A Vegetarian Marries a Meat-Eater

A harmonious blend of vegatarian and meat-lovers' cusisine for their wedding reception

We’ve all heard that opposites attract, and nothing proves the point like wedding planning. This was especially apparent for my fiancé and me when it came to choosing the reception food and drink. After all, I was a life-long vegetarian-engaged to a man who thought spicy salami was one of the four food groups.

In the end, of course, we found a compromise. I chose some beautiful vegetarian menu options, and Dave was charged with selecting favorite cured meats for the table of appetizers.

Thus, I found myself, during a day of pre-wedding errands, standing with Dave in a long line of hungry salami lovers. This was in Seattle, Wash., where we lived at the time; our destination was Salumi, a tiny shop run by the father of chef, restaurateur and author Mario Batali (Batali famously cures meat the old-fashioned way). The cold spring drizzle outside dampened my spirits, if not those of the crowd. I checked my watch and glared in the direction of my carnivorous husband.

Inside, at the meat counter, Dave explained our mission to find the best cured meats for our upcoming wedding. The guy behind the counter grinned, then shouted to the crowd, "These two are getting married!" Loud applause and cheers filled the tiny shop, and all eyes turned on us. With a flourish, he cut slices off a stick of salami and said, "Now, for the soon-to-be newlyweds, our finest hot soprasetta!"

Suddenly, the piece of pork was in my hand. I stared at its rosy-red and ivory marbling with horror, my fingers already greasy. There was no way I could eat it. Then, I looked up. The crowd stared expectantly. The guy behind the counter beamed. Dave raised an eyebrow at me.

I shut my eyes in fright as I popped it in. Then, I chewed-and to my surprise-I absolutely loved it. I opened my eyes, looked at Dave and smiled. It’s perhaps a small thing to suddenly understand your loved one’s passion for a favorite food; but in that moment, it felt like a small step toward sharing a big life.

Kate Chynoweth is the author of the best-selling book The Bridesmaid Guide: Etiquette, Parties and Being Fabulous and also created The Bachelorette Party Kit (see more details at chroniclebooks.com). She is also the food editor of Pittsburgh Magazine.

Categories: Weddings