All is fair in love and... food.
Unlike my last name, which is clearly of Jewish descent, my size one/two frame is quite deceiving, as I happen to be a very good eater. Though my palate doesn't involve pork (I didn't grow up with it in the house) or beef (I plead cows are cute), I do not discriminate when it comes to 99 percent of other dishes.
Pledging to leave no pop chip uneaten, no Baked By Melissa Cupcake unsampled and every plate at Caravaggio given fair consideration, I not only dream about food and try my very best to cook it but naturally, I write about it too.
Like smiling is to Buddy the Elf, food is my favorite. Unsurprisingly, it's a confidant for many, seeing as our country has an obesity epidemic. That, fortunately, has not been an issue for yours truly, thanks to my Reeboks and Old Navy workout apparel.
Although I've dabbled in vegetarianism and a low-gluten diet, I had not delved into my inner Jew (at least since last Chanukah when I was shoveling latkes into my belly). Gefilte fish is really not my thing (to be added to the list of pork and beef).
When I started dating someone who had a food restriction - read: keeps kosher in and out of the home - it was made clear: he could not (would not) have a long-term relationship with someone who (in the simplest terms) appreciated a tasty ham and cheese sandwich.
Having kept to my own various food regiments throughout the years, I accepted this, and therefore, respectfully decided to try and keep to the diet's standards - no meat before milk, non-kosher restaurants were out of the question and snacks with an OU stamp were plentiful.
For weeks, the same reaction was frequent among my friends, who would groan:
a) "That's so hard!"
b) "You can't eat shrimp!"
c) "He uses two sets of dishes?"
d) All of the above.
For me, this wasn't a test - it was a compromise. I was (somewhat) giving up what I chose to eat. It also made grocery shopping more time consuming, as labels needed to be checked for specific validations of legitimacy. For someone who was raised in a reformed Jewish home, it's not just a change. It's big concession for a girl who just wants some damn candy and can't find kosher Jolly Ranchers anywhere in Manhattan. Nevermind that he wouldn't kiss me after I consumed an un-kosher item or chewed any generic brand of gum...
Could I leave a life consisting of lobster, chicken Parmesan and one set of silverware, behind? Maybe. Would my children ever live these everyday items (I clearly take for granted) first hand? Maybe not.
As my friends concluded their hardcore interview/interrogation sessions, they often asked, "Are you keeping kosher?"
I honestly replied (as my significant other was aware), "Sometimes. When we hang out, I do."
But as the words would leave my mouth, I realized the hypocrisy in my candid statement.
In the eyes of yours truly: keeping promises, staying faithful, maintaining an honest relationship (things I easily do) are top priority. Eating kosher (not so much) was on par for him. They're the same types of commitments - you either do it or you don't.
For some more than others, it's easy to compromise the way we dress, the ways we spend our time and the things we do or do not eat. When the substitution of our ingredients ultimately compromise - and sacrifice - our individuality and uniqueness, the final dish isn't as good (though maybe some would argue it is better). Regardless, it's not what it originally intended to be. If you don't love and accept someone for who they already are, the fundamental things they are comprised of, and their basic necessities; like what they choose to eat, there are going to be many arguments - beyond the dinner table.
I'm not a proponent of all pop culture quotes - specifically of MTV personalities (with the exception of Snooki's "I'm going to the Jersey Shore, bitch!"). But, as reality starlet Lauren Conrad once boldly and intelligently stated to a nation of young girls doting on her every word of advice, "Love is not a maybe thing."
Well, my friends, readers, and ex, I realize that keeping kosher isn't either. And, with that said, perhaps it is time to dig in to a new dish.
Bacon wrapped scallops, anyone?