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 Post subject: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:08 pm 
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Semen Strong
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My partner comes from a family where every meal had a ton of meat and all the veg was from cans. And he tends not to like the meals I cook, which is really frustrating, because I like cooking and love the idea of sitting down to have a nice meal together, and instead often he refuses to eat what I cook and eats cereal, canned soup, a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, or a bag of tortilla chips and salsa instead.

I belong to a mealshare, and the vegans in my group really enjoy my cooking, and I'm constantly told how much they appreciate the effort and time that I spend making nice meals for everyone. So I have an outlet for my cooking enthusiasm, but I wish my partner liked them as well.

Any ideas in how to bridge the taste divide? I honestly can't tell what makes him like certain meals (chickpea korma was a win, butternut vindaloo was a bust, even though they had pretty much the same stuff in them (I make everything very mild for him too), as was Thai Red Curry and Pineapple Rice). He won't eat tofu, tempeh or seitan either, though he does like Daiya.

I also feel a lot more comfortable with Asian curries and stews, and maybe there are other things that are more "American" that I could be looking at?

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:23 pm 
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Do you guys cook together, or is he interested in cooking at all? If he picked a meal, he might have more of an interest in eating it. I know that's what works with kids!

I know he's newly vegan, so I'd suggest some meat sub, but if he won't eat those, it's kind of hard. Maybe some more traditionally "American" stuff would work better - tacos, burritos, lasagna, mac & cheeze with veggies, baked ziti, etc?

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:27 pm 
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I agree with dtbk, just ask him what he wants to eat! Since he seems like a picky eater, that sort of makes me think of kid-friendly food, so maybe try some recipes from Vegan Lunchbox and Vegan Dad to ease him in?

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:29 pm 
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or Vegan Comfort Food... or American Vegan Kitchen.
Lots of "american" stuff in there.
Ask you library to order them if you don't have them

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:34 pm 
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When people are being difficult with what they want to eat, I tend to just hand them a cookbook and ask them what looks good. You don't have to make an exact recipe if you're not a recipe follower, but it'll give you an idea of what he thinks sounds good. And on the plus side if you make something at his request, it's not like he can be all "ew nasty" since he chose it like a big boy.

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:35 pm 
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I think the advice to think "kid friendly" may be the way to go. So much of the typical american diet is just boring and bland to me but if that's what you're used to that's where you have to start. You said he likes canned soup..try some homemade soups like corn chowder or a tomato bisque. Babysteps might help get him to be more adventerous eventually. I am lucky because even though my husband was raised with the same sort of diet you are describing Brett grew up with, Steven embraced his inner foodie long ago. Hang in there and keep wowing your meal group.

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:40 pm 
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I usually just ask Eppy's Dungeon Master if there are any foods that he misses that his mom used to make or that he used to eat more of when he wasn't married to a vegan. He recently told me he wanted chicken and dumplings, so I found a recipe and veganized it with morningstar chicken strips. I don't really have the same problem as you because he will eat just about anything, but he does really appreciate it when I make him familiar comfort foods.

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:08 pm 
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We can send him to live on an island with Brian.

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:08 pm 
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Your meal share sounds awesome. Wish I could find some vegans around here to do that with! I agree with the idea of asking him what he will eat. That doesn't work with my husband because he doesn't offer many ideas. But when he does, they are really good ones.


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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:18 pm 
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Can he explain what he does or doesn't like about certain things? Like, was he able to articulate what he did like about the chickpea korma, but didn't like about the vindaloo? I know my partner is terrible at explaining things like that, but getting him to think about it might be a good start.

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:38 pm 
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This is similar to my situation but my bf is still omni. He likes very little of what I like and he dislikes all/most herbs and chilli. I need more meal ideas.

I agree with the kid-friendly food idea, I often say he's like a fussy 5yo because he just wants plain food and bbq sauce! I've had success with black bean tacos, Fry's chick'n strips/nuggets, he'll eat some greens (lettuce, snow peas, asparagus, peas) as well as mushrooms and sometimes tomato/cucumber.

