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Jul 9, 2007 09:30 AM

Can You "Play Nicely" With Someone Else In Your Kitchen?

I hate to admit it, but I am definitely one of those people who does not like to share kitchen space and/or chores with anyone else. I am always nice, but I hate to have to answer questions like,"Do you have a lid for this pot?" "Don't you think this needs more salt?" When it comes to cleaning up, it's even worse. I have a dishwasher that I need to use as dedicated space for pots and pan storage, so it's a "hands-on" deal, and I want to do it myself. I don't want to have to tell where every item goes after bring dried. It's been a long while since I've cooked with my Mom, but she was famous for sneaking stuff into your recipes, and that drove me nuts. I don't know where it came from - I played well with others in the sandbox, on the playground, etc., but I want my kitchen to be my sole domain.

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  1. I agree, but I love to have my SO prep for me. Chop an onion, mince some garlic, peel the shrimp (or whatever) and then leave! It's fine if he wants to do the dishes, later, too.

    1. My fiancee and I really enjoy cooking together. We're both decent cooks and do enjoy our food, from shopping to prep to eating. Since we're looking for a place one of her provisos (which I agree with) is that there be "room for two butts in the kitchen".

      Of course, when one of us is cooking for the other no meddling is tolerated.

      1. No.
        I'd love to elaborate, but there's no point to it. Simply, no.

        1 Reply
        1. Depends. My mother has gotten good at asking me "what can I do?" and I will ask her to set the table, get the serving dishes out, etc., if it's needed. Otherwise, I tell her to park her butt in a kitchen chair and talk with me. :-) She knows my kitchen is my domain, and she knows I'm usually in the midst of organizing my brain to make sure everything comes out at the same time (something she taught me), so she usually leaves well enough alone.

          My sister and I usually play nicely in the kitchen as well - she's abdicated certain holiday tasks to me, as she just can't make perfect gravy/mashed potatoes/organize things so they all come out at the same time. But there can be a bit of friction, depending on the stress of the holiday, and what needs to be done.

          Most friends know me to have everything under control unless I ask them to specifically do/make something, so they usually hang around to chat or just wait until I ask.

          And I have no problem whatsoever having a friend/family member help stack the dishwasher. My BIL is a champion dish washer if something can't go into the dishwasher, and just automatically "assumes the position" at the sink to rinse and stack.

          1. I sometimes have a hard time cooking with people in the kitchen - if I'm really having to juggle cooking times and processes I'll just ask them (nicely) to leave - but if they're trying to help it's often much worse. Our friend Jerry and his nephew are the only exceptions to that; not only are they highly skilled cooks, a good bit better than I am, they're also used to cooking in unfamiliar places with lots of other people. This makes it not only comfortable, but actually MORE fun than cooking by myself. And now we've moved away from Nashville and my cooking buddies, though Jerry did come out for a visit last year and we cooked a great reunion!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Will Owen

              I was making pasta carbonara for a lunch party one day, and one of the guests insisted on standing right by my elbow in our small, narrow kitchen, so he could see how I made the pasta. I'm not as nice as you are, Will -- I ended up getting annoyed and snapping at him, for which I then had to apologize profusely later. Ugh. I'd much rather be alone in the kitchen.

              1. re: onebite

                I've been a real a**hole with people under those circumstances, and regretted it very much, so nowadays I ask them to leave well before I lose my temper. I've also learned a lot about kitchen manners from those cooking buddies - John, Jerry's nephew, is a chef with a lot of command experience, and it's wonderful to see how he manages to organize the effort without even overtly taking charge.