A couple months back, I was looking for a new apartment. Lucky for me, I had a friend, J, in the area that also happened to be looking for an apartment, and a room-mate. Together, we embarked upon a hunt for the ideal digs. J and I are pretty different—I like tempeh and yoga…she likes veal and watches too much Food Network—and our differences showed with what we were looking for in housing. While I wanted a more relaxed family-style space, J would prefer a sky-high apartment complex. I wanted residential, she wanted mid-city. I go crazy for old moldings, and she likes modern styles. The one thing we could really agree on, aside from hardwood floors, was that our new place needed a great kitchen.
J and I both love to cook, and to eat. We have both grown up in food-centric families. J is 100 percent Italian, and her mother raised her on home-cooked Italian fare. My own crunchy earth-goddess of a mother had me eating beans and barley from my high-chair. Funny thing is, when we were young, our mothers were friends! So, differences aside, we get along, and we make it work in the kitchen.
When we shop together, I fill the cart with fresh produce while J buys family sized packs of chicken breasts, freezing some for later use. I drink soy or almond milk. J drinks whole milk. I hunt down nutritional yeast while J stands in line at the deli. The only thing in the cart we are splitting is an economy sized pack of toilet paper, and maybe a bottle of wine.
Food choices aside, we both have a deep respect for a good meal. J cooks—often for herself alone or sometimes with her guy—traditional Italian dishes from scratch, like spaghetti carbonara or penne with vodka sauce. While she simmers a pot of homemade sauce, I sauté smoked tempeh and Swiss chard, and we talk about our day. We often cook side by side, and we often eat side by side, but very rarely do we ever enjoy the same meal.
I fancy myself a bit too young (in age, maturity and life experience) for a husband and a gaggle of babes, but I imagine that when this happens—unless my mancandy is also vegan (fingers crossed!)—this will be a similar style of living. Separate but equal!
So what about you? Are you a vegan living in harmony with an omnivore? A meat-eater sharing space with a veg-head? How does it work? We want to know!