He's almost dairy free as he doesn't drink milk or eat cheese but he still has chocolate but we have a feeling he's lactose intolerant. He's trying to go dairy free and we'll see where that leads.

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:17 pm 
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What also sucks is cooking something and having someone eat it but not really enjoy it, yet tell you, "Oh, no, it's good."
But it's obviously something you don't care for, so let's figure out what we'd both like.


(Who can possibly hate curries? What is wrong with people!!??)

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:26 pm 
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I know how you feel. It's really frustrating when people don't like my cooking. It sucks even more when it's someone I really care about.
How can he not like tofu, tempeh, or seitan? Is it a texture thing? Will he eat stuff like tofu ricotta?

Also: send me your food. I'll be really enthusiastic!

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:37 pm 
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My partner used to eat mostly "American" food (his favorite meal was reheated boxed macaroni and cheese...), but now he eats basically whatever I make for him. I'm glad that he was open to trying mostly anything that I cook just to show me that he appreciated that I made an effort to prepare a meal for the both of us.

I agree with everyone who suggested trying to find "kid-friendly" recipes though. I started out with stuff that my partner was familiar with (minestrone, lentil soup, burritos, etc.), and then started incorporating stuff he hadn't really tried before (Korean food, Indian food.)

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:29 pm 
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tell me more about this mealshare...

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:52 pm 
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Mealshare is awesome! We're three vegans who live close to each other, who enjoy cooking, so each of us takes one day a week to cook for all three families. It ends up being evenly matched - we each have 2 people in our families, and its almost as easy (and cheap) to cook for 6 as it is for 2. It gives us the chance to try new dishes, and to get great meals 2 nights a week without any effort. Brett and I go out to dinner a lot less frequently, because we have dinner on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday taken care of. Plus it creates this fun impromptu community - we often end up eating our dinners together. As an example, this week Monday Jenn C. made the VCon enchiladas (with cashew cheese and green pumpkinseed sauce) and I've made the butternut squash and green bean vindaloo from VWAV (with apple crumble muffins). I don't know what Jenn G will make tomorrow, but its often a great veggie stew or lasagna along with home-made bread and muffins...

Thank you for the advice - it has really helped clarify things for me. I think Brett isn't as much picky as he just has one preferred flavor and that is cheesy/Daiya (he won't eat nooch). So lasagna, mac & cheese, veggies and cheese, rice/beans/cheese, grilled cheese and anything else he can stick Daiya into or on, is good, but anything that is more spicy or complex doesn't appeal to him. The things he definitely won't eat are anything with a bit of sourness, or the taste of vinegar or citrus to it.

I've tried to get him to pick meals - offering bilateral choices (x or y), going over the VWAV index and printing out great sounding recipes and asking him to help me pick - and he doesn't, because apparently nothing sounds good to him.

I think I just have to accept that if I want us to eat together I have to make something that is cheesy or that can have cheese put on it. Its frustrating, because he will happily eat a can of Hormel vegetarian chili but then turn his nose up at what I think is a delicious meal. And then I take it to mean that I'm a bad cook rather than accepting that we have very different palates.

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:02 am 
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My (omni, picky) husband and I cook theme meals together -- like "Mexican night" or "Italian night." We'll cook individual things to appeal to our tastes and overlap some as well (we'll share the taco shells and the taco salad dressing -- or the bread and the marinara -- or whatever). This helps us both when we're wanting to eat "together."

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:54 am 
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Not the subject of this thread, but the meal share idea sounds so great!

I agree with others that have suggested cooking together. I know getting kids in the kitchen often gets them to try (and enjoy) food that they might otherwise have turned their noses up at.

I'm sure your meals are so scrumptious! Palates do change...

