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AIBU about DH and his 'can't/won't cook' role?

(97 Posts)
Lazyoldcow Sat 06-Apr-13 18:13:34

May sound trivial compared to other issues here but it gets me down. Our DCs have left home recently, we get on quite well, but DH has never cooked. Been together over 25 years and I've cooked every day for 99% of the time. The only times he's chipped in is when I've been really ill ( in bed, after childbirth , after operations) when I've had to give him a list, a menu and detailed instructions on how to even heat food up and chop vegetables. Ironically his dad was a chef! shock

Anyway I've now had enough. He cannot cook anything- and I mean anything. I've suggested a basic cookery course, looked up these for him, suggested he tries to do 1 meal a weekend and focuses on just 1 thing- like a simple fish dish, or a chicken dish and he just doesn't listen to me.

I am utterly fed up with taking responsibility for food. If i come in knackered I cannot expect any food ready for me- not even a simple stir fry or omlette.

he lived alone till we married- around 30 and eats a canteen lunch so he'd never starve.

Any ideas?

Trills Sat 06-Apr-13 18:15:42

Any adult can cook, unless they have special needs (and plenty of adults with special needs can cook too).

Trills Sat 06-Apr-13 18:16:36

The problem is not that he "can't cook", it's that he has no interest in trying.

Suggesting courses will not help when he just doesn't want to.

What motivation does he have to make any effort?

superbagpuss Sat 06-Apr-13 18:19:37

refuse to cook and see what happens, or get him to agree to take you out once a week or treat you to a takeaway

HotCrossPun Sat 06-Apr-13 18:19:59

I think he is playing up. Nobody should need instructions to chop up vegetables. Cooking is not difficult.

It would really bug me that he is just refusing to even try. What does he give as his excuse?

Lazyoldcow Sat 06-Apr-13 18:23:14

His excuse is he is so hopeless he doesn't know where to start. sad

I have loads of food intolerances BUT the good news is that simple food is fine for me- bit of grilled fish and salad or veg and I am happy.

I don't know what to do next. I want to eat well and healthily- and ready meals are a no-no with my health issues- so it has to be cooked at home.

msrisotto Sat 06-Apr-13 18:28:19

Can't/won't cook = can/will starve.

DontmindifIdo Sat 06-Apr-13 18:33:47

I would sit him down and say you find it really rude that he won't do his fair share of the cooking, so you can either take it in turns to do the cooking, or you'll just cook for yourself and he can sort his own food out, his choice. Then offer cookery courses etc.

tribpot Sat 06-Apr-13 18:42:44

So he doesn't know where to start, but when you suggest a cookery course, what exactly does he offer as his excuse for not going?

I would have a week where you also eat your main meal out during the day, and you both live on toast for tea. Please don't tell me he can't cook toast.

Frizzbonce Sat 06-Apr-13 18:43:44

Your DH is just the far end of the 'can't cook won't cook spectrum'. There are variations along the lines of: 'You do it so much better than me' to deliberately making a hash of it so they never get asked again or complaining so much that it ends up being easier to do it yourself or constantly asking you questions so - again - it's easier to do it yourself. All strategies.

As Dontmind says - sit him down and tell him how upset and angry you are that he doesn't bother. If he can read then he can follow a recipe. Buy him the Jamie Oliver Ministry of Cooking book and ask him to cook from it once a week. Let him alone while he does it. I say this because my dad would have starved in a well equipped kitchen but if he DID try my mum would be bustling after him commenting and hectoring. (I'm not saying this is you by the way!)

moondog Sat 06-Apr-13 18:44:12

My dh doesn't cook (he does lots of other stuff) but he is the chief washer up and bottle washer. I figure I get the best deal as I like to cook.
Does he do this?

Lazyoldcow Sat 06-Apr-13 18:50:49

Am having to pop back here in between- guesssmile- making dinner!

Our DCs think it's disgusting he can't cook- they can both DD and DS.

Pre marriage he would live on eggs for his 'supper' or cheese sarnies and fruity loaf.

He has a full dinner at lunchtime and we eat around 7pm- always healthy, simple no puds etc.

he agreed ages back he'd cook 1 meal a weekend- and did it once.

I have had the excuse "You do it so much better".

I have a cupboard full of cook books.

we buy weekend newspapers full of recipes for idiots.

I have shown him these. he walks away- ignores. Sighs. I feel it is disrespectful and although it's a tiny thing I had thoughts of leaving him as he knows how much this bugs me and does NOTHING about it. angry

He also doesn't do any housework but now I have stopped ironing his shirts.

I work from home so an eat any time. I think I shall stop cooking for him. see what he does. prob live on scrambled eggs and be happy- but where does that leave me? cooking a roast dinner for one? sad

Lazyoldcow Sat 06-Apr-13 18:51:38

He loads the dishwasher. Puts out bins. Does DIY when he can but is madly busy at work.

DontmindifIdo Sat 06-Apr-13 18:53:52

If he does the excuse that 'you do it much better' retort with "but I don't enjoy cooking, it's a chore, I'll happily eat a lower standard of food if I don't have to be the one to cook it."

moondog Sat 06-Apr-13 18:55:24

Do you work outside the home?

SundaeGirl Sat 06-Apr-13 18:55:47

Get dramatic. Tell him he has this week to re-think his misogyny. You will not be held hostage to a life of domestic drudgery. He learns to cook and to clean and to iron or he moves out. Sorry, not what you wanted to hear but he won't change otherwise, your roles are too ingrained.

Lazyoldcow Sat 06-Apr-13 20:07:30

moondog- re. work- see my previous post- yes I have 2 p/t jobs! All self employed. My main job is as a writer/journo.

moondog Sat 06-Apr-13 20:21:33

If you don't think the split is even re workload, stop then.
I think my dh does more than his fair share so am happy to carry on cooking.

Lazyoldcow Sat 06-Apr-13 20:27:08

I like to cook sometimes but not 365 days a year and not if I have to micromanage meals if I am ill in bed for example!

I'd accept him cooking twice a week.

jjgirl Sat 06-Apr-13 20:28:21

Sounds just like my DH, I have told him next step is to see the doctor for a mental health plan and some sessions with a psychologist. If that sees no improvement we are getting a divorce as I refuse to be the wage earner, cook, cleaner and child carer when at home. With him gone that should be a 30% reduction in domestic chores as he is very messy and refuses to clean up after himself. And the home will be a lot more peaceful.

purplewithred Sat 06-Apr-13 20:34:18

Insist. Be firm. Be inexorable. Just one night a week, he has to do it. Do not give in. Do not do ant part of it yourself. Mean it. Take it up to and over the wire. Say a simple thank you afterwards.

NatashaBee Sat 06-Apr-13 20:34:23

I would buy him a kids cookbook to shame him, and get him to start with something simple like pasta, home made pizza, boiled eggs, curry with ready made sauces, that sort of thing to get him used to chopping and boiling things. There's no excuse for not being able to do those kind of meals.

ihearsounds Sat 06-Apr-13 20:43:01

You have internet. On internet is youtube. On youtube step by step videos of how to cook things. This is recently what a friends 13 year old ds did, plus went to the shop and bought all the ingredients. So if he can do this, a grown man is more than capable of doing it.

Sit him down. Tell him tomorrow he is cooking dinner. He can go on youtube for inspiration. You don't care what it is, as long as it's not eggs or cheese, and something more substantial of a sandwich. If he cannot be bothered, then why should you be bothered cooking for him?

Kernowgal Sat 06-Apr-13 20:45:57

Go on strike.

My DS1 is 23 and has ASD and learning difficulties and he can cook simple meals. Your DH is taking the piss!

MintyyAeroEgg Sat 06-Apr-13 20:54:23

Just tell him that you are not going to do it all any more! Fgs.

MintyyAeroEgg Sat 06-Apr-13 20:57:16

What on earth has "do you work outside the home?" got to do with it?

For years I was sahm and my dh worked 50 - 80 hours a week.

Didn't mean I was expected to cook 100% of family meals! That is utter bollocks.

TonysHardWorkDay Sat 06-Apr-13 21:11:11

In my parents house there used to be a running joke that my Dad could burn water. We never had takeaways unless my mum was away, then it was cereal for breakfast and a mixture of restaurants, pizza and the chippy for the rest.

Things shifted as he retired before my mum, we had no local cafes or a works canteen for him to pop to and he couldn't justify expensive meals out daily for ever. He soon got bored and had to learn the basics. He is no chef of the year but can manage a simple meal and now does nearly all the cleaning and shopping as well as having sole charge of the DIY.

So I suggest abandoning him, go on strike and make him do something. For what its worth I will always remember the look of pride on his face when this well well educated and high achieving man told me he had 'cooked' his first meal. It was beans on toast by the way. I do love me Dad.

Charbon Sat 06-Apr-13 21:20:28

How do you feel about repeatedly telling your husband about something that upsets you and is important to you and he just ignores it?

This really isn't about cooking. It's about something much more serious.

Minx179 Sat 06-Apr-13 21:33:28

My DH used to be the same, as well as not pulling his weight in other areas. He couldn't cook, didn't know how....blah, blah... If I got fed up with cooking, we'd get a takeout.

In the end I told him to fuck off unless he changed. He now cooks every weekend, his roasts are better than mine.

It's just laziness and disrespect that makes them not bothered.

NathanDetroit Sat 06-Apr-13 21:48:36

A lot of my friends (I'm early 30s) are with men who just don't cook. I find it enraging on their behalves - although they don't seem to care - and I think it's really disrespectful to expect your partner to get up and cook regardless of what kind of a day they've had, what else is going on. I think it's pretty controlling, actually. I don't understand why it's ok to entirely abdicate making your partner happy/comfortable in this way and it seems to be pretty common.

I guess a conversation about how it's time things need to change and therefore calmly discussing how you could each split tasks more fairly would be in order. ie when planning the weekly shop my partner and I discuss who will cook what and when we do this we eat much better than when we don't plan out as neither of us take responsibility.

Lazyoldcow Sat 06-Apr-13 22:45:48

No sadly he is not taking the piss.

When he last cooked broccoli for us, he cut it into tiny florets with no stalk on at all. He has never had it like that in his life from me or anyone. so why????

We buy a Saturday paper- Times- and a while back i showed him their "Only 4 chicken recipes you will ever need" pages- for chicken substitute pasta, eggs, fish, etc etc- one a week. His reaction is "oh, yes, okay".

Then nada.

I am a good cook, i admit. But it';s as if he has never really LOOKED at what's on his plate! A few weeks back i asked him to chop up a pepper for stir fry- He chopped it into tiny squares unlike anything we have ever eaten.

I have now told him I am not cooking him anything until he has made a meal for me.

I will lose out short term because I am not going to make roast pots for just me- and lots of other things too- but that will be a small sacrifice if it works.

dontyouwantmebaby Sun 07-Apr-13 00:07:01

"I will lose out short term because I am not going to make roast pots for just me".

au contraire OP, this is exactly what you need to do. why should you go without a lovely roast dinner just because he is too lazy to do any cooking. he can rustle up an omelette instead grin

however, I have to say if you've been doing 99% of the cooking for the last 25yrs or so, I'd imagine its quite difficult (but crucially, not impossible) to change habits that have been ingrained over those years, almost like a role reversal. the fact you've discussed that this is an issue and that he knows you're not happy about it should prompt some serious action towards remedying this on his part.

ps fwiw i do all the cooking in my household through choice as I enjoy it but chores are split fairly equally, there's things I am not good at, don't enjoy and so it makes sense for me not to do them. you just have to find what works for you (and I appreciate you doing all the cooking is not this!) good luck.

Minx179 Sun 07-Apr-13 00:09:05

Why do you think you will lose out only in the short term? Do you honestly think your DH will start cooking because you stop? You said up thread that he will eat at work then live on sandwiches in the evening.

It sounds as though you have tried this tack before. You stop cooking, he eats at work until you get fed up and start cooking again. He's won.

He is taking the piss. He's never had broccoli florets cut up tiny, so he does it to prove that he can't do it properly, plus he knows it will annoy you. The same with the pepper. So you do it yourself, he's got out of cooking again, because you've agreed he can't do it right.

HazeltheMcWitch Sun 07-Apr-13 00:22:41

Look, 95% of the issue is probably that he doesn't want to cook. he's not done it, you always have. You've complained about it, but you're still cooking, so the status quo IS working for him.

Maybe some of the tiny remainder is fear of looking like a fool? So you might need to put up with miniature, overcooked broccoli, just for a bit. Even if he's doing it to make it point, your rising to the bait isn't helping your cause - it's 'proving' that he can't cook.

By no means do I mean treat him as a toddler, and praise the heavens out of the smallest task. However if you want him to cook, you might need to accept he's on a bit of a learning curve - and his 1st efforts wont be as good as things you could make better in half the time and with fewer pans.

HazeltheMcWitch Sun 07-Apr-13 00:23:18

2nd the Jamie Ministry of Food book, as a great intro into cooking.

ImperialBlether Sun 07-Apr-13 00:28:29

I could live with the cooking, but not with his refusal to do any housework. That's terrible. To be honest, I probably wouldn't want to eat anything he'd prepared, but I'd be happy to sit in a room that he'd dusted and vacuumed.

Simple don't feed him, he'll soon learn grin
And if that doesn't work, he will either turn into skelator or get of his bum...

louisianablue2000 Sun 07-Apr-13 00:29:04

I guess you have to decide how important this is to you and if it's a single issue or if it's just one part of him taking advantage of you in the home. i have to say I'm not holding out much hope for you after 25 years but if you want to insist on him cooking (maybe on a day he's not at work so he doesn't have the option of a canteen meal that day) you have to treat him like the child he is pretending to be. So praise the behaviour you like and ignore what you don't. Don't comment on how he has cut up the vegetables, don't comment if he burns the food or doesn't wash up. Just tell him how nice it is to have someone work hard to make some food for you to eat. Tell him it makes you feel loved and special etc etc. Maybe make him watch Like Water for Chocolate so he understands cooking food is about showing your love. Guilt him into cooking for you.

This is obviously all spectacularly unfeminist but Idon't think you are going to get anywhere with 'we need to sharethe jobs out evenly'.

DorsetLass Sun 07-Apr-13 00:39:58

Reading with interest as we have been married for eight years and DH is yet to cook a meal - including the day I had our DS - born at 9am - Ives shone cooking dinner at 7pm!! This is not a plea for praise - I feel like I have been a mug and laid terrible foundations for a non cooked for future! I really will be interested to hear how you get on - so I can learn and try the same!

Lavenderhoney Sun 07-Apr-13 02:07:55

If you have been cooking and cleaning for 25 years I doubt he will change now. Well done for teaching your dc to be independent.

Why do you want him to cook? Does he do the shopping or help menu plan?

If you just want a break from cooking then he can take you out for dinner or get a takeaway or you could go to a friend?

Sounds more like he got everything done for him and now the dc have gone its blindingly obvious he expects you to do it all still. His dad was a chef! That's interesting he won't cook though, as he was used to a man being in the kitchen.

My dad didnt cook til he retired and we had all left. Then my dm said she had been cooking 3 meals a day for 40 years and she wasn't doing it anymore. So she didn't. They lived off bacon sandwiches and he had to go with her to the supermarket ( first time in 40 years, nearly had a heart attack at the price of bread)

He never really got beyond bacon sandwiches or a fry up, but dm said it was ok, plus who ever cooks washes up. She did cook again after a month, but not every day and he had to do the housework on those dayssmile

Bogeyface Sun 07-Apr-13 02:58:03

My H couldnt cook. Didnt stop him trying to do the cooking when I was at work and he wasnt. 80% of the time it was fine (not great like mine!) and 20% it was awful, but he tried and that made all the difference.

This isnt about cooking is it? This is about him expecting you to do the "womens work" and him to be waited on.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 07-Apr-13 07:25:34

I don't see the problem. Does he do other jobs at home or is totally bone idle? I know plenty of people (all genders) who think they can cook but probably shouldn't. I know quite a few who are too bone lazy/incompetent to cook so live on sandwiches, take-aways and ready-meals. If I lived with someone like that I'd prefer to do all the cooking as long as they pulled their weight in other ways.

If you want to insist on sharing this particular job, fair enough. Point him to the kitchen and don't take no for an answer. But it seems to be setting up a conflict where none need exist.

SprinkleLiberally Sun 07-Apr-13 07:35:44

Is he bothered about what he eats? We cook because we need to feed the dc, but without them I'd not bother much and do egg on toast, sandwiches cos I'm not that bothered about eating full meals or cooking them.
Would cooking together once a week be nice? With wine.

deliasmithy Sun 07-Apr-13 07:40:00

My OH is a cant cook, wants to cook.
Its me that bans him from the kitchen. Cooking is my forte and im bored of food poisoning.

I risked asking him to oven cook breaded fish the other week. It was raw. He was substituted bracken and sticks from the garden for herbs as he wasnt sure what they were.

None of this bothers me, perhaps its because he does offer and he also does the dishes and tidying kitchen as his contribution.

I DO see the problem. Someone expecting their partner, who is ill in bed, to micro-manage the food they are supposed to be cooking, is not being reasonable. You're not asking him to make perfect puff pastry, or cook a souffle, just for him to learn the basics so he can cook a simple meal once a week.

In our house I do most of the cooking, I enjoy it most of the time, and DH never really learnt. He pulls his weight elsewhere though. He is slowly learning to cook now, and will cook once or twice a fortnight. He really hates cutting up raw meat, and can't stand the smell of raw fish, so we usually by pre-diced chicken or stir fry strips for his meals. He's very good at cooking fajitas. grin The first time he cut a pepper, onion, cooked chicken, cooked cous cous etc I had to do it with him, or at least give step by step instructions and be available for questions! He's not stupid, far from it, but it was all completely new to him and I think he worried about making a fool of himself.

nocake Sun 07-Apr-13 07:51:40

My mum encouraged my dad to cook by playing to his love of gadgets. She bought him a bread maker, which he now loves and makes all sorts of different bread, and she paid for him to go on a cookery course where they played with the latest ovens and hobs that Miele make. Mum still does most of the cooking but Dad now has the confidence to tackle a meal and won't starve, or resort to takeaways, if Mum is away.

NeverMindOhWell Sun 07-Apr-13 07:58:11

My DH is the same but he does do all washing up, most of the cleaning and ironing. I do almost all the childcare, all household admin, cooking, laundry and cleaning the kitchen. On nights when I am too tired to cook or when I worked late and came in starving we ate microwave meals. I know they're shit but is was perhaps once a month so not the end of the world. Even if you ate them once a week would it relieve the pressure?

rubyflipper Sun 07-Apr-13 08:01:56

I hate to be morbid.

But what will happen to your DH if you get sick/need care or die?

My FIL has never cooked a meal in his life, too. I worry about what he will do if MIL passes away first.

sparkle12mar08 Sun 07-Apr-13 08:10:33

You've enabled his faux helplessness for 25 years - he's not going to change now voluntarily. Why should he, he's getting a great deal! Sorry op but I think you blew your chance on this one 24.5 years ago. Unless you're prepared to actually jeopardize your marriage with a genuine ultimatum I know exactly what will happen. Nothing.

Trills Sun 07-Apr-13 10:40:49

It doesn't matter how many lovely interesting easy recipes you show him, he doesn't want to cook.

He isn't doing this because "you do it better", it's because he does not want to.

FigAndPear Sun 07-Apr-13 10:54:36

It isn't a question of the division of the jobs in the house, though - not now the DCs have left home. There's an argument that cooking fits into the work of the family when you've got children, but afterwards it goes back to being about feeding yourselves. And a person who is incapable of feeding themselves properly (beyond childhood and barring physical/mental limitations) is pathetic. You aren't his mummy.

I'm not yet at that stage, but I imagine that when children leave home there are a lot of habits that couples have got into that need to be changed, and cooking is a big example. There is absolutely no reason why your dh can't learn to cook. He is making excuses. You do it better? Yeah, you probably do, but so what? There's no hungry 5 year old in the picture any more. You sound like you're easy to cook for, as you require simple food anyway. I'm glad to hear that you're taking a stand over this.

Lazyoldcow Sun 07-Apr-13 10:56:37

Ok- trying to update myself with all of this.

There is some truth in most posts smile

He is afraid of failure. I am a good cook so he thinks he's competing- he's not.

