Savvy womens Magazine

 

I Married A Meat Man

I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian; my husband's a color-blind carnivore. When we make dinner together, the meat-friendly portion could be deadly.

 by Cathy Cassata

Brian can't tell how cooked meat is since colors pose him a problem, and I won't taste food that was once alive. Our kitchen conversations go something like this:

Him: "Does this look done to you?"
Me: "It's dead."
Him: "That doesn't help. Is it edible?"
Me: "Nope."

I stopped eating meat and fish when I was 13 years old; this year marks 15 years of flesh-free feasting.

My men and meatless diet have always been a crazy combo. My high school sweetheart used to try to trick me into eating meat. Once we were at a Denny's-like restaurant, I went into the bathroom, and came back to find bits of his burger scattered into my marinara spaghetti sauce. He performed juvenile stunts like this for over two years.

Five years after our breakup, he e-mailed me that he was a converted vegetarian, and that he was in Africa serving in the Peace Corps. Go figure.

My college love was a six-foot-eight food vacuum. He'd eat anything he could get his monster hands on. My obsession with chocolate bothered him more than my hate for meat. Once we were putting away groceries, I went into the family room, and came back to find him hiding my favorite chocolate chip cookies in the highest cabinet in the kitchen. He was always on sugar patrol.

Five years after our breakup, he e-mailed me that he missed my 'sweet' self and that he was working as a police officer. Hmm.

My husband comes from a big, Irish family who sticks to their meat and potatoes, only Brian minuses the potatoes. The man only eats meat. That's it. His dinners consist of a juicy steak one night, several sausages the next night, baked chicken the following night, and, well, you get the point. Fruits, veggies, and carbs don't have a place on his plate.

I guess together, though, we eat a well-balanced meal.

The first time I ate with Brian's six siblings and parents was a nightmare. We met at a steak house for his mom's 50th birthday celebration. I sat at the end of the table in hopes that the family wouldn't notice what I was eating or not eating. His mom was so pumped about her birthday steak that she shared how much she loves to even eat the fat on steak. She then asked me if I ever do the same. Brian blurted out, 'Cathy's a vegetarian, Mom.' All nine sets of eyes gawked at me--I mean this family puts loads of meat in their pasta salad.

We quickly developed a plan for eating in public. The first wedding we attended together served the typical wedding food: a chicken breast, a potato, and green beans. As soon as we got our plates, Brian casually scraped his potato and green beans onto my plate in exchange for my chicken breast. No one noticed the sneaky swap, we both cleared our plates, and the bride and groom got their monies worth.

Later on in our courtship, Brian had moments of meat-lapse. Once we were making tacos and realized that we forgot to buy ground beef. We only had my imitation soy beef, which he surprisingly settled for.

Hold on. It wasn't that easy. He had a choice between eating fake meat or missing part of the Bears game to run to the store. Watching meat heads took preference over eating real meat. Brian finished the tacos that night, but never ate my 'cat food' again.

So how did I end up with a meat-only man? I have no idea. I know I didn't get to his heart through his belly. But, the good thing is my man never puts meat in my food or attempts to hide cookies from me. I eat what I want. He eats what he wants.

In a way, our meat-free and meat-only diets represent how we perfectly complement each other. Five years after we met, I married the carnivore. To make things easy, we served a family style dinner.

Oh, Brian's family eventually stopped gawking at me. They even try vegetarian-friendly dishes occasionally, thanks to me. As long as there's no possible way that meat could be added to the recipe.

Thank God for chocolate.

' 2006 Cathy Cassata

About the Author:
Cathy Cassata is a freelance writer and editor in Chicago, Ill. She is the Senior Editor and Staff Writer for the American Association of Medical Assistants, and has performed editorial services for the Massage Therapy Journal, and the American Dietetic Association.

Cathy can be contacted via our Contact Us page