Having a roommate often means learning to live with differences in sleeping patterns and music tastes.
For some, it can also mean getting used to someone else's eating habits.
When living together with someone, dietary differences - such as being vegetarian or keeping kosher - require a degree of compromise between roommates to avoid potential flare-ups.
Next year, College freshman Hannah Connor and her three roommates are going to keep a separate set of dishes and utensils for her roommate who keeps kosher.
Connor, who does not have any specific dietary needs, said the situation doesn't create a problem for her.
"It's important that we understand her dietary restrictions" as roommates, she said.
Often, the process of making compromises entails an element of sacrifice.
College sophomore Ezra Weinblatt, who indicated on his freshman year application form that he keeps kosher, was assigned to a four-bedroom Rodin suite with two other Jewish students who kept kosher and a Muslim roommate who followed Halal dietary restrictions, meaning he could not eat certain types of meat or drink alcohol.
Although dietary laws for Muslims are different from those for keeping kosher, there are certain similarities, he said.
Weinblatt's Muslim roommate agreed to forego the use of the oven in favor of the three boys who kept kosher in the suite in order to ensure no non-kosher food or utensils touched the oven, making it unkosher.
"It was an interesting situation," he said.
Weinblatt said that potential conflicts were prevented because his roommate was so understanding about the requirements of keeping kosher.
Living with someone from a different eating culture was a learning experience for all of them.
And dietary differences don't necessarily mean that roommates can't eat together.
Weinblatt often ate with his Muslim roommate and invited him to eat at Hillel.
Connor also added that all her roommates plan on cooking and eating together next year.
"We'll make sure that no one is excluded," she said.
Even when eating outside of the dorm, students say dietary differences don't create problems.
College sophomore Alix Winter said that although most of her friends are not vegetarians like herself, the difference in food preference is not an issue for her.
Finding vegetarian eateries on campus is usually not a challenge, she said, which helps when eating out with friends.
Director of Nutrition Education and Prevention Program Lisa Hark said that food plays an important role in relationships because "eating together is a way of getting to know each other."
But Connor said that with friends the question of whether one eats meat or not is of little importance.
"Good friends can get around these small problems in life," she said.Comments powered by Disqus
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