HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >

Discussion

I've Rendered My Spouse Useless!

  • 78
  • Share

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)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  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

                You have that right!!

                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 job....at best.)

                2. re: jesoda

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

                  1. re: BiscuitBoy

                    And what might they be:)

                    1. re: Mother of four

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

                  2. re: jesoda

                    Yeah, my first ex used to enjoy the prep work with me....cooking 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!

                    Nope.

                    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...

                    **sigh**

                    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...

                  3. 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.

                        2. This happened to my mom. Dad could cook the basics before they got married, but has since forgotten. He can still make toast, pancakes, eggs, and he can grill stuff, but that's about it.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Blush

                            Men do seem to gravitate to the grill and breakfast seems to come to them more than putting a dinner together.

                          2. The opposite has happened in my house — the spouse who's turn-to meal was overcooked pasta and bottled spagetti sauce has learned to cook. He's turned into a wonderful sous chef, and with some meal-idea prompting can make dinner in a pinch.

                            1. My mom cooked everything. Dad would pour her hot water for her tea and was really pleased with himself for doing it. It was a nice gesture to show her appreciation.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: monavano

                                My MIL said that her husband's idea of entertaining was lighting the candles on the table before dinner and blowing them out after dinner was over. She was right.

                              2. My wife now practices what we choose to call "Jedi Cooking". Basically since I do the majority of the cooking in the home but she is very particular about the Filipino dishes she grew up with, she now sits at the kitchen table and waves her hand while whispering prep and cooking instructions.
                                It works for us but at times she does get a little frustrated when she realizes how unfamiliar she is with where things are in the Kitchen.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Duppie

                                  HA! She needs to have a 20-year old son whose job it is to clean out the dishwasher. You'll have things in places you didn't realize were places!

                                2. But does he know you just called him "useless" to all the world? I mean the whole internets and interwebs world for all to see? (Do know I'm *winking* right now.) A smile and a wink ;)

                                  I wonder what he’s posting about you somewhere out there? I’m just teasing you, but I kinda wonder… :)

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

                                    Did you miss the part about how much he helps with clean up? My titlle was a bit tongue in cheek, but it's got a lot of truth behind it.
                                    Fortunately, he knows his cooking skills have gone to pot and it's kind of a joke between us. He doesn't get his feeling hurt so easily and more than that, I hoped to have a frank and open discussion about the downside of being the cook in the family.
                                    Interesting stories so far.
                                    btw, no one reading this would be able to pick him out of a lineup....

                                    1. re: monavano

                                      I DID miss the part about him doing the clean up! That is VERY important!

                                      My wife and I hate cooking so much and really only barely shine for Thanksgiving and like 3 other good meals we can make. Ahi tuna with a shiitake cream sauce, creamy chicken enchiladas and that is pretty much it. 5 star tasty with minimal effort.

                                      1. re: monavano

                                        Well, you DIDN'T say that in your OP. One would have to go looking in your subsequent posts to find that speck of ameliorating commentary. Just sayin'.

                                    2. I'm the cook: he eats and appreciates. Works for us. :)

                                      He handles take-out on the nights I just can't put it together -- meaning he calls, drives, and delivers. I'm grateful to lie on the sofa and have him handle it. (I do serve/reheat if needed because I'm fussy about temp.)

                                      I always try to make sure there's stuff in the fridge to assemble into a cold peasant dinner: cheeses, olives, breads, hummus, sliced carrots and snap peas, some unseasoned cooked chicken or sausage, lettuce or arugula/spinach. Generally that's what we're eating from anyway. Add a hearty red wine or a stout and everyone's happy. :)

                                      1. My wife hates to cook and I was born with a gold spatula in my hand, so it balances.

                                        1. Mr Huntress used to be a chef in a past life so he can actually cook. Since we got married though, the kitchen is VERY much MY territory - much to his relief and mine. So I generally do everything that goes with kitchen territory, including prep, cooking and clean up. But on 'those' days where I just can't do it he will step in the kitchen and whip something up. I still get left with the clean up, but in all honesty the garden is very much his territory and he takes care of everything to do with that, which to me is a win/win situation.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: TheHuntress

                                            Great win-win. Being able to step in and pinch hit is nice.

