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Cooking and Food Fights with Home Partners


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We have the Custard Wars. Fortunately this has not yet got as far as throwing, but my partner stongly believes that custard should be solid enough to stand a spoon, almost like blancmange, and I'm sure it should be a thin pouring sauce.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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I actually can't think of too many things my wife does that annoy me. The biggest one has to do with eating healthy. We are both trying to eat better, which is fine. However, if you want to make something "bad", just make it right and don't eat a lot! She makes pies once a year (Thanksgiving), and this year had to use Splenda. Ditto with the Christmas cookies. She considers holiday baking her turf, but I may just have to invade to make a really bad-for-you pie. I was also amused when she tried to make french toast with Smart Balance. It was a sight to see.

I probably irritate her more when I am cooking - I make a total mess (although I am the kitchen cleaner, so it should really bother me more!) I know I also stick my fingers in everything I'm cooking (bad habit learned from the great-grandmother), but I do wash my hands a lot! When guests are over, I am more mindful of this, and just dirty lots of spoons to do the tasting. I think she likes it when I cook, and so doesn't care how I go about doing it.

Although she likes her meat cooked medium well and I usually like it rare, it doesn't bother me for some reason. Her grandfather also orders everything "well-well-done. Burn it. Yes, filet, WELL WELL DONE!!!" I figure if I wouldn't want to eat it that way, they wouldn't want to eat it my way. As long as its enjoyed!

I would also like to wholeheartedly agree with the comment about examining the kitchen/food habits of potential mates. Because lets face it - you'll have to cook and eat every day, and will usually do it together. If its always going to be a fight...

Edited by Lordof7 (log)
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I am really a very lucky woman. My husband happily eats eveything I cook for him. We both love to cook and he would cook more often if his schedule permitted. He is pretty good about cleaning up the kitchen after he cooks and is great about helping me clean after I cook.

That said, the one thing he does that drives me up the wall is put food into the refrigerator uncovered. This includes food from casseroles to pizza to roasted chicken. Sometimes, he won't even make an attempt to cover it (leftovers thrown on a plate and tossed in) and somtimes he will pull the saran wrap or foil off of somthing and then just half-ass lay it on top of the dish and put it back in the frig. I don't know why this bothers me so much. Maybe I am a little anal about it.

Edited by shellfishfiend (log)

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epicetus

Amanda Newton

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We had food wars in the kitchen when I was growing up....the funniest involved my father placing a tom thumb cracker (firework)in my mother's mashed potato as she had her back turned to the stove and lighting it just before she sat down...hahahahaha snowdrifts of mashed spuds on my mum's eyebrows......poor mum.....but he did do the washing up

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If I'm cooking and my mother is around, "What is this", "Is it done, are you SURE?", "What are you putting in that?", etc. Her area of expertise extends only to Hamburger Helper.

Besides standing over my shoulder, I have found my cast iron AND my carbon steel wok in the soapy water! New rules at my house: If you want to clean up, fine, NO washing the pots and pans!

Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb 19): Cranky. And rude and tactless. - and a perfect description of me!

"Is there alcohol in this furniture polish? Mmmmm, tastes like I might die!" Roger the Alien, "American Dad"

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My favorite is the story of that little blasted pop-up device on the turkey. After one Thanksgiving where mum cooked the turkey for 1 1/2 hours LONGER than the estimate and the stupid thing still hadn't popped up (I think jerky would've been juicier at that point), I gave her an instant read thermometer for Christmas that year and explained to her how it worked.

