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Cooking and Food Fights with Home Partners


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We often talk on eGullet about specific techniques in cooking. But I sense that often those questions are not motivated merely by our own senses of taste, texture, doneness, and so on, but also by the preferences of others in our households -- preferences that, I'll bet, we don't always share.

So, instead of asking a question that focuses on technique, I'm feeling kind of Paul Harvey today, wanting to know... the rest of the story.

Give us some ancecdotes and tales from the darker side of your home relationships around food. What are the real knock-down, drag-'em-out food fights about at your dinner table? What do they say about you? Your partner? I'm a terrible snoop who finds such things fascinating, so the more squabbly and/or ranty the better!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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What a great topic! I could go on for hours about this one :wink: but I'll restrain myself to saying that there never used to be any real arguments about technique/style until I began to teach my SO more and more about cooking. At first, it was fun and he really enjoyed it. Then he got a bit more comfortable. And we both have VERY strong personalities :shock: which led to some heated discussions in the kitchen. Now there are only two areas that get me really ticked. The main one is his INSANE habit of changing the temperature on something I'm cooking (usually up if he's in a hurry, can you say pancetta fire?) or his habit of walking into the kitchen and making "helpful" suggestions on how to do something when it is not only something he has never made, but something he has never tasted either :shock::angry:

As for flavour, all those discussions are allowed and encouraged as the SO has a great palate and is very helpful/happy to experiment.

I am thinking of removing all the knobs from the stove :laugh:

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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There are a great many issues which can tear apart a great relationship in the kitchen, one of which is dishwasher wars disrupt the kitchen peace .... ... remember this from long ago?? :rolleyes:

a simple, seemingly innocent, event which occurs daily in most households, can spell imminent disaster over how the procedure may actually unleash tensions and trigger latent hostility between loving couples ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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When meat is cooked, especially chicken or pork. The Spouse will sit there and pick at the meat on his plate, searching for any tiny morsel he thinks is undercooked.

When the news came out about the blood in chickens being due to the age of the bird, not "doneness", I tried to tell him. Did that stop him from checking for blood? Nooooooo.

I made a pork loin roast last night and even used a thermometer to make sure it was done but did that stop him from checking for anything that might even remotely considered to be pink? Noooooo.

That one I blame on his mother. Apparently, she had a childhood friend die of trichinosis so I imagine it was a concern for her when he was growing up.

When we first met, he used to order his steak well done. <shudder> For someone who ordered hers blue, it was a horrible experience for me. At least he's moved up to medium in the restaurants and actually eating (and cooking!) medium-rare beef at home.

And it only took 17 years!

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What a great topic! 

Thanks! A great response, too!

The main one is his INSANE habit of changing the temperature on something I'm cooking (usually up if he's in a hurry, can you say pancetta fire?) or his habit of walking into the kitchen and making "helpful" suggestions on how to do something when it is not only something he has never made, but something he has never tasted either

Ah, yes... being helpful. In my house, this often takes the form of "cleaning up for you," as in,

Chris: "Where's the butter that I'm softening?"

Andrea: "Back in the fridge. I was cleaning up for you."

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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The main one is his INSANE habit of changing the temperature on something I'm cooking (usually up if he's in a hurry, can you say pancetta fire?) or his habit of walking into the kitchen and making "helpful" suggestions on how to do something when it is not only something he has never made, but something he has never tasted either

Ah, yes... being helpful. In my house, this often takes the form of "cleaning up for you," as in,

Chris: "Where's the butter that I'm softening?"

Andrea: "Back in the fridge. I was cleaning up for you."

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Sweet DH does a lot of cooking, for which I've been very grateful, but lordy, can he demolish a kitchen. One cannot bitch at the hand trying to feed them.

"Oh, you were saving that roast for something?" etc., etc. I had my SIL find me stickers that were a skull and crossbones at the Spencer's Gifts in the mall, and now place one--if I think of it---on don't eat stuff. He does listen to those. :smile:

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I've lived with 2 men in my life. One was a very very picky eater and wouldn't touch, smell or look at garlic. I love garlic and it produced a lot of fights. Not only that, but I found my cast iron pan soaking in a sink full of soapy water one day. It wasn't pretty and it took me 2 years to fix it. The other one loved to cook, he wasn't very good, but he was willing to learn and willing to try anything. He grew up in a typical British household and his mother really didn't know how to cook and she certainly didn't know what salt was. So whenever I put salt on something he would get mad at me and tell me that I was insulting whoever had cooked. That used to drive me nuts. :angry: And of course, there was the throwing things out on the exact day that they "expired". Why ? Why would anyone do that?

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I've lived with three men in my life. The first was blind, but that didn't stop him from cooking, although it was pretty scary sometimes. My ex husband does not cook. At least I can't remember him ever cooking. My (now) husband does cook, but really prefers it when I do the cooking.

I spend a lot of time cleaning up after him when he cooks. He's incredibly messy.

:blink:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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It's a shame when you cook a beautiful duck breast and you know that some small part of your companion can't really enjoy it, because it's poultry and it's rare.

Oh, this just reminded me of the time I made seared tuna steaks...rare, of course. He got up and microwaved his.

