Polyamory Meal Planning

Revised and re-posted 10/11/16. My polycule has changed several times over the past few years, and the details of my meal lists have changed as people moved in and out of my life. But I still keep these three lists. Main changes here are fixing grammar and typos.

meal planning polyamory
Are family meals ever really this idealistic?

In a few weeks, my metamour will be coming to visit. She’s allergic to vitamin K. My partner is on a restricted diet due to heartburn. And I keep Kosher. My metamour’s husband is staying home this time, so we don’t need to eat vegetarian.

Yup, polyam meals can get complicated. If you live together, the process can become habit, but sometimes it will still be a hassle. Luckily, there are ways to make life easier.

Polyam Meal Lists

My favorite trick for putting together polyam meals is to keep these three lists. The first two I keep saved on my computer though if you live together it might be easier to post them in the kitchen. The last one I keep in my head.

  • Food restrictions – what doesn’t each person eat.
  • Food preferences – what does each person like to eat.
  • Emergency meals – what can you throw together on the fly that everyone can eat.

Here is an example of my food restrictions list. I combine this with food preferences, and I have a pretty good guideline for planning meals, depending on who is going to be there.

Restrictions list:

My partner –

  • tomato-based sauces
  • ‘hot’ foods
  • broccoli (he just can’t stand it)

My metamour –

  • Anything with vitamin K including
    • Dark leafy vegetables
    • Broccoli
    • Asparagus

Me –

  • Pork
  • Anything that mixes dairy and meat
  • Organ meats
  • Shellfish

My sister –

  • Oregano
  • Rosemary

Metamour’s Husband –

  • Meat (includes fish)

One time, when my metamour and her husband came down, the ‘vegetarian’ boxed meal I picked up, wasn’t. It was a massive scramble to find something everyone could eat. That’s when I came up with my emergency meals list. It’s 3 meals that everyone I might expect to be at my home can eat and that I can throw together quickly. This way, if a planned meal falls through, I have alternatives.
My emergency meals list is:

  • Pasta with light pesto sauce
  • Rice balls with corn or another veggie filling
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches

These are meals that I reliably have the ingredients for, and can cook practically in my sleep.

I hope somewhere there exists a polyamorous relationship that doesn’t need to jump through hoops to make a meal everyone can enjoy. So far, every polyam family I’ve been in has had multiple food restrictions, often contradictory ones! A bit of thought, planning ahead, and most of all keeping these lists, makes meal time a lot easier, and a lot more enjoyable.

What are you polyam meal tips? Share them in the comments!

Furnishing a Poly Home: Dishes (and things that come in sets)

Thanks to Walmart this isn’t as much of a problem as when I first entered a poly relationship, but I want to take a minute to talk about dishes, utensils, and other stuff that you can (traditionally) only buy in sets. Until Walmart started selling dishes one-off, and the various dollar stores followed suit (or maybe it was the other way around), dishes were usually sold in sets of four. For good-but-not-great quality stuff, they still are. The fancy stuff, of course, has always been sold by serving sets.

How much of a pain in the ass these sets are depends entirely on the number of people in your polycule. For a triad with two kids or a five person poly-network that eats together frequently, buying dishes in sets of four can mean paying nearly twice as much as you need too. Of course, the extras can come in handy for breakage or visitors. Now, the 24 set of glass tumblers my mother got for my old triad was a lovely thought–and insanely more than we needed.

So with all that in mind, here are a few suggestions for places you can pick up dishes, and other “set” furnishings one piece at a time, and get exactly what you need:

  • Walmart
  • Dollar stores
  • Antique and Thrift stores
  • Garage sales
  • Local artisans
  • Flea markets
  • Craft fairs

Okay, so this may be a combination of me being slightly OCD and being poor for so long that the idea of buying any more than I absolutely have to makes me cringe. If you are happy buying 24 glass sets and dishes in fours, go for it! Personally, I prefer to have enough dishes and what-not for the people who share my home, with enough extra for our regular guests. See you at the antique store!

Family Meals

I am a big believer in time for the whole polycule to sit down together and enjoy each other’s company. But as most polies find out eventually, schedules are a bitch. This is definitely a YMMV thing, but I highly suggest added regular family meals to your calendar.

If everyone lives together, and work schedules aren’t too insane, you might even manage a daily meal. Tradition would have it be a family dinner, but at one point when I was working second shift and my family was spread across both halves of a two family house, we would have a family breakfast every morning.

If you don’t live together, try getting together once a month, do a potluck at someone’s house or meet up at a local buffet.

If you have a small polycule, you can probably manage to get everyone together pretty regularly with a bit of scheduling. If you have a large polycule, you might want to just a regular day (say, the third Saturday of each month) and whoever can make it, makes it.

If you don’t do the group relationship thing, you might ask why you and your SO, and your OSO, and your SO’s OSO, and your OSOs OSO, and your other OSO should bother doing this. I have two answers, one is is philosophical, one is practical.

Get to Know Each Other Before You Need To

Look, in an ideal world, you would never need to get to know your metamour unless you wanted to. We don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world where unexpected pregnancies happen, people get into car accidents, and, in general, stuff changes.

Let’s take a look at two changes, one (potentially) positive, one negative

Positive Change:

Your SO has grown really close to both you and your metamour. In fact, your SO loves both of you so much, they are talking about wanting all of you to live together. Maybe you like the idea, maybe you don’t. Either way, if you’ve spent some time with your metamour, your are in a better position to respond to your SO based on actual experience, not just guesses about a person you’ve said hi to in passing once in a while.

Negative Change:

You get in a car accident and end up in the hospital. Imagine your SOs sitting together waiting for news of your condition. Do you want them to be near-total strangers, or acquaintances (maybe friends?) who know each other and maybe can offer each other some support?

These situations are just easier when you know the people involved as more than a face you see in passing from time to time.

Spending Time Together Builds Relationships

This is a philosophical thing. Maybe you don’t care if the other folks in your polycule interrelate at all. Maybe you aren’t interested in getting to know your metamour.

But polyamory is difficult enough to juggle when you aren’t part of a complicated network with near-strangers. Spending an hour or two together a month can help strengthen your network.

As an added bonus, it can also reduce some types of jealousy. Sit down to dinner with your metamour, watch them slurp their soup, pig out on ribs, and tell horrid jokes. And if you thought of them as a paragon of perfection next to your bundle of insecurities, you won’t anymore.