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Single Men Who Cook

How attractive do you think a man's ability (and desire) to cook a meal for himself and others is for a single woman? I dont necessarily mean he cooks a meal just for a special occasion (like to impress for valentine's day). I mean he likes to cook. It's not something forced and pretentious.

And I dont mean just BBQ or pouring soup from a can into a saucepan.

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      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Oh, yes. It was a very pleasant surprise to discover that my new boyfriend not only cooked for himself, but his work buddies, too. It became a shared activity while we were dating. Twenty plus years later we still share the cooking and each of us has our areas of specialization.

        I'm still amazed when other are amazed that I have a husband who can cook, will cook, and cooks pretty damn well.

    1. I'm twenty-nine and single. Unless we're talking about someone as rich as Lapo Elkann, who has a private chef and a camoflage Ferrari, the inability to cook is highly correlated with poor money management skills and bad health. Not particularly attractive qualities. So yeah, the ability and desire to cook are sort of basic expectations, like wearing matching shoes and not hurting puppies.

      37 Replies
      1. re: Jetgirly

        Guess what.....I know a lot of women who cannot cook, and I still find them attractive.....and do not have any expectations from them other than to be nice.

        : 0)

        1. re: fourunder

          As a someone single and thirty - I just want to expand on how I feel about what Jetgirly said. I have dated men who's fridges were truly only full of bottled water and alcohol - and upon realizing they literally never made anything for themselves at home, that was a major turn off.

          Now guys who are 100% effective at pouring soup in a bowl, making themselves a burger, and other less than exciting ways of feeding themselves at home - not a turn off. But I'd also say that at this point, it's an expected skill set. It doesn't have to be at an amazing level, but if you're eating more than 50% in restaurants/cafes/etc. - there had better be a good reason.

          However, a guy who knows what he's doing in the kitchen and enjoys cooking - that is a very attractive quality.

          1. re: cresyd

            When I was dating, I would be a bit "really?" when I met women who literally could *not* cook. It's so...helpless. But I met plenty of women who just didn't really care to cook, or couldn't be bothered by it.

            There's a difference.

            1. re: EarlyBird

              It's definitely the helpless thing that's the turn off. If you're happy living off of frozen dinners, canned soup, and other items - fair enough. Not everyone likes cooking. But it's that point of being unable to fend for yourself where things become unattractive.

                1. re: cresyd

                  whether not knowing how to cook would make one "helpless" depends upon where you live.

                  i CAN cook, but for the last 40 years i've lived in places that had such an abundant supply of good, inexpensive, prepared foods that if, magically, my cooking abilities evaporated, i still could EASILY manage to eat well on a reasonable amount of money.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Honestly - without being in certain very particular situations (both geographic and financial) I'm not sure I can imagine what kinds of environments you're talking about. Perhaps if someone was living in the developing world while making a developed world salary that would play out...but that seems pretty niche.

                    But the 'helpless' descriptor would still apply in how I'd perceive the person. That an individual (in this case an eligible bachelor) would be relying on someone else for every meal. I dated a guy who had the money to eat well without ever cooking and - expense aside - it did make him appear helpless. That if he was sick, he had to reach out to family/take away/delivery services to make sure he had any food. Now I'm not saying if someone is very ill they should be soldiering on in the kitchen - but if someone has a nasty cold, the fact that they can't heat up some soup or microwave a leftover or frozen meal, that does strike me as helpless.

                    I get that in certain professions there may be long periods where cooking may not be a regular feature - but without some kind of explanation, it is a turn off. I'm currently seeing someone who based on his job currently eats most of his meals at work and the nature of his profession has never really become a proficient cook. But in his kitchen he does have odds and ends to prepare the occasional snack/meal and isn't totally reliant on going out to eat anything.

                    1. re: cresyd

                      <<I dated a guy who had the money to eat well without ever cooking and - expense aside - it did make him appear helpless>>

                      that is your perception, and you are certainly entitled to have it.

                      my perception is entirely different from yours.
                      i've lived with and dated men who can cook, and lived with and dated men who can't.
                      to me, it's simply a completely unimportant non-issue, either way.

                      different strokes.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        My point wasn't so much about being able to cook or not - but rather not cooking at all/ever. I've dated numerous guys who just didn't care, and it's never been an issue. But guys where they have no food in their place and claim to not to even know how to make a sandwich, that doesn't do it for me.

                        And yes. Different strokes.

                        1. re: cresyd

                          I do find the inability to make a sandwich *baffling*. It's not even cooking. It's like failing basic pattern recognition, like not being able to alphabetize. If you've ever eaten a sandwich, you should know how to assemble a sandwich.

                          My husband grew up in a household where good quality food was not important, vegetables were a foreign concept, almost all meals were takeout, and everyone in the family was picky. And yet, as soon as he was out on his own, he started grocery shopping and experimenting in the kitchen. Many of his early meals were borderline inedible (he used to try to make some very thin steak in a frying pan soaked with Worstershire sauce and it would turn black and yet it was better than anything he had growing up and he was so proud). But now he makes authentic Szechuan chicken and other delicacies. He's come a long way. And yes, his efforts to learn to care for himself, even though he lacked all basic experience and training, was definitely attractive to me.

                          1. re: khh1138

                            I think there's also a difference between putting together a list of "dream man qualities" and "deal breakers".

                            As you said, making a sandwich or reheating prepared food (frozen meals, canned soup, etc.) isn't cooking so much as it is taking basic steps to prepare food for sustenance. Why this to me is more in the realm of 'deal breaker' vs 'not a dream man quality but it's ok' is that there's a willful reliance on others.

                            I think we've all had times - no matter how much we cook - of coming home after a period to "no food" in the house. But to me there's a difference of thinking "hmm, do I go to the corner store to pick up a few things and make something or get delivery" vs "I have to get delivery because I always have to get delivery".

          2. re: Jetgirly

            Same here. 30 and single. I do not want to be someone's mother until I am actually a mother. I like cooking, and wouldn't mind being the primary cook in the family, but it's a huge turn off if a guy can't at least take care of the basics when it comes to feeding himself.

            1. re: mpjmph

              This one guy I dated, by the time I realized he only had fridge for water and alcohol, I also discovered that he'd never changed a light bulb before either. Just a whole list of things that he had "other people" do for him (be it girlfriend, housekeeper, etc.). The whole idea that he was so incapable of caring for himself was really off putting.

              That being said, I could see a woman who likes the idea of a man taking care of her financially while she runs the home would have liked such a partner.

              1. re: cresyd

                As my mother always say, there is someone for everyone. May all the men in the world who are incapable of caring for themselves find women who want to care for them.

            2. re: Jetgirly

              +1 on everything that Jetgirly said, with the additional point that never cooking is also highly correlated with (a) not really caring about what you put in your mouth, or (b) reliance on pre-cooked/processed food for most of your meals. Both of those would be huge turn-offs for me.

              I don't mind cooking 90% of the time, but I do want the person to appreciate home cooking, and not get all his sustenance from Hot Pockets.

              1. re: Jetgirly

                I can't wrap my head around a camo Ferrari. I thought most guys who buy Ferraris WANT to be seen! Whatta ya gonna do in it, go duck hunting??

                1. re: ricepad

                  Trust me, if your Ferrari was camouflage colored you would definitely be "seen".

                  Ain't too much jungle in the streets of Beverly Hills or South Beach.

                2. re: Jetgirly

                  Err? It'd be interesting to see if you have studies to back up your claim. Most of the men in my family, including my husband and father, are not cooks by any stretch of the imagination although they can put together a sandwich. All are successful professionals, healthy and in good fiscal shape.

                  1. re: Roland Parker

                    I do think that after many years of cohabitation, unless both partners are very enthusiastic about cooking, the cooking will generally fall to one of the partners. I met my husband when he was 19, and I like to cook. He can poach or scramble an egg, heat up soup or generally follow a recipe, but he doesn't without much prodding. However, I think that if he had been single, he would have picked up more extensive cooking skills along the way.

                    1. re: Savour

                      not necessarily:
                      my best (platonic) friend got completely through UCLA without ever having utensils, plates, cutlery, etc enter his house.

                      he's been married for years now, and now prides himself on being able to prepare an entire Thanksgiving meal from scratch.

                      in the 70's i would have bet every cent i had that this transformation would NEVER have occurred.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        Oh, not necessarily for everyone. Having known this particular one for 15 years, though, I think he probably would have picked up SOMETHING. If only because he periodically goes on "healthy eating" kicks and he likes teaching himself things.

                        1. re: Savour

                          the "healthy eating" stuff almost forces you to learn how to cook some things.
                          even living in a "foodie heaven" city, imho, there is a dearth of affordable "healthy eating" restaurants.

                          i have a very severe restaurant addiction going these days, BUT it gets tempered by the "healthful food" commitment.

                      2. re: Savour

                        It really depends. Been married 34 years. For the first 10, my husband did almost 100% of the cooking. This was a result of his being more experienced in the kitchen since he was on his own in an apartment while I was still in dormitories and living on meal plans before we'd married. Over the next 10-15, the ratio started shifting, but he still cooked about 50-70% of the time. In the last decade, however, I've taken over the majority of the cooking, although he still does about 30%. The changes have occurred in part from shifts in our careers that have given me more time for kitchen-pursuits. Also, it's added variety to the rotation of standard dishes in our menus, since he has "his" recipes and I have mine. After many years of a farily set rotation of menus featuring "his" dishes, it's been fun for both of us to introduce a lot of new items to the rotation in recent years.

                        1. re: masha

                          like so many things in life and love, flexibility is a good quality to possess.

                    2. re: Jetgirly

                      gee JetGirly,

                      i've found the exact opposite correlation.

                      in my experience the guys who have good money-earning and money-management skills often have what others would consider to be grueling jobs and travel schedules.

                      i've not found this kind of guy being the kind who wants to spend his spare time wandering around the local farmer's market nor deal with the kitchen clean up and mess of making a good meal.

                      (the exception being guys who are somehow related to the food/entertainment business.)

                      also, when i've dated guys that cook, the expectation often seemed to be that i would be the clean-up person. (similar situation as the guys with boats).

                      not an interesting proposition for me.

                      also, none of the men in my family ever cared about the kitchen. every single man in my family was successful financially both in terms of earning money and managing money.
                      (the LAST thing my father would have wanted to spend his time doing would be learning how to source a fresh piece of fish, find a really good chef's knife, learning how to make a roux, etc. his idea of fun was going to a game, playing four-wall handball, etc.)

                      i suspect that a lot of people's attitudes/opinions about cooking come from their upbringing.
                      also, i suspect that things are changing as technology changes. for most of my life the only real way to cut a business deal on a national basis was one involving a good amount of time-consuming travel. now the demands of work are different because of new technologies.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        WSG - I've read many of your posts downstream. Based on your comments, I feel like I must be some kind of Black Swan in the vein of Nassim Taleb.