                                          2. I've been cooking since before I met my wife. Early in our marriage she would do most of the cooking. Pots and pans everywhere and recipe book open on the counter. I guess I got my finger in the pot one too many times because I ended up doing most of the cooking. I cook off the cuff and clean as I go.

                                            Since I work late one night a week I asked my wife to please do the cooking. When she told the kids the said "what are we suppose to do" meaning what were they going to eat?. Actually they liked most of the things she would make. As the kids went off to school she slowly stopped cooking on that night and now doesn't really want to cook. She bakes when needed but hasn't cooked anything in a long time.

                                            1. I enjoy cooking, trying out new dishes at times and in general have a good time in the kitchen. Husband appreciates my efforts and and he gives me excellent feedback. I will try to clean up as much as possible while I am cooking, but he is in charge of clearing the table/ taking care of the dishes in general. I honestly don't think he could cook pasta....but I don't care.
                                              And, if I run out of time to do a full dinner, there are fresh cold-cuts from the local German butcher, different cheeses, salad fixings and good bread in the fridge. Works for us, for a bit over 45 years.... :-)

                                              1. I think I broke my BF. Since we moved in together 7 (?) yrs ago I've slowly taken over all cooking. He used to cook dinner, but stopped after he couldn't handle my interfering (not my fault that I get testy when hungry). He used to cook breakfast on the weekends, but again stopped when he couldn't handle my interfering (not my fault that I wake up starving). He is suppose to be in charge of doing all weekend meals. But since I do the weekly shopping he "doesn't know" what there is to cook so I end up doing it all. So now he handles ordering take out when I'm too tired to cook.

                                                1. Oh, I thought you melted him.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                    Melted, as in rendered? Cute.

                                                    Mrbushy should be rendered, he'd be much more useful in the kitchen as bacon fat than in his present form. And that's all I have to say on this subject.

                                                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                      Think confit.

                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                        Confit, definitely.

                                                      2. re: bushwickgirl

                                                        "he'd be much more useful in the kitchen as bacon fat than in his present form." too funny!

                                                    2. I think mine came broken :). I do all the cooking; our children used to get concerned if I wasn't going to be home for supper because they did t know what Daddy would give them. Now he sticks to sandwiches, nachos, or canned soup. Gourmet indeed!!

                                                      1. This has happened to me. Mr. Sueatmo is able to heat soup, hot dogs or canned beans. These are the things he makes for himself for lunch because he LIKES them. He has a hard time brewing coffee, and can't cook anything. He cleans up, and does a decent job. If I want to eat out, he's willing. It is hard to complain. I don't really want him to cook because anything he fixed would be awful.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                          Sounds like my DH, but he just goes out for lunch...would't have a clue how to make a hotdog, and I could have the best homemade soup in the refrigerator,which I usually do, and he would not heat it up. We now have Kcups for coffee so he's good to go. Does do the dishes though and is always up to go out to eat. But, wouldn't you once just love to sit down to a meal and not have been the one that cooked it?

                                                          1. re: Mother of four

                                                            But, wouldn't you once just love to sit down to a meal and not have been the one that cooked it?

                                                            ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                            oh my goodness, yes! Or the one that planned it.

                                                            over the years Mr. CB has regressed to the point where heating leftovers is a challenge. The only reason he hasn't starved is that I need to make sure our son is fed.

                                                            He wants a K-cup coffee machine in the worst way. Maybe I will get him one for Christmas.

                                                            Mr. CB has dish and clean up duty and I have learned to bite my tongue as it relates to his methods. He is always up for going out to eat so I really can't complain.

                                                            1. re: cleobeach

                                                              Do get him the k cup machine, perfect gift for the "challenged" :) Mine cleans up but drives me crazy by washing every dish before he puts it in the dishwasher...takes him about 45 min to do what I could do in 15.....but, I bite my tongue and go in another room, at least I don't have to do it. He's really a nice guy, but drives me crazy sometimes.
                                                              Yes it would be equally as wonderful to have someone other them me plan the menu!!! Well that won't happen for sure!!!

                                                            2. re: Mother of four

                                                              Yes! Usually when I feel sick or totally out of sorts. I'd like someone to take care of me a little bit. The thing is, Mr. Sueatmo does take of me, but not with food. It would be nice if he would make coffee sometimes though.

                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                Mine takes care of me too but just once, I would love for him to plan, shop for and prepare a meal.