(How come there is no smilie like the heart one but shows tears bursting forth?)

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My SO and I had a ridiculous argument over onions in mashed potatoes. I like them. I put onions and garlic in just about everything I make. She loves garlic mashed potatoes. I put onion in the mashed potatoes and she went ballistic and refused to eat them. For my part, I almost the threw the mashed potatoes but then thought the better of it as I'd have to clean it up.

edited to add: salt is another big one. I use it, she doesn't. She gives me dirty looks when I put salt in the water for boiling pasta or potatoes.

Edited by jglazer75 (log)
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I've lived with 2 men in my life.  One was a very very picky eater and wouldn't touch, smell or look at garlic.  I love garlic and it produced a lot of fights.

You were right to move on from that dope! Didja ever try to sneak it into food? Especially at the end??

Not only that, but I found my cast iron pan soaking in a sink full of soapy water one day.  It wasn't pretty and it took me 2 years to fix it.

to the tune of the famous South Pacific ditty:

I'm gonna scrub that rust right out of my pan

oh yes I'll scrub that rust right out of my pan

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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It's a shame when you cook a beautiful duck breast and you know that some small part of your companion can't really enjoy it, because it's poultry and it's rare.

Oh, this just reminded me of the time I made seared tuna steaks...rare, of course. He got up and microwaved his.

(How come there is no smilie like the heart one but shows tears bursting forth?)

And the Lobel's Wagyu ribeye cooked to medium, and that only after some hand-wringing. That one almost made me cry.

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My wife and I have a deal. Whoever cooks, the other one does KP duty. I don't mind splitting it up like that, but dear lord, the woman uses every pan and bowl in the house. How can chicken and dumplings take 4 bowls, three pots, 2 cutting boards, and a baking pan?

And if I see her using the pizza cutter directly on the pizza stone agin, I'm going to throw it away... (the cutter, that is)

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Biggest food fight here is about the kids.

I don't believe that everyone should like very food. He thinks that every kid should like everything. He insists that his mother insisted they eat everything on their plates. Her memory is different.

So, Peter doesn't like parsnips? Neither do I. Is it any different that he doesn't like them, and I don't like them? Apparently, yes.

And, I have finally informed my family that if they don't like something new I've tried, they'll see it again. Don't worry about offending me. You may offend the recipe/idea creator, but not me.

Finally (for all of my family) -- it sure doesn't take much more energy to open the dishwasher door and insert your glass or plate than it does to put it on top of the dishwasher.

My family and husband are pretty darned good. They will try whatever I put in front on them. They love how I smell when I smoke meat. They love the end product. They have learned to appreciate spicy food. They think garlic rules. I'm really lucky, I guess.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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And of course, there was the throwing things out on the exact day that they "expired".  Why ?  Why would anyone do that?

Yeah, huh? My dh does the same thing...when I ask him why, he swears he tasted it and it was "BAD". Now, how does something know that it's supposed to go bad on the day it expires :wacko:

The thing that really gets me is when he all of a sudden, decides the refrig. temp is set too low (i'm here all week and I do all the cooking....it's fine all week, but somehow when he opens up the fridge, it gets too warm???) and turns it up without saying anything and I go to make a salad and all the produce is FROZENgallery_10369_182_1099519094.jpg UGH! I hate frozen lettuce!

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And of course, there was the throwing things out on the exact day that they "expired".  Why ?  Why would anyone do that?

Um I do that. Or at least shortly thereafter. Why? Because I have a mold/fungi allergy and I'm not fond of not being able to breathe. So I don't take chances. :smile:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I brought my knife roll to the girlfriends house and she said I have knives. She had pieces of metal that play knives on TV. She got a very nice assortment picked out by me for her birthday along with a ceramic sharpener. I find knives in the sink and other assorted places. I bring my own knives. I love her dearly and we spend all our time together and she does make me grilled cheese for breakfast. We coexist comfortably.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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the mrs uses a garlic press which i hate cleaning

she never cleans up after i make a nice meal - most of the time - then i'm cleaning it up the next day

she never buys milk when we need it - all the bloody time- milk, it's a staple

she never checks the food she buys - and most of the time it's marred

she doesn't understand stale - ie: never wraps food up properly

she never smells anything, just uses the sell by date and it has to go, but get this, she puts it back in the fridge, why say anything in the first place?

:wacko:

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This has never really caused a fight, but it drives me nuts.

I cook. My husband says "You cooked -- I'll clean up. Just go sit". So I take the remainder of my wine to the living room and listen to him washing up.

But it's just that. He rinses the dishes and puts them in the dishwasher. He washes any pots, etc. in the sink.

But the counters, sink, floor etc. are still messy. Arrggghhh.

But then he tells me how good everything was, so I forgive him. :biggrin:

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My family loves my cooking, and my husband does all the dishes, for which let us now fall to our knees in praise. However, he does have one truly terrible trait - he won't eat fruit! No fruit, except jam, or apples in pie, or orange juice. Wait, also blueberries in muffins. That's friggin' it! It's so hard to make desserts when all that beautiful fruit can't be involved. I know, it sounds petty, but it drives me mad.

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