In Cultural Matters: You’re Eating What???
With the realization that many marriages are increasingly more intercultural than monocultural, we have decided to introduce this new section called In Cultural Matters. This section will deal with issues that couples in intercultural relationships likely face or might face in marriage. Your discussion and feedback will be greatly appreciated :).
In many relationships, food is very special. Many amazing things happen over a delicious meal: those getting-to-know-you dinner dates; those adventurous international meals; that riveting conversation; that discovery that presenting him/her with a favorite meal is akin to a truce, or better yet, a bribe. Food is central to our existence.
Now, when food becomes potentially divisive in your relationship, what do you do? I’m not just talking about the “I love Thai food, but he hates it” scenario; that’s relatively easy to deal with: just have him get his own preferred meal, while you get yours. I’m referring to something deeper, something that has to do with cultural identity and pride. Say your beau visits you at home one day and you’re making some extremely delicious egusi soup, just like your Nigerian mother taught you to make. He walks in and, instead of a satisfied smile, screws up his nose instead. “What exactly is that smell?” he asks you. “I can’t stand it!” Oh-oh! The man you can’t wait to marry cannot stand the smell of your Nigerian meal, and you have absolutely no intention of giving up the preparation of your favorite meals.
In a scenario like this, what’s the solution? Do you consider this a deal breaker and decide that giving up your favorite cultural meals is sacrificing too much? Do you decide that you’ll cook those meals only when he isn’t home?
If you’ve dealt with a situation in which your cultural foods, which are foreign to your spouse, were not your spouse’s “cup of tea”, how have you handled it?