Flash forward to the next Thanksgiving, where I am giving her instructions on how to tell when the turkey is ready to come out of the oven. She and husband #2 have two kitchens in their house. I am in the newer kitchen pulling together all the side dishes. At about the time where the turkey should be done, Husband #2 comes into my kitchen and I ask if what the turkey's temperature is. "Not done yet," he grumbles and walks away. Mum walks in and I ask again about the turkey's temperature. "Sweetie, it's not done yet." Insisting that I wasn't asking if it was done, but rather what the temperature was, she finally tells me. Realizing that the turkey WAS done, I tell her to go ahead and take it out. "But dear, the thing hasn't popped up yet." After a brief fight where the Sahara desert got mentioned more than once, she finally agrees. Husband #2 is equally as stubborn muttering curse words as he reaches into the oven to extract the bird.

The next point is what made it all worthwhile. As Husband #2 lifts the bird out of the oven, muttering obscenities about how the f---in' thing isn't done, the little pop-up device .... pops!

"Oh! I guess it was done."

Geez, 'ya think so?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Closing in on 40 and still unmarried, I never have these discussions. In the past, though, when I've lived with girlfriends.... I just resign myself to doing all the kitchen chores. For whatever reason, none of my previous girlfriends have been any kind of decent cooks (although one was an outstanding baker) and so it's just been agreed that I can do all the cooking.

I had a roommate once who scrubbed my wok back down to bare steel. I didn't actually hit him, but sure thought about it.

About the dishes not going in the dishwasher: You're just going to rearrange it and complain bitterly about how we're "doing it wrong" so why even bother??

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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Playing grab a$$ while I am concentrating on what I am doing. Yesterday he goosed me while I was salting a pot of water for veggies, and I had to start over. Makes me nuts, and makes him giggle!

Consider yourself lucky, my wife will come nowhere near me when I am cooking, she says I am always looking too serious. :sad:

He also likes to supervise, even if he doesn't know what I am cooking, never prepared it himself, and doesn't know what the plan is.

Snap! My wife being Indonesia, has only ventured as far as making pizza and/or steak with fries and/or mashed potato, but she appears to consider herself to be a walking encylopedia on everything cooking as soon as I start to prepare anything.

Luckily my 5 year old son helps out here and distracts her with something urgent, normally his twin sister crying, (how he manages this I will never know!) before returning to help his dad in the kitchen, dad's kitchen!

Mum has a kitchen of her own and assistants for preparing Indonesian food, I guess that is what keeps us loving each other, SEPERATION. :biggrin:

"Don't be shy, just give it a try!"

Nungkysman: Food for the Body and the Soul.

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  • 4 weeks later...
I would also like to wholeheartedly agree with the comment about examining the kitchen/food habits of potential mates.  Because lets face it - you'll have to cook and eat every day, and will usually do it together.  If its always going to be a fight...

Totally! I once dated a fellow who didn't like broccoli, or anything else in that veg. family, and those are staple foods in my house. Also, he was anti-cheese, and always had that fake soy-slices stuff. Eeeeeewwww. When BF and I broke up, my daughter drew a Mr. Yuck face next to his name on the phone list on our fridge.

Now happily remarried to a man who made me dinner on our first "serious" date. As long as I tell him what size to cut things up, it works fine.

Oh, and he can't seem to understand why I don't use power tools (food chopper, blender, food processor, bread machine) for everything.

He's learning about my particular dishwasher geometry, too.

Life is good.

Karen Dar Woon

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Heh. I don't actually share any cooking with Fearless Housemate... He very seldom cleans anything either--I often walk into the kitchen in the morning and find bowls, counters, etc. encrusted with remains of meals made groggily at 4am

It helps that I actually don't have very much fancy-shmancy kitchen gear, and the little I do have, I keep carefully put away where he can't find it. And if there's stuff of his in the way on the counter, I just pile it on one of his other piles of random crap.

This sounds frighteningly like my daughter's situation. She keeps her good pots (gifts from me), and her favorite foods, in a separate locked cupboard in the shared kitchen! Oh, and write her name, in big black marker, on her containers of food.

Karen Dar Woon

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Luckily my 5 year old son helps out here and distracts her with something urgent, normally his twin sister crying, (how he manages this I will never know!) before returning to help his dad in the kitchen, dad's kitchen!

