On Tuesday evening I found myself at Kensington Roof Gardens, attending an afterparty for Coldplay, who had that evening played the Royal Albert Hall. These kinds of events are always strange, faintly hysterical and ripe for over-analysis. This particular party was no different - there was a rumour of flamingos in the gardens, sightings of Mel C from the Spice Girls, and, most interestingly for me, a strikingly carnivorous array of canapes.
As a general rule in life one probably shouldn't think too deeply about the canape choices of a rock band (not least since it's unlikely that they organised the party themselves). But Tuesday's platters of mini chorizo sausages and grilled prawns proved memorable if only because this week it was revealed that since the band's lead singer, Chris Martin, split with the actor Gwyneth Paltrow earlier this year, he has abandoned a vegetarian diet and returned to eating meat - though he operates a firm policy on what that meat might be: "I'd only eat something that I think I could kill," he told Radio Two's Steve Wright. "I'd kill a fish. Not a giraffe."
The uncoupling of a relationship's culinary repertoire is one of the curious details of a breakup. As much as cooking and eating with someone you love can be a glorious and sensual thing, it is also somehow liberating to revert to your own uncompromised tastes. I'm a vegetarian and I don't like pasta, so I imagine previous partners have revelled in weeks of eating nought but sausage rigatoni in the wake of our split, just as I have rejoiced in eating an avocado with a teaspoon and calling it dinner.
Vegetarianism can be a particularly dominating force in a relationship. I'm not a particularly staunch vegetarian - I view it as my personal choice, and my partner's menu choices will always be his own, but I do know of some vegetarians and vegans who object to kissing someone who has been eating pork chops, others who object to their dining companion eating a steak, a few who insist on separate cooking facilities, and a minority who pointblank refuse to allow meat in the house at all.
Still, even if you're dating a more relaxed vegetarian, you're likely to find their meatlessness bleeding into your own diet. Unless you're going to cook separately, it's probable that your meals will largely be vegetarian. And if you're eating out, not only will the non-meat-eater in your life influence your restaurant choice but the joy of sharing dishes is only really possible if you don't order the charcuterie board and the ham croquettes with an oxtail chaser.
But it works the other way, too. For my part, in relationships with meat-eaters I've often found myself cooking vegetarian meals that might be deemed hefty enough for someone used to plates of ham hock and belly pork. I've spent hours experimenting with tempeh and barbecue marinades in the hope that the meal I'm cooking for my beloved doesn't taste disappointing or lacklustre, and I've remained calmly objectionless in restaurants where all I can eat is the side dishes.
Personally, there are worse food traits in a prospective partner than eating meat - I once dated a man who couldn't make a decent cup of tea, another who had a peculiar dedication to Fox's Viennese Melts, and yet another who not only took me on a date to Nando's but also insisted that we have strawberry frozen yoghurt for pudding. I would probably sooner date a giraffe-killer.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin in happier times. Photograph: Colin Young-Wolff