Sunday, October 20, 2019

Dear Mordechai,

I’m engaged, and I just found out that my kallah likes some of the same foods that I do! How exciting is that?

So exciting! It’s like found money! You didn’t tell the shadchan you wanted someone who liked this food, yet he/she/it found someone who did anyway. Aren’t you lucky? After all, they say it’s important to find someone with whom you have things in common. Like for example, my wife and I noticed, back when we were engaged, that we both preferred orange juice without pulp. And we’ve been together numerous years, and that’s probably the main reason.

Okay, so I can’t remember the main reason. But that’s just as good as any.

To be honest, it’s better if you don’t like all the same foods. If you like the same foods, then whenever you go to eat that food, there will never be any left.

So okay, it’s convenient to like some of the same foods, defined as “any food that one person can’t finish on their own before it goes bad.” If one of you likes lamb shoulder and the other one doesn’t, the person who likes lamb shoulder is going to be sick of it pretty quickly, and then you’ll both be on the same page. (Lambs have big shoulders. They’re like the linebackers of the animal kingdom.)

And that’s your main thought: “There are two of us now, and it’s not worth buying something if just one of us likes it.” Yeah, but how long is it going to be just the two of you? Before you know it, there will be a bunch of kids, IY”H, and some of them will like the foods that you like. And anyway—and I say this as a parent—there’s not going to be a single food that everyone in the family likes. If you and your wife both like something, none of your kids will like it. It will just be the two of you versus however many kids you have, and you’ll be outnumbered, Baruch Hashem, until they all get married. Hopefully to people who like that food. That’ll show ’em.

And in fact, in a way, it’s more convenient to like different foods from your spouse, because that way you can buy your spouse the food that they like, and you can say, “I bought you something!” and they can say, “Awww…” But if you like all the same foods, you’ll say, “I bought you this food!” And they’ll say, “Right, you bought it for me. You didn’t buy it for yourself.” And you’ll say, “No, this other package is for me.” And then, when they don’t eat theirs right away, you have to prove you didn’t buy it for yourself by sitting there and constantly fighting the temptation to eat it. Because if you do, they’re going to be like, “Aha! It was for you!” So you’re constantly reminding them it exists in the hopes that they’ll start eating it, so you can schnorr some.

I’m not telling you to leave her. But I am saying that you two liking the same foods will cause more fights than you two not liking the same foods. You could always buy two separate containers of orange juice.

Even allergies are conquerable, as a couple. For example, when I was younger, I could never understand how one of my friends married someone who was allergic to dairy. But all it basically means is that you can never split a pizza. You have to eat the whole pizza yourself, nebech. And if you want a dairy meal, you have to make it special for just you and your kids, and meanwhile your spouse, who is a grown adult, can make their own food, and eat it next to you. This is why it’s good to marry an adult.

“Hey, we’re both adults!”

We have that in common.

The only benefit of you both liking the same food is that if it turns out someday that it’s a food that one of you is not supposed to be eating for one reason or another and you want to eat it anyway, it will be in the house for the other person, and you can sneak some. And even then you might not be so lucky, because if the person really likes you, they might give it up. Or at least hide it better.

I’m not saying you can’t like any of the same things. I’m not saying that if you enjoy long walks on the seashore, you should look for someone who specifically enjoys staying home with the kids so you can take long walks on the seashore.

And anyway, the truth is that there are going to be foods you both like. Just playing the odds. But it’s not a reason to celebrate. I mean you can still have a wedding. But make sure this isn’t the reason for your wedding.

Or don’t; I don’t care. Invite everyone you know. Everyone will think you’re celebrating because you’re getting married, but you’ll know the real reason.

Or you can be honest and put that on the invitation:

“With gratitude to Hashem Yisborach,

Rabbi and Mrs. Hamburger


Mr. and Mrs. Hotdogs

Cordially invite you to attend

the wedding of their children

Chani Shani



Who both like pickles,

But not the sweet ones…”

That way, someday in the future when Shmerel can’t eat pickles anymore because of ulcers, and Chani Shani can’t eat them anymore because of the sodium, so they have at least two separate jars hidden around the house, they can look at the invitation and it will remind them why they’re together in the first place—a mutual love of being straightforward with people. Because shared values are really what’s important here.

Unless one of them is a vegan. Then forget it.

By Mordechai Schmutter

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He also has six books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected]