I LOVE food and if you tell me I can't eat what I love, it would be the same thing as someone telling me that I should just give up living life altogether.. :) So when I married my husband 25 years ago and learned that we had such different tastes, I did not know what to do.
My mistake for not dating him long enough I guess... I LOVE pork, he is basically allergic to it. He turns all red from it. I LOVE crabs, lobster, clams, all the good stuff and he says he just doesn't like how shellfish tastes. And then about 10 years ago, I found out that both my daughter and I are gluten sensitive but my husband is NOT....sad, sad, sad.
So over the years, I had to find ways to make it work:
When cooking at home, don't be afraid to substitute ingredients - just adjust the recipe a bit and it will still taste good.
Any recipes that call for pork, I used ground beef or chicken. Sweet and sour BEEF instead of Sweet and Sour Pork, Beef Curry instead of Pork Curry, Chicken cutlet instead of Pork Cutlet.. you get the drift.
Make recipes that can use different ingredients in a large batch, freeze and just reheat later.
Dumplings is a great example of how it can be made with chicken or pork or beef so you can make different stuffing and make it all at the same time. This way, each person gets to have their favorite meat. Dishes like marinated meats, I can make beef bulgogi and pork bulgogi at the same time, freeze it and just cook it together later.
For gluten free recipes, finding a good gluten free flour is key. Also find a cuisine that uses less gluten and make that your favorite.
Korean and other Asian foods are mostly rice based. As long as you are not having noodles or pancakes, it is pretty easy to eat gluten free. These days, there are great quinoa based gluten free pastas that are almost just as good so we often make pasta dishes using the gluten-free pasta. I make gluten-free chive or zucchini pancakes using a mix of gluten-free flour and rice flour. It actually makes a crisper pancakes then using regular flour. I make gluten-free tempura this way too and it comes out great.
Korean BBQ or BBQ in general is a great way to enjoy your own kind of meat or vegetable.
I love pork belly BBQ and my husband loves beef BBQ and sometimes my daughter will want chicken. It can all work out in a Korean BBQ setting because you just divide the table top grill into different sections for different meats. Or you can take even take turns grilling different meats so the oils don't get mixed together. Just clean the pan in between. Make sure you have some good side dishes or salads so that you can much on those while you wait for your turn to grill your kind of meat or vegetable.
Finally, when eating out, if we can't find a restaurant that works for both of us, we take turns compromising. When I'm really in the mood for some serious seafood, we will go to a seafood restaurant as long as there is at least one menu item that is non-seafood.
When you both really are feeling different, you can even eat separately and meet up later. I have done this maybe 10 times in my 25 year marriage but it actually ends up being one of the most memorable meals for me. I REALLY wanted to have steamed Dungeness crabs at the San Francisco pier once and they only sell crabs... so my husband went and had sushi in Japantown on his own and I had crabs and then we joined up later.
The other time, at Redondo beach near LA, my husband patiently sat through my crab feast, even helping me crack the crabs. And then after my crab feast, I went with him to another restaurant so he could enjoy his kind of food.
Over the years, we have learned to accept each other's differences in foods and instead of being frustrated or angry about it, it has become a way for us to be loving and be understanding about each other. There is also so much more we have learned to enjoy together that we both love - like wine :) - which just makes everything better!!
Well, hope this was helpful!
JinJoo (Kimchimari blogger)