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DEAR HARRIETTE: I am originally from Jamaica, and my husband is American. Because of my upbringing, I only really know how to make Jamaican cuisine; I’m not good at cooking anything else. My husband doesn’t like the food that I make. I would describe him as having a limited palate. He only likes traditional American food and fast food. I think it’s slightly offensive that he can’t even be bothered with the foods that I grew up eating. My cooking represents so much of who I am and my culture, but I cannot force him to eat anything. Should I try to learn to cook the foods he likes? Or should he try to become accustomed to eating what I cook? — Jamaican Wife
DEAR JAMAICAN WIFE: In the best of worlds, the two of you will sit down together and agree to learn how to cook each other’s cuisine. There is something about you that attracted you to your husband in the first place — and vice versa. Culture has to be at the core of it, and that includes food.
While your husband may want traditional American cuisine as his fallback foods, he may be able to grow to like some of your specialties. Talk about it and come up with a strategy that is appealing to both of you. For instance, you could take a classic American cooking class together where you both learn how to make particular dishes, and you agree to make them together at home. Similarly, see if you can teach him a few of your Jamaican meals, so he may grow to have an appreciation for the mixture of spices and textures in your food.
Ultimately, a combination of your two cuisines can become the food that you eat at home. But it will take a bit of work to get the two of you on the same page.
DEAR HARRIETTE: It’s been months since my friend and I had a huge argument. We’ve resolved everything, but I’m realizing now that I didn’t get everything off of my chest. I’m not someone who lets things go easily, and I really would prefer to get it all out in the open now. Is it worth it to revisit the issue with my friend even though things were seemingly resolved? — Revisiting
DEAR REVISITING: Think long and hard about this reignition of your argument before you go there. What outcome do you hope to achieve by opening up old wounds? How can you address the issue without simply fanning the embers of a conflict that occurred months ago? What can you say that may create space for the two of you to have a calm conversation about the matter?
If you can come up with a productive way to approach this situation, go for it. But if it is likely that whatever you say will just spark a new argument without true resolution, it isn’t worth it. You may have to decide if the friendship is worth forgiving that moment and moving on without complete resolution. If you cannot accept that option, you can either bring up the topic anyway and see how volatile it gets or move away from the friendship.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.