Food, Mood & Attitude

by Caryn Alper under Date Night,JDate,Judaism,Online Dating,Single Life

Gluten-free, vegan, peanut allergy, lactose intolerant, plant-based, low carb, high carb, paleo, oreo, pescatarian, vegetarian… does anyone eat “normally” anymore? And what does this mean when you just want to take someone out to dinner without a list of food and health conditions to consider?

Eating habits are pretty personal, yet food plays such a big role in our social lives.  So it’s inevitable that the strictly kosher girl will be invited to a treyf BBQ joint by an unknowing suitor.  Or an otherwise awesome date leads to a stroll to the ice cream parlor, panicking the severely lactose intolerant guy.  These things happen. And normally it’s not a big deal – people are generally accommodating and understanding these days about special diets or food considerations. But, how these gastronomic road blocks are handled says a lot about both the special eater and the accommodator.

I hate to break it to you, but broadcasting your food preferences can sound picky and annoying. Spending 20 minutes to explain to a waitress how you don’t like your food to touch, that you want all of your sauces served on the side, and that you want 7 substitutions doesn’t look attractive on a date.

57019411Ok, these examples might sound silly, but what if you have a more common constraint, like you can’t eat anything with nuts, or you don’t like vegetables? You’ve agreed to meet someone for a first date, but you’re very aware of your unique diet – what do you do?  In this case, quietly inform your server of your needs or just order something that you like. Unless you have a serious health concern, there is no need to announce your special case to anyone who is not preparing your food, and certainly not to someone you’re hoping to impress. Not a big drinker? It’s ok to order a coke at the bar. It’s not ok to explain that you aren’t drinking because you were sick for 2 days after last weekend’s bender. Keep kosher? This is one situation where it makes sense to inform your date of your dietary needs in advance. Same for other restrictions where you may not be able to find what you need at a typical restaurant. But don’t make a fuss about it – suggest meeting for coffee or a non-food event for your first meeting.

On the other hand, what if you’re the one who eats everything in sight, but find yourself sitting across from a really cute, funny vegan? Same advice here: Don’t make a big deal about it, especially if the vegan doesn’t. Try not to judge. And don’t belittle someone else for having different eating habits than you. Unless they have realllly ridiculous demands – then you can roll your eyes. Just kidding. Sort of.

Also, profiles exist for a reason – check them for clues! Before picking out a restaurant or place to meet, scan your date’s profile to get a feel for his level of kashrut or her favorite cuisine.  When it doubt, ask.

Remember, differences of any kind involve a dance of accommodation, moderation, and compromise, and food is no exception.  Eating habits may not initially seem like a huge deal in a budding relationship, but when you think about it, we all eat multiple times a day (except for fast days – but those are probably bad days for a date anyway).

The Kosher Chili Cook-Off

by Adam under Date Night,JBloggers,JDate

For those reading this who do not live in Texas (or Memphis where they have a Kosher BBQ cook-off) the Kosher Chili Cook-Off is a big deal in Dallas, Austin and Houston. Around 50 teams in Dallas and 20 in Austin prepare diligently, starting at 8am. They cook for hours, and won’t stop till the final vote is cast at 3pm to make sure they make the best chili and procure the most amount of votes. One kosher ingredient can make all the difference.

Every team starts with the same amount of meat, around 18-22 pounds of it, unless, of course, you happen to be on a vegetarian team. What ingredients you use next is up to you, just as long as it stays kosher. Many people spend days searching for the perfect recipe and then working out the math to make sure the amount of other ingredients correlates to the amount of meat provided. There are certain rules of chili cook-offs to abide by, like don’t cook all the meat at once, and don’t put all the jalapenos in at once, so children and the elderly don’t burn their mouths eating it. You win with a combination of great chili and a personality that endears you to the general public.

Dating is the same way. Regardless of what you think, everyone starts on the same plane, with the same amount of meat (relatively). It’s the ingredients, and your presentation, that make all the difference. Everyone buys vegetables, and chili powder, and some cumin, but what else? What sets you apart? For the chili example, our team used Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda and pineapple, giving it a tangy taste, combined with the loads of spice we put on there. Additionally, we managed to be a highly personable team, conversing with literally everyone that came by our tent and screaming wildly after someone put their vote in our bowl.

What makes you different when it comes to the dating scene? Sure you may workout five times a week, graduated magna cum laude from some school that starts with H and ends with “arvard,” and spent your childhood playing polo on the weekends with Bill Clinton, but what else? You certainly have some solid ingredients, but which one stands out when you play the dating game? When people think of you, is the aftertaste in their mouth, “Oh, he’s just a polo player from Harvard” or “He’s an engaging guy with an interesting background that not only includes that weird game called polo, but he also has tried every item on the McDonald’s dollar menu.”