He loves good food ( that's why he married me hahaha!)

I AM very bothered otherwise I wouldn't be posting here.

My son is a great cook! He is disgusted at DHs inability to cook. Once when I went away for a holiday without DH, DS cooked all the meals for 2 weeks.

Housework- this is so hard and I have had a separate thread here some time ago. I work fewer hours than DH. Having said that I am a journo and so much of what I do is "unsuccessful"- ie spend all day on something and no one wants it- but if I don't try I don't earn. But then I'll hit the jackpot and be really busy working 8-10pm towards a deadline.

It's on those days when I need him to rustle up a piece of salmon and a salad. or when I come back late from London and want to find a nice shepherds pie or something waiting for me.

He works roughly 8-7 (hours out of house) plus overnighters once a week on average.

We had a mammoth row over housework a while back and I gave him his 'jobs'- ironing his own shirts and hoovering the stairs. he does the shirts but not the hoovering- forgets.

In addition he does the rubbish, grass cutting (I do all other gardening) I do all the food shopping ( online at times) and i do all the other cleaning.

I don't think he is too old to change- we are 'young' for our age. he just looks terrified in the kitchen. Thinks he is useless. Eg he can put something in the oven, read the instructions, then look at me and ask 'How do you know when it's cooked- how long will it take'- he doesn't realise you have to bloody taste it!!!!!

Springdiva Sun 07-Apr-13 11:04:57

When DH is away I happily live on broccolli and fish fingers, he lives on cheese and biscuits. So neigher does much cooking.

I feel you need to lower you standards. What's wrong with beans on toast or poached egg or a quick salad. Then nobody's spending ages on food and cooking.

Leavenheath Sun 07-Apr-13 11:20:37

Well he's not going to change is he?

You must have worked out by now that if he thought it was important enough to do what he promised, he would have done it by now.

So the question is, knowing that he won't change because he doesn't think he needs to, what will you do?

SundaeGirl Sun 07-Apr-13 11:24:38

Nah, this is about more than beans on toast - he does need to cook. It's about respecting what the other partner in a relationship wants and needs. No-one needs to be Heston, but shepherds pie, coq au vine etc are within most people's reach and reflect caring about the other person.

My DH is uninterested in food (smoked so much when he was younger that he's just never been foodie cos he couldn't taste it- gross, I know). However, he does recognise the role of proper food in our life so will make a bit of an effort. It's nearly always jacket potatoes, pasta, toad-in-the-hole with peas, etc. It's nothing demanding but I don't see why the OP should expect at least this.

deliasmithy Sun 07-Apr-13 11:37:47

So you want ideas?

Lower your standards - accept oven and microwave foods. Plenty of microwave in the bag veg about these days. No chopping required. No washing up!

Cook it yourself.

Swap husband for new model.

Inform him how important it is.

Consider why is this now an issue, and presumably it wasnt when you first met (or was it)

Go on strike - only cook for yourself

Lazyoldcow Sun 07-Apr-13 11:44:35


There is nothing wrong with those at all but I think you are missing the point. (I have eggs for breakfast BTW so don't want them again at dinner, and can't eat baked beans due to IBS)

It's not about lowering my standards- I too eat fish fingers when he's away.

The fact is that I lovingly plan, shop and cook meals every day almost without fail. Swap you beans on toast for something like a simple stir fry and that's fine with me.

One of the main issues as I said upthread is that DH's company has a canteen so he could and does eat lunch which is a cooked meal- when he comes home he has a meal but could just as easily get beans on toast himself. I don't like my main meal at lunchtime- it makes me lethargic.

But all this is beside the point really. There are times when I am knackered and need someone to put a meal on the table. He's not special needs as someone pointed out- he has a degree. He lived on his own for 10 years before we got married. There are no excuses.

I am going back to plan A which I started a while ago which he conveniently forgot about and insist he cooks one meal at least every week- ideally at a weekend when he has time to shop and learn. will look at the Jamie book.

Vicky2011 Sun 07-Apr-13 11:48:56

I'm going to be slight devils advocate here....but please don't take this as me saying you are being unreasonable - clearly your DH is being lazy and he needs to make at least some effort to learn to cook.

I've been married 15 yrs to a man who is a superb cook. When we got together, in our late 20s I was living on micro meals and he would cook properly every night. I was utterly clueless in the kitchen and the one time I did try to do a spag bol I made us both ill sad

12 months ago DH made it clear he thought I was taking the piss with leaving all the cooking to him. I was scared, intimidated even. He is a short tempered person who doesn't suffer fools and I was terrified that more tension would be caused when I failed in the kitchen. Anyway, I got a bloody good basic cook book (far too simplistic for DH to have owned) and I have slowly, learned to cook. We now split the load so that I do quick basic meals in the week and he does the more complex weekend stuff. A couple of comments you have made have brought back how scary it is to learn to cook for someone who is very good at it - the broccoli and the peppers - sorry but chopping food the right way has been one of the hardest things to learn - I still hate chopping broccoli and avoid it if at all possible. I still remember being gutted when I thought I had done really well chop carrots really small but apparently they were too small (can't remember why) and I'm guessing that your DH thought he was doing the right thing with the small pepper chunks. I'm so proud that I can now do a swift, accurate and safe job of an onion. Of course it's possible that he is being deliberately crap in order to stop you asking but, in honesty, I think he probably doesn't know any better.

So, I think you should at least try the teacher approach rather than the just do it approach. It will take longer, of course, you will be constantly thinking "grrrrr, it would be easier to do it myself" but honestly if there is any good will at all behind his reticence rather than base laziness, it will be worth the investment of time.

Leavenheath Sun 07-Apr-13 11:49:54

Why do you think that will work when it didn't before?

Lazyoldcow Sun 07-Apr-13 11:50:42

Hi delia thanks for coming to the rescue.

reasons why it's an issue now- well, for along time i was happy to be chef and TBH it was way outside DH's repetoire- each of my kds has food allergies and for a long time ( eldest has just left home) I was cooking not one but two meals each evening to cater for medical conditions.

I just sorted the meals. Full stop.

I don't agree with lowering standards because simple cooking doesn't mean eating rubbish or ready meals- sticking a piece of fish in the oven or under the grill, or grilling a chop is not hard and neither is cooking frozen peas, beans or steaming some carrots.

I have told him I am not cooking any more meals for him until he makes one for us. so there.

Lazyoldcow Sun 07-Apr-13 11:51:30

Leavan- because I backed down that's why.

rhondajean Sun 07-Apr-13 11:52:08

How did you react to his mini brocolli and too small chopped peppers?

Leavenheath Sun 07-Apr-13 11:56:02

So you're choosing a childish stand off with you both cooking your own food instead of dealing with the real issue?

oinkment Sun 07-Apr-13 11:57:00

I empathise OP.

I am married to a man who just will not cook. As so many others have said on the thread, he doesn't want to.

In our case he is happy to do anything or even everything else and if far from lazy.

He is happy to eat out or order in any time I don't want to cook, but...

...the absolute luxury of sitting down in my own house to a normal, tasty meal that I didn't plan or cook is something I often fantasise about. It makes me go weak at the knees just imagining it.

Me: What's for supper?
Him: I thought I'd use up those courgettes so I've made a risotto.


<Wipes tear>

deliasmithy Sun 07-Apr-13 12:10:53

Im pro giving the striking a go.

Lazyoldcow Sun 07-Apr-13 12:18:06

I don't quite get the childiish comment leaven.

Not dealing with the real issue- which? Errr- DH won't cook because do. So now I am not. Not for him anyway.

I have tried all other reasonable ideas such as showing him recipes, asking him to cook ONE MEAL a week at weekends, which worked for about 3 weeks , so I can't see what else I can do to bring my feelings home to him.

I think that if someone really, really doesn't want to cook, it's never going to work if you keep pushing about it. Make him responsible for one meal a week but accept a takeaway or ready meal; it won't kill you. You do sound as though you are a bit precious over food, which is offputting to someone who is not interested in cooking in the firstplace.

However, this would be dependent on him doing his share of other household chores. Just about everyone will have one particular chore they dislike and are crap at, it's not unfair to leave that particular task to someone else as long as you pull your weight WRT all t he rest of the household work.

rhondajean Sun 07-Apr-13 12:25:11

But how did you react when he did attempt to cook but didn't do it properly the way you would?

Leavenheath Sun 07-Apr-13 12:27:11

He knows your feelings. He doesn't care about them.

That's the issue, as quite a few posters have pointed out.

Going on strike, cooking your own food and not hoovering the stairs won't deal with that. It just side-steps it and will make for a miserable atmosphere for a while, for you as much as him.

Maybe he'll cook/order the food he likes from now on too, seeing as he won't have your limited diet to worry about.

Leavenheath Sun 07-Apr-13 12:28:58

Glad someone else has picked up on the preciousness about food. I bet he'll really miss that canteen when he retires grin

bbface Sun 07-Apr-13 12:36:52

Your DH does not want to cook. Period. You need to get your head around that fact. The cookbooks, the magazines... They are all for nothing if he does not want to.

What about having a Couple of regular days off from cooking during the week, and getting ready meals for dinner, I appreciate what you said about not having ready meals because of health issues, but check out marks and Spencers. They do an amazing range of ready meals that are a s pure as the driven snow, and not badly priced at all

bbface Sun 07-Apr-13 12:38:29

Solid.. I totally agree. He doesn't want to cook. Not ideal, but not the end of the world when there other options available and he does do other stuff around the house.

Lazyoldcow Sun 07-Apr-13 12:53:43

Look- I'm grateful for the positive suggestions so thanks.

I don't want to itemise my medical history here thanks, but believe me I am not being 'precious' about food. I have a serious health problem which is chronic and is affected by diet. If i eat one thing which is on my 'no' list it buggers me up for weeks or longer. This is not being precious- it's like a diabetic eating the wrong stuff etc etc.

I have to read labels, and for years and years we have had most meals cooked from scratch- simple stuff.

I think it's a bit off TBH that some of you are picking up on this as a stick to beat me with- you ought to try living with it- and trying to eat out sometimes- it's not a joke.

But having said that, what I can eat are things that are easy to cook.

