Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jun 27, 2014 01:40 PM

"I Don't Cook"

We've all heard this before. If even some of the people who say this are being completely accurate and truthful, in other words do not cook anything at all, what and how do they eat?

What if they have a family?

Do they go out 2-3 times a day to restaurants? Or do they nuke frozen stuff all of the time? Some of these folks might even call that cooking...

Maybe they live on chips and yogurt cups? Take-out food? Have a personal chef?

Do they do things like make toast?

I can't wrap my head around it. People need food!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A former co-worker, who definitely could not afford a personal chef, nor to dine out at restaurants every night, took this to the extreme - she disconnected her stove! I never did ask her what she did instead. I imagine a lot of take-out was involved. In Manhattan, that's easy and provides a lot of variety. Still, I'd rather have my own cooking most of the time. I can't wrap my head around living without a stove.

    1. I have a cousin who "does not cook" and she raised a daughter. Of course, the daughter now does not cook and the cousin has been divorced three times. I do not see this all as being unrelated.

      What my cousin would do is go to Costco once or twice a week and load up on prepackaged meals from the Costco deli case and that is all they would eat. Cereal for breakfast, maybe a pretty simple sandwich for lunch, and Costco for dinner.

      1. I can cook, rather well. But I rarely do. Only when hosting once per quarter, I'd say.

        I live in Manhattan. In the AM I nuke oatmeal before work, or have a yogurt, or on certain mornings pick up an egg and cheese sandwich on the way to the office.

        Lunch is salad/sandwich at desk.

        Dinner, I probably eat out 3 times per week, order in once per week, and then will grill a protein and steam vegetables. Maybe throw together a salad.

        I eat well.

        P.S Friends have suggested I use the oven to store sweaters. :)

        12 Replies
        1. re: thegforceny

          Now, you're grilling and steaming - I'd call that cooking. And eating rather well, too!

          1. re: sandylc

            Grilling = throw on George Foreman
            Steaming = well, it's really boiling, in a shallow dish of water in the microwave.

            And my ice cubes are superb! (ice maker)

          2. re: thegforceny

            This is much much more common in nyc than someone who makes and brings their lunch and then also makes dinner- even if "cooking" every night is simplistic or more assembly than cooking.....

            The oven is where you store the box of cereal that is too tall for your cupboard

            1. re: thegforceny

              I always thought the oven was for storing the pots/pans, so that I could use the cupboard for liquor. That "above the fridge" cabinet is so wrong for anything...

              1. re: thegforceny

                i have a friend who uses his oven to store shoes. he drinks gin and almost never eats. when he does? it's a few bites of a restaurant meal.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  I thought NYC stoves were for books...

                  a guy in Paris I know refers to his kitchen as his "walk-in wetbar/extra closet"

                  1. re: hill food

                    and the bread box holds bank books and insurance papers

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        In NYC many people live in breadboxes...

                    1. re: hill food

                      after my parents divorced and my father got his own apartment in nyc, he turned his kitchen into a darkroom for photography. his refrigerator had nothing but rolls of film and cigarettes in it.

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        That sounds like a black & white movie. Full of angst and creativity.

                2. I knew a family of four that did not cook unless you considered heating up a frozen pizza as cooking. Breakfast was cereal or toasted Eggos. Kid's lunches were cold sandwiches and chips. Dinner was take out during week and go out on weekends. My jaw dropped when I opened the freezer for some cubes and all that was in there were about 8 frozen pizzas.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: mcsheridan

                      I have a good friend who offered her freezer to store something. When I opened the fridge there was a six pack of beer, and when I opened the freezer there was one full ice cube tray. I have to smile at the memory, that was her to a T! To each their own.

                  1. My sister-in-law does not cook. They have an 8 yr old and a 10 yr old. Cold cereal breakfasts, school lunches/work cafeteria lunches, and dinners are takeout or frozen food/ready-made. A package of cooked chicken, a jar of curry sauce and a package of pre-cooked rice is a stretch for her.
                    I used to invite them over when I had extra to share, but they all turned their noses up at 'weird' food one too many times.

                    39 Replies
                    1. re: tacosandbeer

                      "... but they all turned their noses up at 'weird' food one too many times."

                      is there a law allowing us to physically assault these fucks? if one was to "turn their noses up at *their* choice of "food", one would be dismissed as 'elitist' or some shit like that.

                      Pfft... one finds many on this website too often as well... a dying breed is the Chowhound.

                      1. re: Gastronomos

                        There's a whole new topic (or old one). I hate that people who like food can be called names implying or stating snobbery, but those who nice food?...are exempt from criticism.

                        1. re: sandylc

                          soooo.... 'Jack' likes to eat food prepared to his liking... and is labeled a snob.

                          'Jane' likes McDonalds daily and any word about it from Jack and Jack is labeled a snob.

                          Chowhounds are a dying breed.

                          Replaced by "chowhounders".

                          Outnumbered by "foodies".