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:12 am 
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I think Joanna nuggets are everyone-friendly. If you make flavorful beefy-spiced seitan, and grind it up in a food processor, I think it's awesome in "meaty" lasagna and moussaka, way better than TVP . . . and you could make American tacos with it too. (He can have Daiya on these!) However, where TVP is concerned, I recently made the AVK incrediburgers, and they are really good (another vehicle for Daiya!). Also for beefy seitan (I like the O'Greatness, page 9, and omg I forgot to copy down the recipe), after you make the recipe, you can shave it super-thin with a microplane and put it on a bun with EB and it's like an Arby's sandwich. As for bringing him around to tempeh, I suggest making the VWAV tempeh sausage crumbles and mixing them into a gravy for biscuits and gravy. And! Taymer's book is just out, and there is an incredible recipe for seitan ham in it. I have shaved it with a microplane and added it to scalloped potatoes, and it's delicious. Might he consider any of those?


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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:20 am 
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How about, rather than handing him a book, showing him a Flickr page? I had a very fussy friend over for dinner and titles weren't appealing so I gave him my Flickr stream and he picked from there. Just another approach.

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:14 am 
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Efcliz wrote:
How about, rather than handing him a book, showing him a Flickr page? I had a very fussy friend over for dinner and titles weren't appealing so I gave him my Flickr stream and he picked from there. Just another approach.


This is a good idea. My partner hates cookbooks without pictures. Every time I hand him Veganomicon to choose something for dinner, he just turns to the pictures in the middle and looks at those.

And to echo others- your mealshare sounds awesome. I would love to do something like that.

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:28 am 
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My partner has something called Selective Eating Disorder (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_eating_disorder), so there're a lot of foods she doesn't like, and most of the foods I like, she has no interest in. What we do when we want to cook something together is we make a "base" food that we can put our own sauces or toppings on. So, pasta, rice, quinoa, stuff like that. It's still kind of a bummer that we can't enjoy the same foods (and it's harder to motivate myself to cook when it's just for me), but this system works decently. Maybe you could try something like that?


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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:10 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
Its frustrating, because he will happily eat a can of Hormel vegetarian chili but then turn his nose up at what I think is a delicious meal. And then I take it to mean that I'm a bad cook rather than accepting that we have very different palates.


i have the same problem with my boyfriend! he's omni...and though i'll cook what i think are really awesome meals, he'll opt to go get a burger or make a sandwich instead. at first i was really insulted, but it turns out that he just doesn't care much about food. yeah, i know. he never gets excited about eating anything and anytime he does like something it's just 'ok' or 'pretty good'. sometimes he'll eat some spaghetti if i cook that. he also likes chickpea cutlets and tofu scramble (of all things). but it's all really hit or miss. i'll think that he's going to love something and make this huge batch of it, only to have him turn up his nose and making a forking turkey sandwich instead.

tonight we're supposed to be cooking together. this is something i have not yet tried. i'll let you know if that works...you know, him picking out the food and us making an effort to actually eat the same thing for once.

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:46 am 
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It's all in his head! I say a blind taste test is in order. Make him a banging vegan meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and candied carrots. That should win him over. I love making vegan shephards pie for this reason. It taste and looks just like the old comfort food version you were used to as a child. If you ate that sort of thing as a child.

My hubbie always used to compare my food to his mom's. It really pissed me off. I am not a mom, I don't have years of experience feeding a family. And I was not raised by an Americana 50's style mom who taught me all of her housewife tips. I yelled, he stopped comparing my food to that after a while. Now I hear things like "This might actually be better than my mom made it." WIN

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 Post subject: Re: My Partner Doesn't Like My Cooking
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:47 am 
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I hope that works! When Brett and I cook together he "doctors up" his portion. Generally with Daiya, but once he put a 1/2 cup of grapejelly in to a stirfry and swore it tasted delicious.

Mealgroup is great because it gets rid of leftovers :) No making a big dinner and then having to eat the same thing for the next three days because your partner won't eat his share or throwing the rest out.

I love the flickr idea, the base meals with each person changing it up and the idea of both cooking around a theme. I'll definitely try them!

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