                        I have the exact type of career that you've described. As I noted in an earlier post, after grad school, I began working in a job where 60 hour weeks were the norm and 80+ were common. I used to joke with my friends that I didn't know why I rented an apartment as i rarely stayed in it. I guess I needed a place to keep my clothes between trips. I had to sometimes ask my assistant what day it was because when you regularly work weekends, the days melt into each other and you really don't know what day it is.

                        Success in business has allowed me a lifestyle that is comfortable. I've had the pleasure of dining in some of the best restaurants in the world with my family. My son is spoiled when it comes to his food experiences and I fear that I've created something of a monster when it comes to his tastes.

                        My line of work requires me to stay up to the moment with the world's events as something that may happen on the other side of the world while I'm sleeping may come crashing in on my life from the moment I wake up. So I like to think of myself as generally well informed.

                        I try to get to the gym a few nights week and get some outside workouts on the weekends to burn off all those extra calories that come from too much food and wine.

                        The thing that gives me respite from all this is cooking. I enjoy coming home after another 11 or 12 hour day and wandering into my kitchen to see what I can come up with. It's my therapy, how I unwind at the end of a hectic day. It can be a creative exercise. All those cooking shows that have chefs come up with a meal based on disparate ingredients? Welcome to my life. I love doing it though. My wife is amazed by my ability to create a meal. Sometimes it can result in a wonderful dish, other times like last night it's a total flop. But there is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from preparing a meal that looks great and tastes fabulous that you can serve to your family. Its a wonderful thing to share and being able to sit down together at the end of the day at dinner gives everyone a chance to talk and unwind. Also an opportunity for me to drink that wine which I will then need to work off again tomorrow.

                        On your observation about technology impacting how business may get done, I think technology has made travel harder for me. Lots of things get done before hand, but it often seems a meeting is necessary to complete the deal and those meeting are brief and the travel is rushed. I live in NY. I have regularly made day trips to the west coast and London for business. I'm the dope who shows up with only a briefcase when everyone else has got their damn roller bags. Land, get in a cab, go to a meeting, have lunch, run back to the airport and get on a plane back to JFK. But at least I get back to see the family and sleep in my own bed.

                        Which brings me to my last thought. The principle thing I lack in my life is time for sleep. Can't have everything.

                        1. re: Bkeats

                          What a read! Illustrates the trade offs, the choices and just how hard it is to have it all. Thanks for the honesty.

                          1. re: Bkeats

                            boy oh boy,
                            the description of your life brings me back.
                            95% of what you described occurred to me too.
                            (the disorientation:
                            what city am i in? what day of the week is it? whom am i calling on today? what time do i have to be at the airport to fly from this city to the next? what IS the next city?
                            once, when when a snowstorm closed the chicago airport i ran into 7 of my competitors at o'hare. we were all stranded together)
                            it was how i lived during all the years i was on the "sell side."
                            can't say i had much interest in cooking then.
                            (tried it, but got disgusted after buying ingredients, not using them up, and finding them rotted or beyond their prime when i returned from the road).

                            later in my career, i was on the "buy side."
                            grueling, but less travel.
                            the salespeople traveled to see ME.
                            that was when i went crazy in the kitchen.
                            that was when my office was located practically on top of the best farmer's market in the area.
                            all the circumstances of my life at that point, drew me into the kitchen.

                            sleep?
                            didn't get reacquainted with that until after my kid went to college.

                            1. re: Bkeats

                              Bkeats: my point is that i would not think that a man in your work situation who chose to unwind by cooking is either superior nor inferior to one who chose to unwind doing any of a host of other activities.

                            2. re: westsidegal

                              First, I don't find your experience to be reflective of mine: I know lots of "good money-earning" guys who don't have jobs that are "grueling" and don't travel, and I know lots of guys with good "money-management skills" who are not especially high-income (and don't travel for work).

                              I'm mystified why you think someone with a grueling job and travel schedule is your ideal of a partner. Surely that's a bug, not a feature.

                              My father doesn't cook -- at all. He's not interested and he's of a generation where it wasn't expected. However my sister married a man who enjoys cooking -- even though he has a high-paying job and is good at money management.

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                the reason i would think someone with a grueling job and travel schedule would be the best partner for me is that for many, many, years i was a road warrior.
                                i'm familiar with the lifestyle and LIKE it.

                                there will be plenty of time to "hang around" when i'm old (and i'm NOT looking forward to it!).
                                when i was heavy-duty into cooking i did it PROFESSIONALLY-- a very different thing.

                                i LIKE the mentality of people who are pedal-to-the-metal about their jobs/careers.

                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  When I read that I think, oh she doesn't really want to invest any of herself into a relationship so doesn't need a partner who will do that. *shrug* Whatever works for you, but I wouldn't generalize that to people who actually do want to spend time with their partners.

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    wanting to cook doesn't necessarily equate to wanting <<to invest any of herself into a relationship>>
                                    nor
                                    <<doesn't need a partner who will do that>>

                                    false equivalencies
                                    perfect examples

                                  2. re: westsidegal

                                    My father was a business executive - very successful. When he got to his 50s he was traveling quite frequently. He stilled loved to cook. His barbeque chicken was the best I've ever had - as were other things he cooked. Your "analogy" is skewed.

                              2. re: Jetgirly

                                My SO has a pretty good income for someone his age (with plenty of potential for more in his chosen career field) and good money management skills (he bought his own home when he was 25) and is in good health. He just doesn't enjoy cooking, and that's perfectly fine with me. He has plenty of other hobbies that he enjoys doing. Suggesting that just because someone doesn't like or know how to cook means they're poor or unhealthy...that's just a ridiculous statement.

                                1. re: Jetgirly

                                  Jetgirly - what if the matching shoes are Hush Puppies?

                                2. Cooking ain't exactly rocket science if you keep it simple. Guys are very good at cooking with the best examples being the self taught chefs who own their own restaurants. Guys who never went to culinary school. Watching Diners Drive-Ins Dives you see these guys all the time. Maybe he watched his mother in the kitchen a bit. Maybe she gave him some tattered written down recipes. But he took off from there.

                                  Watching DDD last night I saw the owner of Prince Lebanese Restaurant cooking up a storm. He never went to culinary school

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: lastZZ

                                    I learned a lot from my Grandmother, the best being fried fish. When I was 15 I started working in a drive-inn theatre snack bar, and while the most ambitious thing we did was pizza with a frozen crust, I learned time management skills as I might have four burgers going, plus a couple of pizzas, corndogs frying, popcorn to pop, etc. all while waiting on customers. I also have a saying, if you can read, you cook, as in a cookbook.

                                  2. self-reliance is always a good quality. nobody wants to be seen as helpless or pathetic right? garage, kitchen, workshop, art studio, whatever ("pfff, just burns water and calls it soup")

                                    but I bet it is comfy as the primary cook and under the weather or working late, knowing it might be more than sandwiches with crackers and broth. (guy or gal - to take gender out of the equation)

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: hill food

                                      in my world, when i look at dating a man, adequate self reliance regarding food would be knowing how to pick up chinese food or a sandwich from a local restaurant.

                                      truly, if i've just put in an 18 hour day, and i want to eat dinner at home, i'd rather eat it on the couch, from a disposable plate/carton, with my feet up. maybe add a beer from the bottle to that scenario. followed by a hot shower or a bubble bath.

                                      the LAST thing i want after a long work day or after getting off a plane from a business trip, is to come home to someone who has been fussing over dinner preparation and to wine being served from good stemware.

                                      to me, the enjoyment of a terrific meal and good wine requires more attention than i'm able to give when i'm depleted or distracted by work.

                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                        wsg - and that is indeed valid. when it's been me, a nice note on the counter from the sleeping SO that there's a covered plate in the fridge is plenty. (I lived for quite a while in an area where decent t/o or delivery were not an option after a certain hour).

                                        this has veered into a different subject, but yes. after several days of 12-18 hours with jerks, I just want to watch trashy TV until I sleep and not. say. a. word. or think.

                                        1. re: hill food

                                          that's where a bottle of mediocre beer comes in. . . .

                                    2. When I was in my mid teens and my mom started working full time I had to learn to fend for myself.
                                      Ya, at first it was open a can and dump into a saucepan. Then it was add some of this and that to spruce it up. It went on to become the same dish but made from scratch. It was pretty basic stuff and not a lot of variety but slowly but surly I learned to really hone my skills. I couldn't imagine how anyone could not have at least some basic cooking skills. But those people are out there.

                                      While I've dated my share of women who can't (an even one who wouldn't) cook, I think as long as they like food, we'd be fine.

                                      One other thing. Before people are dumped on for finding a lack of cooking ability in a guy a turn off and get taken to task on it, I'd just like to say I firmly believe that things turn people on and turn them off. There's no right or wrong and sometimes no rhyme or reason. So long as you don't condemn a person for it I think it's okay. For example, I do not like tallness in a woman. Do I think less of tall women?? No, absolutely not. It's just a turn off.

                                      DT

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Davwud

                                        thanks for the response. my question was asked with generalization in mind. you state that you dont like tall women in terms of a spouse. no problem with that. but, your preference can be generalized across the population because on average it is rare to see a woman with a shorter man. height is a positively correlated quality - if it's negative, it's tall man and short woman and rarely the other way around. now, this could just be a function of the basic fact that men on average are taller than women. but, surveys show that men in general prefer shorter women and women in general prefer men equal to their height or taller. i guess my point is that you're definitely right about the heterogeneity in partner preferences - when were making our own individual choices, we shouldnt be concerned about what others do and be more concerned about what we individually desire. but, there are trends and social norms both influence and are influenced by these trends, so there is a snowball effect. i was curious as to whether, in general, women find a man's ability to cook to be an attractive quality - and, if so, how important of a quality it is relative to others.

                                        1. re: majordanby

                                          Well the point I was really trying to make is that what is a turn off, no matter how picky, shallow, whatever, is okay provided it doesn't come with some sort of superiority complex. Just because you don't find them attractive as a mate doesn't mean you should think less of them as a person.

                                          DT

                                        2. re: Davwud

                                          Just so TALL women don't get turnned off - Tall is definitely a preference of mine in women.... Save for that I agree with Davwud comments.... (but not his taste in women:-)

                                        3. Much more important is that he enjoy MY cooking! I don't find the lack of cooking ability a turnoff at all (or the ability to cook a turn on). He simply should enjoy food (I'd have an issue with an "eats to live" kind of guy.

                                          My BF can fend for himself in the kitchen, but he doesn't enjoy cooking like I do. That's fine. I can't get into sports car restoration, which is a hobby of his. But I CAN enjoy listening to him talk about it ( there is a real joy in listening to someone talk about his/her passions). And I certainly have fun on a jaunt on country roads in one of his cars!

