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Loving a Meat Eater: What to do when your better half isn't a vegetarian like you 

Zac is my boyfriend. I love him. And he

loves meat.

And - although I'm a committed vegetarian - I sometimes cook it
for him.

I know. It makes me feel weird, too. But love makes us do
crazy things.

For the seven of you who have enjoyed my column up to this point, this article probably comes as a surprise, and may even be upsetting. In fact, some of you are probably composing a strongly worded letter to the editor right now about what a terrible mistake it was to hire me. But, I think there are probably more of you out there who actually find yourself in a similar situation, and may even want to keep reading.

So here's the deal. I'm a vegetarian by choice, so logic tells me that everyone else should get to eat what he or she chooses, too. (Zombies aside, of course.) Zac never tries to make me eat meat, and in return I don't try to turn him into a vegetarian. I do, however, cook almost every meal we eat, so by default Zac is essentially fed a vegetarian diet. And he never complains.

Every now and then, though, I see a glimmer in his eye. I'm not sure if it's a single tear, collecting there as he watches me dice up yet another vegetable for the pasta. Or perhaps it's the glazed-over look of a crazed man, starved of the flesh of the beast for too long. Whatever it is, I don't like it.

So sometimes I put meat in his food.

The vegetarian dishes that can be adapted to a meat-eater's diet are nearly limitless - and most require only one extra step to go from vegetarian to flesh-eater friendly. For my carnivore-loving comrades, below are directions for asparagus and mushroom pasta - a quick, tasty dish that can easily be altered when the meat glimmers strike.

Start with farfalle or rotini pasta, boiled al denté.

Sauté cut mushrooms (I like to use a few different kinds - porcini, crimini, shitake and oyster) with butter and some dry sherry, adding asparagus (cut to half-inch pieces) at the very end so it cooks but stays firm.

Toss everything together in a big bowl, grate Manchego cheese over the top and serve.

For your meat eater, cook a link of Trader Joe's spicy Italian chicken sausage in a pan or on the grill, slice it up and serve it over the top of his or her dish.

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