By Mordechai Schmutter

Dear Mordechai,

I’m engaged, and I just found out that my kallah likes some of the same foods that I do! How exciting is that?

So exciting! It’s like found money! You didn’t tell the shadchan you wanted someone who liked this food, yet he/she/it found someone who did anyway. Aren’t you lucky? After all, they say it’s important to find someone with whom you have things in common. Like, for example, my wife and I noticed, back when we were engaged, that we both preferred orange juice without pulp. We’ve been together numerous years, and that’s probably the main reason.

OK, so I can’t remember the main reason. But that’s just as good as any.

I remember that we were both very excited when we discovered this. She, because her parents like pulp, and me, because throughout my childhood, my mother for some reason refused to acknowledge that orange juice even had pulp. (This was before the orange-juice companies started labeling it “no pulp,” “some pulp,” “pulp n’ seeds,” etc. Every carton was guesswork.) I didn’t even know it was called “pulp.” I’m like, “There are pieces in this!” And she said, “Pieces of what?” and I said, “I hope orange.” And she said, “You’re crazy,” which is something you say when your kids are making up reasons not to consume the food you specifically bought them. And I’m like, “How are you drinking your juice that you don’t notice this? I feel like I’m eating an orange with my meal! Out of a cup!”

To be honest, it’s better if you don’t like all the same foods. If you like the same foods, then whenever you go to eat that food, there will never be any left. Whereas if your spouse doesn’t like everything that you like, there will always be some of it left in the house.

OK, it’s convenient to like some of the same foods, defined as “any food that one person can’t finish on their own before it goes bad.” If one of you likes lamb shoulder and the other one doesn’t, the person who likes lamb shoulder is going to be sick of it pretty quickly, and then you’ll both be on the same page. (Lambs have big shoulders. They’re like the linebackers of the animal kingdom.)

And that’s your main thought: “There are two of us now, and it’s not worth buying something if just one of us likes it.” Yeah, but how long is it going to be just the two of you? Before you know it, there will be a bunch of kids, iy’H, and some of them will like the foods that you like. Anyway — and I say this as a parent — there isn’t going to be a single food that everyone in the family likes. If you and your wife both like something, none of your kids will like it. It will just be the two of you versus however many kids you have, and you’ll be outnumbered, baruch Hashem, until they all get married. Hopefully to people who like that food.

In a way, it’s more convenient to like different foods from your spouse, because that way you can buy your spouse the food that that they like, and you can say, “I bought you something!” and they can say, “Awww …” But if you like all the same foods, you’ll say, “I bought you this food!” And they’ll say, “Riiiggght, you bought it for me. You didn’t buy it for yourself.” And you’ll say, “No, I bought it for you!” (Or you’ll say, “No, this other package is for me.”) And then, when they don’t eat it right away, you have to prove you didn’t buy it for yourself by sitting there and constantly fighting the temptation to eat it. Because if you do, they’re going to be like, “Aha! It was for you!” So you’re constantly reminding them it exists in the hopes that they’ll start eating it, so you can schnorr some. And then when they finally want to come eat it, they’re like, “Where is it?” And you say, “I ate it,” and they say, “I thought you bought it for me,” and you say, “That was yesterday. I thought you didn’t want it,” and they’re like, “What? I have to eat it right away, just because you bought it?” And you’re like, “If I can do something for you, you can’t do this little thing for me?” And then you wonder why you were so happy when you were engaged that you liked all the same foods.

I’m saying that you two liking the same foods will cause more fights than you two not liking the same foods. You could always buy two separate containers of orange juice.

Even allergies are conquerable, as a couple. For example, when I was younger, I could never understand how one of my friends married someone who was allergic to dairy. But basically all it means is that you can never split a pizza. You have to eat the whole pizza yourself, nebach. And if you want a dairy meal, you have to make it special for just you and your kids, and, meanwhile, your spouse, who is a grown adult, can make their own food and eat it next to you. This is why it’s good to marry an adult.

“Hey, we’re both adults!”

We have that in common.

And tastes change. Not only do my kids not drink orange juice, neither does my wife these days. It’s just me. And since I’m drinking big bottles by myself, I’ve lost the ability to drink orange juice at all without wondering whether it’s gone bad. “Does this taste OK?” I don’t need this. It’s a lot less stressful for me to just eat oranges.

The only benefit of you both liking the same food is that if it turns out someday that it’s a food that one of you is not supposed to be eating for one reason or another and you want to eat it anyway, it will be in the house for the other person, and you can sneak some. And even then you might not be so lucky, because if the person really likes you, they might give it up. Or at least hide it from you.

But liking different foods has a ton of benefits. For example, when you go to someone’s house for a meal and you want to taste everything they put out, but then you take a bite of something and it turns out it’s not for you, but you don’t want to insult the host, you can quietly slide it onto your spouse’s plate and they’ll make it disappear. Unless the hosts sat one of your kids between you.

“Totty, why are you sliding this onto my plate?”

Oops. Pass this to your mother.

Because if you both don’t like it and are sitting there with it on your plates at the end of the meal, the host will feel terrible. It’s bad enough your kids are doing it.

It’s even convenient to have different opinions on food temperature. You might think it’s great — “We both like our food hot!”

“Wow! What are the chances?”

Not great. My wife likes her soup hot. I like my soup the way she would define “ice-cold.” (It’s not ice-cold. If I gave her an ice pack that was that temperature, she would ask why I heated it up.) But this means that while she’s eating her soup, I can, for example, ask parashah questions, and then she can take over while I eat my soup. (The kids don’t eat soup. They just play around and eat out the croutons.) Whereas if we both liked it at the same temperature, we would both eat it at the same time and then both ask parashah questions. Which would be very confusing.

I’m not saying you can’t like any of the same things. I’m not saying that if you enjoy long walks on the seashore, you should look for someone who specifically enjoys staying home with the kids so you can take long walks on the seashore.

There are going to be foods you both like. Just playing the odds. But it’s not a reason to celebrate. I mean, you can still have a wedding. But make sure this isn’t the reason for your wedding.

Or don’t; I don’t care. Invite everyone you know. Everyone will think you’re celebrating because you’re getting married, but you’ll know the real reason.

Or you can be honest and put that on the invitation:

With gratitude to Hashem Yisbarach,
Rabbi and Mrs. Hamburger
and
Mr. and Mrs. Hotdogs


Cordially invite you to attend
the wedding of their children

Chani Shani
and
Shmerel

Who both like pickles,
But not the sweet ones…

That way, someday in the future when Shmerel can’t eat pickles anymore because of ulcers, and Chani Shani can’t eat them anymore because of the sodium, so they have at least two separate jars hidden around the house, they can look at the invitation and it will remind them why they’re together in the first place — a mutual love of being straightforward with people. Because shared values are really what’s important here.

Unless one of them is a vegan. Then forget it. 

Mordechai Schmutter is a weekly humor columnist for Hamodia and is the author of five books, published by Israel Book Shop. He also does freelance writing for hire. You can send any questions, comments, or ideas to MSchmutter@gmail.com

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