                                          I'd previously dated someone who did enjoy cooking (and baking bread). That, too, was delightful. He once brought me a loaf of bread he'd baked to my office--very sweet! And I found it very sexy. But my non cooking BF has done yard work for me ( a wonderful surprise upon my return from a trip). Also very sexy!

                                          I would echo what Davwud stated--some of us have turnoffs or deal breakers that just ARE. If I don't like the sound of a man's voice, it just aint gonna happen. If another person can't deal with a SO that eats mostly takeout, it ain't gonna happen. As long as there isn't any condemnation, so be it.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: nofunlatte

                                            This. DH can follow a recipe and even put together simple dishes for himself without one, but he doesn't really enjoy cooking, and when left to his own devices, doesn't do much of it. However, he loves food, LOVES my cooking, loves that I love to cook, and is thrilled to be my guinea pig when it comes to my kitchen experiments. Works for us.

                                            I dated guys before DH who could cook (or thought they could) - it wasn't a turn on or off, but it was occasionally amusing when they were clearly expecting me to be SUPER impressed that they could make Hamburger Helper without burning down their kitchen (not realizing that I'm an accomplished cook and baker and a serious Chowhound to boot). The first time DH tried to cook for me, I sort of took over because I could tell he was out of his depth - and he yielded the kitchen to me gracefully, which I found quite adorable (then again, it might just have been because I thought HE was adorable!).

                                          2. My husband made me lasagne for our first date, quite special. But, I appreciate more that he does laundry. He was always better at it, even in college.

                                            1. Back when I was single, I had very little going for me except that I was a pretty decent cook. Actually, I still have very little going for me besides my ability to put out some decent food. Anyway, the ability to cook well seemed to mitigate many of my less special qualities. My wife still gets exited by what surprise is awaiting her when she gets home from work (I'm often off during the week and do most of the cooking).

                                              1. I know you directed this question to women but I thought I'd put in my three cents.
                                                I am a man who loves to cook and have been told that I am an excellent creative cook.
                                                During my single days I found that women loved my passion for cooking. For the most part they passed the "spatula" to me and offered to do cleanup if I cooked.
                                                At one point I met a woman who was a vegetarian. She was in a frenzy because she had a large family coming to dinner and had no clue about preparing a meal for a dozen carnivores.
                                                I suggested she bring them to my home for dinner. I cooked a sumptuous vegetarian meal with grilled chicken on the side for the meat eaters.
                                                My new friend was amazed and appreciative.
                                                The dinner was a home run. Unfortunately the relationship was a soft ground ball to third.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Motosport

                                                  thanks for chiming in. at least you hit the ball. hell, at least you got an at bat. at times, i feel like im still on the friggin bench waiting for the damn manager to get me to pinch hit

                                                  1. re: Motosport

                                                    With runners on the corners and one out right??

                                                    DT

                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                      Definitely hit into the double play with that gal.

                                                      Then again, a couple of years later I hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth in the 7th game of the Fall classic with my trophy wife!!

                                                      Celebrating a dozen years of culinary and marital bliss in June!!

                                                  2. When I was 8 years old, my mother showed me how the stove and washer/dryer worked. She said, "I'm a working mother (school principal), you're the last child home, you'd better know how to fend for yourself."

                                                    I cooked for myself through college and living as a single for years. In fact I worked in the food industry from age 22-30. When I married the first time, my ex moved into my home and my fully equipped kitchen. The night she cooked supper for me (the frst and last time) she managed to get it ready by 11PM. It seems her mother did all the cooking and never let her daughter in the kitchen. Through the rest of the marriage, I did all the cooking. Ex's sister married a CIA grad and she had never once cooked a meal. Ex MIL used to brag that her daughters got away with murder, never having to cook. After my divorce, my ex had to cake basic cooking classes at night school

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                      She was actually proud of the fact that she rendered her daughters helpless in the kitchen? What a piece of work.

                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                        I agree. Shameful! Lol.

                                                        Jerseygirl111

                                                    2. 34+ years ago I married a man who was a self-taught cook. He'd learned out of desperation as a student, living on his own because he loved to eat and did not have the finances to eat out every night. It was not a top reason why I was attracted to him (we were already dating before that) but it sure was a great indicator of things to come. Not only did he do most of the cooking for the 1st half of our marriage, it also was a preview of his general willingness to take on "non-traditional" gender roles in terms of child care.

                                                      When young women asks me how I managed to each hold down a demanding, professional job while raising a child, my first answer is that my husband always contributed at least 50% to the day-to-day household tasks of cooking and child-rearing.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: masha

                                                        amen to that. I married a man who had a very similar situation to yours, except added in to the mix was the fact that he came from another country to go to school and missed food "like mom used to make." So he taught himself the basics of Indian cooking, and taught himself a few dishes from American cuisine (whatever that is) that might impress a girlfriend. And he does at least 50% of the cooking in our house, even though I like to cook as well. And he probably did more than 50% of the child-rearing duties, if the truth be told:-) I am still grateful.

                                                        1. re: janetofreno

                                                          And, I am proud to say that our 20-something son is carrying on the tradition of men in the family who cook to the next generation. The internet and technology make it easier for him than it was for my husband. When our son was first on his own, he would sometime call me on his cell from the grocery store to 2x check the ingredient list for a favorite dish and ask me to email the recipe.

                                                          1. re: masha

                                                            Whereas before the days of the Internet, the phone call also included details of the ingredients and the preparation spoken by my Mom and and painstakingly written down by me. :-)

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              But the call in those earlier days, before cell phones, preceded the shopping. These calls from my son typically came from the supermarket. (This phase did not last for long. He got better at meal planning and more self-sufficient after a few months on his own.)

                                                              1. re: masha

                                                                Good point. No Internet, and no cell phones either. It was like the Dark Ages! :D

                                                      2. I'm 30, and was a professional dater until I met my SO. To be honest, I preferred a guy who could maybe whip up a few meals and knew how to operate a grill, but beyond that, I didn't care much.

                                                        I dated one guy who was always trying to one up me when we were talking about the food we make (like I would mention a dish I am good at making and he would talk about how he could make it better, blech), and I found it to be a turn off. I prefer to be the cook in the household for the most part, maybe it's the control freak in me. My SO knows how to cook if he wants to, he just doesn't like to. When I moved in his pantry was filled with a lot of canned soup, stews, and hamburger helper. I didn't find it to be a turn off at all, since I knew that putting together a nice dinner wasn't something he enjoyed doing. And, he is very grateful and appreciative of every dinner I make :)

                                                        However, when I lived in Chicago I dated a few professional chefs (like sous chefs at some well known restaurants), and I did find THAT attractive. But they preferred someone else doing the cooking at home for the most part, and appreciated home cooked meals.

                                                        1. I find it pretty nice, it means that he doesn't rely on me to feed him at every meal, we have a shared interest and he can adequately do the shopping. At least that is how it is at my house.

                                                          My best friend married a man that doesn't cook at all. She prepares every single thing he eats. She even does all the grilling and BBQ. That would drive me crazy.

                                                          1. Very attractive. However, nearly 30 years ago when I met my now-husband, cooking was not at all on my radar. If I were to do it all over again, I'd have a different set of mate selection criteria!

                                                            Which isn't to say I want to get rid of what I've got - he has many positive qualities. I'd just enjoy arriving home periodically to find a nice dinner made.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                              what specifically makes it very attractive?

                                                              1. re: majordanby

                                                                It would be a shared interest.
                                                                It would make my life easier by sharing the dinner cooking responsiblity.
                                                                It would save money b/c he tends to rely on pre-packaged stuff when I'm not home. We have two teens so total food consumption is sometimes frightening.

                                                                I don't really agree that the ability to cook can be separated from liking it. Technically, my spouse can follow a recipe but he doesn't spend time looking at food mags/books/websites, he doesn't enjoy the process of shopping for food, he does the bare minimum. If I thought of food as fuel and didn't care about taste, that would be fine.

                                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                                  couldn't you come up with a little packet of very easy, inexpensive, acceptable recipes that don't involve prepackaged food that you could give him along with the shopping list for each recipe?

                                                                  that would leave all the 'creative" cooking to you, someone who seems to get some enjoyment from the process.

                                                                  to lots of folks, cooking is drudge work. they do much better at it if you take some steps to simplify and/or shorten the process.
                                                                  can either of your teens be enlisted (bribed) to do some of the organization/prep work?

                                                                  the food situation you've described sounds joyless all around to me. maybe you can try to minimize the time he spends on this joyless task?

                                                                  as my own cooking style has evolved, i've moved from recipes that involve 10 or 12 ingredients and 4 or 5 preparation steps to dishes that involve 6 ingredients and 2 preparation steps. the food is just as good as long as the ingredient quality stays high. also, the entire recipe rotation is smaller now.

                                                                  also, i've moved away from recipes that get lousy after a day or so of being refrigerated. (no more pasta--gets mushy if refrigerated in sauce, still changes flavor if refrigerated without sauce.) not interested in starting from scratch every single night.

                                                                2. re: majordanby

                                                                  In my perspective it fits in with the notion of a man being able to take care of himself, take care of me at times, and take care of family.

                                                                  I am fairly fussy in the kitchen and have never dated a man where I would have preferred he be the primary cook in the relationship - but honestly, a man cooking to me is similar to man being able to engage help out in basic home repairs. I don't expect a man (in a relationship or any context) to be able to do everything in the house - but having a degree of overall competence is great.

                                                              2. Anyone who knows their way around a kitchen is very sexxxy indeed(regardless of gender).As a single male who cooks for a living,I tend to keep home cooked meals very simple and I do appreciate a home cooked meal very much.

                                                                1. I'm utterly indifferent. I can cook, so I don't really care if my partner can cook or not. Most of the men I have dated have been raised by mothers who were indifferent cooks (with fathers who were often absent). They've been open-minded about trying things but always immensely grateful for whatever I've put in front of them (and often willing to eat my kitchen "mistakes" without complaint).

                                                                  If someone (man or woman) can't cook, I don't think it really tells you much about a person given the myriad of factors that are often involved, but I will say that the people I've met who are very invested in their cooking and getting things exactly right tend to be way too type A for me to hang with.

                                                                  1. Somewhat off topic, but we've been watching Downton Abbey lately. Neither the men nor the women, who live upstairs, rarely give a thought to learning how to cook. And when one does mention it they are met with, "Why would you ever learn to cook?" Not at all unexpected for the time and place, but rings quite odd to my modern, male (though married) cooking ear.

                                                                    jb

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                      It's easy to enjoy cooking these days. Back in 1900 when everything had to be cooked from scratch three times a day (no supermarket packaged meat cuts and freshly scrubbed vegetables and canned goods) and on cumbersome, unpredictable wood burning/coal stoves and fireplaces, less so.

