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Charlene Leonard

Who does the cooking in your house?

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I am interested to know about the balance of cooking done by partners in other peoples houses.  I live with my boyfriend and I do ALL the cooking EVERY day.  I asked my boyfriend the other day how many times he had cooked for me this year and he said “Well, I toasted some pine nuts for you the other week and I made some mashed potato for you one night when you came in drunk” !!.  The thing is I love cooking, I love thinking about what we are going to eat and at the weekend plan everything from breakfast to a scrumptious Sunday roast.  As soon as I get in from work I start preparing dinner anything from a quick salad to last nights ragu which had to be cooked in the oven for 3 hours.  I suppose my question is should I let my b/f do the cooking some nights?.  He loves to eat but not to cook, if it was left up to him it would get to 8pm every night before he would start thinking about what to eat and then it would be beans on toast.  I’m not really complaining but some nights it would be good to come home, kick my shoes off and relax.    My kitchen is too small for two so it is either him or me.  I’ve said to him before “Right every Wed you should cook” but it never works out because I take over or he forgets.  

So, should I let go a bit or do others do all the cooking and not mind?

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you can't make people do things they don't want to do.  and if your bf doesn't like cooking, i wouldn't want to be eating his food.

luckily for some, we enjoy cooking.  like you do.  if i didn't, i can't imagine that i could put up with the time and effort that i put into it every week.  to me, it's a hobby and a passion.  i'd rather cook than clean, that's for sure!  does your bf at least clean up?  if so, i think you've struck a healthy balance.

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We're a one-cook family, and it's not me  :smile:  But that's all gonna change quite soon, when I get my Tom Valenti cook-book  :raz:

Only time I have cooked is weekend breakfast, and that's because I do a decent job with eggs and things, and I enjoy it at the weekend, so it's become a tradition. I probably could do full meals, but I have never bothered to learn. On the odd occasion when my wife's been ill and I have to take over the cooking, the results have been so horrendous (compared with my wife's excellent cooking) that she only asks me in absolute emergency. She believes I do it on purpose  :sad:

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It's fairly even in my house, although I tend to do the posh complicated stuff. I am terrible about doing the washing up after, but do try and clean and tidy as I go. It depends how complex the meal is as to how much I manage to do. Sometimes Gill, my wife has to bail me out so that I can concentrate on the last minute bringing it all together bit.

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I do the overwhelming majority of the cooking at our place. Lucy (my wife) is a good cook, but has now refused to do anything in the kitchen unless she can be sure I won't be in the house until the food is almost ready! She says that I have control freak tendencies and will always mooch into the kitchen to investigate what she's doing, taste the food as it cooks, and make comments such as 'Shouldn't you caramelise those onions a bit more' or 'I would have chopped that a little more finely' that are intended to be constructive but which drive her into a killing rage.  :sad:

Of course, I don't recognise this picture at all.  :confused:

Adam

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I do about 80% of the cooking in my house. The other 20% is done by my esteemed housemate. My partner does not cook at all. He made pasta the other week but that was the first time he'd cooked in, like, over a year. He likes cooking but says he sees little point when I am so good at it. As for the housemate, she enjoys cooking and is curious about it but is not as passionate as I am. Still, she's pretty good, and comes up with interesting ideas for using leftovers especially.

I also do about 80% of the food shopping and 100% of the food cleanup. I care more about the state of the kitchen than anybody else I live with, plus I am specific about the care of our nice knives and pots and pans. If we have a dinner party, this still holds true: I do all cooking and all cleanup. But I don't have to empty cat litter or mow the lawn (tasks that aggravate my allergies) so it all works out.

I would not mind having my partner and housemate cook more or otherwise control our menus, but they don't seem as interested as I am. I admit to being a "kitchen top" who totally dominates her own kitchen, and it's hard for me to step back even when a cook I trust like Edemuth is around. I usually handle this by splitting up duties...that way I don't depend on somebody else to prepare parts of what I'm making, and I can just enjoy the end result of their work. I wish I could be more laid-back about it since I like it when others cook, but I really am specific about how things are used and assembled.

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I have control freak tendencies and will always mooch into the kitchen to investigate what she's doing, taste the food as it cooks, and make comments such as 'Shouldn't you caramelise those onions a bit more' or 'I would have chopped that a little more finely'

this is completely what happens when b/f has tried to cook.  I just can't stay out of the kitchen and have to 'just check how things are going'.  one time he was roasting some vegetables and it said 'coat the veg in olive oil' he must have put at least 3 cups of oil on them! and I can't even begin to tell you about the time he chopped up some chillies... :raz:

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Charlene, I'm a bit worried about your selective quoting that makes it look as though _I_ said I had control freak tendencies  :smile:  I deny it absolutely. Might be a bit curious, but no more than that.  :wink:

Actually Lucy is a brilliant pastry-maker, so anything involving pastry is likely to be cooked by her. She is getting good at baking bread too, so I tend to leave that to her as well. Just as well. I tried to cook steak and kidney pudding a few months ago, and it worked out well enough eventually, but the suet crust was only made with the assistance of lots of really, really foul language (my friends reckon they can predict the quality of a meal at our house by the number of shouts of 'F**k' that emanate from the kitchen during its preparation)  :smile:

Adam

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I'm afraid that sounds exactly like me when Gill is in the kitchen, I can't keep my nose out.