Lazyoldcow Sun 07-Apr-13 12:55:46


If I just say briefly that I cannot eat gluten, dairy, onions, spices, tomatoes, and most stuff that goes into a sauce of any kind, then you get the problem with even M&S ready meals. This is not some kind of poncy 'oh i cannot eat a ready meal' nonsense- it's a medical issue.

rhondajean Sun 07-Apr-13 12:56:34

I sympathise, my mother has severe food allergies. Brings on awful migraines and really limits what she can eat.

But you aren't answering my question about how you react when he does it wrong?

Springdiva Sun 07-Apr-13 12:57:18

How long until he retires (which with him home all day will open another can of worms probably) because whilst he has canteen lunch the other meals don't much matter. And you have little leverage threatening not to cook.
What about getting a cook? - you don't know who is out there until you ask around? maybe someone will cook wonderfully for you a couple of times a week to give you a break.

Leavenheath Sun 07-Apr-13 13:03:55

As posters have said, what ever your intolerances are there's a ready meal in the shops to cater for it.

You do also sound very much like a poster who used to be on here who had hang-ups about weight and body stuff, so maybe it's not just your physical condition that affects what you eat?

Have you thought that maybe he doesn't want to have as restricted a diet as you? So there's no real excitement in doing a task he doesn't want to do in the first place and which is even less appealing when he has to cook food he's bored with?

bbface Sun 07-Apr-13 13:06:08

Food sounds, understandably, like a very big deal for you.

I imagine that cooking for you is perhaps something of a stress.

My opinion is accept DH is not going to cook. Either get stressed and worked up about it, or sit down and talk with DH and work out what alternatives I.e. he picks up another job that you currently do that hate doing, to make you happier.

My DH does no cooking whatsoever. None at all. However, he cleans up afterwards, changes all bedding, hoovers and cleans all the stainless steel in the kitchen. It works for us.

Leavenheath Sun 07-Apr-13 13:07:11

Every supermarket does ready meals without the things you can't eat. Not everything is in a sauce.

PoppyField Sun 07-Apr-13 13:07:59

Hi OP,
I agree with SGB's and Leavenheath's recent posts. It is a CAN'T, not a WON'T cook situation. You have spent most of this thread talking about ways to help him learn to cook, inspire him to cook, teach himself to cook etc etc etc. The truth is he doesn't want to and nothing is going to inspire him to cook.

Why are you then focussed on the idea that he can't do it, when the truth is that he won't won't won't do it?

The reason you are railing against this is because the food issue tells you so much that you don't want to know about the rest of your relationship. It is clear that this situation upsets you. You have communicated this to him again and again. There can be no doubt how you feel. So his inaction suggests an absolute disregard for your feelings. His attitude with the cooking shows that he really couldn't give a damn about your feelings. If he did he would try his hardest to put it right, even if it was finding out about M&S meals or promising to take you out for a nice meal once a week. The truth is that if he cared about you he would make an effort. No effort...? Well what can you make of that? No effort equals No care, and you (understandably) are trying to find every reason for that not to be the case.

You don't want this to add up. You are trying very hard not to stare into the abyss that has opened up in your kitchen floor, even though you only started off just wanting a bit of relief from the cooking. It is this: he doesn't care about your feelings, thenwhere does it leave you as a couple?

It is shocking to think that he really doesn't care when you are very upset about something. He really doesn't. That's what Leavenheath is suggesting is the problem, and I think she's right. Yes, the food issue is a problem... but it shows he's capable of being pretty nasty to you all round. Sorry to be brutal.

Lazyoldcow Sun 07-Apr-13 13:09:46

I'm going to duck out of this now. The responses are getting catty and way off the mark.

I have no body image issues- Christ how do you work that out???!!!

I have a medical condition for which I take prescribed drugs. Food is not a big deal- it's something I eat to live. Because of this condition I have which i would pay my entire life savings to rid myself of if there was a cure ( which there is not) then I have to be careful what I eat. As do all people who have this illness.

Trying to make me feel I now have mental health issues as well is just cruel.

Bye and thanks.

Leavenheath Sun 07-Apr-13 13:11:55

I agree with all that Poppy but to be fair, I don't think this is one sided.

I don't think the OP likes her husband much either, so the feeling is probably mutual.

PoppyField Sun 07-Apr-13 13:13:16

Sorry OP - didn't see that bit suggesting you have hang-ups. I was not supporting that bit. I am agreeing with posters who are saying this is about more than cooking and that there are worrying signs about his attitude to you in general. Good luck with it.

Lazyoldcow Sun 07-Apr-13 13:13:41

Poppy- your answer is a little extreme. I am not staring into an abyss- in fact we have never been happier. We have had a really bad patch 2 years ago and now it's all good.

It's not that i am being stupid or not seeing what you are saying. It's simply he gets away with the no cooking because i allow it. Yes it's offensive, yes, it shows disregard, but he makes up for that in 100 other ways not discussed here.

Leavenheath Sun 07-Apr-13 13:16:05

I said you sounded like a poster who had weight and body image issues. If you're not her, no problem.

If you are her, you do have problems believe me! She was a really nasty poster.

rhondajean Sun 07-Apr-13 13:20:01

There are very very few ready meals which my mother can eat.

Stop making assumptions!