                                                                    2. That he likes to cook? Not important.

                                                                      That he *can* cook basic fare (can scramble eggs, cook and dress simple pasta, grill steaks, assemble a salad) is a big plus.

                                                                      But I also think that it's a plus that a woman *can" locate the transmission fluid reservoir on her car, and change a tire if need be. She doesn't have to like it.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: pinehurst

                                                                        I can change a tire . . . pick up the cell phone and dial 1-800-AAA-HELP. It was much tougher when I was first driving and my dad first enrolled me in AAA . . . no cell phones ;)

                                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                                          add to that,
                                                                          making sure that your car always has a warranty that includes towing, car rental, etc.
                                                                          you can handle all of this over the phone.

                                                                          in LA, where most people can't avoid freeways, it's far safer to get the tow truck to take care of the car than trying to do any diagnostics/repairs yourself on the shoulder of the freeway.

                                                                          some guys, though, don't seem to have gotten the memo. i see them taking their lives in their hands with cars whizzing by at 70mph. . . .

                                                                          it's like an intelligence test. if a guy doesn't have the ability to asses the risk of that behavior on the shoulder of the freeway, or doesn't have the risk-aversion to refrain from it how could i trust my heart to him?

                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                            we're OT, but re cars, Allstate/Sears has a free program (you'll get easily ignored e-mail ads) if you join, they offer reduced tow charges and other services. ehh - sometimes it's not always as simple as changing a spare tire.

                                                                      2. I'm a guy, so my perspective is a bit different. I learned how to cook before college because my parents had a Chinese restaurant. I learned how to make roast duck, many types of stir frys, steamed fish, etc., and everything was done from scratch.

                                                                        It was nice if a woman knew how to cook, but it wasn't a big factor for me because I realized I had significantly more cooking experience than they had. Cooking can be learned, but having a wonderful heart is a different story.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: raytamsgv

                                                                          Well, I married a man who cooks beautifully, and has done so since his earliest teens. Among the fare he prepares: a lovely but savory Hollandaise sauce, light-as-a-feather strawberry-banana pancakes, classic Bechamel sauce or perfectly grilled salmon (prepared with serious Cajun fire, or dressed with a lemon-caper-butter sauce or a honey-soy glaze).

                                                                          Frankly, he taught me to cook, and was beyond patient in doing so. Before we wed, I knew how to make basic deviled eggs, as well as prepare three uber-simple things: 1) boxed macaroni and cheese, 2) pre-cooked spaghetti and 3) hot dogs (boiled). Suffice to say, I've moved far, far beyond that limited repertoire. ;-)

                                                                          And, yes, my husband -- my favorite cooking instructor -- and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary February 20.

                                                                            1. re: raytamsgv

                                                                              Many thanks, raytam. And thanks to his setting a terrific example in the kitchen, I've become a madwoman when it comes to collecting and cooking vegetarian recipes. There's no doubt that my favorite (and decidedly most dog-eared) cookbook is "Hiltl: Virtuous Vegetarian," the cookbook we purchased from Haus Hiltl -- Europe's first vegetarian restauranbt -- when we traveled to Zurich a bit more than eight years ago.

                                                                              http://www.hiltl.ch/en/laden_detail.php

                                                                              Haus Hiltl:
                                                                              http://www.hiltl.ch/en/index.php

                                                                              FYI, the mushroom stroganoff is fabulous. And, yes, my husband has put my normally fine redition of this meal to shame, thanks to his excellent culinary skills ... and his generous hand with granulated garlic. :D

                                                                          1. re: raytamsgv

                                                                            even if a guy never learns to cook, so what?
                                                                            having a wonderful heart, imho, equals critical mass
                                                                            all by itself.

                                                                          2. As a guy who can cook and cook pretty damn well, I can say that I’ve had some very nice experiences because I can do more than nuke a frozen entrée for dinner. My mother had a restaurant and I ended up providing lots of free labor growing up. I learned a lot about cooking from the chefs.

                                                                            After I got to college, I found the cafeteria food to be inedible so after freshman year, I dropped the meal plan and began cooking my meals. I had several dates during those years where I prepared dinners for various young ladies and “ahem”, dinner generally ended well.

                                                                            After grad school, I began working in a profession where 80 hour work weeks were not uncommon. I would cook to relax. Made meals just for myself. Pretty elaborate stuff for dining alone, but it helped me unwind and I loved doing it.

                                                                            Continued having dinner dates during this time. Most of the women I made dinner for were pleased and impressed and I would say I my batting average was much higher with dinners I made than with restaurant meals.

                                                                            One time, I had picked up various ingredients for dinner. A female friend of mine saw the bags and asked what I was doing. I told her about the dinner I was going to make that night. She asked who was coming and I said no one. Just making something to eat for myself. She said if no one else was coming for dinner, she would be there. Dinner worked out very well with her. So well that I’m still married to her.

                                                                            In my experience, being able to cook well has been a huge positive with women.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Bkeats

                                                                              I kind of did that too when I was working crazy hours, just wanted to go home and spend 3 or 4 hours making something with no (external) pressures.

                                                                            2. I think that the simple fact that a guy cooks shows that he's interested in what he eats and how it gets that way. There's something attractive about a man who is curious about his world, and who likes to learn about it. I come from a family of home cooks, and my two grown sons are good cooks...the 22 year old can cook most non-pros under the table.

                                                                              1. I think its attractive that a man has the ability to cook and while a desire cook would be a "nice to have" that is not as critical.

                                                                                The reason why a think finding a SO who has the ability to cook (and this is true for men and woman) is that I think it is an indicator of other things.

                                                                                IME (repeat in *MY* experience) people who can cook for themselves are also capable of taking care themselves/homes in other ways. They can do laundry, know how to make bed and clean up a kitchen. They can maneuver in a grocery store, schedule appointments and can handle basic finances.

                                                                                As early as elementary and even more obviously in boarding school and in college you could easily identify the kids without basic skills.

                                                                                My first roommate in high school didn't know how do laundry and would save it all to bring home for her mom to do. They guys across the hall from me when I got my first apt didn't know how wash dishes or make anything more complicated than grilled cheese or frozen pizza in the toaster oven.

                                                                                My first post college boyfriend's mom used come and clean his apt every week. Needless to say the guy couldn't cook either-his mother would stock his freezer with labeled meals, complete with how instructions on how to defrost and how long to cook. Yeah, that relationship didn't last long.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                  Agree that, especially in the younger generation, it's a sign of maturity and self-sufficiency when a man (or woman) has basic cooking skills. (For older men, there were such gender-specific stereotypes about household roles that the lack of cooking skill does not correlate in the same way.)

                                                                                2. For me, it's not any kind of requirement, but is certainly a nice bonus. It's impressive and would add another thing in the shared interests column.

                                                                                  1. IN San Francisco the number of guys I know that can cook really out number the number of women that do...(not gay men either).

                                                                                    I'm not *that* single anymore (for the last 4 years - LTR).

                                                                                    When I was dating, I didn;t find it that much of an advantage - some, but, women were'nt necesarily falling all over me cause know my way round a kitchen (as well as the gym I might add).

                                                                                    1. As I have told many younglings I have interacted with, women LOVE men who can cook.

                                                                                      1. I think I am older than most of you, and I can say that my girlfriend is definitely attracted to my cooking. I went almost 5 years without repeating a meal; I think that made an impression. She likes to come into the kitchen and spend time while I cook and show her what I am doing and why.

                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                          I went almost 5 years without repeating a meal; ....

                                                                                          does that mean 3 meals a day..... x 365 x almost 5? She didn't like one meal enough for you to make it twice during that entire period? WOW.

                                                                                          1. re: fourunder

                                                                                            four - it's his culinary version of Scheherazade...

                                                                                            and actually (as I've heard) the royal kitchens in the Hue region/period of VietNam were instructed to never repeat a dish.

                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                              Better believe it, I was showing off, and she loved it.

                                                                                              I made one meal where every course used the same fish in different ways; used in the salad dressing, appetizer, enter etc.

                                                                                              Then the next week, used the same fish to make different dishes.

                                                                                              That sort of thing.

                                                                                              1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                Scrambled Eggs is Scrambled Eggs...and regardless of the the recipe, when you roast a turkey at Thanksgiving....it's still roast turkey....adding an ingredient or holding back one, doesn't mean you really mean you have not repeated a dish....

                                                                                                : 0 )

                                                                                                I can understand trying to show off....but for five years? You are a better man than I am...and she must be a special woman.

                                                                                                congrats.

                                                                                                1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                  I haven't roasted a turkey since 2006, but I have done many other turkey dishes. ;~)

                                                                                                  Yes to the other issues.

                                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                      I know, but I am serious :~)

                                                                                                      So try this:

                                                                                                      Get some whole snapper, and make sure if you have the store clean it that you keep the heads, tail, fins etc.to use to make a quick stock. Put some fish meat in the stock.

                                                                                                      From the stock, use mince the fish meat and use a small amount of the stock one time to make a green goddess dressing, another time a ceasar.

                                                                                                      With the stock you can make a broth with shrimp carrots, potatoes,scallions, or you can make a bisque, or use it for a risotto etc.

                                                                                                      With the fillets you can saute dusted with peanut flour, or bake with veggies etc.

                                                                                                      The harder part is getting the water to turn to wine.

                                                                                          2. re: law_doc89

                                                                                            Once it sunk into my thick skull that my husband was getting acclimated to a pretty high standard for his out-of-office lunches at his prior job -- he and his workmates often headed out to Prado in Larchmont, the tiny stretch of L.A. that feeds directly into Paramount Studios -- I realized I really needed to step up my own culinary game. That's how I ended up doing a brand-new make-ahead dinner every week -- over the course of a dozen years.

                                                                                            Early last year, when he pored through my cornucopia of recipes I'd collected over the last 16 years, he told me this: "We won't be alive long enough for you to try everything you've printed out." When he told me this, he was 51 and I had just turned 50; ;-)

                                                                                          3. I'm 21 and male and I started cooking a couple of years ago *because* I'd heard women found it attractive. I think this is overstated, but I ended up with a hobby I love so I can't complain too much.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                                                                Good for you. I was all sorts of stupid at 21, but can tell you that if you give it a little time, the right girl will be fantastically impressed.

                                                                                                1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                                                                  At 21, I wasn't that impressed with a guy who could cook (I might have even been a little intimidated). By 27, it was a big turn on. Those dishes you're perfecting now will definitely pay off eventually.