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I do all the savory cooking;  Laurie does the baking.  (My dessert repertoire is limited to toll house cookies and brownies, pretty much.)  In practice this means I do almost all of the cooking.  Laurie is capable of cooking, but I get all the practice because I get home earlier, and I enjoy it.  So there is no resentment.


Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Hmmmm, you "love" cooking, and your BF doesn't like to cook...

Well, it seems to me that one of you ought to do all the cooking and one of you should not.  I'll leave it to you to figure it out.

:wink:


=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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Charlene, I'm a bit worried about your selective quoting that makes it look as though _I_ said I had control freak tendencies  :smile:  I deny it absolutely. Might be a bit curious, but no more than that.  :wink:

opps, sorry! :biggrin:

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Hmmmm, you "love" cooking, and your BF doesn't like to cook...

Well, it seems to me that one of you ought to do all the cooking and one of you should not.  I'll leave it to you to figure it out.

:wink:

i know, i know but sometimes the obvious need to be pointed out....I can hear my boyfriend breathing a sigh of relief from here... :smile:

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We're a one-cook family, and it's not me  :smile:  But that's all gonna change quite soon, when I get my Tom Valenti cook-book  :raz:

Only time I have cooked is weekend breakfast, and that's because I do a decent job with eggs and things, and I enjoy it at the weekend, so it's become a tradition. I probably could do full meals, but I have never bothered to learn. On the odd occasion when my wife's been ill and I have to take over the cooking, the results have been so horrendous (compared with my wife's excellent cooking) that she only asks me in absolute emergency. She believes I do it on purpose  :sad:

yeah, we know what you can do with eggs.

Charlene, I had been thinking about starting a thread, in general, about eGullet significant others [i know there are a few couples who each post here].

My husband can cook but he has gotten so lazy.  I don't know.  He has been baking since he was in grad school--he doesn't even follow recipes to turn out lovely loaves--but this happens less and less.  On occasion he'll still make pizza or foccacia--again, his considerable baking skill comes into play--but this usually happens during the summer when we have garden tomatoes and he's not working.

My husband is also about a foot taller than I am and, even though we created a spacious kitchen for ourselves, he often seems to be in my way.

Then he makes these meals which confuse me.  He brings home fat free half & half for soup and I freak out and send him back out to the store. :raz:

He makes soup by filling a pot with cold water and dropping chopped onion into it.  I get all panicky watching him do this.

Do you think I have control issues :biggrin: ?

Well, I do.  I am the food-o-holic.  I am the one who wants to do things that are special and different, even if I don't succeed at first.  He has kinda lost his love of the kitchen in late years--dunno why--while mine continues to grow.

I cook perhaps 90% of the time.  I feel a bit wistful.  In June after school's out I am taking him to an Indian cooking class in Atlanta--I want to get him involved in the kitchen again--Indian cooking can easily be a two-person job, and I'd love to have him help. :smile:

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I used to do all the cooking. Then Davy started doing some of it. Now, he does most of it and I act as his sous chef, slicing and dicing and calling him "chef". I believe this is an example of my incredible maturity.  :wink:

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I do it all.  My husband's only culinary capability is toaster-oven-broiled hot dogs.  Once, early in our relationship, I was out of town and he invited a friend over to broil steaks.  I still haven't figured out how they managed to dirty every pot and pan in the house.  That was the last time he showed any interest in cooking.  

However, he's VERY good at buying kitchen equipment, and he does the dishes.

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I cook almost everything we eat. When I met her, Judith's idea of a quick dinner was a carrot dipped in Grey Poupon. She does make big batches of tomato sauce (you can take the Italian out of Jersey, but you can't...never mind) that I freeze or can. She also gets inspired occasionally, like last month when she baked cantucci and schiasciatta, a Tuscan flatbread, this time with fresh grapes (we eat something very similar from a little bakery near the train station in Pontedera while we're waiting to go into Florence).

Like Malawry, I'm the one who cares most about how things are done in the kitchen. I've finally got everybody trained to treat the good knives with some respect (just as the kids are grown up and leaving) and not to leave the cast iron sitting in the sink full of water, but that's about it. I still find myself re-wrapping the cheese, pulling stuff that needs hand-washing out of the dishwasher, and putting things back where they supposed to go in the drawers and cabinets.

I have pretty specific ideas about how any given foodstuff should be handled, whether it's chopping onions, deseeding bell peppers, or washing rice, but I try hard not be too pushy about it if someone else is helping. Luckily, I've been able to train most of the boys (at least the ones who want to cook something), so they can actually be sort of fun to have in the kitchen. It's nice to have another set of hands that you can tell to do something, like shucking a few pounds of fava beans, then slipping them out of their skins onced they're cooked (yes, my teen-agers have learned fava 101).