And if op is completely no dairy, also no onions, that's practically everything my mother could eat ruled out. If you seriously think there are lots out there, please post links to them all!

Leavenheath Sun 07-Apr-13 13:32:33

There are some very high quality gluten free sausages in the shops. Paul Rankin's the brand I use. This with milk and butter-free mash makes a tasty (but quite high calorie wink) meal.

If your marriage has never been happier, why are you pushing so hard on this one issue and making such a battleground of it.

Some people hate cooking. If he does his share of other household tasks, it actually seems a bit unfair that you are constantly insisting he do the one task he really (for whatever reason) dislikes.
Has he offered to compromise in any other way? Would you be happy with (for instance) him paying someone else to cook a weekly meal? It does sound a bit as though you are determined to make him give in and do something he likes, just to prove you can make him obey.

(Oh and BTW it's silly for other posters to bang on about a dislike of cooking being a shameful thing. In a general way, an adult who does not want to cook will not starve, assuming s/he is reasonably well off; you can buy ready meals or takeaways or eat out, and if that's what you prefer to do that's up to you. Also, outside of medical issues, that would work perfectly well in most households where there is one adult (among several) who doesn't want to cook.)

Leavenheath Sun 07-Apr-13 13:41:06

I agree.

But neither of them would be behaving like this if their marriage had 'never been happier'. Op's husband would just fess up to not wanting to cook and having no intention of doing it and Op would not be threatening to go on strike and stop cooking for him. That's not how people behave in a 'never been happier' marriage.

Lazyoldcow Sun 07-Apr-13 15:07:20

Just to say thanks Rhodajean for appreciating the limitations on ready meals.

I would give my right arm to be able to sling some in the trolley.

I would also challenge anyone to link to any meals that are: gluten free, dairy free, nitrite and some preservatives free, garlic and onion free, spice-free, no tomatoes, no soy, no aspartane.

If I were coeliac- which I am bordering on- or diabetic- no one would query my fussiness or suggest it was a mental health or 'precious' behaviour issue.

As for why this is an issue- well, it's because I get sick of being totally responsible for it all, all of the time. I do 95% of housework, washing and laundry, and am happy to do those, but having a meal made would be a great 'night off' for me.

I think MN has gone into overdrive as it often can- I am not going to discuss my marriage in detail- it's okay- and I simply wanted some ideas for how to encourage DH to get in the kitchen.

Maybe all I need do is tell him I feel as I do, in the same way which I have here, and make sure he understands.

Lazyoldcow Sun 07-Apr-13 15:08:06

Leaven- xed posts- you seem to be wanting to stir this up- sorry but it's not how you think.

bye bye!

SugarPasteGreyhound Sun 07-Apr-13 15:19:17

It sounds as if there is a housework imbalance- I include cooking in that definition.

I can cook but DH is one of those bloody annoying very inventive cooks and is much better at the creative stuff than me. We split cooking 50/50; DH does the fancy stuff and I'm the soups/stews/roasts person.

However he hates cleaning the loo and emptying the bin. I hate doing the washing up. So we try and split tasks according to our preference. But the important thing is that we share the load - we both live here, we both create mess, so we both clear it up.

The division of household tasks is about respect. Your H needs to understand that by leaving it all to you he is essentially saying that he doesn't respect you or your time; that his time is more valuable than yours.

Housework is not women's work.

rhondajean Sun 07-Apr-13 15:36:56

The Paul rankin sausages contain onion powder so they're out for the op. some of the other additives put them out for my mother too.

Also, sausages are not a ready meal...

Leavenheath Sun 07-Apr-13 15:55:16

You're making no sense OP. If it was as easy as telling him how you feel and him understanding it, he would have changed because you've already done all that. He still hasn't wanted to cook and he still doesn't care that this upsets you.A few posts ago you said you'd decided to stop cooking for him 'so there'. confused Which is it to be?

However, your dietary restrictions would challenge a lot of home cooks let alone someone who has never learnt to cook and doesn't like it, so maybe your upset is a tad unreasonable? SGB's point was very fair about why if you've never been happier, you're making this such a bone of contention to the extent of going on strike?

Odd thread with a lot of contradictory posts from the OP.

tribpot Sun 07-Apr-13 16:01:55

Unfortunately OP (and I appreciate you are not reading now) the issue already has wider connotations than just cooking. You asked him to do housework, he did the one job that directly benefits him and left the rest. If you 'ask' him to do cooking you will get the same result. He can happily eat a main meal at lunchtime and have a sarnie for his tea.

So he 'forgets' the hoovering and 'looks terrified' in the kitchen - all techniques of enforced helplessness.

It's very unfair to make all cooking your 'problem', in essence of because of your food intolerances.

ThreeTomatoes Sun 07-Apr-13 19:41:11

I think people are being a tad unfair on the OP, suddenly getting personal about supposed food issues etc, blimey. And it's not as if she's awkward in her requests - as she says, simple meals are all she needs. I can understand her frustration that he can't/won't do this. If she was requesting three course fancy meals every time then fair enough!

Funny thing is, if I were the P who had to cook for her I'd be frustrated at the meals having to be so simple! grin

Good luck Lazyoldcow -I'd be quite interested to hear how your strike in terms of cooking for him works out!

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