Can Your Fridge Improve Your Love Life?

The first time John Stonehill was invited to his girlfriend’s house, he headed straight for the fridge. It was stainless steel with a water and ice dispenser. He told her that his girlfriend, Rachel, was financially well off.

The contents were also revealing: a bottle of wine, a bottle of champagne, hummus, olives, fresh fruits and vegetables. “I came away knowing a lot about her,” Mr Stonehill said. “Refrigerators are full of clues about who owns them.”

“In Rachel’s case, it told me she loves to entertain and could probably create a quick, shareable snack for friends who unexpectedly pass by.”

They have been married for nine years.

“Refrigerators are great cheat sheets because you can tell a lot about a person,” Stonehill said.

This idea gave rise to what he calls “refrigeration”. He’s discussed it on morning talk shows, including “The Doctors,” and helped electronics giant Samsung come up with a refrigeration app to prove we are what we eat.

The app works with Samsung’s Family Hub fridge, which retails for around $3,000 and has a screen in the door that can show you the contents of your fridge. The idea is that you can check your phone while you’re at the store to see if you’re out of milk.

But the dating app lets you see inside someone else’s fridge. Instead of seeing photos of potential friends and judging them on superficial factors like their looks, you’re treated to glimpses of their inner selves: Would you swipe leftover Thai takeout or a bowl to the right? fresh berries?

The site warns users not to style their fridges before taking the photos because “cheating and relationships don’t go well together.” He suggests not only choosing refrigerators that look like yours. And he recommends sending a personal message that reveals something about yourself and flatters the fridge owner. For example, you could compliment a condiment and say it reminds you of your semester abroad.

“We all date detectives,” Mr Stonehill said. “Nothing says more about who we are than what we eat and drink.”

Gathering information about what we eat can be an unusual way to meet a mate, but does it reveal who we really are?

Maybe that can provide some clues. A study published in the journal Appetite found, for example, that risk takers tend to like spicy foods.

And researchers at North Dakota State University reported that greedy people tended to have sweet personalities – they were more likely to volunteer to help clean up their city after a major flood.

Another study in the journal Appetite showed how bitter taste preferences might be associated with antisocial personality traits. Those with the strongest preferences for bitter foods, the authors wrote, showed “the most robust relationship with everyday sadism and psychopathy.”

According to Dr. Alberto Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, there is a link between the consumption of certain foods and depression.

He was the lead author of a 12-year study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity that found certain foods known to cause inflammation are linked to depression in women.

The study followed 43,685 women between the ages of 50 and 77 and found that those who rarely consumed wine, coffee, olive oil and vegetables and who regularly drank sodas and ate red meat or refined grains were 29-41% more likely to be depressed than those who followed a healthier diet.

“These findings converge with parallel findings on the relationship between diet and physical health,” Dr. Ascherio said. “From a public health perspective, it’s reassuring that what’s good for the body is also good for the mind.”

So if what we eat can affect our mood and be linked to personality traits, is it an accurate predictor of love compatibility?

Peggy Policastro, a faculty member in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the NJ Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health at Rutgers University, doesn’t believe you are what you eat.

“We might have preferences for certain foods that we grew up eating,” she said, “And while certain food choices might tell us something about your cultural background, everyone who buys Goya n ain’t Latino.”

Dr. Policastro agrees with Mr. Stonehill that a shopping cart full of fresh fruits and vegetables suggests that you care about your health. “And if you see a shopping cart filled with different desserts, you might assume someone is having a party,” she said. “However, it doesn’t reveal much about that person’s personality.”

Mr. Stonehill begs to be different. He remembered the refrigerator from a date that was so overloaded with food that it reminded him of being on the subway at rush hour. He felt that continuing this relationship would have been too chaotic for him.

Of course, some couples can be compatible even if their refrigerators seem mismatched. My husband, for example, describes himself as an “opportunist” for his “I’ll eat anything” attitude. I don’t eat meat and can be quite picky about food. When we dated, I didn’t mind his fridge full of meat and he liked the fruits and vegetables that filled mine.

We have never imposed our preferences on each other. But we have at least one food problem in common: we share a deep aversion to meatloaf.

About Jimmie P. Ricks

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