FOOD choices have nothing to do with compatibility in a relationship. However, it is advisable for one to be considerate of their partner's choices in order to enjoy dining together.
July 17, 2021
3 min read
Dining with a vegetarian
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Picture this - you are on a promising maiden date with a person you have just met. After drinks, you are both a little hungry. So you suggest a couple of places nearby. The waitress serves your favorite chopsticks. Then your date tells you she is a vegetarian and her food is not included on the menu.
According to the Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian (veg) is someone who does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or by-products of animal slaughter.
Celinah Molelle, 34, who is a veg shows that eating for the first time with a new person is an intimate activity—one that is quite easy to mess up.
She however, suggests a few tips for meat eaters who are on an early date with a meat abstainer.
"A lot of vegetarians feel the need to reveal their dietary restrictions before a first date to avoid awkward situations. If I am suggesting a date with someone who eats meat, I try to find places where we can both order more than one item off the menu that we enjoy.
"Likewise, I expect the men I date to find restaurants that accommodate my diet. Once a date finds out I’m a vegetarian, they often try to impress me by taking me to an exclusively vegetarian restaurant or declaring that they won’t eat meat in front of me. Both of these moves are fine, but not necessary,” Molelle says.
She warns not to book a table at a restaurant if one is unsure what the vegetarian options are.
"If you don’t usually eat vegetarian food, ask one of your vegetarian friends for advice or consult online reviews. Italian food is always a safe bet; there are usually at least a couple of pasta dishes without meat.”
She goes on to say: “avoid picking an exclusively vegetarian restaurant because just like regular restaurants, not all exclusively vegetarian restaurants serve great food.
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"And don’t expect that your date will like the restaurant just because it says “vegetarian” on the awning. Stay away from cheaper restaurants that serve several main courses with fake meat. Fake meat is hard to do right—and not all vegetarians like eating it. Pick a place that simply serves great food with options that your date can eat."
If one really wants a pizza with sausage, but a date prefers a pizza with kale, she adds it is okay to order own dishes but as a meat eater, compromise by ordering an appetizer without meat and dairy.
"Sharing dishes also makes the dinner a little more intimate, so this is a good move to pull regardless of your date’s diet. “If you absolutely refuse to share any dish, you’ll likely come off as uncompromising or selfish," she notes.
’Matefelo Ngoapane, 28, who is a non-veg shares similar sentiments with Molelle from her experience with a veg partner.
"My boyfriend has been a veg since the very beginning and I used to eat non-veg occasionally. But in some of our dates he sat with me and ordered his veg food, while I munched my leg-pieces, especially at KFC (Kentucky Fright Chicken).
"There were no problems encountered. He never tried to change me because he was a vegetarian and neither did he ever complain about my eating choices or anything of that sort. He was always fine with my choices," she recalls.