food preparation which is so different from S’s original liking. Moreover I think it would have been easier for her if the couple were living alone. But they stay with H’s parents so its like 3 vs 1 in their case as far as food choices are concerned.

      But you absolutely right in those first few lines, in the foundation years we should be as transparent as possible, stating our liking – disliking and taking balanced decisions and not just in food :).

  4. meromusings November 27, 2013 at 3:44 pm Reply

    In our case, my husband had a habit of eating out every single day as he didn’t know how to cook at all. The only cooking he did was make noodles. On the other hand, I cannot eat outside every single day. So, the first change that happened was we started cooking together. In the beginning my husband would only help in cutting veggies, doing the dishes, cleaning and so on. But now he has learned a bit of cooking too. We both love trying new cuisines, so I am more open to eating outside as well. In this way we have come to a common ground after we started living together.

    • onehonestwriter November 28, 2013 at 8:35 am Reply

      That is good to know. If both the partners are ready to accommodate each other in their individual lifestyles and habits, nothing like it. Its almost the same in our case too :). Its not that TBH can’t do without outside food but he was left with no choice in pre marriage phase.

      And welcome to my space 🙂

      • meromusings November 28, 2013 at 8:36 am

        Yea something like that for my husband too, he had no choice…

  5. tandooripanipurilife November 28, 2013 at 5:14 am Reply

    PK’s family follow proper Gujarati style cooking & eating, eating in the sense that eating chapati first & then rice. His mum cooks calculated food, of course she will go and make more chappatis if we want but never prefers to make them before hand to avoid wastage. She will remember for months that you ate 5 chapatis while she only had 1.5 chapatis.

    While in my big joint family, its similar to your friend’s family. Lot of choices, lot of different cuisines, no rules what you eat first rice or roti and of course no calculated food. No one will count how many you are eating or no one will calculate how much you will be eating.

    PK & I are lucky, in fact I would say I am lucky that PK is not like ‘I want proper Gujarati food as my Mum makes at home.” he actually likes the kind of food which my family cooks. So there was no need for me or PK to adjust 1. We both are big foodies. 2. We both like to eat all cuisines. 3. Mostly our selection of food is same. 4. PK loves Punjabi and other cuisines more than Gujarati. So its win-win situation apart from Veg-Non Veg difference.

    Sorry for writing a post in the comment, darn I can’t write small comments 😦

    • onehonestwriter November 28, 2013 at 8:43 am Reply

      But who is complaining? Take all the space you need TPPL :). I love reading your comments. We are so lucky to have super cool and fuss – free partners. Haina?

      1. We both are big foodies. 2. We both like to eat all cuisines. 3. Mostly our selection of food is same. – Exactly, Same pinch there 🙂

      • tandooripanipurilife November 28, 2013 at 8:49 am

        hehehe.. btw.. hows the weather in Delhi?? is it too cold already?? guess why I am asking 😉

      • onehonestwriter November 28, 2013 at 8:52 am

        I know I know….your India visit is coming closer and closer but abhi toh its okay. Nothing from Delhi standards. A simple jacket in morning and evening is required. But I think by the time you come it would be pretty cold.

        Listen by any chance, while travelling to and from Delhi, will you have any spare time? I would love to meet you !!!

      • tandooripanipurilife November 28, 2013 at 8:57 am

        check your email 🙂

      • onehonestwriter November 28, 2013 at 9:00 am

        kaha? you sent it on somehonestwriting@gmail.com na?

      • tandooripanipurilife November 28, 2013 at 9:06 am

        haan haan 🙂

      • onehonestwriter November 28, 2013 at 9:01 am

        I mean i don’t see any as of now !!!

  6. Visha December 2, 2013 at 7:17 pm Reply

    I being a vegetarian married into a pucca non-veg eating joint family, not knowing how to cook meat or fish. The in-laws were quite skeptical if I would adjust or not because of my food habits, but Zack was sensible and practical enough to state that it is not a criteria at all 🙂

    Barring few points, H and Zack are similar in liking their foods spicy, having late dinners, not liking fruits and loving sev-boondi as side dishes. And I am the replica of S, loving fruits and non-oily foods.

    You cannot expect 4 or 6 members of the family you are marrying into to stop eating the way they are conditioned to eat as soon as the DIL starts making things differently. Likewise, the DIL cannot immediately accustom to the new food patterns. The key element here is to strike the balance. In my case, I was always encouraged to prepare food my way and I cooked differently too! Not all the members of the joint family liked it immediately, but slowly they welcomed the change. And I learnt to cook the non-veg dishes using less oil and spices and now I have requests to make it my way rather than their traditional way. The elders have taken a liking to phulkas, having eaten oily parathas for over 50 years. It is not easy to sway near-70 years olds from their eating habits just like that, it takes lots of time and patience 😀

    As for the younger generation, that is below-40s, the balanced variety is the key. Zack still refuses to let go of his boondi even though there are 4 side dishes. I simply ignore, while piling up roasted potatoes as well as healthy sprouts in his plate. His cousins too welcome the change.

    On days when non-veg is prepared, I have a free rein as to what I want to eat. That food is partaken too, by all. On other days, I tell MIL and other aunts about the oil quantities used. Sometimes they pay heed, sometimes they do not. No use of arguing. At all. So what is the alternative? Make their dear sons and daughters engage into exercises and healthy soups to balance the cholesterols. Actually reading aloud the annual medical report triggers such good reactions you know :mrgreen:

    Man…I can go on and on and on here… 😆

    • onehonestwriter December 2, 2013 at 7:36 pm Reply

      I can see that :). Visha I know you know and I know I have told this earlier, you are a saint in today’s world. Itna patience, maturity and sanity :).

  7. techie2mom December 12, 2013 at 2:59 pm Reply

    Food indeed is a big issue. I too had similar problems as hubby has very different eating habits than me. He eats only selected veggies and can’t start his day without a paratha. But the thing with me is that i can eat anything even if i don’t like it. So i did a lot of adjustments initially but would crave for gujarati food big time. Later on i started cooking different food for myself even if it meant cooking 2 different things for 2 people. I would say sometimes S can get a little self centered and let her hubby manage while she enjoys her favorite food.

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