I like doing it. I find the time spent in the kitchen interesting, if not exactly relaxing, and I enjoy the craft and coordination aspects of getting dinner on the table. The only times I get a little frustrated are when somebody's repeatedly asking, 'when's dinner?' while I'm working. I'll admit that some of my very favorite meals are the ones I cook just for myself.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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we parallel jim and his missus a bit.  mrs. tommy does a great sauce w/ meatballs that is just out of this world.  she likes the slow-cooking items.  that leaves me to cook the rest of the time, which is pretty much all of the time.

and when i had mrs. tommy prep some veggies for stirfry the other night, i found myself saying to her "you cut the scallion awfully small, didn't you?"  not that it mattered one bit.  i should have just kept my mouth shut.  no wonder i don't often get help!

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We've also figured out the hard truths: Davy is better at conceiving executing the meal; I am best at providing support, both moral and edible - I do all the stocks, tomato sauces, and prepping.

It was difficult at first for me to take the back seat, but I couldn't stand in the way of superior meals!

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Julie does all the day to day cooking at home, i get involved if we are entertaining. This will change i guess when junior comes along.

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. This will change i guess when junior comes along.

Will Jr. be doing the cooking? Will Julie be too exhausted to cook? Will you all accept a diet of pureed foods and rice cereal?   Yes, life indeed does change when Jr. comes..

I have three Juniors...I cook during our (VERY) busy week...I roast a chicken, maybe fry one,  at the start, chop up vegetables and make some rice a roni, and take a pasta sauce out of the freezer. Maybe a soup, but only one kid likes soup. WE also have an extensive selection of minute steaks for cheesesteak sandwhiches, and the Chinese and Pizza places run an account.I also stock up on Pierogyis from either the South River European Provisions store, or the Trenton Farmer's market...and lots of frozen Celentano raviolis and tortellinnis.

That covers the week...betweeen sports, meetings and three teens,  we somehow manage to feed them all.  

Weekends, we cook. My husband was a Middlebury  VT Fraternity cook, so he specializes in dishes made in extremely large stockpots. Chili, sauce, gumbo.  He lived in Louisianna Bayou country after law school, so he has a nice way with spices.  I love to work on a stock..currently determined to put together a veal stock worthy of the Commander's Palace Turtle Soup recipe!  We both sometimes work on weekned, and have sporting events to cheer for...so on Friday nights we'll figure out a game plan to maximize our time.  In the summer,we focus on marinades for the grill, in the winter we love to plan a Lasagne or a "Roast Beast", or Duck......we have an Penn Dutch Market near us that is open Saturdays only, and we love to get there on a Saturday to pick out a Sunday Fresh dinner.

So, the answer is: the easy stuff I do during ther week, but we form a culinary partnership on the weekends.. our kids show no interest in helping, except Sunday breakfast is starting to become a favorite with son #2, who has been working on his pancake technique. At 12, he's the only one of the three with any appreciation for food.

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Like Kim, I also do stuff on the weekend that I can pull out during the week. I'll often cook a batch of beans or do a braised meat dish that provides a number of permutations. Ditto on the chickens..I always think, as long as I'm going to the trouble, why not cook two (or three, if all of the boys will be around).

Another trick I use when I haven't thought ahead...I pull out a package of frozen boned thighs (we like dark maet and never really use breasts, but the same thing would work with them), partially defrost in the microwave, then slice thorugh the frosty mass so I have thin cross sections. These cook really quickly, especially in a sauce with some liquid.

When our kids were younger, it seemed like we ate pasta at least three nights a week. When you're feeding 6 people, it's hard to beat for speed and volume. And the picky eaters can have it plain, altho' that's not really much of a problem now that they're older.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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I do - every jot. I also do all the set-up and clean-up in the kitchen. And I wouldn't have it any other way.  :smile:

My bloke is a marvellous man, but he's demonstrated on more than one occasion that he's not THAT interested in what he eats. A lot of this comes down to the fact that he's got around 10 percent of a 'regular' sense of smell (he can't distinguish basil from parsley, even when I've crushed a handful of each and he's practically buried his nose in them). And as well, he's got a certain amount of the 'traditional' guy-approach to food: if it involves browning meat and adding some bottled sauce, he's perfectly happy. Which is why, many years ago now, he ended up seducing me over a plate of Chicken Tonight. (Which I suppose is also good evidence that I'm not ALWAYS focused on food above anything else... :raz: )

So I plan, shop for, prep, make, and clean up after all our meals. I've also started taking on responsibility for our garden, especially the edible bits of it. But he does EVERYTHING else - laundry, hoovering, bathroom, the bulk of the DIY, dealing with builders, etc.

I realise can't imagine a better situation if I'd ordered it, really.  :biggrin:

Miss J

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Liza, you're very tolerant.  I am a bit protective of my kitchen, with the result that I do 90% of the cooking, and most of the food shopping too.  I am not counting the preparation of squidgy stuff for baby, which is the Beloved's domain.  The other 10% of the cooking divides I would say thus:  3% by the Beloved herself, 7% by the Beloved's friends who can't hang about the place all day without sort of absent-mindedly rustling up some rice and beans.  The Beloved then presents the latter dishes to me as her own work, but I am not fooled.

I would say cleaning is split about evenly, although I am sure she'd disagree.

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