Transitioning from a lifetime of civilian conveniences into a strictly military environment is a huge hurdle I’m preparing to jump for my impending marriage to Jonathan. What you may have guessed, however, is that this is not the only lifestyle difference we’re soon going to mesh.
I’ve mentioned that Jonathan is the gun-weilding, country-music-listening type, and I’m more of the namaste, recent-convert-from-10-years-of-vegetarianism type. So, as you can imagine, our daily diets are somewhat different.
I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, trying to find ways to turn healthy, nutritious foods into something delicious. Sometimes it works and I’m really proud of myself, and other times I end up with meals that taste sort of like grass. Because, despite my addiction to cheese and my tendency to use candy as a coping mechanism, I try to pay attention to also giving my body good things it needs to keep me alive through heaping piles of stress. (Which is why I had a bloody mary for breakfast yesterday. My body always tells me it needs vegetables and vodka on weekends.)
As my friends and family
have been forced to have happily offered to bear witness over the years, I have an unhealthy obsession with quinoa. Or, more accurately, a healthy obsession; quinoa is a grain, but it’s the only non-meat I’ve heard of that contains all nine essential amino acids to qualify it as a full protein. It’s low fat. It’s low calorie. It’s filled with nutrients, and it’s cholesterol free. Hell, it’s even gluten free, because WHY NOT. When I was a vegetarian and constantly obsessed with my protein intake, this was like a gift from the gods. I quickly spiraled down the quinoa-addiction staircase, and I’ve become a weekly user. Which I think technically means my family was “enabling” when they allowed me to contribute quinoa “mac and cheese” to the Thanksgiving meal last year.
One semi-immediate problem with this obsession: Jonathan won’t eat quinoa.
In his defense, quinoa has kind of a strange taste, and usually I don’t like it unless it’s loaded up with spices until it basically doesn’t taste like quinoa anymore. And I understand why Jonathan would prefer to eat things that just taste good regularly.
The larger, long-term problem here is that quinoa is just the beginning. As it turns out, most of the foods I eat regularly, Jonathan has at some point in his life actively spit out. To name a few:
- sweet potatoes
- cottage cheese
- goat cheese
- smoked salmon
Those are all things I’ve eaten in the past three weeks. And, in Jonathan’s defense again, I think he actually swallowed two full sushi rolls; that’s way more than I was able to tolerate when I recently tried elk steak for the first time. (Retrospect: I’ve only been eating poultry for a few months; I was not ready for any kind of steak.)
The good news is that Jonathan and I actually do like a lot of the same foods. To name a few:
- string cheese
- ice cream
I’m sure you see the problem for my future here. There are only so many ways I can cook asparagus and, like quinoa, none of them are good for breakfast.
I’ve been trying to collect recipes on Pinterest that I think Jonathan and I could both tolerate for a meal, but since I’m drawn to a lot of recipes with soft cheeses, whole grains, and quinoa, sometimes this method backfires.
That’s how I came up with this weekly-wrap-up game I play, called “Things I’ve Pinned That Jonathan Would Sooner Eat Glass Than Let Me Cook for Him!” On this week’s wrap-up:
Games aside, the realism is that, in several months, Jonathan and I will be cooking together in one kitchen, on one budget. So it’s time to crack down on the recipe search.
Healthy eaters out there: Any advice for relatively healthy, nutritious, red-meat-free recipes that are friendly across many palates? Also, Jonathan has this problem with eating weird textures (which explains why cottage cheese is on the forbidden list), so if the recipe is chunky or slimy, that’s also off limits. This is my life.