Perception is reality?
Fundamentally, we just have a very different approach to food; mine has changed as I've become more educated about agricultural techniques and the impact of chemicals on the body. I've also seen my health improve as I nearly eliminated refined sugar and many processed foods, including conventionally-farmed meats, and seen how severely my children's behavior can react to a great deal of chemicals and refined sugars in their diet. Not only does it seem worth it (especially as the primary caregiver) to me to spend a little more per pound for some of the things I buy, I really believe that my food schema is less expensive in total than his. It's certainly less expensive than our two competing food schemas, combined.

While he agrees in principle with most of my ideas about diet, he is impatient about waiting a long time for a meal (especially after coming home from a place where meals are served at exactly the same time each day) and seduced by the super saver deals on meat and prepared foods at Safeway. With both of us buying food, we waste a lot, making our total expense outrageous - plus we're spending way too much time either arguing over our spending or feeling resentful and angry over the other spouse's spending. I know enough to know that “perception is reality,” at least in this sort of dispute. It doesn't matter whether my food budget is $600 a month or $1200 a month. It mattered that I spent $45 on a box of organic nectarines. (Once! They're super good and I plan to buy that same box again this summer.)

A fix?
He came up with a plan to stop the fighting: he would start a separate account, get paid into that account, and he would pay all the bills, then put money in savings, and give me money for food, babysitting, and other household expenses if I needed it; after lots of argument I had said I would pay for food out of my freelance income.

While this worked in some ways; he was so proud he was paying the bills and saving money, and he thought he'd solved all our problems; it didn't work for me. Now if I didn't make enough to cover the month's expenses on the homefront I'd have to go ask him for money. If I was late sending him a bill I'd feel bad and want to pay it myself. Sometimes our communication was mixed up, causing late fees or overdrafts. The bank treats accounts that are getting direct deposit from the government very differently than those that are receiving direct deposits from private companies, so I was paying more fees for ATM withdrawals, among other things.