                          Does ANYONE know where I can find DELICIOUSNESS ANYWHERE????????????

                            1. re: scubadoo97

                              Just about the only place right about now...

                        2. re: Gastronomos

                          Ummm, did anyone else here notice that this is a place for people who like food to make a community?

                          1. re: cronker

                            oh since when? a shared interest in food yes, but community? we're like a bunch of 5 year-old 'biters' on a sugar high and we DO NOT LIKE our siblings or anything really at the moment.

                            play it like that and it's all so easy and peaceful.

                            much easier to be called by a pejorative when you're OK with claiming it. I am a dumb fuck, my only issue was the comment about elitism as I am very much in favor of the spirit behind the EEOC and related efforts

                        3. re: tacosandbeer

                          A coworker of mine grew up in a family that barely cooked. There was coffee and the mom made 1-2 dishes rotated when she "had" to cook. They raised 4 daughters by going out for all meals. Unfortunately they are all picky and overweight from lack of balanced meals.
                          My coworkers only vegetable I have ever seen her eat is iceburg or sometimes romaine lettuce, she will pick everything else out.
                          She eats out every meal even at work she will go to the deli and pay $6 for turkey and cheese on white bread daily.
                          I have often offered to just show her how to keep sandwich stuff in the fridge at the office since she is assembling bread, cheese and meat daily but she has no desire.
                          Absolutely mind boggling. I have invited her over for dinner but after the first time she has never took me up on it again. I made penne and red sauce as I knew she liked simple, apparently there were too many "green things" in it for her.

                          1. re: pie22

                            I have a friend like this whom I've written about before. Interestingly, he grew up in a large Southern family and they eat their veggies no prob. For whatever reason, he just despises them. The only "vegetable" he'll eat is a tomato, and it either has to be in a marinara type sauce (no green things!) or raw but sprinkled with tons of salt and served atop a cheeseburger. But most of the time, it's cold cuts on white bread, hot dogs, burgers, plain pizza, fast food, etc.

                            I recently hosted his bday party and purposely put out a ton of veggie side dishes to see if he'd cave under peer pressure. He had pork chops and tons of roasted fingerling potatoes, with some gorgeous organic berries and cake for dessert. After the party, he sheepishly asked for the leftover taters and some fruit, which I happily handed over. Probably the healthiest things he's eaten in ages.

                            1. re: nothingswrong

                              oddly enough, my friend is from the south as well

                              1. re: pie22

                                years ago I made a friend from out of state. we worked together and found solace in each other as our careers were complicated. we did things together as girlfriends, she never married, me > married all my life, but fun we did have. the beach was visited a lot by us and often we'd return to her house, where we'd chat a while and I'd get in my car and head home.
                                she is from the deep south, been there all her life.
                                one of those days she said to me, 'get us the bottle of wine out of the frig' and I did but when I opened the frig up for the first time ever of this immaculate lady with this pristine adorable highly valued house, I was shocked at what I saw. no food, a bottle of wine, mustard and mayo, a container of oj, nothing in the freezer but ice cube tray. I said, "uh, do you eat?" I was shocked that this gal I'd known for a good while didn't buy groceries.
                                yes she lived alone, but how'd she fill her stomach? out to every meal cause she as shootin there was no food there.
                                makes no sense to me. even when I lived alone for a very long time, my frig/freezer/pantry were always stocked because I had to eat and loved to fix whatever I wanted on any given day for my treasured meal.
                                yep, to each his/her own

                                1. re: iL Divo

                                  "...even when I lived alone for a very long time, my frig/freezer/pantry were always stocked because I had to eat and loved to fix whatever I wanted on any given day for my treasured meal."

                                  My sentiments exactly. I live alone but my fridge and cupboards are always fully stocked because it reassures me to know that I can always pull together a decent meal for myself.

                                  1. re: medrite

                                    I think this is another example of living to eat as opposed to eating to live.

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      Living to eat? How about knowing how to take care of yourself and make a loving home for yourself?

                                      1. re: John E.

                                        You're aware this is a food board, right?

                                      2. re: medrite

                               friends and I from work were all mostly in the same situation. they knew where I lived and we all sort of got together as much as we could for support and purpose of eating and sharing a meal. they were often at my house because they knew I cooked as I did it for work a lot, and knew my favorite stores to frequent were food stores. I loved knowing that at any time, Jimmie and Suzanne would call and ask what I was doing for dinner. nice being able to say, "nothing, you?" and I'd say come over here for dinner. nothing needed to buy which may be odd but always had enough needed to make a nice meal. and I live to eat, I don't eat to live.

                              2. re: tacosandbeer

                                I have relatives like that, and they have a country club to-die-for kitchen. Go figure. I have to say that they are the best hosts ever, and I love them to death, but they are in the construction/interior design business, and their house is built to be attractive to the next buyers, because that's the business they're in. That makes it a little bit soulless to me, but I do love their house, especially the kitchen. Except for the damn cabinet-depth refrigerators, which suck big time. I hate those fridges. But the dual dishwashers and the icemaker? Woohoo.