                                                                A typical weekend morning is him getting up hours before me. When I get up, the first thing I do is start coffee. Seconds later, he comes charging in the kitchen declare that coffee "sounds really great about now" Seriously?

                                                                Truth be told, he does cook for Thanksgiving because he doesn't trust anyone else to make a turkey and mashed potatoes.

                                                                1. re: cleobeach

                                                                  Well, interesting. I remember my FIL mashing potatoes, but I have no idea why he was delegated that task. He never cooked to my knowledge.

                                                                  My own father, who drank coffee reliably throughout his life resented it when we gave him a drip coffeemaker for Christmas. I think he did finally perform learn to perform that task. It isn't beyond Mr. Sueatmo's capabilities, and it isn't beyond your spouse's either. Maybe we should insist they learn to do coffee, and we should learn one of the tasks they routinely do?

                                                          2. My husband is FORBIDDEN from doing anything other than washing dishes - even that needs heavy supervision after he asked why exactly he needs to use soap when he washes them. he gets an A++++++ for effort, but generally the more he helps the more he messes up. Without any intervention, he used to make pasta by putting cold water and dried pasta in a pot and simmering them together (not water first then pasta) with no lid, served with only salt, eaten with bare hands out of the pot.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: PotatoPuff

                                                              Oh my! I guess that I should be thankful for what I have :)

                                                              1. re: PotatoPuff

                                                                Are you sure that this helplessness in the kitchen is not purposeful? He should at least clean up, don't you think?

                                                              2. My husband more than pulls his weight in chores. He handles all the gardening, does at leat half the laundry, makes bread 3 times a week and does all the home repair work. I do the cleaning, laundry, cat care duties, and all painting. We both cook, do grocery shopping and clean up in the kitchen. The hardest part for each of us is keeping our mouths shut and our hands down when the other is cooking. For me, the biggest problem is when sauce making is involved. He thinks the sauce--like for a chicken or steak--is thickened enough long before I do. So if I really want it my way, I now just say I'll make the dish. We pretty much alternate on deciding the menu for dinner each night unless one of us has a yen for something, that generally gets made whenever the desire arises.

                                                                1. Oh yes. I'm guilty of this also. I've been the cook since day one. I'm not sure why he never came in to help, he likes to tell everyone that I wouldn't let him in the kitchen, but that's not true.

                                                                  He can make breakfast & is in charge of grilling, but I'm the one who plans, shops, & cooks. (OK he does shop for me, I try REALLY REALLY hard to not say anything when he doesn't buy the right brand, just bite my tongue & either list the brand next time or do the shopping myself).

                                                                  I would love if my husband &/or my daughters would plan & cook a meal occasionally. Some days I just don't want to cook, those are the nights we fend for ourselves or go out. My girls have always liked to help in the kitchen but as they older, they are busier with sports & homework.

                                                                  Yes a break from the kitchen where someone else actually cooks a nice meal for me would be so great!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: jcattles

                                                                    I learned this lesson when I wrote 'olives' on the list for a nicoise salad, and he returned with a metal can of 'black pearl' olives.

                                                                  2. My husband has a couple of things he does really well, but he doesn't get to venture out much beyond that. He can make a killer roast beef and gravy. Perfect every time. He can make a mean cheesesteak, a great omelet, great smoked brisket and pork butt, and a good brunswick stew. He's gotten this far because I travel so much for work, and he experiments on his own, keeping the chinese place on speed dial. Keeps the criticism to a minimum.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                      The deal in our house is pretty simple: one cooks, the other cleans.
                                                                      We both like to cook. Deb is better at the stove and gets more time than me. I make really good drinks.
                                                                      I'm taller.

                                                                      1. re: steve h.

                                                                        You sound like a really good team

                                                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                          We are.

                                                                    2. While discussing dinner one afternoon with the third grade teacher that I did volunteer work for, she mentioned a particular dish she liked to make. Now she'd been married for 10 years and all I had ever known was that her husband did all the cooking, so I figured that she didn't know how to cook. So I asked her about that, surprised that she did know what she was talking about!

                                                                      She looked at me and said, " Joyce, never let them know you're competent."