                                                                                                2. I find it surprising that women do not realize that all men should be able to cook well; fix stuff around the house, including some carpentry skills; know how to work on a car (or, better, truck), meaning, at a minimum, be able to change the oil or change wiper blades and lightbulbs; and light a fire with matches. A guy should be able to be adequately sufficient given any circumstance. Sadly, the state of manliness in contemporary society has sunk to a very low point. (But, what do I know, I still hold doors and say "Ma'am".)

                                                                                                  23 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                    out of curiosity, do you hold any expectations for women? no snark here, just a question. a girl said pretty much the same thing to me once and, once again no snark, i asked her what kind of expectations she held for herself (or women in general).

                                                                                                    1. re: majordanby

                                                                                                      I believe the same expectations should be held for woman as well. I do not have a daughter but have grown nieces and thankfully their parents believed it as well. They can cook, clean, shop, balance their check books, change a tire, handle basic tools, and do basic repairs.

                                                                                                      My son, not yet a teen can cook and bake (though his interest is waning which saddens me), he can change his sheets, make his bed albeit not quite neatly, he can change a light bulb, handle basic tools, start a load of laundry, fold and put away his clothes, set a proper table and build a mean lego.

                                                                                                      1. re: majordanby

                                                                                                        First off, no sweat. I never assume snark on these boards.

                                                                                                        Second, I am not a woman, so I am not sure that I am in a position to assert what women should be able to do. Nonetheless, I've got no problem with a woman who can, fundamentally, possess a certain degree of competence in a vast array of tasks - including all of those I mentioned.* Moreover, at bottom, I think all people should be willing to try and learn any skill so as to avoid helplessness at some point in time. Finally, on a personal level, I am most in need of a woman who is gracious when I do the things I do, can keep me from causing myself trouble, and keep me laughing. I was quite grateful to find and marry one!

                                                                                                        *Though, please note, my tongue and cheek are more often connected than not.

                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                          thanks for the response. we've changed quite dramatically as a society over the last 50 odd years. women are working more, marriage is at a much later age, as is fertility (with much lower levels), and although we still dont compare with most european countries, cohabitation has increased quite dramatically. given these dramatic demographic shifts, have the norms we hold for men and women in the kitchen changed? do we expect men to be able to help out and be more proficient in the kitchen? how does the increase in "convenience foods" affect these norms? on one hand, it might make men (or women) less proficient because ready made foods are easily acquired. people work more today and spend a lot of their time outside of their homes - this makes one believe that convenience would trump home made meals. on the other hand, because of increased information on the internet and the advancement of technology in the kitchen, maybe it's now easier to prepare food. anyway, im just rambling on, but if you have any insight on any of the above questions, that would be great.

                                                                                                          1. re: majordanby

                                                                                                            Sorry, I just noticed your response (this has been a busy thread).

                                                                                                            I am actually a product of the very same changes in society you note. If my Mom had not been a "professional woman" of the Seventies, I would not have learned to cook, or, frankly, have come to the realization that the end of defined roles meant a net positive for society. Moreover, I am also a product of the increased divorce rate of that era. Ironically, it was the cooking skills I learned from my Mother and Grandmothers that I used to feed my Father.

                                                                                                            I do hold true to some of the cliches of what used to be considered traditional "male" roles/skills, but in large part that is because I found myself sorta disgusted by their seeming disappearance. I learned those from my Farther and paternal Grandfather, who, by anyone's definition, was a true man's man. I have always been grateful and rewarded by that acquired knowledge.

                                                                                                            At bottom, I don't think "we" expect anyone to be more proficient at any particular tasks, I think "we" should expect everyone to be more willing to try to be proficient at all tasks. My wife worked with me to rebuild and repaint our house. I thought it proper for me to carry the twelve foot 2x6s simply due to our physical stature.* Further, possessing greater knowledge and experience I did tend to have to explain what to do to her occasionally. Nonetheless, I had no weird problem with her tackling any task that needed to be done that she felt capable of doing.

                                                                                                            As to convenience foods, all I can say is that I simply loathe them. A homemade meal can easily be made in fifteen to thirty minutes. For many, if not most, people, it takes that long to drive to a fast food place, order, pay, pick it up, drive it home, unpack, serve, etc. I mean, what does it take three minutes to slice and saute some chicken breast. Adding and cooking the vegetables that one cuts while the chicken browns adds another couple minutes. You get the idea.

                                                                                                            "Convenience" is a concept that folks buy into because they have been sold on it, it doesn't make it true or the result of actual analysis. As a corollary, there is a reason why the opening on a shampoo bottle is way bigger than it needs to be . . . .

                                                                                                            * I know, it's a bit Marxist - "each according to his ability" and all.

                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                              <<"Convenience" is a concept that folks buy into because they have been sold on it>>

                                                                                                              that beVERY true.
                                                                                                              i remember when the first "boil in the bag" vegetables were introduced. INCESSANT tv commercials.

                                                                                                        2. re: majordanby

                                                                                                          Just wanted to say that I find competency in basic skills (cooking, carpentry, home repair etc.) attractive in ~both~ genders.

                                                                                                          1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                            Yes, we have a fairly petite woman at work who got power tools for Christmas so she can re- do her wood floors, and she was delighted. I would never attempt such a project, but I'm sure I can out fish her, plus 95 percent of the guys out there.

                                                                                                            1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                              oh yeah I had a blast once teaching a gal-pal how to change her car's oil and brake pads. she taught me how to make tamales from scratch.

                                                                                                          2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                            I realized, in retrospect, that my list should have also included: ironing a shirt, tying a tie (though each should be avoided as much as possible), and unhook a bra with one hand.

                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                              and unhook a bra with one hand.
                                                                                                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                              or your teeth...

                                                                                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                A talent that comes naturally to Brooklyn boys.

                                                                                                                1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                  i did live in Sheepshead Bay for 6 months.....from the age of 6 mos to one year old....I never realized it would pay dividends for me in my later years.

                                                                                                                2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                  fourunder:
                                                                                                                  now THAT'S a much more valuable skill, imho, than cooking

                                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                    thanks....you have to learn to adapt when your hands are busy....: 0 )

                                                                                                                  2. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                    "unhook a bra with one hand." You must be from Brooklyn!!

                                                                                                                3. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                  <But, what do I know, I still hold doors >

                                                                                                                  Now you're getting into a whole different kind of sexiness...
                                                                                                                  Sublime.
                                                                                                                  I concur with the rest of your post about men and their 'skills'.
                                                                                                                  I've always believed that if a man can't do all the things you mentioned then they should make enough money to hire someone to do it.

                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                    Never thought about it that way but I agree. For me cooking is just another household skill a man should have a level of proficiency in, even basic. I figured out a throttle problem on my lawnmower, worked on my roof, cooking some dry white beans, did front brakes on car, all fall under household skills. Cooking falls under mechanics, physics and chemistry for me. Women are better at adding the artistic dimension to home cooking and presentation though of course male chefs do this professionally all the time. Female chefs too

                                                                                                                    1. re: lastZZ

                                                                                                                      How are you at carpentry, plumbing, and wiring?

                                                                                                                      1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                        Basic and I could learn better plumbing and wiring very quickly if I had to. I have trouble making carpentry look nice. How hard is it to work with PVC in your own house? Hooking up a basement hot water heater is another thing but we don't have them where I live.

                                                                                                                        1. re: lastZZ

                                                                                                                          I don't touch plumbing. too easy to mess up, but then I rent. in a past life I did some plumbing work and PVC is easy as heck.

                                                                                                                          carpentry? this is why the good lord invented plaster, drywall and mustard and wine reduction sauces.

                                                                                                                    2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                      I agree with you...I like your thinking!!!! :D

                                                                                                                    3. I'm 31 and learned to cook from my mother and the interwebs. I got through college and grad school no knowing how to cook. Then I wanted to lose weight and learned how to cook.

                                                                                                                      Now, I can prepare many a tasty meals. Also, I find it is very integral to my love life. When I am out drinking and meet some girl at the bar, she is invariably impressed when I say I'll make her some dish she loves. (The dish I make is almost never the same as what she says, but she loves it anyway).

                                                                                                                      Perhaps strangely, I have rarely dated a woman that cooks. It's usually a fridge full of alcohol and lean cuisine's in the freezer. A home cooked meal to them is a special prize.

                                                                                                                      OTOH, my one girlfriend really enjoys cooking with me. She will ask what she needs to do, and she will consult relatives and me for answers, but she thoroughly enjoys helping out in the kitchen, taking it slow, and commiserating for a while.

                                                                                                                      I found that when I could talk competently about food my dating prospects increased dramatically. Right now I have 3-4 girlfriends, and I don't care if they use me for food...I use them for other things. It's a symbiotic relationship.

                                                                                                                      1. I'm 34 and not currently dating, but less than 5 years ago, I was seeing my fair share of guys. Having an interest in food was the most important element for me. I dated some guys who couldn't cook but were interested in eating well (and could afford to do so), and that was fine with me.

                                                                                                                        Interestingly, the man I eventually married was the one who seemed to cook the most. He made himself healthy fresh dinners every night and I was very impressed by that. He actually owned frying pans, collanders, spices, knives! Five years later, he can't seem to remember how he ever did that... But at least he's very appreciative of the food I make for him.

                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                          Apparently...different men have different 5 year plans to woo women.

                                                                                                                          1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                            Yep. He apparently said "finally! A woman who cooks! I WON'T HAVE TO ANYMORE-TO THE RING STORE!"

                                                                                                                            1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                              A 5 year plan? Best I ever did was a 5 hour plan. Mostly, I specialized in the 5 minute plan.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                    but given the skills you mentioned up thread, who would need a plan?

                                                                                                                                    being able to make a béchamel sauce doesn't come near what you can do.

                                                                                                                                    plan? fuggedaboutit!

                                                                                                                            2. My ex boyfriends couldn't cook at all... They sustained themselves on jumbo jacks, cup o noodles and hot pockets.
                                                                                                                              I once dated a guy who's idea of cooking was toast with pizza sauce and pepperoni. Most of them never really appreciated a home cooked meal either.

                                                                                                                              When I first started dating my husband, he made me gyoza from scratch. I almost crapped a brick because I never thought that guys cooked up until then...

                                                                                                                              1. What a fun read this is! Giggles galore!

                                                                                                                                When my man & I met we made a pact. You show me yours, I'll show you mine. What we didn't know how to do we taught the other how to do and if we both came up short we took a class or had someone else show us how. And when we failed, we laughed (a lot!). Raised our kids the same way.

                                                                                                                                So, my household includes three men who cook. It not only makes me happy it reminds me how well we learned how. I have two single sons who can cook & bake well. Their father is a great example of just having at it with fun and adventure.

                                                                                                                                I tell my daughters, look for a man with (food) adventure.

