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Feb 6, 2012 08:31 PM

Adults that have been "sheltered" from cooking?

My elderly mother has been having some health issues and I've been realizing how helpless my father is in the kitchen. He's 75 years old, military-retired and has pretty much relied on my mother to take care of all the cooking and cleaning for most of their lives. Not that he's a chauvinist, but he's always just been used to sitting down and having meals appear and dirty dishes disappear. I'm now helping to take care of them, but left to his own devices, if he has to get his own meal, he will either microwave some hotdogs, or have a bowl of soup (heated in microwave) and a peanut butter sandwich. He doesn't seem to be very comfortable using the oven or stovetop. Wondered if others find this is pretty common with this generation?

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  1. Mom and dad are on the older end of the baby boom generation, and mom pretty much handles all cooking duties. Left by himself, my dad probably can't handle anything more complicated than a sandwich. If mom is away for some reason, he generally nukes some leftovers or does something very basic. It's a rare occasion to see him at the stove.

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    1. re: gilintx

      My husband and I are also on the "older end" of the baby boomers, and life in our home is quite different from what gilintx describes. I do most of the cooking, but my husband clears the dishes from the table, loads the dishwasher, cleans pots & pans, etc. He also cooks breakfast on weekends (and also does laundry, btw). I'd say we have an equal opportunity kitchen. My dad, OTOH, sat back and watched my mom do everything house/kitchen related, except for occasional repairs.

    2. I am in the same age range as gilintx's parents and we are retired. Mr. Sueatmo gets his own breakfast and lunch most of the time. I do cook breakfast or lunch for both of us sometimes. But he likes certain types of food that I don't and vice versa. I make all dinners. He really doesn't cook, but he can heat stuff up or nuke things. He is a cleanup champ though, and I truly appreciate it.

      My sons all cook. There is a time when kids will be interested in cooking. I let mine have the run of the kitchen when they were interested. They can take care of themselves in the kitchen very well.

      My dad didn't cook at all, ever. He was offended one Christmas when I gave him a coffeemaker. He did finally take that chore over though. He drank far more coffee than my mom did.

      People are staying single longer than in the past, and so I think many more men learn to cook, unless they want to eat out all the time. One thing I noticed in my lifetime though, is that plenty of women my age and younger never really mastered cooking for their families. They were making dinner, but they hadn't really learned to cook.

      1. the church i go to has a high percentage of seniors. when the wife passes first, or has to be hospitalized for a while, almost invariably the husband needs help with feeding himself. of course there are exceptions to every rule, and fortunately in Hawaii you can barbecue all year long. I'm glad my parents (both of them) expected my brother and I to be able to at least do basic cooking.

        1. My SO didn't haven't parents who were much on cooking... we're both children of the 1970's. He makes a mean egg, pasta from a jar, tacos from a packet and sandwiches. But, he waited tables for 20 years and lived largely on staff meals. He eats enthusiastically, does a lot of the wash and will devein shrimp/toast nuts/butcher chickens whenever I ask. Left on his own - it's takeout or coldcuts.

          1. my dad can make his own bacon & eggs, and cook some rice. he can boil water for pasta too. but that's about it. and heat things in the microwave, of course. when my mom got sick, my sister and i took over all the cooking for both of them. now it's just him, and it's a PITA because he likes less and less as he gets older, and it's also harder for him to chew with his dentures. poor guy. i do think it's a generational thing (he's 83.) my 48-year-old BF cooks all the time and does it really well - he learned early on because his mother wasn't a great cook, and he also worked at a buffet restaurant and learned how to make a variety of items. and he has excellent plating skills!