                                                                      Damn! Wish I'd hear that one a gazillion years earlier! Would have saved me a lot of DIY project participation.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                        Love it. A friend who was married over 30 years and cooked 3 meals a day the whole time, then got divorced (not because of the cooking) is maintaining that posture with her new husband, who loves to cook.

                                                                      2. I've definitely broken mine. I'm sure he could cook before he came to live with me, but he's working away at the moment and admitted that one dinner last week had been frozen squid and a tin of baked beans, dumped in a pan together and barely heated through. The next night was chicken defrosted two days earlier and brought to a slow simmer in a pan of curry sauce. Thank god he's got a strong constitution!

                                                                        1. I realize that this thread is about commiserating, but I think a lot of people are doing their spouse a disservice by letting them get so dependent. I look at my parents, and though odds are that Dad will be gone first, I can't imagine how he would cope with food if Mom died first. As far as I know, all he knows how to cook are bacon and liver & onions, and the liver & onions is just a rumor. He might tag along to the store now that he's retired, but otherwise doesn't shop or cook, was never even into grilling (and my brothers assumed that role as soon as they could be trusted with lighter fluid). It would be a great service to the non-cooking spouses to make sure they have a basic repertoire that they practice semi-regularly, just so they can be self-sufficient when they need to be.

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: babette feasts

                                                                            I am pushing cross training now. I am having to negotiate this though. The thing is, for me anyway, this isn't something that we originally negotiated. He did do some cooking when I worked 2 evenings a week, and the kids complained bitterly. In other words he never got any better at it. He can't grill either. He lacks the touch or the feel for it. You've met plenty of family cooks were lousy at it, but cooked because they had to. If he had to, he'd be one of those. Its just how it is. It isn't that I've 'allowed' him to become dependent. I think that statement is a bit presumptuous. Each situation is unique, after all.

                                                                            1. re: babette feasts

                                                                              Yep, my parents are the same. My mother is no great cook by any means, but my dad is really just helpless. My mother keeps telling me he can cook because he once cooked a lamb and barley stew that was palatable in the early days of their marriage - they have been married 43 years, so I doubt he will be whipping that one out any time soon. If my mother died my dad would end up either inviting himself around to people's homes for dinner or live on microwaved potatoes. I am so lucky that Mr. Huntress can not only cook (even if I do all the cooking now, but that really is by my choice) but also does all his own washing etc. But I guess that just works for our household, everyone is different and different systems work well for different people.

                                                                              1. re: babette feasts

                                                                                I'm sure I'm biased because I cook all the time, but I have a hard time understanding a grown adult who can't cook ANYTHING. . . even if it's just a box of pasta and sauce from a jar, or chili in a slow cooker with canned beans. At a certain point in life (18 and over?) it really seems like a person should put in the tiny amount of effort to learn to make at least one dish (and remember how to make it through the years).

                                                                                1. re: LabLady

                                                                                  How many women from your past never learned to drive? How many adults do you know who can't iron any item of clothing at all, ever? Its the same thing. Especially since food already cooked for you in various forms is easily available.

                                                                                  I think that younger people, as personified by my children, do expect to learn to cook and do domestic duties that their fathers did not ever expect to do.

                                                                                  And, I never said Mr. Sueatmo couldn't cook anything. But he is a lousy cook.

                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                    Everyone that I grew up with learned to drive, it was the most important thing to do when we reached the age of 16. My husbands generation was waited on hand and foot by their mothers. When they married they expected the same thing and they got it. My four sons, on the other hand, all were expected to learn how to do everything. That was a different generation, and my DDIL's thank me all the time. I resented my DMIL due to the fact that she treated her sons like they were prince's in the household. Different generations, different expectations. My DH and I are also from different generations, which explains a lot.

                                                                                    1. re: Mother of four

                                                                                      Of course our generation drives! But our mothers or grandmothers didn't necessarily. How many of your friends iron? How many of them still cook? So many Boomer females don't do domestic things, or don't do them to the extent you would expect. At least that is my perception.

                                                                                      Yes, I made sure my kids knew how to do all sorts of things. I figured it helped with self-esteem, and it helped mom too. All know their way around the kitchen. And they do share duties with their wives. Mr. Sueatmo is not a Boomer. He was not "waited on hand and foot" by his mother, who operated in simple survival mode most of his early life.

                                                                                      And he did cook long ago, in his days as a single guy. But he still is not a good, willing or reliable cook.