                                                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                  thanks for the response. when you say "I tell my daughters, look for a man with (food) adventure", what is underlying that? what characteristics about a man who cooks and is open to different kinds of foods tell you? does that matter more or less to you if, say, he was adventurous in other aspects? of course, an answer will be biased in a certain direction since i am posing these questions on a food board (as opposed to a travel forum, running board or hiking board where "adventure" means something else), but just wanted to understand the underlying mechanisms behind what makes being proficient in the kitchen, specifically for a male, so attractive.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: majordanby

                                                                                                                                    Underlying it is a sense of adventure...about all things, including food. It tells me he's a good listener, approaches new things with a sense of play, fun and curiosity. I think it carries over into work, friendships, family, food, etc. I shared this with a food board in mind but I really do believe it matters in all aspects of life. A lifelong learner.

                                                                                                                                    Single men who cook are sexy as hell in my book...but if they happen to turn into married men who cook (like my husband) all the better. The meal doesn't need to be gourmet or hard to find ingredients. When my guy makes drunken spaghetti with a tossed salad, pours some red wine and finishes with a bowl of caramel ice cream and a biscotti he's made..well, let's just say we're both rewarded. Yeah, men who cook..

                                                                                                                                    1. re: majordanby

                                                                                                                                      having "food adventure" doesn't necessarily mean being interested in cooking.

                                                                                                                                      being interested in food is required to be a good cook.
                                                                                                                                      being interested in cooking is not necessarily required to be a good eater--especially if you live in a metropolitan area that offers many interesting, reasonably priced, ethnic restaurants.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                        Since I used the word food adventures....

                                                                                                                                        interested in trying new foods, exploring cuisine and not being timid about any of it is exactly what I meant when I referred. Not being boring is what I meant.

                                                                                                                                        For me anyway those attribuutes most def. relate to ones own cooking ability and confidence.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                      Hello, I've read a lot on this site before signing up. Read some more after signing up. I had to reply to his post. I'm a 34yr old single father that has raised my boys since the youngest was less than 1yr old. The youngest is now 22. I can cook and love the creations and experiments. Most good .. and some .. well not so good. My youngest now gets requests for certain cakes he bakes. My older one is very popular at the Air Force base that he is stationed at for a some pork chop recipes and steaks OMG! I leaned to cook with my mom, grandmother and my dad ... heck my dad makes some of the best breakfasts that anyone could ask for. I made sure I passed that along to them. Cooking is fun, it brings people together.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillbillyCook

                                                                                                                                        You fathered a child at the tender age of 12?

                                                                                                                                        Impressive.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                          Oh heck .. typo LOL ... I'm 43 ... LOL

                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillbillyCook

                                                                                                                                            Ya know. I was wondering whether the typo was your son's age and he is actually only 12.

                                                                                                                                            Either way, it works :-)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                  Freud was wrong about more than that.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                    didn't even Freud allow that sometimes in a dream a cigar is just a cigar?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                      Nope. He was being teased by some colleagues about his own penchant for cigars and the obvious double entendre. His joke is mordant as of course it isn't just a cigar.

                                                                                                                                                      Ah, but what he said about defensive people...

                                                                                                                                    3. Silly me, I thought the more attractive thing is the man who will do the dishes!

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                                                                        Yes silly you! LOL Its better if the guy not only can cook but cleans up as he goes leaving only the dinner dishes behind

                                                                                                                                        And in my house those who cooks are excused from dish duty. I think that was one of the best incentives for my son learning how to cook!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                                                                          Good point and not an oversight. Those who cook, those who clean, those who food shop, those you make the reservation, all those things and more--nothing silly about it.

                                                                                                                                        2. From the male perspective, my ability to get dates in college increased tremendously when I moved into an aprtment and had access to a kitchen. Granted, the ratio at my school was 18 guys to each gal. Competition was intense. But my ability to cook, and cook well, definately set me apart.

                                                                                                                                          By the end of my senior year, I was giving classes to a couple of the wives on the joys of the omelet. Their husbands preferred mine to theirs.

                                                                                                                                          1. I've always maintained that the way to a woman's heart is through her stomach. I caught mine with duck a l'orange.

                                                                                                                                            1. As I guy.........now old, married with grown up kids, and still does 95% of the cooking.........the reason I learned back in my early 20;s:

                                                                                                                                              1. It impressed the hell out of a date
                                                                                                                                              2. Was cheaper than taking her out for a meal
                                                                                                                                              3. I already had her at my apt!

                                                                                                                                              LOL.got my wife with an offer to come rake leaves at my house, a simple grilled cheese(with thinly sauced sausage), scallped potatoes, radishes flowers and Irish coffee with sugar sprinkles on the glass......33 laters, I still sometimes make it (sans sausage)

                                                                                                                                              1. Gentlemen, what's been both eye opening and heartwarming is reading your confirmations that you ALL already know or quickly realized that when men cook for women it matters...makes a lasting impression and might have even been a game changer for your relationship.

                                                                                                                                                In the name of fair play, does the reverse hold true? How important are cooking skills to you when looking for the right woman?

                                                                                                                                                18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                  For those of us who could cook, I suspect it was lower on the pole than other attributes.......the guys who don't read this board.......well, I can't answer

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                    Maybe surprisingly, cooking skills have never really been an important criterion for me when looking at prospective companions. Most of the women I've been with have been competent in the kitchen - nothing more, nothing less. They could prepare themselves a meal if need be, but it would largely be from mostly pre-prepared boxed, canned or frozen items. My one girlfriend wanted to make breakfast yesterday and repeatedly asked for instructions for making scrambled eggs.

                                                                                                                                                    Other assets are much more important than culinary skill in a potential female partner. Willingness, physical beauty, a sense of humor and an ability to speak intelligently on a few topics, in that order, seem to trump all. If those criteria are correctly balanced, then it's go time. An ability to cook is a secondary luxury.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                                      the list of qualities that i would want in a man would have cooking skills at the bottom.

                                                                                                                                                      what i would want,
                                                                                                                                                      after the character issues, but related, would be generosity (was never more mortified than when i had a date with a guy who stiffed the waiter on our first date out of sheer cheapness), being NICE and HONEST, followed by being at least a little interested in what's going on in the world politically, scientifically, financially, etc.
                                                                                                                                                      be a good enough conversationalist and put together enough so that i could take him with me to a business/professional dinner.
                                                                                                                                                      someone who didn't want me to be his workout partner.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                        Reads like an interesting dating profile.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                          I think you have missed that cooking, like other activities, can be a proxy for other qualities.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                            thank you for saying so. i felt like i fumbled the ball on that one.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                              "I think you have missed that cooking, like other activities, can be a proxy for other qualities."

                                                                                                                                                              Well put. Having enough knowledge to develop skill and then acquiring more knowledge so as to acquire more skills seems to me to be the fundamental concept at issue. If one decides not to approach life that way, it is of course their choice. Nonetheless, I have earned the belief that what's ultimately important in life is the process, not the product.

                                                                                                                                                              And, westsidegirl, having worked hundred hour weeks and had to look at telephones in hotel rooms to remember what city I'm in, I remind you of that old cliche: "No one's last words were ever 'I should have spent more time at the office'."

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                actually,
                                                                                                                                                                my administrative assistant, who is older than i,
                                                                                                                                                                OFTEN laments that she spent too many years food shopping and cooking and staying at home, and as a result, her bachelor's from Penn has been pretty much wasted.

                                                                                                                                                                and i know MANY other women who have shared the same lament.

                                                                                                                                                                it's easy to say such stuff when you have already had a full and interesting career.

                                                                                                                                                                also, even among men, it's untrue.
                                                                                                                                                                my father relished every second of his career.
                                                                                                                                                                his last lament was that he wanted to have his life end in the courthouse instead of in a bed. i've often thought of trying to find a spot in that courthouse that no one would find, to put his ashes.
                                                                                                                                                                instead, his ashes are now residing in his old office, the next best thing.

                                                                                                                                                                re: <<"I think you have missed that cooking, like other activities, can be a proxy for other qualities.">>

                                                                                                                                                                so can a million other things. so what?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                  <too many years food shopping and cookin and stayin at home, and as a result, her bachelor's from Penn has been pretty much wasted>

                                                                                                                                                                  From my experience, westsidegal, the only way that can be true is if the person's ill, with a myriad of other health problems or responsibilites that would preclude them from doing so.
                                                                                                                                                                  Most women I know, including myself after doing all of the above and raising children, began their dream of a career (oftentimes using their degree) well toward the middle of their life. I empathize with a woman, like your assistant, who feels the way she does.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                    of course there was more to it:

                                                                                                                                                                    it was the combination of raising children and having a husband whose career led them to move from city to city.

                                                                                                                                                                    in addition, the husband (now deceased) was not thrilled with the idea of his wife having any serious responsibilities outside the home, so there was a lot of subtle but constant pressure to stay home. also, since the husband made much more money and had a high-prestige job, there was a subtle but constant discounting of the importance of any job she had.

                                                                                                                                                                    my current next door neighbors have a very similar dynamic going on in their marriage but without the moving. the husband referred to the money that his wife earned as "chump change" and told her that it wasn't worth it for her to drive to the "bad" part of town for her job.
                                                                                                                                                                    the difference, is that i believe that the neighbor wife is not going to miss what she didn't have, and that she will end up content with not working. (tennis can take up a lot of time)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                      <was not thrilled with the idea of his wife having any serious responsibilites outside the home>

                                                                                                                                                                      Thank for sharing. Her story describes the life of a friend of mine. She's a very intelligent, strong, independent woman, with an incredible career that came to an abrupt halt when she married and became a 24/7 domestic, raising children. Needless to say, he didn't approve of the many conversations I had with her, pointing out the possibilities of regrets she may have at the end of her life should she not readdress her career again one day.
                                                                                                                                                                      As you say, these are not isolated stories and these struggles are universal and timeless. Not everyone understands the value and the importance of 'following your own true heart'.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                    You are what you eat.

                                                                                                                                                                    I learned to appreciate good food, cooking, and the adventure of finding quality ingredients as a kid, long before my career. So I suspect people who blame their cooking for their unhappy and wasted lives, are simply externalizers.

                                                                                                                                                                    Joy of cooking is a proxy for enjoying an essential element of humanity that many angry people fail to understand.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                      maybe i wasn't clear law_doc.
                                                                                                                                                                      she didn't blame cooking for an "unhappy and wasted life."
                                                                                                                                                                      as a matter of fact she didn't have an "unhappy and wasted life."

                                                                                                                                                                      her position is that she would have had a BETTER life had she not gotten sidetracked by the responsibilities of her household (which included her cooking responsibilities) and, instead, had eeked out the time to build the career that her education would have supported.