Dating and the chili cook-off. You have the ingredients, so how do you combine them to achieve the best possible result?

You Can’t Force A Relationship

by RollingStone9862 under Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Sometimes, after we meet someone and go out a few times, we try to convince ourselves that the relationship has potential instead of just letting it evolve naturally. Often times this occurs when it’s been a while since we’ve met someone with whom we felt a genuine connection and, therefore, because the other person is close to what we are looking for, we try to force a relationship with them. We play up their good points in our head, and choose to conveniently overlook the aspects of their personality or lifestyle that we don’t enjoy, in a desperate attempt to make the relationship work.

Often times when I find myself trying to fit a round relationship into a square hole, afterward it is very obvious to me what I was trying to do. Usually it’s been a while since I’ve been with someone I genuinely cared about, and even though I know that the person I’m seeing isn’t right for me, I want to be in a relationship so badly that I am able to persuade myself that they are “close enough.” This approach may work initially and be able to carry you through a few dates but you can’t fool yourself forever.

Recently I was guilty of this selfish crime and went out on several dates with a woman whom, deep down, I knew wasn’t right for me. We had fun when we went out, and I liked many things about her, but I just never left any of our dates with that warm, tingly, I can’t wait to see you again feeling. Sure enough, because I knew that it was going to happen eventually, our last date fell flat which was when I realized that I needed to stop thinking about myself and how I wanted to be dating someone, and consider how it wasn’t right to potentially lead her on.

While I know that going out with her a bunch of times wasn’t completely kosher I do think that I ended things before any harm was done and on good terms. She seemed to understand my reasons and even indicated that perhaps she was a little guilty of viewing me, and our relationship, in the same way that I used her. In the end I wouldn’t recommend this approach to anyone, and am not entirely proud that I choose to employ it recently. However, dating isn’t always easy and sometimes, as long as there’s no intent to hurt anyone, it’s okay to put your needs first.

Sometimes after we meet someone and go out a few times we try to convince ourselves that the relationship has potential instead of letting it come completely naturally. Maybe it’s been a while since we’ve met someone with whom we felt a genuine connection, or perhaps it’s that the other person has many of the traits that we are attracted to, but in any case it just isn’t right. We play up their good points in our head, and choose to conveniently overlook the aspects of their personality or lifestyle that we don’t enjoy, in a desperate attempt to make the relationship work.

Tags: ,

The Taste of Bacon

by JeremySpoke under JFacts

I am beginning to understand how keeping Kosher is possible, despite the existence of bacon.  For a long time (27 years), I was convinced that keeping Kosher was impossible.  My brother is an Orthodox Jew, living in Israel.  He is in the process of becoming a rabbi.  He keeps strict Kosher rules bordering on self-torture and I fear he is malnourished.  In the states, his choice of restaurants is severely limited.  In Houston, for example, he is confined to about four establishments.

Flash backwards 15 years (TV segue ‘whoosh’ sound).  My immediate family sits down for dinner at a salad bar. My little brother sits down with a plate full of only lettuce and bacon pieces.  My dad explains to him that, as a child, he is forbidden from eating pork.  “Why?” asks Andy.  “I don’t know.  Never question irrational, outdated rules,” he answers.  “Be careful what you wish for, Dad.”  “I’m not wishing for anything, I’m just telling you that as a Jew, you’re not supposed to eat pork, among other things.”  “I take your challenge, and accept it.  You have no idea what I will become.”  “Good, let your hate consume you.  Give in to it.  Then, you will be one of us.”

Whoa don’t know where that came from.  The real conversation was a lot more normal, and a lot less Star Wars. My father was raised as a Conservative Jew.  I remember his father once telling me to not eat bacon.  I thought he was joking.  “Haha Papa,” I would say.  “You must be kidding.  For nothing will ever come between crispy, salty strips of pure cholesterol and me.”  Why would G-d be so cruel as to deprive His people of His most magnificent creation?  That’s right, bacon was more important than the invention of human beings, and buffalo wings.

If you are reading this, and have never eaten pork products (most importantly bacon), I am not trying to tempt you to break your moral code.  I am saying that bacon is so delicious that it transcends food, and belongs in a category all its own.  I understand that the only way that religious Jews can keep from eating bacon is to never try it in the first place.  Therefore, they will not be tempted by the intoxicating grasp that it has on my soul.  It is to food what Charlize Theron is to women.  Keep in mind, neither is Kosher.

Tags: ,