                                                                                      Just setting the record straight here. We all have different life experiences in the kitchen. My point is, that plenty of people simply don't learn to cook. And plenty of people don't learn other life skills, as well.

                                                                              2. I love to cook and do it 99% of the time. On the off nights that I don't feel like it.... it is either pizza or Chinese.

                                                                                My husband works an insane amount of hours each week so I only expect him to cook if I am sick or on a rare weekend when he has time to create a menu in his head. He usually does a great job of cooking dinner. I wish it happened more often than like 3 times a year!

                                                                                That being said, I accept that I do the cooking and cleaning in the house much like my husband does the lawn-mowing, gutter-cleaning, snow-shoveling, etc. He does a great job when he has to but he simply prefers not to do so.

                                                                                1. I do all the cooking, but he makes up for it by doing a lot of the work around the house and all the outside work. He also does most of the shopping now that he is retired. That takes a lot of work off me, so I can't complain.

                                                                                  1. I know what you all mean. When my husband and I first started living together, I barely knew what I was doing around the kitchen. He taught me what spices work together, how to cook things properly... How to cook things by feel and taste, and not by recipe. You wouldn't know that, watching him now!
                                                                                    One day, I had to be gone all day for some conference or something... Didn't get home 'til late at night. No dirty dishes, no evidence of a meal being eaten. All I could find were wrappers of many peanut butter granola bars in the trash. I asked him the next morning what he ate the day before, and he told me all he did was snack on granola bars. And I had left him things to prepare and fix for himself! ::headdesk::
                                                                                    I just asked him what he plans on doing if I die before him. His answer? "They'll still make ramen!" ... At least he cleans and does dishes after I make dinner.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: GulaSocordia

                                                                                      I can relate to this story!

                                                                                    2. DH can make mac and cheese (boxed) and pizza (frozen). So unless I want to subject myself and our son to this, I need to cook. He insists that pizza with peanut butter tastes good, so I do not trust his culinary judgement.

                                                                                      1. Many of these stories remind me of a young couple I waited on when I worked at a kitchen store. She bought some red pot holders which ended up with her telling me that early on in their marriage he had volunteered to do the laundry and somehow a red T shirt got in with the whites and everything turned pick. "I couldn't trust him with the wash after that," she said, giving him a playful punch on the arm. "Aren't you clever." I said. As they walked away, he turned back to me and winked.

                                                                                        1. Oh dear... this rings too true. In the beginning I think my boyfriend and I loved to cook simple things together and I was happy when he'd make a hamburger helper, grilled cheese, or frozen pizza for us.

                                                                                          Two years, a smaller kitchen, and me going on a low-carb diet later, I fear that I've totally ruined him. He still will make things for himself but hasn't expanded his repertoire and I can't stand to have another cook in our small kitchen that can't do the "kitchen dance".
                                                                                          Thank goodness he does more than his share of the dishes :)

                                                                                          1. I do almost all of the cooking. Eighteen years ago, when we got together, my husband and I were probably about the same skill level. But over time, I took on more of the duties, realized I liked it and was getting good at it, and he kind of let that go. He's an awesome cleaner, does the ironing, and makes breakfast on the weekends. When he does make dinner, he's definitely a recipe follower. He's a much more intuitive bartender than cook, while I'm not interested in mixing a drink -- but I'll gladly try what he's invented.

                                                                                            We did just come through a period of time after I had surgery where I could not stand up long enough to cook. So, propped on a stool, with a glass of wine nearby, I coached him -- how the mirepoix should be diced, how brown a piece of meat should be, how to test it to see if it will release, deglazing, reducing, how things should smell and look, all the kind of things that you kind of learn through repetition and experience. It was fun.

                                                                                            I've noticed something very different happening with my parents' peer group (late 70s now), which were typically high-achieving second generation immigrants where Dad worked and Mom quit her job after the first or second child. Now the men are retired and, in at least six cases I know well, have taken over the cooking and shopping, and the women are glad for the break. My Dad never touched a thing in the kitchen when he was a kid, lived at home til he got married, then developed a taste for good food and wine, then started to to cook for Christmas and other occasions. He just kept going, getting more and more into it. Now the kitchen is his realm.

                                                                                            Except for cleanup. He's still really uninterested in that.