                                                                                                                                                                      i told her story in response to this old cliche, from MGz's post:

                                                                                                                                                                      <<"No one's last words were ever 'I should have spent more time at the office'.">>

                                                                                                                                                                      the story was not narrowly related to cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                      also, to your statement ≤≤<<Joy of cooking is a proxy for enjoying an essential element of humanity that many angry people fail to understand.>>

                                                                                                                                                                      are you trying to say that i am angry because i absolutely disagree with you despite knowing how to cook well myself, and having worked cooking in restaurants and cooking as a private chef?

                                                                                                                                                                      are you saying that my father and the other men in my family are angry because they didn't care to understand cooking?

                                                                                                                                                                      are you saying that you think i'm angry because i don't give a whit whether or not my boyfriend loves to cook or doesn't cook at all?

                                                                                                                                                                      please explain more fully your connection of "angry" with not cooking.
                                                                                                                                                                      this is truly confusing for me.

                                                                                                                                                                      as i'm sure you know, people can disagree with each other without being angry, or, more to the point, i can completely disagree with another person on several issues, not just the ones discussed on this board, and not be angry in the least bit.

                                                                                                                                                                      are you saying that YOU are angry at me?
                                                                                                                                                                      if so, why?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                        Blah! Blah! She needed to be involved with a man who cooks.

                                                                                                                                                                        Funny, I was refering to her, not you. Are you angry?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                          no,
                                                                                                                                                                          nor is she.
                                                                                                                                                                          dunno how you came up with angry in your post.

                                                                                                                                                                          somehow, never occurred to me to tell anyone else who they <<needed to be involved with>>

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for responding FriedC & MonM. That Venus Mars thing is always interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                                                  While I do agree, as a woman, with all you're describing as important 'in a potential female partner'...

                                                                                                                                                                  I have to admit that I'm glad that I was thrown into the kitchen (and then guided and mentored by my grandmother) to cook for my family at a very early age. Learning to cook and enjoying it was traditional in both sides of my family.
                                                                                                                                                                  It paid off later when my children's friends would prefer coming to eat at our home because I was the only one of the mothers, out of dozens, that knew how to or liked to cook.

                                                                                                                                                              3. I find it very attractive when a man knows how to cook, is good at it, and enjoys it. It's a plus. If a guy knows how to make at least a few basic meals, that's all good with me. What's unattractive is when a guy doesn't know how to cook, at all.

                                                                                                                                                                On the flip side, the guys I've dated have appreciated my meals, and it makes me feel good knowing that they appreciate them and enjoy them!

                                                                                                                                                                1. Very very attractive. In my experience, it is a very rare quality to find a man that genuinely enjoys and can cook (and not simply to get dates or for show), a quality that I look for. Not for the purpose of him cooking for me (I also like to cook), but more that you have a mutual interest and something that you both enjoy doing together. I personally would prefer someone who would rather cook a meal from scratch than one who just grabs some processed food to eat. I think it does reflect other qualities of character.

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foodieinsd

                                                                                                                                                                    "I think it does reflect other qualities of character."

                                                                                                                                                                    thanks for the response. many have elaborated this above, but wanted your opinion...but, what other qualities of character are you referring to?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: majordanby

                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry for my late reply.

                                                                                                                                                                      The few guy friends that I know who know how to cook have in general been more sensitive, more aware of other people, not just concerned with themselves. Cooking is a process, and someone who enjoys doing that shows that they are willing to take or make the time to do something. I believe in the old saying that something worth doing is worth doing well. I find that those (regardless of gender) I know who can't really be bothered with cooking can sometimes be more impatient in other aspects of life. I'm not saying that all people are like this, just some of the ones that I have observed tend towards that. Cooking is also a trial and error thing, and it shows too that you have perseverance to keep at it. It's experimental nature shows that you aren't afraid to try or learn new things or explore new things, meaning that you are more open-minded and not xenophobic. It shows you can work independently and don't always have to have your hand held or be spoon fed. It shows you are responsible and value what you eat, which may translate in a sense of value in other aspects in life. Taste is a lot about nuances of flavors, which may reflect attention to detail and how to use the knowledge you have in a constructive way. All very positive and desirable qualities.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I have yet to encounter a woman who does not instantly fall in love after seeing my flat-whisk technique.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. I think it depends on the value you place on food and the importance it has in your own life. People reading and posting here are obviously passionate about food or they wouldn't be here. Some are more interested in the preparation and others mostly just the consumption, some both. How someone answers your question will probably depend on those interests.

                                                                                                                                                                      My father cooked, as did my uncles. My husband can and does cook and I have taught my son to cook. Actually he is in charge of dinner one night a week at our home and makes better homemade pizza than I ever could.

                                                                                                                                                                      I love a man that can cook. Very sexy.

                                                                                                                                                                      Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                        << Some are more interested in the preparation and others mostly just the consumption>>

                                                                                                                                                                        and some are interested in the preparation during some years of their life and not as interested in the preparation during other years of their life.

                                                                                                                                                                        from personal experience, the interest and disinterest in cooking can come and go many times over the course of even one decade.

                                                                                                                                                                        (when my office was located practically on top of the santa monica farmer's market i was cooking-crazed.)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                          "my office was located practically on top of the santa monica farmer's market"

                                                                                                                                                                          you lucky duck, when I lived in SF I was sooo excited to move near the markets in Chinatown AND they were on the walk to/from work. later in DC I lived 4 blocks from an old, still operating, market hall. the home eating was good those years.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                            i had a whole system worked out.
                                                                                                                                                                            i'd take an early lunch, while there was still lots of good quality produce out that hadn't wilted.
                                                                                                                                                                            would race around the market buying bag after bag of interesting looking stuff, didn't matter whether i'd ever cooked it before or not.
                                                                                                                                                                            i'd put the stuff in the trunk of my car in the subterranean parking garage in an insulated bag that i'd packed with those sealed ice cubes before leaving the house in the morning. (that is everything EXCEPT the tomatoes)

                                                                                                                                                                            by that time i got home i was raring for action.
                                                                                                                                                                            those were the best home-cooking days of my life.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. This has been a very fun read. Enjoy reading about couples who cook together and taught their sons to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                        And yes - a guy who can cook is very attractive. And one who likes to cook with me is also very attractive.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I was proposed to by 10 different men, and engaged 3 times before I got engaged to my husband. My husband was pretty much the only one that could cook, and the only one that became my husband (10 years now).

                                                                                                                                                                          There was one exception - a guy I dated years previously who was actually a really fancy, gourmet home chef who had taken all kinds of classes and had formal dinner parties in his home every month based around an international "theme." He pushed me to eat things I didn't like and didn't want to eat, bullying me into it and I didn't appreciate it. I'll never forget when I had the flu and he insisted I didn't need cold medicine, just some kind of curry dish and he whipped something up which promptly came back up after I ate it. He was both completely condescending of anything I tried to do in the kitchen as well as sarcastically "helpful," following behind me in the grocery and swapping out produce I'd picked for stuff he picked, and when caught, acted fake-surprised and said oh, I just thought you'd like to have a ripe tomato, if you want me to go back and get the unripe tomato, I'd be happy to do that. He made fun of how downscale my food was and so I rarely cooked.

                                                                                                                                                                          And of course there were countless of the "cannot even open a can" types, which is the opposite end of the bad spectrum.

                                                                                                                                                                          Mr RNR was just the right fit - had cooked in several restaurant kitchens but he wasn't Mr. Alinea At Home or something. Either of us can cook and it comes out pretty good most of the time, and so the responsibility doesn't fall completely on one or the other all the time. It's a good balance.

                                                                                                                                                                          15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                            I think I would have shown that gourmet home cook how to properly grind nuts - his - and then left him. What an ass.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                              :) I won't get into it here, but I did eventually leave, and it was one of my most creative departures ever. I am still proud of it, over 20 years later.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                Works for me, just knowing you made it creative, r&r1.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                  One would hope that asshole didn't last past a month or two.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                        since you shared so much about your dating/engagement history on a single men who cook thread, i gotta say that's a remarkable dating/engagement history in a short period of time. you must have found mr. right!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't know what's more appropriate.....quicker to say yes...or quicker to say no.....luckily it ended up for the best.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                            Well, it wasn't THAT short of a period of time. I was 15 when I got my first proposal, and 34 when I married Mr. RNR, who indeed is Mr. Right.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                              Maybe I just meant early. Good for you & Mr. Right.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't know, this was getting much more interesting before you clarified.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                        great line, Linda Whit.
                                                                                                                                                                                        unless you tell me not to, i plan to steal it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                          Some people enjoy that....from what I hear...

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Very attractive.
                                                                                                                                                                                        But no peacocks.
                                                                                                                                                                                        If all you can cook is on the grill, or filet mignon.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Pass!

                                                                                                                                                                                        Once a month (or so) I get home too tired or stressed to want to cook (headache or whatever). The man in the house takes up the slack.

                                                                                                                                                                                        If you don't have someone to back you up when you're feeling cruddy, what's the point in having a partner?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                                          <<If you don't have someone to back you up when you're feeling cruddy, what's the point in having a partner?>>

                                                                                                                                                                                          if my partner focuses giving me a massage, i am pretty happy with chinese food or pizza

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Well, I know he's not single but whenever I watch Top Chef and read his blog on Bravo, I have to say, Hugh Acheson is my idea of the perfect man.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Unibrow aside, he cooks and is very articulate. His blogs always make me smile. And he's Canadian. Perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                          But seriously, cooking skill is definitely a huge plus for me but not as important as cooking appreciation. If a man can appreciate the finer nuances of a meal at Le Bernadin or Alinea for example, then he goes to the top of the list.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Food is a very big part of my life. I love cooking, eating and talking about food. I love trying new foods, new cuisines etc. and would definitely want a partner who would also appreciate those experiences. I would not be able to be with anyone to whom a steak is a steak. But if he can cook a steak and speak intelligently about the differences between different cuts and preparations, well, I'm halfway in love already.

                                                                                                                                                                                          And if he was as smart and funny as Hugh...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Majordanby, I think men who likes to cook are attractive in many ways. Especially those who like to cook along side their mate. I could go on...but I think he would be awesome. Not to mention to be able to be handy around the house as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh yeah! Definitely need a strong set of hands to open those stubborn jars! Lol
                                                                                                                                                                                                Guys are awesome!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Back when I was dating I realized not only could I impress women with cooking a good meal at home, but already had a reason for her to BE in my home, IF you know what I mean!

