My boyfriend leans mostly vegetarian and has no problem with most vegan meals. He likes cheese and he likes pizza and if we go out to eat at a restaurant he will sometimes get fish or chicken but he was also a fan of tofu before I even knew what it was. He has no problem with meatless meatballs in spaghetti, bean and rice burritos (with cheese), tvp chili, chickenless nuggets and veggie burgers. He just has one request; that there be no onions, greens or chunks of tomatoes or peppers in anything he has to eat. This seemingly simple request, coupled with the fact that those happen to be some of my favorite parts of cooking, creates quite a situation. In the beginning I tried to cater to him so that he would eat more healthily. This worked well but after a while I felt bummed I had to miss out on some of my favorite foods just to get him to eat my cooking. This led to a completely opposite approach wherein I cooked what I wanted to eat, the way I wanted to cook it, and if he didn't like it then he could have a boca burger or make some spaghetti (did I mention he hates cooking?). This worked well for a while except that it had us eating different meals almost every night for dinner and I never wanted to make anything complicated because is it really worth it to spend 2 hours in the kitchen making every last thing from scratch just to be the only one to enjoy it? The answer is no. So I ate a lot of roasted vegetables, salads and sandwiches and grew to miss creating masterpieces of dinner in the kitchen. I have finally come to a middle ground and I have to say that while it is mostly satisfying, it also sometimes means 1.5 to 2 times the work. Let me give you an example.
Sunday morning I was going to make a big breakfast when I got home from the markets and my boyfriend woke up. I ended up getting home at almost noon and he had already eaten and I was so hungry I almost gnawed my own arm off in the car on the way home (not vegan). The whole day I was craving some breakfast so I decided to do breakfast for dinner. I made tofu scramble and breakfast potatoes and here is how I compromised. (I forgot to take pictures of his food so you'll have to use your imagination).
I used to make tofu scramble by first sauteing onions, garlic and greens in oil and then adding in the tofu. Now I just heat up some oil and add in the tofu and some spices. This time I added in a little chopped seitan sausage that I had made last weekend to give it an extra breakfast feel. Once the tofu is cooked to my liking, I dump half (ok, more like 2/3s. He definitely eats more tofu than I do) onto a plate and put it aside. I then add to the pan some chopped chard and cook until it is soft.
I love my breakfast potatoes with tons of onions and bell peppers. Yum. I experimented with leaving the peppers and onions in and just having my boyfriend pick them out, but that lead to a good deal of wasted food. The solution I have come to is cooking up a pan of potatoes in oil with a sprinkling of salt until they are done, and then onto a plate they go. I then cook up my own potatoes, with as many onions and bell peppers as I please.
The only problem I can find with this solution (apart from it taking extra time and effort) is that his food is always done before mine. Luckily there is a simple solution, he doesn't mind microwaving his food back to temperature.
The result of this compromise is that I get to eat exactly what I want:
He gets to eat exactly what he wants, I get praised as a great cook and it only takes minimal extra effort. Now if only I could get him to help in the kitchen...