You never had a sister, right?

Heh. I don't actually share any cooking with Fearless Housemate... He very seldom cleans anything either--I often walk into the kitchen in the morning and find bowls, counters, etc. encrusted with remains of meals made groggily at 4am

It helps that I actually don't have very much fancy-shmancy kitchen gear, and the little I do have, I keep carefully put away where he can't find it. And if there's stuff of his in the way on the counter, I just pile it on one of his other piles of random crap.

This sounds frighteningly like my daughter's situation. She keeps her good pots (gifts from me), and her favorite foods, in a separate locked cupboard in the shared kitchen! Oh, and write her name, in big black marker, on her containers of food.

This sounds like something I should keep in mind since I'll be moving into a hostel soon.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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Apparently, there is only one temperature - high.

This results in rather more smoke production than I prefer.

The food tastes good tho. :wink::smile:

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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(Thankfully no longer a home partner, but) I just had it out with my mom last week; we were prepping for dinner for my brother's b'day, so we converged on his house for a few of his favorite things. My niece asked if we could bake a cake, so I brought 2 9" aluminum foil pans (don't get me started on their kitchen--and I try not to bring anything of mine there, as it may never come home) for the cake.

Before we start making the cake, Mom asks if I can slice the brisket for her, as the arthritis in her hands makes it difficult. Sure--no problem. I'm using the dining room table (I told you not to get me started on their kitchen!) for work space, and she brings the 2nd brisket in--in one of my cake pans. I blew a gasket. "WHY WOULD YOU PUT THAT IN THERE?!? IT'S FOR CAKE!!! Do you want onions and wine in YOUR slice of cake?!?" :angry: Needless to say, she got the brisket out of the pan ASAP, and with supervision from my niece (age 5), cleaned out the pan. Mom laughingly referred to me by my dad's name (they've been divorced 20+ years), as he's been known to order folks around in a kitchen. My niece announced "You should be a teacher...you yell like mine!" hehe

This was not going to be artisinal dessert, but still...some people JUST. DON'T. GET. IT.

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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My husband used to have an annoying habit of following me around the kitchen and second guessing what I'm doing. This is the guy who can fry himself an egg and occasionally will grill a steak but other than that leaves the cooking to me. Regardless, he was an expert on everything. I'd get hints on seasoning, heat levels, cooking techniques, you name it. Everything was open for discussion, especially when I'm right in the middle of finishing up that that last bit of the meal that involves finishing the sauce, plating the salad, and pulling the steamed vegetables off the heat so that everything is done at the perfect time.

I use the past tense, because I managed to break him of this habit shortly before Christmas.

It was one of those Friday nights where we both had crazy weeks at work, and were very tired and about halfway into a bottle of wine. I was making an herb stuffed pork roast, and he was miffed at me because he'd asked me a question earlier and I was in the middle of something and apparently was short with him when I answered. He was worse than normal, following me around and second guessing everything I did. I was trying to be patient, but I was tired, and he was pissing me off. Finally, he said something, I barked something back, and he disappeared into his office. I took this as he stomped out of the kitchen, he told me later that he just needed to mellow out so left the kitchen to take a break.

Regardless, I got mad. REALLY mad. How dare he stomp out on me! The pork roast was on the counter, ready to be carved and eaten. All this emotion and mayhem, over a silly pork roast. Why'd I even cooked it? We could have ordered a pizza. The pork roast... it was the cause of all this. I must get rid of it.

I pulled the garbage from under the sink, and dumped the evil roast into it. But that wasn't good enough... we'd just emptied the garbage and put a clean bag into it. I needed that pork roast destroyed, and it was all too retrievable in a brand spankin' new plastic garbage bag. Luckily, we live on several acres, and our deck hangs out over a steep drop off than ends in a creek. I grabbed the roast with my tongs, took it out on the deck, and threw it as hard as I could out into the night.

