cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
Lucy ([personal profile] cereta) wrote in [community profile] agonyaunt2017-07-21 07:57 pm

Sense and Sensitivty: Meat-Eating Fiance Unhappy With Vegan Dinners


DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been a vegan since high school with no intention of stopping. My fiance, however, is an avid meat, dairy and egg eater. I don't care about what he chooses to put into his body, but we have been fighting about food preparation recently. “Alan” hates the plant-based lifestyle, and gripes that I won't just cook him a steak. I tell him he has the complete green light to go to the store, buy himself a steak and cook it. Since Alan doesn't want to do the food shopping or cooking, I tell him to suck it up or start being proactive. Is this too harsh? We've been fighting about this for over a year. -- Sticking to My Plants, Greenwich, Connecticut

DEAR STICKING TO MY PLANTS: If you and Alan are to be married, you two need to work this out. Would you be willing to cook all of the meals if he were to become vegan? If so, that means you are putting your foot down simply because he chooses to eat differently than you. That may not be the best way to start your marriage.

If your intention is to be the primary cook, you may want to learn how to cook a few meat dishes. By giving in a little, you can create space for the two of you to grow together. You may be able to introduce some of your favorite foods to him and get him to eat less meat over time, too!
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)

[personal profile] ellen_fremedon 2017-07-22 01:43 am (UTC)(link)
I am an omnivore living with a vegan. It is not that hard to cook myself a damned steak when I want one (and wash the pan myself so he doesn't have to deal with it). Alan needs to step the fuck up.
ambyr: a dark-winged man standing in a doorway over water; his reflection has white wings (watercolor by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law) (Default)

[personal profile] ambyr 2017-07-22 01:14 am (UTC)(link)
...that is terrible advice. It isn't LW's "intention" to "be the primary cook"; LW clearly wants to distribute cooking responsibilities. It's *Alan*'s intention that LW be the primary cook, and he seems to have declared that intention without her consent.
taselby: (Bad Apple)

[personal profile] taselby 2017-07-22 01:20 am (UTC)(link)
So, she should do something that she finds objectionable (writer doesn't say, but vegans I know are pretty serious about not handling animal products, and some are actively nauseated by meat) so that Fiance, who is a grown-ass adult be a whiny baby man and make the little woman serve him? Oh, no. She's not controlling him (although I don't like how the advice suggested that LW learn to cook meat as a backdoor to getting Fiance Closer To Vegan), she's just refusing to go against the vegan lifestyle she's had for a very long time.

If she kept kosher, would the advice be to learn to cook pork?

It sounds to me me like they should head to couples counseling.

Edited for spelling
Edited 2017-07-22 01:22 (UTC)
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-07-22 01:28 am (UTC)(link)
Um. No. The vegan letter writer is drawing a completely reasonable line. If "Alan" isn't going to shop or cook, he can damned well eat what his partner is comfortable cooking. The LW isn't preparing food that makes him sick. That would be a different issue.

And he could do what one guy I know who's married to a vegetarian does and go out for a burger or something occasionally.

Of course, I'm not very sympathetic to people who aren't doing their part of these chores. (I know-- There might be reasons why the division of labor is reasonable, but...)

That said, this may be an irreconcilable difference. The LW doesn't mention if there are ethical reasons or health reasons behind their veganism. If it's ethical, then I see asking the LW to buy or cook meat, eggs, and/or dairy as a much more serious problem because it's not just a 'do something nice for me.' It's an open demand to give up a principle in order to maintain the relationship.

I just somehow don't think this is entirely about "Alan" wanting a steak.
shirou: (cloud)

[personal profile] shirou 2017-07-22 03:32 am (UTC)(link)
I hate eggs. I buy them, and I cook them for other people in my house, but I won't eat them myself.

I'm allergic to seafood. My wife likes it, so I'll buy it at the store, but I won't cook it, especially not while I'm preparing a meal I'm also going to eat. I don't want to risk seafood getting in my meal, I don't even want to handle something that could make me seriously ill, and -- perhaps a psychological consequence of the allergy -- I find the smell absolutely revolting.

I imagine the LW's relationship to meat to be more akin to my relationship to seafood than to eggs. The LW is not allergic to meat, but veganism is usually rooted in a strongly held belief, not a simple dislike of the taste of animal-related foods. Since the LW doesn't mind her fiance cooking and eating meat, it's reasonable that she be willing to buy it if she's doing the grocery shopping anyway. (I just cannot imagine insisting each member of a household do his/her own grocery shopping.) It's also reasonable that she insist he cook his own steak instead of doing it for him.

Men can cook. I do most of the cooking (and grocery shopping!) for my house. The LW is perfectly right to tell her fiance to suck it up.
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)

[personal profile] ellen_fremedon 2017-07-22 04:12 am (UTC)(link)
I'm the omnivore in my household, and I've never asked my vegan partner to buy meat for me because he wouldn't have the faintest idea how to shop for it. Someone who doesn't cook meat or eat it isn't going to know what to look for in a steak or a roast.
vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)

[personal profile] vass 2017-07-22 09:34 am (UTC)(link)
Since the LW doesn't mind her fiance cooking and eating meat, it's reasonable that she be willing to buy it if she's doing the grocery shopping anyway.

I used to be a vegan, and I found the meat aisle pretty upsetting in those days. If LW finds dealing with meat distressing, I don't think it's reasonable for her to do the meat shopping either. Also, depending on how integrated their finances are, she might object to doing the purchasing for something she's committed to a lifelong economic boycott of.
shirou: (cloud 2)

[personal profile] shirou 2017-07-22 11:16 am (UTC)(link)
If the LW finds meat that distressing, I find it hard to believe she would say she doesn't "care about what he chooses to put into his body." I'm not trying to dismiss the legitimate concerns of vegans who want nothing to do with meat; I just don't think that's what this letter was about. If the LW's objections to meat are stronger than she indicates, she and her fiance may have deeper issues than the (already significant) problems about division of labor.
Edited 2017-07-22 11:18 (UTC)
vass: Small turtle with green leef in its mouth (Eat your greens)

[personal profile] vass 2017-07-22 11:30 am (UTC)(link)
Mileage varies widely on this, but when I was a vegan that is exactly where my line was. I didn't try to recruit people or criticise what they ate, I was okay with living with someone who ate meat and cooked meat for themselves, but I would not have wanted to be the one buying the meat for them.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

[personal profile] kaberett 2017-07-23 05:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Nah, I'm vegetarian and fine with other people in my household consuming animal death product provided (1) they make the purchase, (2) they engage in safe storage that I don't have to interact with, and (3) they do all the cleaning up after. I know a bunch of people who have to eat meat for a wide variety of reasons, and that's cool, just -- absolutely Do Not make me deal with it. Which includes: I'm not willing to handle it enough to buy it, and I try to avoid those supermarket aisles.

I'll still give advice on cooking it because I know the theory better than a lot of meat-eaters because Cooking Is A Hobby, but that's "I'll give advice" not "I'll participate" except in exceptional circumstances (to pick the most recent: my mother having broken her arm and as such being unable to cook the 99th birthday meal for her father that he Expected).
jadelennox: Senora Sabasa Garcia, by Goya (Default)

[personal profile] jadelennox 2017-07-24 03:17 am (UTC)(link)
My partner eats meat, and if he puts it in the shopping cart and I happen to be paying, I'll pay. But I don't buy meat for him. Sometimes he buys meat and cooks it for meals when I'm not around, but he would never in a million years ask me to buy and cook meat for him. I cook vegetarian food when I cook for both of us, because that's what I cook.

I also don't cook food I dislike because he prefers it -- why would I? And he doesn't cook with olives or raw tomatoes, which he dislikes and I love -- why would he? When we cook for each other we cook food we both like. And I don't expect him to go to the store and buy me olives and tomatoes.
shirou: (vivi)

[personal profile] shirou 2017-07-24 03:55 am (UTC)(link)
It seems that both partners going to the grocery store is more common than I realized! Honestly, I never would have guessed. In my house, I do the grocery shopping, and I buy food for everyone. That means keeping track of what everyone eats on a regular basis and buying some things that others eat and I do not. I cannot imagine telling my wife I'm not going to buy blueberry yoghurt (or whatever) because she's the only one who eats it, and that she needs to make a separate trip to get it. I'm not criticizing, but it's foreign to me.

