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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 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.

SolidGoldBrass Sun 07-Apr-13 12:22:41

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.

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