You Be The Judge: Should My Husband Start Trying New Cuisines? | Food

The charge: Alice

We have been married for 63 years and are stuck in a food rut. It’s time to try something new

I’ve cooked for my husband, Lyndon, for most of my adult life, but after 63 years of marriage, I want to spice up our meals. He’s a very simple eater – he likes pies, roasts with meat and two vegetables – but I miss all that. I still encounter some resistance.

I bought ingredients like Thai spice blends but rarely use them because Lyndon is making a fuss. Curry doesn’t pass his lips – he really doesn’t like it. He also hates pasta.

I try to encourage him to eat foods from around the world, but he just says, “I don’t eat that garbage.” It’s very narrow-minded. He doesn’t like quiches or lasagna either. He likes me to do a lot of roasts with potatoes, beets, cabbage and tomatoes from our garden. He says: “English food is the best.” But I always say, “There’s more out there.”

Recently, I have introduced a little cayenne pepper into the hash when making shepherd’s pie. Lyndon loves it. He’ll say, “That was delicious,” which I find amusing. I’m 83 now and over the years I’ve learned different ways to be sneaky in our marriage.

I’ll try something new when we eat out, but Lyndon will always stick to what he knows. Once in a restaurant, he sent back a turkey steak because it was too spicy. He made a scene, which I found embarrassing.

We both eat differently now than when we met in 1955. I became more adventurous, but Lyndon took the opposite route. We were just children when World War II ended, but rationing went on for years. Nobody knew what a pizza was. Over the years there has been a food revolution with interesting cuisines available everywhere, which I love.

I took Lyndon to frozen pizzas and now he thinks they’re very tasty – but he doesn’t like them too often. When I ask him what he likes for dinner, he says, “Cook what’s easiest.” But if I serve lasagna, there’s a chance he’ll get mad. It’s not worth the controversy. Lyndon needs to expand his palate.

Defense: Lyndon

I’m 87 and love traditional British food. I don’t like spicy food, so what’s the point of switching now?

Traditional British cuisine is my favorite cuisine. I don’t need my dishes to be of a ridiculously high standard, but I like what I like. I’m 87, so really, at my age, what’s the point of changing?

I’m not the curry type. I’ve had it several times and can’t stand the spice, even when it’s mild. I like my food seasoned but not too much. I don’t want things to be completely bland but I don’t like too much spice or herbs. If we’re eating out and I have to pay the bill for something I didn’t like, I’ll be very annoyed. The time I sent the spicy turkey steak back to the restaurant was justified – it was inedible, you couldn’t taste the meat. I know Alice was embarrassed but that’s how I am.

I disagree with Alice that I’m a picky or boring eater. Once we traveled to Scotland and ended up in a Thai restaurant, where the food was excellent. I usually stick to what I know, but on this occasion I felt more adventurous. This doesn’t happen very often, however.

Alice likes to eat different cuisines. It is very good; we can each do what we love outside the home. Inside, I think we should stick with what we’ve always done.

Every day we have a pudding and I always say to Alice, “Do the easiest thing”: apple pies, rice pudding, crumbles. I am not difficult. We have been lucky with our health so far and I attribute this to a varied but traditional British diet. Why fix what isn’t broken?

I don’t think I’m hard to please. I rarely quibble. If Alice serves a quiche or pasta, I might complain because I find those dishes boring and insubstantial. I prefer meat and two vegetables because it’s more interesting and balanced.

There are times when Alice is not up to par with her cooking, but I won’t say anything. We’ve been married so long it’s pointless. And the occasional lasagna or pizza doesn’t bother me these days.

After 63, you’re so set in your ways. I will not change palaces. I’m pretty happy with the rut we got into.

The Guardian Readers’ Jury

Is Alice right to try to spice up their food?

At 87, Lyndon can be excused for being a bit stuck in his ways. Alice is obviously more adventurous. However, I believe from bitter experience that this is not a case of him disliking spicy food; it’s that he just can’t eat it. I’ll have to side with the defense.
Martin, 70 years old

Lyndon is guilty simply of saying “meat and two vegetables are more interesting”. More interesting than what, exactly – watching the paint dry? He’s lucky to have Alice cooking for him for 63 years, so if his cooking isn’t up to par, maybe it’s time for him to take a dip in the kitchen.
Asya, 28 years old

The “rut” to which Lyndon refers is one in which both parties are confined. Alice treats him like a recalcitrant child, and Lyndon hasn’t joined the 21st century in terms of believing in “a woman’s place”! A revival is needed for both – age refuses to give wisdom.
Joan, 77 years old

Lyndon is guilty. After 63, Alice should be allowed to cook whatever she likes, and the fact that she dosed her food with spices undetected is a sure sign he’s just unnecessarily grumpy. He’s lucky she didn’t give him anything else.
Shuhangi, 35 years old

I can see both sides. However, making a scene in a restaurant about the food not being to your liking, and his commentary on his cooking not always being up to par, speaks volumes to me. Lyndon is guilty and should learn to cook.
Tracy, 54 years old

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you are the judge

So now you can be the judge, click the poll below and tell us: Should Lyndon start trying new cuisines?

We’ll share the results on the You Be The Judge show next week.

The poll will close on March 31 at 9:00 a.m. BST

Last week’s result

We asked if Jerome should start cleaning his cat’s litter box and not always leave it to his partner, Erica.

73% of you said no – Jerome is innocent
27% of you said yes – Jérôme is guilty

Freeda S. Scott