                                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                                                                                                ....and in small studio apartments in NYC the kitchen was essentially, THE BEDROOM!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, I always wonder why people are so eager to go OUT for Valentine's Day. Wouldn't it be better to set up something romantic at home? ;-) Even if you don't cook you could do fancy take-out and some candles!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ruth, you are my kind of gal. I have found that Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are the worst for dinner at a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I hope you aren't eating at home because you're planning on getting intimate with your Mother! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Seriously, guys. Champagne, gourmet take-out on good plates, something gooey and chocolate, candles -- save some money and go out a different night!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bite your tongue. My mother is a saint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                          and she has ALL sorts of preserves in her cellar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. The question is, where are the single men who actually cook?! Lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Moto., Sounds like you are already taken and cooking...lol..so I don't need directions. Stay safe, don't need any trouble.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Do you actually know how to cook. :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nicola77

                                                                                                                                                                                                        lotsa guys do cook, but are shy about it. there is still an idea about masc/fem roles even among those who really don't care.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I'm probably going to catch some flack for my response, but while it's attractive, it wouldn't make my short list on things I find attractive in men. I kind of enjoy some old fashioned gender roles. I like the feeling of being able to cook a nice meal for my SO better than he could himself. On the other hand, I also like the fact that he's stronger and taller than me, and can do things around the house that I can't as easily. This isn't to say that I want to be expected to cook an elaborate meal every night, or that I don't want him to be able to fend for himself when he needs to, I just enjoy being able to do some things better than him, and cooking is usually one of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think choosing to be the one who does the cooking is fine. What's objectionable is the wide-spread assumption that it is the woman's *responsibility* to cook, which for the men, it's a *choice* to cook. The same with housework and childcare.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Eh, I'm a guy and I fully expect to be the one who does the cooking if I ever get married, mostly because I'll probably enjoy cooking more than she does (I enjoy cooking very much).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                                                                                                                                                                          And that will make you a helluvalot more attractive to the ladies, for sure :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. So how does the term metrosexual apply with this? a definition to start with? BTW>. I am a good cook who also has built houses, hunts, fishes, etc....and have been happily married for 23 years. to a talented professional woman. who knows lard crusts well.I do dishes, vacuum, laundry, shop, I fold for shit... on purpose...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think the term "metrosexual" is more a style thing than a behavior thing. It refers to straight urban (thus "metro-") men who've adopted grooming practices and fashionable ways of dressing formerly associated with gay men (thus "-sexual").

                                                                                                                                                                                                        However, I think you definitely qualify as a feminist. Sounds like your wife chose well!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh Lordy... a feminist.....do not tell her!!1

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                            HA! I was asked by my boss once to explain what her 14 YO boy meant when he came out as a 'metrosexual' and I doubt he knew what the term might infer, but it became an amusing morning discussion of semiotic and socio-linguistic theory. (wow I miss having her as a boss)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            her kid ought to have also learned how to make a decent bowl of pasta. maybe he has. hope so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I am single and live in nyc, i am a pretty good cook myself and enjoy cooking even if its just for my own dinner.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          If i was on a date and found out he cooked regularly that would make him at least 100xs more attractive. Even if he never makes me a meal i think its a great indicator of creativity, give-a-shit, and self sufficiency, which is not a given regardless of age.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Huge huge plus if he cooks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I am a single man who cooks well, and it makes about 0.0% difference as far as I can tell. Women being attracted to cooking ability is not an idea that even occurs to me. That's like saying women like adult men who can tie their own shoes; it's not exactly a high bar to clear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Attracting women is not about what you know anyway, it's about how you behave. If you talk loud, smile big, have swagger, and act like you believe the bullshit coming out of your own mouth when you're chatting up a woman, you can make it work even if you've never opened a can of soup in your life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sadly, I must admit there is a lot of truth to this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Aaand another wonderful match made. Who knew CH could serve that purpose, too '-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    SaraAshely seems like a lovely lady but I'm out of the game right now, thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Clearly you are chatting up the wrong women!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not that this applies to you, mind you, but I'm always bemused by men who "chat up" women for shallow reasons then are shocked -- even resentful -- to find out they are shallow!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ehhh, I see what you're saying, but I've seen totally average women that also fall into this line of thinking. I also know plenty of women that would argue what RMJ just said and say it's not true and that they want a "nice guy" but plenty of nice guys come into their lives and they reject them. Rarely any women will admit they want an asshole. That's why I never argue this point made by men because I do believe there is a lot of truth to it. Most of us are vain to some extent. If you're not attracted to the guy otherwise, do you really give a shit that he can cook? Probably not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If women don't want assholes how on earth do they poop?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If I didn't enjoy pooping so much I'd get one of them sex change changes. Edit, I do cook, fried up some fish for the wifeacita and lent last Friday, exactly 2 weeks post hip transplant. Speaking of NOT pooping, anesthesia and copious pain meds plugged me up enough for the hospital to fix up a "brown bomber."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can I also add that there may be an age factor here?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I mean that with younger people the "hotness" factor is more important.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Then when you get a little bit older things like can they cook, or do they like going to fabulous restaurants, or enjoy great wine, etc. is more important.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pamf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree that it probably does decrease with age, but I think for some women it will always be a factor, to a certain degree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Everyone likes the confident charismatic person.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Men and Women.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's not about beauty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. I have had much luck with my cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I have found that being able to cook, really cook, with good technique and proper presentation and setting is a huge plus. I actually picked up my current GF by saying: "You can't get real risotto is a restaurant."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There are some super defensive women who resent accomplished men, but the rest, I have found, appreciate the sense of pampering and effort. Men, BTW, appreciate being appreciated; pay heed ladies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There is, no doubt, an atavistic bonding represented by providing food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Please note number 7:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's not difficult to make a woman happy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It doesn't take much !!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A man only needs to be:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. A friend
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. A companion
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. A lover
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. A brother
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5. A father
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          6. A master
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          7. A chef
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          8. An electrician
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          9. A carpenter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          10. A plumber
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          11. A mechanic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          12. A decorator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          13. A stylist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          14. A sexologist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          15. A gynecologist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          16. A psychologist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          17. A pest exterminator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          18. A psychiatrist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          19. A healer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          20. A good listener
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          21. An organizer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          22. A good father for kids
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          23. Very clean
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          24. Sympathetic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          25. Athletic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          26. Warm
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          27. Attentive
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          28. Gallant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          29. Intelligent
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          30. Funny
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          31. Creative
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          32. Tender
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          33. Strong
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          34. Understanding
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          35. Tolerant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          36. Prudent
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          37. Ambitious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          38. Capable
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          39. Courageous
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          40. Determined
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          41. True
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          42. Dependable
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          43. Passionate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          44. Compassionate

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          WITHOUT FORGETTING TO:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          45. Give her compliments regularly
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          46. Let her go shopping regularly
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          47. Be honest
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          48. Be relatively rich
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          49. Not stress her out
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          50. Not look at other women

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          AND AT THE SAME TIME, YOU MUST ALSO:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          51. Give her lots of attention, but expect little yourself
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          52. Give her lots of time, especially time for herself
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          53. Give her lots of space, never worrying about where she goes or who she is with

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          BUT IT IS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT TO:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          54. Never to forget:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * birthdays
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * anniversaries
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * arrangements she makes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          * her parents

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and to make a man happy:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. leave him alone

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Before I profess my undying love, perhaps we should clarify what "regular" means...after all, Halley's Comet comes around on a regular basis!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A master! A brother! A gynaecologist! Ah no thanks!! What a weird list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: law_doc89

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        #50 :) My hubby knows I get crazy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I'm not single currently nor have I been single for quite a while but regardless I like to cook (though not bake.) What I don't like is the cleanup. Actually like isn't strong enough, I *HATE* the cleanup. Hence I don't cook anything fancy or elaborate for just myself. I will however put forth the effort to cook for others whether that's friends or a company potluck. I generally have pretty good results and I always have the best dishes at my company's potluck. My co-workers actually look forward to whatever I do usually trying to find out ahead of time what I'll be doing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I presume that's attractive to many a single woman.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't cook for my spouse so much as she's an ex-chef who enjoys cooking still. I do have specific areas where I take the lead like Southern BBQ, homebrew and a few specific dishes I like doing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Back in the "getting to know you" phase of our courtship, I asked my new friend, "Do you cook? What's your specialty? She replied, "I don't cook, but I don't mind cleaning up after someone who does." As I got to know her more I found truer words were never spoken. Her cooking repertoire mostly consisted of boiled hotdogs, box mac & cheese, and heating up leftovers from an evening out. I, OTOH, *did* cook, but really hated cleaning up after myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Though I don't cook really fancy stuff I am able to be creative with fairly simple ingredients, and this resonated well with my newfound friend. My famous Sommer Pasta was, and continues to be, a favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fast forward a decade and a half… We've been happily married now for nearly 14 years. People, particularly other women, express surprise when she tells them she doesn't cook. They seem even more surprised when she tells them, "We eat better when he cooks." (I guess they assumed we ate out every night.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So I guess the simple answer, at least in my case, was, "Yes! Cooking skills were attractive to at least one single female." And, yes, she does clean up after me when I cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. BBQ is on the same level of cooking as pouring soup from a can? I should think not --real cooking skill is involved with quality grilling. So, a corollary to majordanby's question is: just as we were taught years ago that "real men don't eat quiche", do real men also not use a *gas* grill?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MagicMarkR

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "[D]o real men also not use a *gas* grill?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Only in emergencies or when at someone else's home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              oh there's no shame in gas, if that's all you have or condo/rental rules forbid charcoal and hardwood or the SO pitches a hissy at the idea of disposing ashes. poor things, bless their hearts...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              would I ever choose it? oh lord no, so you can just shut your filthy mouth right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: MagicMarkR

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              too many weekend gas grill warriors out there making claims of grandeur with their food like stuff and mostly frozen burgers and franks. and as MGZ states correctly about that gas grill convenience, "Only in emergencies or when at someone else's home."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MagicMarkR

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i was bringing up two stereotypes of men and cooking - microwave/out of can and BBQ'ing. Making anything else (like quiche or baking brownies) - not a male stereotype. However, as someone who nearly always ends up BBQ'ing whenever I am with family, your point is well taken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Isn't the ability to take care of yourself a part of being a grownup? You can run your own bath, pay your own bills, pick up your own dry-cleaning, run a washing machine load of your own underwear and towels and sheets, and COOK YOUR OWN DINNER. We don't live in a society where most people have a live-in servant to do those things and we don't expect an adult male to live with his parents until he marries (so then his wife can take care of him). Partly this is generational. I had two elderly neighbors, both recently widowed at around age 90 and both engineers of impressive professional distinction. Either could have invented the concept "kitchen stove" but neither poor soul could operate the one he had. They had come along at a time when men weren't expected to take care of themselves, but I think that social norm has changed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I don't think it's a male/female thing but an old/young thing. It's shocking how many young people don't know how to cook. No role models in their families growing up etc. Eating out is automatic but such an expense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So cooking is a trait that's desirable in both sexes and across generations. It's a basic life skill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In my experience, young-ish men are more likely to cook than older men.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fascinating really. 75% of my late 20s/early 30s don't know how to boil water or at least choose not to. Granted, my 55 year old father also can't cook but, not to be sexist, even the women my age don't cook.