I’m a Puerto Rican dating a non-Latino. Things are going pretty well, except at the dinner table. He only eats pizza, chicken or pasta. When he comes to family dinners he looks at the food in disgust and hardly touches the pernil and arroz con gandules. It makes me feel bad because my family’s always asking me why he doesn’t eat. Could food ruin our relationship?
—Ayúdame in CT
Cálmate, muchacha. There’s no reason why the menu should come between you and your novio. If you have hopes for a serious relationship with a non-Latino, you have to be aware of intercultural pitfalls and avoid them. Both of you have to respect each other’s tastes and tradiciones. Next time he comes to dinner, take chicken to new heights by preparing a super-duper arroz con pollo or perk up the pasta with albóndigas en salsa. You and your family should stop feeling that when he rejects your food, he’s rejecting you. Pernil, like sushi or calf’s brain, are acquired tastes for some. An educated palate takes time to develop. Count your blessings: At least he’s not a vegetarian!
—Buen apetito, D