This proverb, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” traces back to the 14th century, appearing in other ages and forms, including Miguel de Cervantes’s: “Al freír de los huevos, lo verá (“You will see it as you fry the eggs”).
The adage, incorporating nourishing food analogies, works equally for puddings, eggs, and relationships. Author Tim Clausen mines the theme of nourishment in Love Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication (“Books” 517). While focusing on male couples, the respondents offer insights for any two individuals contemplating spending the rest of their lives together.
Defining long-term, Clausen started his twenty-three interviews with couples together for ten years, then, in incremental decades, chapters including sixty and seventy years. And yes, even unto death: Eric and Eugene. Together sixty years, they were able to marry in December 2013, scant days before Eugene died in Eric’s arms. In interview, Eric had said, “We’re quite different, and he really does irritate me a lot, but I’ve never loved anyone the way I’ve loved him.”
Together ten years, Ryan said he and Ian broke up twice in their first year, which allowed them to explore, but that after three months, “we both came to the conclusion that there was nothing better out there than what we already had. So that pulled us together and we’ve been exclusive and monogamous ever since.”
Not every couple is monogamous or religious, but most relationships have some spiritual component, and all stress mutual consent and courtesy when dealing with a partner’s feelings.
Many seeking religion were rebuffed. “We feel like exiles from the Roman Catholic Church because of its homophobia,” says John (with Charlie 48 years), “and we can’t go to a Catholic service and hear our love denounced as evil. So we go to Metropolitan Community Church, and here in Fort Lauderdale that is Sunshine Cathedral, which has over one thousand people every Sunday, and a large number of them — maybe over half — are exiled Roman Catholics”
Use the best ingredients, measure accurately, keep cool, add taste-tingling spices, and cook at a good heat without burning. Everyone uses the same ingredients but, as for BBQ ribs and wedding cake, your formula for love need only please two. Bon appétit!