What happens when you want to live together, but don’t want to eat the same kind of living things?
Step 1: Respect each other’s choices
If this is going to work, you’ll have to agree to disagree. Excepting logistical conversations, you might want the meat vs. no meat conversation to be a banned one. Meat eaters and meat abstainers can live happily together, but only if vegetarians aren’t constantly being called out for being undernourished and self-righteous, and their counterparts amoral lamb murderers.
Step 2: Identify some kitchen rules
I’ve lived in a house where no meat was allowed in common space; a house that had separate cookware for meat and non-meat; and a house where it wasn’t a weekend if some roommate hadn’t left barbeque bones scattered across the table. You might want a separate meat drawer, or a separate meat pan—or maybe you accept that sealed containers and dish soap are sufficient. Figure out what works for your group so that everyone is comfortable and also permitted to eat their dishes of choice
Step 3: Find recipes you can all agree on
Living together is doable; eating together is trickier. There are several ways you can still eat together as a household. The simplest is to have an all vegetarian meal, and let the bloodsuckers get their gnaw on at a later time. The second is to cook two versions of the same meal—pasta with a meat sauce and a veggie sauce, burgers and veggie burgers, meat chili and veggie chili. The third is to eat entirely different dishes, or at least different main dishes while sharing side dishes. Here is some good common ground to get you started.
Step 4: Use each other as reminders of health
There are actually benefits to living with someone who eats so differently from you! Vegetarians need to remember that protein is really important, and not just from soy (seriously, eating too much soy is not the healthiest option). Ditto for things like Vitamin B12, which is hard but not impossible to find outside of meat. Meat eaters should remember that smaller portions of meat, especially red meat, are healthier, and even if you love the blood, it’s still crucial to get several servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Oh, look at you guys, inspiring each other to eat better!
Have you ever lived with roommates with completely different eating habits? Tell us here or on Facebook!