Dissertation Abstract:

The goal of this qualitative study was to explore the daily foodwork practices of couples adapting to a shared lifestyle. In-depth interviews, home tours, and photographs were used to gain an understanding of the daily lives of four participant couples. The primary contributions of this research project are the discussion of how couples make sense of their food work responsibilities by describing the division of food-related tasks upon living together and the examination of the development of the role of nutritional gatekeeper. Foodwork was negotiated based on the consideration of past experiences in various other living situations, compared to the present relationship and the partner's attitudes towards food and other domestic work. Negotiations regarding foodwork occur when factors in the relationship change, such as a change in housing, employment, or schedules. The couples all developed a particular negotiation strategy unique to their circumstances to avoid conflict and make foodwork more manageable. The role of nutritional gatekeeper is shared by the couple and even if one person is performing the majority of the feeding work, that work is guided by the preferences of the partner.

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