At that precise instant, my husband came out of my office. His first view was me on the deck, pork roast in tongs raised over my head, ready to let it fly. He was horrified. I think he screamed when he saw me.

We fought for 2 days. I had no idea he'd react so harshly, but I really shook him up by throwing that roast. In the end, we talked about things, and worked it all through. And it was all worth it, in my opinion. He's much better at keeping his mouth shut while I cook, or at the very least asking polite questions and not arguing with me when I'm doing twelve things at once. Every once in a while he'll forget, and start back with his old ways. When that happens, all I have to do is pick up the tongs and gesture towards the deck, and he becomes very, very polite.

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I think that takes the biscuit.

My boyfriend is the most sweet, helpful person you could want to live with. But we used to have some awful fights over milk. Milk seems to be a reccuring theme in this thread.... anyway, when living in Spain, we would buy milk in bulk as it is that disgusting UHT stuff that can sit on a shelf for months. Fine. But now, living in Ireland, where the milk is delicious and fresh, he still wants to buy three cartons of milk at a time. I say why buy more than one when we have a shop below our apartment that stays open til midnight? He says we need at all times many cartons of milk in the fridge. So, anyway, after more rows than I can count, I have finally whittled him down to two cartons.

When he offers to cook dinner (and he does some things really well; gutsy italian dishes or kidneys, or hotdogs) he insists on a second opinion for everything.

'Should I strain the pasta?'

'is it done?'

'Yes'

'Well then, yes.'

'Should I run some cold water over the left over spaghetti to stop it sticking?'

'Why are you even asking me that....'

Etc.

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  • 4 months later...

so i've cooked a few times with my boyfriend in the past (at his/his mom's house and in his dorm suite at school), and it's clear we're very different as far as experience, views on food preparation, etc. there has been in the past a tendency for tension and even some bickering.

he's admitted that he's afraid to cook with me, because i'm a bit on the controlling side when i cook (which i admit, especially with someone i haven't cooked much with... i'm, as they say, "neurotic" and "anal-retentive" as a cook, but i think that's what makes me a decent cook and strive to be a better cook).

on my end, i've found that i forget to do things that are usually second nature (like browning things properly before just letting them sit and cook). it also kind of makes me anxious when i cook with him that he doesn't pay the same attention to detail with food preparation that i do, which tends to either dissolve to the neurotic and anal-retentive behavior. or, i just continue to be anxious (which might be why i forget those important details like browning). i'm pretty confident in my cooking abilities, yet i feel like he doubts me so they kind of cancel each other out.

soon, we're going to move in together (the wait has been due to the difference in our graduation years and the fact that i'm still looking for a job), and moving in together will inevitably involve cooking. i know we'll find some way to work out these problems (possibly by alternating nights where only one of us cooks dinner until things get a little more relaxed). hopefully it won't take too long...

long story short, has anyone else had these problems with a significant other (or maybe someone you cook regularly with, though i've cooked with people and not had as much trouble cooking, just with the interpersonal stuff :wacko:)? how the heck did you (plural) handle it? are we probably doomed to forever never standing in the same kitchen again?

i remember there was some ny times article (that i showed him, btw) that talked about this stuff, but i'll be damned if i got any sort of help from it.

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

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Hmmm, very interesting. What kind of relationship do you have with your mother? Were you bullied as a child? Mmm Hmm, I see.... :biggrin:

All kidding aside, I sort of am in the same situation in that my wife isn't a cook and is unaware to most details surrounding the art of cooking. I learned many moons ago that the relationship is more important than the meal. The whole point of cooking together is to have fun and if you're not having fun, don't think those feelings will stay in the kitchen when the meals over. Let him screw things up, don't micromanage and have fun. If you want to cook dinner your way, tell your SO to relax in front of the tube with a beer and tell him dinner will be ready in 30 minutes.

