In choosing a partner to date or marry, most people do not often consider food compatibility as much as they should. The stories these 8 people told me about food issues in their relationship are a mix of hilarious and ‘oh dear’, but after writing and reading, it made me think about the importance of knowing and understanding your partner’s food preferences.
I like my yam thinly sliced while my girlfriend likes big chunks. And this, yam slices, was what caused our fight. She had a fit about it. She said it was an indication of how I don’t listen to her. How I don’t care. I apologized and started to cut my yams differently.
We broke up two years later. There were many reasons, but at the core of it was that one partner was less attentive.
My boyfriend is always undecided when it comes to food. The first time I asked him what he wanted to eat, his response was “I don’t know o, the men in my family have this thing where we’re always indecisive when it comes to picking food.”
I was silent for a few seconds. In my mind, I thought, “As per generational curse or?” Because frankly, I didn’t understand. The next thing he said was, “So what are we going to eat like this?”
I have learned to stop asking him that question.
I love locust beans (iru). It’s what I grew up eating; my best stew is one that contains a lot of it. My boyfriend doesn’t like it. He loves beans, I don’t. The first time I cooked stew, he made a comment. “You eat a lot of iru oh.” I laughed, brushed it off as a normal compliment. But for the two days that we had the stew, I saw that he was forcing himself to eat it. Later, when we made a food timetable, he found a way to include beans into everything while locust beans was dropped. For the first 2/3 months, I had to manage the beans. He’d cook it, and I would eat very little with a lot of garri. He never noticed. I had to let go of iru even though it was something I love a lot. I only used it in okro, which was something we cooked once in a while. I picked up eating beans which was something I do not care so much for.
And there was the issue of my not eating much. Although I love to cook, so much that I even offer to cook for people, I don’t eat much. Sometimes, I eat once a day, and sometimes I can even forget to eat. I find it very stressful that we humans have to get our energy from eating. The result of this is that I find it hard to make food decisions. I can spend close to three hours trying to decide what to eat.
And now here’s the problem: I have ulcer, and I weigh about 50kg, so he always wanted me to eat three square meals even though I did not want to. He’d ask me what I wanted to eat and I would take a long time to decide. Or I could decide and then change my mind five minutes later. I eventually told him that putting the responsibility of deciding what to eat on me was a difficult situation to put me in.
We lived together for seven months before we broke up. There were a lot of reasons, but my indecisiveness about food and my refusal to eat was a large part of the problem.
We went out on a date to a place I’d never been. He’d been there lots of times, enough times to know what slaps on their menu and what didn’t. So, I asked him to order, and he settled for spaghetti Bolognese for the both of us. Now, here’s the problem: I’m the kind of girl who can have a full plate of food in front of me but would rather eat yours. It’s a love language.
When our spaghetti Bolognese was brought, I put my fork in his bowl and tried to eat from it, and he got so angry. I honestly couldn’t figure out why. That was not the first time I would be eating his food even though I had mine, so why was this one different?
You know what he did next? He pushed his food toward me and said I had to eat both. And I was like, What? I told him I couldn’t eat it, so he just left the bowl in front of him. He didn’t touch it until I finished eating mine. It was such an awkward, quiet date.
I tried to kiss him when we got home, but he said he’s still mad at me. And so, me too, I told him I still don’t understand the problem because it wasn’t the first time I would be eating his food. Here’s what he said: “All the other times you ate my food, we weren’t eating the same thing. I have a problem with the fact that we had the same plate of food and you still decided to eat mine. And not just anywhere, but in public.”
I never touched his food after that. And it’s very painful, because how do I show love?
My husband loves Semo and Fufu — two things I do not like. I mean, who eats Semo??? But because love and other such stories, I buy Semo during our monthly grocery shopping and I prepare it for him as well. Fufu on the other hand? Jesus has to intervene.
Shawarma is my life. My life. And I’m dating someone who doesn’t eat shawarma. Can you believe that? I have threatened to break up because of it. It’s like why??? That’s a red flag nau. Beyond that, they’re such a picky eater. Do you know I keep a food chart for them to keep track of what they eat and how they eat it?
And then they judge my food choices. Imagine. So what if I eat ice cream and fried yam? Why are you judging me? They tell me they love me either way, as if they’re doing me a favour and I’m not the one adding spice to their life. Tueh. Also, he feels like I’m going to dump him for food one day. He’s not wrong. Food makes me happy, food makes me cum, food makes me feel good. What do I really need a man for?
My fiance is a white man. He cannot stand pepper, neither does he completely enjoy Nigerian food. Yes, I am used to foreign food—mashed potatoes, full English breakfast, the whole shebang, but I am Nigerian, Yoruba, and it’s inconceivable to assume I can survive so long without pepper or Nigerian food.
At first, I made what he liked: foreign food, less pepper. And when I started craving efo riro, eba, soup, I decided to introduce him to Nigerian food in small ‘doses.’ I’d cook meals that were not too peppery for him to handle. It was a fair deal.
And then I made pounded yam and efo riro one day. When I cook, I don’t taste it until I’m done or it’s time to eat. It’s just how I am. When I served my man the food, he screamed. It was too peppery. Even me, I tasted it and knew that I had fucked up.
After that incident, I had to settle for making two meals: my own Nigerian food and his own foreign food. It wasn’t the most enjoyable thing. In fact, it was a lot of work. Getting a cook made it easier.
Before anything, I should let you know that I love spaghetti and ponmo. I can eat spaghetti as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even as an afternoon snack. As for ponmo, I can buy food and have them fill the whole plate with ponmo. It is who I am. Now, the issue.
One day, my boyfriend and I were hungry. We’d both had a long day and we decided to get food on our way back home. Where we stopped at, they had only swallow, so I offered to buy spaghetti on the road and cook when we got home. He said nothing — not to agree or disagree or make any comment. I bought the spaghetti with my money, prepared it, and served him. And then he refused to eat it. It wasn’t even that I could not finish the entire pot if I wanted to. I could, but there I was, offering him a plate and he was rejecting it.
The next thing he said was, “Did you even ask me what I wanted to eat before deciding on spaghetti?”
He didn’t eat that spaghetti, and he didn’t talk to me that night. Same thing the next day. He went to work, came back and still kept up the silent treatment. So I confronted him. He took it very serious. Started talking about, “Have you even considered eating other things except spaghetti?”
Me I told him, “Bros, no shout for me oh.”
That incident passed, only for the ponmo incident to happen. That day, he helped me get food, and he told me there was no ponmo, so he got meat for me. I agreed and ate the food. It was after I finished mine, that I saw that he had ponmo in his own food. So I asked him, “Why was there ponmon in your food and you gave me meat? You know I’d rather have ponmo.”
Frankly, I was angry. It seemed like a comeback on the spaghetti incident and all the spaghetti-related issues we’d had before then. Like how he’d buy me tiny spaghetti to cook when he knew fully well that I don’t like tiny spaghetti. It also seemed like he didn’t put me into consideration.