Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Oct 3, 2011 10:50 AM

I've Rendered My Spouse Useless!

Has this happened to you? You love to cook (most of the time) and your significant other becomes utterly helpless in the kitchen?
Some nights, I just need a break. Sometimes days at a time. We end up ordering Chinese or Dominos and I wind up feeling just awful eating so poorly.
DH may then offer to reheat leftovers, but he can not make a whole meal from scratch! The other day, bless his heart, he grilled steaks and they were over-salted and cooked to death! Blech.
I love him dearly, but I've spoiled him!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. My husband I both love to cook and generally do a very good job--but we can be very critical of our own cooking and each others. We have come to the agreement that if you have a critique of the other person's meal, don't say it until the next day. It can be tough to put together a meal otherwise if you know criticism will be served along with dinner.

    1. Oh yes! My husband taught me to cook when we were first together, since he had been living on his own for years. Nothing too fancy, but the basics. Fast forward to 17 years later & he can't find anything in the kitchen except the peanut butter & chocolate chips. The very few times he has attempted grilled cheese for the kids when I am out, he scorches the pan EVERY TIME.
      He does, however, do grill duty most of the time. I give him the seasoned or marinated or prepared item & he watches it cook. Except chicken, because he leaves it pink & I put it back on after he takes it off. So I guess he cooks steaks.

      I'll keep him anyway. I like to cook, and he likes what I cook.

      13 Replies
      1. re: elfcook

        DH could cook when he was a bachelor too, and he does love my cooking, and he's very complimentary.
        The big upside is that he cleans after, which is a huge blessing.

        1. re: monavano

          A friend of mine recently married and his wife "doesn't cook". Well not only doesn't she cook, she doesn't shop, she doesn't "prep", she doesn't even set the table. She will clean up afterwards but "doesn't cook" to her means that anything to do with setting food on the table is not her job.

          I just gave my friend a pat on the back and said "good luck"

          1. re: jesoda

            I hope she has many other redeeming qualities, as that would get old quickly!

            1. re: jlhinwa

              Now, now, would you say that if this was describing a husband?

                1. re: sandylc

                  Yes, I would say that if I was describing a husband!! And my ex.....

                  1. re: sandylc

                    sandylc, Absolutely, I would say it if describing a husband! Whether dividing household tasks down traditional gender lines or some other method, I would absolutely expect a husband to pull his weight around the house. Indoors, not just outdoors. (I have heard more than one man divide household labor by the man taking "outdoors" and the woman gets "indoors." Uhhh, not where I live, baby! The outdoors work, even if keeping a large yard in park-like condition, is only a six-month out of the year best.)

                2. re: jesoda

                  sounds familiar, maybe she's good at other "jobs" ;P

                    1. re: Mother of four

                      one in particular...most agreeable when both participate...not technically called a "job" in this instance

                  1. re: jesoda

                    Yeah, my first ex used to enjoy the prep work with was an experience we shared, and enjoyed... a glass of wine, some music going... in retrospect - it was really wonderful times.

                    Second ex - NEVER.

                    Not once did he ever step into the kitchen while I cooked a meal.

                    I really enjoy my own company, so this wouldnt have been completely terrible if ex actually ENJOYED eating the food that I cook!


                    He is an "eat to live" guy - and the most excited respose I ever got - no matter how elaborate the meal - was "This is nice"

                    And even that was extremely rare...

                    Sadly, cooking became a real chore....and a sad and lonely experience, actually.

                    AND he never cooked for me, but once when I was poorly - once in ten years together...


                    Well, as I said - he is now an "ex", so hopefully one day, I'll meet someone who will appreciate my cooking - or even better - enjoy doing it with me!

                    1. re: jesoda

                      I had a friend like that. I visited her once. They had to take a cat to the vet the first morning so I was alone when I woke up, and went to make some green tea (which I'd brought with me, knowing how she was), opened the microwave door, and there was a damn bowl of canned cat food in the MW. I guess one of the seven cats needed it and none of them could br4eak into the MW. But it grossed me out. I never tried to fix anything there again. My friend, BTW said as I was getting something to eat, "Oh, I like self-feeding guests". Which was almost an obscenity to me, but she had no idea about my food feelings.

                    2. re: monavano

                      at least he cleans up! my dog (the only one i have around to cook for) is pretty helpless when it comes to both meal prep and cleanup afterwards.

                      she does a pretty good job getting the bowl spotless at least...

                  2. My husband is still pretty capable at cooking, especially if it is his idea. He has gotten completely lazy about cleaning up after himself while cooking, which annoys me to no end. Apparently my standards are "too high," so he doesn't feel compelled to even try anymore. Sigh.

                    1. my husband and I met in culinary school. We have both had over 20 year long careers(still going) ...yet he can get pretty useless in our home kitchen. He actually has to "prep" and do dishes lol. I end up doing virtually all the cooking

                      1. My wife and I both love to cook, but I work from a home office while she has a 45 - 60 minute commute, so I do most of the cooking, at least during the week. There are also certain things she just never learned to do, like searing or grilling meats to proper rare/medium rare doneness (though to be fair, she grew up in the Soviet Union, where there were rarely any meats available that you'd want to cook that way).

                        Bottom line is, I've done so much of the cooking for so long that she does sometimes complain she's forgotten how to make a lot of things.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: BobB

                          Similar for Mr S and me. He is done work mid afternoon and is off Fridays, so he does most of the work week cooking. Or at least if I am cooking during the week, Mr S. has all the prep done when I get home.

                          Even when I was working in the restaurant industry, meats were never my strong suit, so he takes charge of that.

                          I try to fill up the freezer on the weekend with soups, stews, sauces. And I'm in charge of pastries and desserts. Although, he does make excellent cookies.