Take it from me who has gone the distance and knows, back off and have a good time. Let him do things his way and meet somewhere in the middle when it all has to be put together. It's up to you to create a fearless and safe environement for him to join you and enjoy spending the time with you. The "neurotic and anal retentive" cook in you should be reserved for when you're on your own. You can ask if he wants to learn how to cook and designate certain meals for teaching but take it from me...don't force it.

Hope this helps,

Bob

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Heh. I was kind of seeing this girl who was also kind of seeing my friend who was also kind of married so one day she and I end up in the kitchen cooking chicken fried rice for 6 or eight people (including said friend and said wife) and I told her that she needed to cut the chicken into smaller cubes. She gave me an exasperated "I came in here to help you," as though that justified improper cubing and I snapped back: "if you're not doing it right, you're not helping me at all!" I was a little cranky that spring.

I've been cooking with the replacement girlfriend who is by now a my wife of many years since the Reagan Administration and it is still a culture clash. If we have three yelling matches a year, two will involve cooking. Not two weeks ago we had a rather heated discussion regarding whether we should fire the first course (she worried that the guests were waiting) or get the prep for the second course done first (I like it when dinner falls down like dominoes once you give it the first push). I am a large, testosterone-poisoned individual who, as a waiter, go used to the loud, controlled chaos of a restaurant kitchen who likes to dash around our narrow galley kitchen with a scimitar-sized knife barking orders while the music is cranking and the wine is flowing. Also, as noted above, I have very definite opinions and a healthy -- though not entirely justified -- opinion of my cooking skills.

Stephanie doesn't like chaos, noise or confusion, and likes recipes they way I like winging it. In some ways she's a better cook than me, but she's much more nervous about her cooking -- a simple question like "did you add any thyme?" can elicit anything from insecurity ("why? do you think it needs some?") to hostility ("why don't you just cook it yourself!") depending on mood and children.

So, what do we do? A lot of times, Stephanie does the prep and I finish everything. I like running four burners and a blender all at once and she doesn't, so that works well. Other times we segregate dishes: she does pasta and dessert, I do meat and salad, for example. Plus we both have our specialties, during the preparation if which the other person is kept strictly away. It's not that we put the Berlin wall up in the kitchen, but finding a way to ensure that there is only one cook per broth pot (or prep step) goes a long way towards maintaining the peace.

Oh, while some criticisms need to be unloaded up front -- that chicken had to be cubed right before it goes into the frying pan -- a lot of it can wait until the stress of prep is over and the relaxation of dinner has begun. And use that kind of touchy-feely style. "Hmmm...I wonder if a a little more salt might bring out the zing. "

If you get him trained right, he'll be his own worst critic in six months, anyway. Though, among us boys, that can lead to a lot of swearing and poy-slamming, so beware. :laugh:

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Take it from me who has gone the distance and knows, back off and have a good time.  Let him do things his way and meet somewhere in the middle when it all has to be put together.  It's up to you to create a fearless and safe environement for him to join you and enjoy spending the time with you.  The "neurotic and anal retentive" cook in you should be reserved for when you're on your own.  You can ask if he wants to learn how to cook and designate certain meals for teaching but take it from me...don't force it.

I have to agree that distance is really important there. My girlfriend is an excellent cook, but for the first three months I wouldn't let her do much other than prep work. One day she insisted that she would make the whole dinner; since then, we've been (tentative) equals. If she hadn't forced me to back off, she'd stll be chopping onions. Resentfully.

I think it's a mistake to make the more inexperienced person the sous chef. In the best case, they get really good at prep work. In the worst case, their poor prep makes you kick them out of the kitchen or watch them like a hawk. I think it's best to have each person own a part of the process from start to finish. It can be small, especially if your boyfriend is just learning. My girlfriend almost always covers dessert; more often than not I'll take the main. When we enter each other's culinary territory, it can get a little tense if we're not careful to let the other do their thing.

