FOOD, LIKE LOVE + SEX, IS IMPORTANT IN A RELATIONSHIP IT’S NOURISHING. IT’S EMOTIONAL. AND IT’S COMPLICATED.
DATING FOR VEGANS. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.
Michelle Gaber: We love the book’s title,The Lusty Vegan: A Cookbook and Relationship Manifesto for Vegans and Those Who Love Them. Tell us more about the book and what inspired it.
Zoe: Ayinde and I had been working together on Ayinde’s website iEatGrass.com for years, where I wrote a weekly dating column called The Lusty Vegan. Despite being dedicated vegans, neither Ayinde nor myself had ever dated another vegan, and it was a constant discussion between the two of us, as well as a source for blog fodder. Quickly we realized that the struggle is real! We weren’t alone— many other vegans out there are also dating people whose diets and philosophical beliefs directly opposed their own. We really wanted to help make these relationships work, which is why the book not only includes recipes but also lots of storytelling in which we analyze the shortcomings of our previous vegan- on-omnivore relationships.
MG: Why is food such an issue in relationships and dating?
Ayinde: In potentially serious relationships you bump up against traditions, cultures, and just basic understanding. Families often have deep-rooted traditions around food, like feeding newborns goat meat or having a pig roast every year. And it’s hard to walk in as the vegan and be like “Hey, I’ll have vegan goat? No? OK, hummus then.” In casual dating, it’s usually not a problem, but it’s always a good place to start looking for those traditions and things you will have to brace for.
Never get into a relationship with the hope you will one ˮ
MG: What’s the best advice you could give us in regards to food and relationships?
Zoe: Never get into a relationship with the hope you will one day change your partner. This happens in many relationships, but especially in vegan/non-vegan ones, where the vegan may secretly hope to “convert” their partner. Don’t do it! Remember, you are the one who chose to be with someone who is different than you, so stand by that decision and act with kindness.
MG: If you had just one wish, what would it be? Ayinde: I wish my foresight was as 20/20 as my hindsight.
MG: Finish the sentence: Food is….
Zoe: The second most visited train of thought, after sex of course.
MG: One last question, Chef: What’s your ‘Last Supper’ meal? Your ‘Death Row’ meal, as Anthony Bourdain puts it.
Ayinde: Waffles with tons of gluten, fresh strawberries, vegan butter, and syrup, crispy smoked tofu—my own special homestyle braised tofu—rosemary home fries, grits, fresh orange juice, and a slice of watermelon. Then shoot me immediately after I pass out from eating all that.