I guess a lot depends on one's view of responsibilities. We have household responsibilities, and my wife and I divide them. We end up doing a lot for one another, and there's very little sense of, "I'm not going to do X because only you need that." Having kids makes this a natural dynamic because so much of what we do is actually for them, not for ourselves.
Edited 2017-07-24 03:57 (UTC)
kiezh: Text: Apparently it was going to be one of those days when people made no sense whatsoever. (mina de malfois says people make no sens)

[personal profile] kiezh 2017-07-22 05:42 am (UTC)(link)
"...gripes that I won't just cook him a steak."
"Since Alan doesn't want to do the food shopping or cooking..."
"We've been fighting about this for over a year."


This is not about meat-eating vs vegan members of a household. This is a controlling asshole using culturally convenient methods of control. LW shouldn't be asking if they (which cultural expectations are in play definitely imply "she" here, but Alan is an ass regardless) are being "too harsh"; this is deal-breaker, DON'T MARRY HIM territory.

It is totally possible for reasonable people of good will to figure out living together with completely different food rules. Alan is not a reasonable person of good will. Badgering his vegan SO for over a year to cook him a steak, and absolutely refusing to do any food shopping or cooking? He's not going to become less of a controlling asshole if he wins this one - he's going to escalate. Don't cook him a steak. Don't marry him, either.
tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)

[personal profile] tielan 2017-07-22 11:15 am (UTC)(link)
*votes with this*
mommy: Arshtat; Suikoden V (Default)

[personal profile] mommy 2017-07-22 03:37 pm (UTC)(link)
I agree. There is nothing stopping Alan from just acquiring and cooking his own steak, and it looks like LW has given him the green light to do so. This means the issue is something else.
lilysea: Serious (Default)

[personal profile] lilysea 2017-07-22 05:50 am (UTC)(link)
I'm a dairy-intolerant vegetarian. (The dairy intolerance is medical, not ethical.) I occasionally eat eggs [maybe once or twice a month].

At present I am too chronically ill to cook meals, but I happily buy my partner sealed plastic packets of cold smoked salmon, or cooked omelettes with salmon/prawn if we're out.

(I won't buy him calamari though, because I think octopus are too intelligent to eat.)

It's not unusual for us to go to two restaurants in one night: first to a vegetarian restaurant (for me) followed by a non-vegetarian restaurant (for him). We're constantly on the lookout for restaurants that cater to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians simultaneously: alas, they are thin on the ground.

If I were well enough to cook, I wouldn't cook him a steak, though, because that would literally nauseate me. (I've very smell-sensitive, cooking meat smells = nausea and migraines.)

Also, he would do a much better job of cooking a steak than I would, because he knows how to cook steaks in general, and how to cook steaks to his particular preferences [he likes them quite rare].

I think the letter writers "eat whatever you like, but you have to cook it" is a perfectly reasonable compromise.
torachan: (Default)

[personal profile] torachan 2017-07-22 06:06 am (UTC)(link)
wtf? Whether or not she would be willing to cook all meals if they were vegan is beside the point, because right now she is being asked to either start eating meat herself, or cook two separate meals. Why should she do twice the work just because her boyfriend refuses to cook for himself?

He sounds like an asshole, tbqh.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

[personal profile] kaberett 2017-07-22 09:10 am (UTC)(link)
DO NOT MARRY DO NOT PASS GO W O W.
jadelennox: Senora Sabasa Garcia, by Goya (Default)

[personal profile] jadelennox 2017-07-24 03:19 am (UTC)(link)
THIS THIS THIS THIS
neotoma: Lego Vader facepalms (Vader Facepalm)

[personal profile] neotoma 2017-07-22 09:43 am (UTC)(link)
... I cook for my vegetarian friends to suit their preferences when they visit, and same for my friends who are religiously restricted, but that's because I'm an omnivore who can eat that meal/dish without a problem.

Alan should buckle up and cook his own damn food if he's not willing to go meatless for the food that is cooked (and shopped!) for him.