I think it's particularly true what Octaveman said, that the cooking should be fun before it's good. Good will probably come naturally, particularly as you learn each other's styles.

I remember the this Times article -- hopefully you won't be as tense as Yolanda and Matthew!

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My partner and I cook pretty well together. We both come from Families That Cook Together, so the early socialization helps. Here are some of the ways we got socialized to cook with other people:

1) Talk. If you have something specific in mind, say so. If there is a recipe you're trying out (or you're doing an old family recipe off the top of your head), show him. Your fellow cooks cannot read your mind. Talking is a wonderful invention, and is very useful when you taste the chicken soup and notice there's no salt. Yell "Did anyone put salt in the soup?" and then you know if it's a case of whoever started it really did forget, or the veggies are glomming the salt.

2) If you're delegating, *delegate*. If I ask my partner to make dinner, he's in charge. If he asks for hands, sure. If he asks for advice, sure, but it's his decision.

3) Your kitchen is a tool. You do not guard your tools from anyone who comes near. If someone needs a specific tool, you share. Same deal in the kitchen. It's just it's a Really Big tool.

4) If everybody is cooking dinner (for whatever value of everybody is available), don't get hung up on one person's vision. It'll come out ok, even if someone puts tomatoes in the chicken soup, or forgets the garlic in the mashed potatoes.

5) Didja know you don't *have* to skim stock? If you cook it gently and carefully, the stuff you would skim falls to the bottom. Chill the stock overnight, and you can scrape the cold fat off the top. Ladle the stock out carefully to freeze it, and leave behind the icky stuff on the bottom. Lots of other things in cooking are the same way. Gentle, slow and careful gets good results. Same with people.

The trick in group cooking is to put down the ego. Other people can and do have good ideas, good techniques, and clever plans. When you work together as a team, the first run is rarely perfect. This is ok, because the next time, it will be better. Someone will have a better idea for seasoning, and someone else will have picked up a new technique faster than everyone else. A third person might come up with a better side dish, and so on. You'll all remember that last time, that tiny seeming amount of fresh ginger was far too hot, and you should stick with the even tinier amount the recipe calls for.

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I've been cooking with my g/f for several years now and am probably around the same age as you. You have the opportunity to teach him a good deal about basic cookery, and hopefully he will be receptive of that. In that context, being anal and neurotic isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Or you could just have him wash dishes as you cook and do other prep/support work. Washing and drying lettuce is another wonderful task that I love pushing off to others.

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Make a game out of the situation, play alternating Chef and Sous Chef days. One day you're the Chef in charge of everything and he's the Sous Chef and the next day, change positions.

Golden rule of the game:

1. Chef is always right.

2. If the Chef is wrong, refer to rule number 1.

Simple enough and if both stick to the rules. it should be fun. Cultivate his interrest in cooking, lead by example.

Seems like an over-simplified solution but it all boils down to give and take.

Just my 2 centimos.

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My GF is only too happy to let me do all the cooking.

Other than toast, (which is technically "cooking") she'll make microwave popcorn, and Rice Krispie Bars once or twice a year. :blink:

A couple weeks ago she made Fruit Salad. Well .... she drained a can of Fruit Cocktail and mixed it with Cool Whip! :biggrin: I didn't dare say anything, but she forgot to add the mini-marshmallows! :shock:

SB (happy to be alone in the kitchen :wink: )

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Reading the original post, my first reaction was "Welcome to my world!"

In addition to the suggestions provided here, you might also find it helpful to delineate between dishes that you can do together, those that you can hand off partway, and those that only one person can do.

In my household, I wouldn't dream of handing off a baking project halfway. Through experience, I know that this is the path to failure. On the other hand, I'm fine with taking over pastas from the boiling stage through to finishing. Some of these things can only be learned through experience, but it's fine for each person to have a different repertoire.

Now treatment of knives and microplanes, that is another story.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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