Most people get married or spend time living with a partner at some stage in their lives. But what effect does this change have, if any, on their eating habits? The transition from bachelor or spinster to young couple represents a major lifecourse change and this paper looks at the role that eating together plays in the lives of a group of young Scottish couples recently married or cohabiting with their partner. The key question here is what role do meals play in all of this and how are eating activities arranged in these households. In an attempt to move the debate on meals beyond the "traditional family unit" it considers what eating "properly" meant for these couples. The paper looks at the importance of the evening meal as a site for sociability in married and cohabiting couples and. examines the process of social interaction, focusing on temporal and spatial aspects of eating together as a couple. It reports on what men and women said in individual interviews and recorded in personal food diaries, contrasting this with their behaviour when they were living separately from their partners. (C) 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.