I don't get the 'would you be willing to cook all the meals...' line. The LW is *already* cooking all the meals, so if Alan were to become vegan what would change, other than Alan whining about how he doesn't like the food?

The person with the least food restrictions should be the one willing to either cook for themselves or eat the restricted food (at home). Asking someone to cook two different menus at every meal is absurd.

tldr Don't marry him! Not unless he changes and takes his share (literally his share -- he buys his meat and animal products AND cooks them!) of the labor.
vass: Small turtle with green leef in its mouth (Eat your greens)

[personal profile] vass 2017-07-22 09:44 am (UTC)(link)
Since Alan doesn't want to do the food shopping or cooking, I tell him to suck it up or start being proactive.

I like this LW. Her boundaries seem intact.

If so, that means you are putting your foot down simply because he chooses to eat differently than you.

Even if correct (and it's not what I get from LW's description of the problem) this does not seem unreasonable. She's not withholding food from him, she's not requiring him to go vegan too, she's just not willing to directly provide a food that goes against her ethics.

Unfortunately, Harriet's right about one thing: if LW and Alan are to be married, the two of them need to work this out. And since he seems unwilling to compromise at all, the two of them cannot work this out. Which leaves her giving in, continuing to fight, or breaking up. And breaking up sounds like the best option, since he is showing her very clearly how every other conflict in their marriage is going to go.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)

[personal profile] redbird 2017-07-22 11:23 am (UTC)(link)
Putting her foot down would be refusing to have meat, eggs, or dairy in the house even if he shopped for them: no you can't bring home your leftover stir-fried pork, or that package of salami or yogurt.

I eat things that one of my partners can't or won't. She's fine with buying yogurt, butter, and milk for me, but we don't cook with them in her kitchen: the yogurt is for my breakfast, the butter goes on my bread, but if we bake it's with non-dairy margarine. When she's over here, she doesn't object to my having bacon in the kitchen, but it doesn't go in her dinner. But I wouldn't cook with bacon every night anyway, nor does either of us expect the other to do all the cooking.
vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)

[personal profile] vass 2017-07-22 11:40 am (UTC)(link)
Maybe I'm misunderstanding the idiom. I thought "putting your foot down" just meant refusing.

At any rate, what you and your partner do sounds fair to me. What LW wants to do sounds fair. What LW's fiance expects and what Harriet recommends sounds unfair.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)

[personal profile] redbird 2017-07-22 03:38 pm (UTC)(link)
I was just thinking that a person could refuse to have non-vegan stuff in the house at all; be okay with having it around but not refuse to shop for it; or be willing to add it to the regular grocery trip, but refuse to prepare it. (It takes less knowledge to go to a deli counter and ask for x amount of roast beef or Swiss cheese than to pick out a good steak.)
jadelennox: Waelwulf is the beloved of Moradin (Playmobil figurine) (religion: waelwulf)

[personal profile] jadelennox 2017-07-24 03:23 am (UTC)(link)
I have more knowledge about meat than my omnivore partner; I'm a butcher's daughter. I still won't buy it. Why would I? I won't dictate my ideology to my family but it's still my ideology.

The religious analogy above is apropos, to me. When I was a kosher-keeping omnivore, nobody would expect me to buy bacon for other people, and in fact, I would be required to refuse. I don't see why philosophy should be less important than religion.

My partner is welcome to eat all the meat around me he wants! But I'm not going to the grocery store and buying him a steak.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)

[personal profile] redbird 2017-07-24 02:59 pm (UTC)(link)
not saying you should, just that I can see someone drawing a line in any of those places. I know someone who avoids meat (except fish), dairy, and eggs for health reasons; that's very close to vegan day-to-day, but the meat aisle doesn't distress her.
kiezh: A kitten investigating a toothbrush (kitten with toothbrush)

[personal profile] kiezh 2017-07-22 02:16 pm (UTC)(link)
And breaking up sounds like the best option, since he is showing her very clearly how every other conflict in their marriage is going to go.

Yes, this!

This is one of those letters where the LW says "My partner and I have a problem with X" and actually X is not the problem at all, the partner is. The food issue is just the battleground on which he is waging his campaign of "I make all the decisions and you do all the work."