Thursday, July 16, 2015

Differences Between My Husband and I: Food

While I was writing my last post - Culture, Domination, and Losing Yourself - I realized just how different hubby and I are with our food choices. This is one massive culture differences we haven't yet fully resolved.
tikki, India, Punjab, street food
No, we're not fighting over every meal but, it poses some unique challenges in our relationship and thus puts up a few unique hurdles for us.

Hubby loves Indian food of course. He's convinced it's the best food there is, has the best flavors, etc. It's the food he was raised on, I don't blame him for that. However, I do find a lot I disagree with.

Being Punjabi, my husband equates food to having kulchas, poori's, samosa's and tikki's on a regular basis. This is where I have to draw the line! I've always kept up with the latest news on what is and isn't healthy with foods, I've worked with nutritionists and taken diet classes as well as read many books on the subject. Not a single one of them has ever told me that fried, greasy foods were the healthiest for you and I'm dead sure none ever will. 

fried rice, kulcha, Punjab, India, food
I really don't like the taste of grease and oil so it wouldn't matter if they did. Before I met my husband I used a medium sized bottle of oil (around 60 oz.) in about 3-6 months, often longer just depending on how much baking I did. I went through less than 1 box of salt per year. Now that hubby is here and cooking, we go through a gallon of oil and a box of salt per month. I do not consider this healthy cooking. I find it disturbing!

Almost every Indian meal hubby makes starts with the tarka - fried onions, tomatoes and seasonings. Fried. Always fried. The vegetables are cooked until they're mush, called gravy, and the meal winds up being mostly liquid by the time all is said and done. I find this overly complicated and it bothers me that all of the health value of the vegetables is annihilated during the cooking process.

I don't like liquid foods. I'm not a fan of gravy. I prefer my vegetables raw or just barely cooked (rare if you prefer). So we often have to eat separately.

Don't get me wrong. I think there are some amazing flavors in Indian food, it's just that his idea of a good meal and mine are very different. I like malai tikka and I'll eat saffron chicken (picking the chicken out so it's lightly coated and there's no puddle on my plate). I like halwa's and some korma's. I just don't want my daily diet to consists of foods that are cooked to death and/or smothered in gravy. I like my food much more simple and I find there is more exciting flavors in the non-Indian foods I eat than the Indian ones.

grilled, tortilla, simple food
I know there's a lot of you out there right now thinking all sorts of things like how can I be married to an Indian and not like Indian food or I must be nuts to think there's more flavor in my raw foods than in Indian foods. I'm okay with you thinking that. There's some pretty amazing flavors in natural food and I've seen Indians taste raw vegetables and be amazed at how much  flavor is in them so I know I'm not crazy.

Indian food was developed and designed with the Indian climate in mind. It's well suited to life in India. I'm cognizant of the history of using cooking oil to excess and cooking foods as much as they do. I'm also very aware of why all the spices and spice mixtures came into play in Indian cuisine. It's really quite an intelligent system, it's just not one I regard as the best in the world...or at least not in my world.

I also don't understand the chili's. I don't see how people taste anything other than the chili flavor after they pile them in during and after cooking. The heat of the chili kills off any subtle flavors that might be in there and after eating so many, everything tastes alike. Of course that's just my opinion, based on my taste buds and the experiences I've had with food inside of India. Outside of India, with Americanized Indian food, I can taste some differences but still the flavors are too similar between too many dishes for me. I get bored easily, especially when it comes to food.

Punjabi, Indian food, tikkis

With the differences in how we eat, I often find myself feeling left out. Actually, left out probably isn't the best term for it....I'm not sure. My husband always want's Indian food - every day, every time we go out. I get tired of eating the same old food every time we go anywhere. He only gets excited about Scottish cuisine and hot wings when it comes to non-Indian foods. I guess you could say he's pretty set in his ways when it comes to food.

This leaves me feeling as if the diversity of foods we have available here that I want aren't important or wanted. I feel somewhat obligated to go eat Indian food. He gets so excited and carried away (I swear it's like he never eats Indian food) whenever we're going out that I feel like I'll either be crushing his dreams or ruining his mood if I don't go along with it.

So there I sit, almost ever week, eating mediocre food that I really don't like that much. Thinking the same thing over and over while he relives his childhood and time in India over a plate with way too much food on it. He does all of the talking. He has all of the fun. Then we go home. It's boring. The food is boring. The restaurant has become boring. The outings have become mundane.

Indian food, rice, chana, gravy

I guess that's why I feel left out when it comes to food. We rarely explore other cultures cuisines. Where is my culture? It sure isn't at the Indian restaurant. I like going to different restaurants and trying new foods or at least diversifying what country's food I'm eating from what I had last time. I'm not much on repetition. I want to go have Chinese this time and next time Mexican or something else.

I don't get to experience that with my husband as often as I would like. Of course we're working towards that goal but it's taking time because of how culture shock has affected him. At least that's what I'm hoping though I'm not sure because in India we didn't eat American food every time we went out, we still had Indian food more than anything else.

In the mean time, I just keep right on enjoying the foods I love while he sits beside me enjoying those he loves. I taunt him with new non-Indian foods and being a food lover, he can't resist and so thus he tries a lot of new things.

How do you tackle food differences in your marriage?
Do you eat more Indian food than your own countries food?