                                1. re: EWSflash

                                  I've always wanted a cabinet depth fridge. Why do you hate them?

                                  1. re: thymetobake

                                    Because they don't HOLD anything of depth, like a big turkey or a bunch of anything. I need a huge refrigerator, and cabinet depth fridges aren't a good use of refrigeration if you have a lot of stuff in your fridge normally. I'd need an addition to my house to keep all the cabinet-depth fridges I needed to store my stuff.

                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                      So 22 cubic feet of space won't accommodate anything of depth? What sort of steroid loaded turkeys do you store in your fridge?

                                      1. re: Virginian

                                        The depth is one dimension, which cannot be determined from volume. The interior depth of my refrigerator is about 16 inches.

                                        1. re: GH1618

                                          It just seems too shallow to me, the same way that side-by-sides don't seem to hold enough. Personal opinion. Ifnore my comment below, I was apparently in a shitty and defensive mood.

                                        2. re: Virginian

                                          I have relatives with cabinet-depth refrigerators, and they really look spectacular from the outside, but I'm amazed at how little they actually hold, is all.
                                          I rarely, if ever, store steroid-loaded turkeys in my refrigerator, and your comment is unnecessarily nasty and patronizing.

                                        3. re: EWSflash

                                          It never occurred to me to that we needed such a refrigerator.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            Which kind? cabinet depth or deeper?

                                        4. re: thymetobake

                                          I'm with you. I love my cabinet-depth refrigerator, because it's easier to see what's in it. A large turkey would be a problem, granted, but I don't have that problem.

                                          1. re: GH1618

                                            Cabinet depth fridges hold turkey, come on now!
                                            Side by sides, on the other hand, are useless.

                                            1. re: monavano

                                              How about a side by side cabinet depth. That's what's in my kitchen :(

                                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                                That's essentially what I had before- a side by side built in.
                                                I hated that thing with a passion!

                                                1. re: monavano

                                                  Kinda stuck since I'm not doing another kitchen make over in this house. Still have a std fridge in the garage along with an upright freezer

                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                    Built ins are nice- until you want to get rid of the fridge and swap it out for another!

                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                      Yup. That is how we ended up with a counter-depth fridge. When we did a total kitchen redo when we moved into the house 25 years ago, the cabinets adjacent to the fridge were built extra deep so we could install a full depth fridge, with cabinetry also above the fridge for a complete built in look. Flash forward 17 years when we had to replace the fridge, only to discover that most standard depth fridges were several inches taller than they had been when we did the kitchen reno. The only fridge that would fit the hole was a counterdepth. We considered bringing in a carpenter to remove and replace the old over-fridge cabinets so that we accommodate the taller standard depth but, since there are just 2 of us at home now, decided we could manage with the counterdepth.

                                                      I can get a 20+ pound turkey in there but it involves a lot of maneuvering of other items. And but for the fact that we have an under-counter fridge in a wet bar elsewhere, I'd have even more problems.

                                                  2. re: monavano

                                                    We have a side-by-side (rental)... the fridge part is adequate, but the freezer is so totally useless we hadn't been here a week before I told my husband we had to go buy a chest freezer to hold our actual food. The only things we keep in the upright are the ice(large icemaker), the icecream, becuase it gets too hard in the chest, and our pre-chilled drink cups. A counter-depth side-by-side would be an absolute abomination.

                                                    1. re: Kajikit

                                                      My dad is an Arizona snowbird and his freezer was not working properly. He bought a new refrigerator but when it was delivered, it would not fit. As long as the old refrigerator had been pulled out, he vacuumed the coils and it's been working fine for a couple of years. I don't know if it will help your freezer, but it can't hurt to give it a try.

                                                      His freezer didn't seem to get cold enough and the refrigerator would freeze some things on the top shelf.

                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                      Oops just posted the same thing again.

                                                2. re: thymetobake

                                                  I have one, and it's a blessing and a curse. My kitchen is an extremely narrow galley and a regular depth fridge would have reduced the size of the aisle to something less than 2.5 feet - ugh. I could have put it at the closed end of the galley, but then everyone would be constantly squeezing past me while I'm cooking to get a glass of water or an ice cube - NOT ACCEPTABLE.

                                                  So, putting the cabinet depth fridge at the entrance of the kitchen worked really well for us, and when it's just me and DH at home, it's fine - even after a big trip to Costco, there's plenty of space for our needs. However, when his daughters are staying with us, it get VERY full, very fast - partially due to the larger volume of food required to feed four people vs. two, but also because they drink things like milk and soda that tend to take up a lot of room. We work around it, but it's annoying for sure. Better than a side-by-side, however.

                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                    Sounds like a small bar fridge in the garage or pantry might be in order for drinks only.
                                                    I put one in the garage for all the condiments - they were crowding out my food.