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my boyfriends terrible cooking skills - grrr

(43 Posts)
BBLucy1891 Thu 23-Jul-15 22:17:12

Probably the wrong topic section for such a minor problem but here goes: I'm pregnant with first baby. My partner is brilliant, blah, blah, blah...very supportive and all that but BLOODY USELESS IN THE KITCHEN. Yup - that's my hormones raging again :-)

I've had terrible morning sickness for about 10 weeks now and for ages I couldn't cook or even go to the shop - well that lasted about 2 weeks until we ran out of money for take-aways. My GP said "let your partner cook" and I actually laughed out loud.

My partner works all day, and I know he's tired in the evening, but once, just once, I'd like to come home from work (I work part time outside the home and part-time in the home) to some dinner. Or some food in the fridge that wasn't just milk, bread, beans and cheese.

Obviously I've spoken to him about this, and on a handful of occasions during our 3 year relationship he's tried to cook - buy its disgusting. Its either raw or burnt and he only has 1 signature dish - spaghetti bolognaise (with a jar of ragu and the cheapest mince available). Even his sandwiches are dry and with a miserable bit of cheese or ham. Soup is cold, sausages are raw.

I've tried to teach him some cooking skills, but he just pretends to watch for 5 minutes and gets impatient. He will 'help' me cook by chopping something, but its like pulling teeth - he has no interest. He hates anything to do with food, buying it or cooking it (he likes eating it, but he couldn't tell the difference between a fillet steak and a frozen beefburger). He hates supermarkets and if he goes shopping with me he gets distracted by the sweets and cakes and shows no understanding of what to buy.

Yes, I am his first 'real' girlfriend and, even more frighteningly, his mother was a traditional stay-at-home mum who even now never lets him lift a finger. In fairness to him he's reasonable at tidying and cleaning (neither of us are particularly tidy which is fine) but when it comes to food its a dead-end.

The problem is confounded by the fact that he's so busy working and keeping fit that there's no time to spend hours painstakingly going through every process about how to cook rice or what a butternut squash is. If I give him a list he often doesn't know what vegetables I'm talking about - I had to draw a picture of a courgette FFS!

I've tried not cooking, and in fact the morning sickness means I often can't cook, but all that happens is he comes home, asks if I've eaten, I'll say "no" and he'll suggest a take-away or offer to make me a bowl of cereal.

Its hard to nag him when he's so tired from work all the time but what are we going to do when the baby is born?

Sorry for the rant - but helpful suggestions would be MUCH appreciated. I never would have thought someone's cooking ability was important. PS - he is wonderful in many other ways.

TokenGinger Thu 23-Jul-15 22:36:18

Do you have a good relationship with MIL? Could you speak to her about it and see if she'll give him some cooking lessons?

Have a serious conversation with him about how concerned you are.

When you feel up to it, batch cook something in a slow cooker and freeze it so you have ready meals there for you.

Teach him how to make. Very basic things but that are good for you - scrambled eggs for example.

If he really is such a terrible cook, there just needs to be some compromise. You take over meal time, ensure he picks up another responsibility in the home. (Of course, when your morning sickness goes)

griselda101 Thu 23-Jul-15 22:44:31

my ex has cooked about two terrible meals in the three years I have known him (we have a DS together and spend time together because of that).

i just gave up in the end and he never cooks and I never ask him to anymore (when he is here helping with DS). Acceptance really helped me, just accepting that he doesn't cook, and getting on with it myself instead. We're no longer together, but if we were it would be a different story, I'd def be doing something about it.

How about you ask him to go to evening classes, or challenge him to do a main meal twice a week from a youtube video, something easy. Something new every week or until he gets a few recipes. Then make it regular, Sundays and thursdays or something. I guess it would help if he had something he wanted you to do once or twice a week that you don't normally do as it would have to work both ways (unless you always do more anyway!).

SurlyCue Thu 23-Jul-15 22:53:13

I am your boyfriend. I hate cooking. I hate having to eat really. Hate having to bother with food. I get by on making basic easy, lazy meals that i know both me and the DC will eat. Tbh i think get your boyfriend to "master" (as in edible) 3 or 4 basic meals and just accept that cooking will never be his thing. If he's great in every other way then i dont think its a big deal. I'm sure there are things youre shit at that he would rather you did better.

MakeItACider Thu 23-Jul-15 22:54:23

Student cooking guides might be the way to go. They tend to offer foolproof recipes, with step by step instructions.

Loads of them online so easy to access/print up.

TokenGinger Thu 23-Jul-15 22:56:44

On a serious note, I have massive issues with food. And I honestly believe it's because my mum cannot cook, so she fed me on fish fingers, chips, beans, turkey dinosaurs, chicken dippers etc.

It's only as I've got older that I've started experimenting with different foods, textures and tastes and I really wish my mum had cooked more and had me try more as a child as opposed to giving us basic food to live.

Stress the importance of this to him so your children don't develop these issues too.

I really like the idea of the YouTube videos. I couldn't cook a few years ago. I learnt from following recipes online.

griselda101 Thu 23-Jul-15 23:17:24

i guess also you have to find out where his interest with food lies. E.g. if he loves indian food, maybe a couple of simple indian recipes would be good for him to try. He has to be really into the food he's going to be cooking and to realise it's possible to make it and make it taste good and with relative ease. Work him up to it slowly, warm him up to it. Lavish praise on his attempts!

Also maybe get him more into the experience of eating / tasting in general...go to a few fancy restaurants or farmers markets / food festivals might get him a bit more interested in the process of cooking, taste, veg, ingredients etc.

SurlyCue Thu 23-Jul-15 23:22:18

Oh yes i agree griselda. If someone said to me "i'm going to teach you how to make irish stew just like your mum's" i would bite their arm off. There are some things i definitely would like to be able to make well. (P.s I've asked my mum and she wont show me sad)

Morganly Thu 23-Jul-15 23:43:05

If he is genuinely OK with sharing the rest of the housework and childcare, I think this is something you can cut him some slack on. We all have our weak areas. I'm rubbish at decorating, gardening, mending/fixing things, sewing and anything technology related so these are my H's jobs.

This time of year, you can manage without having to cook yourself: salad with cold meat, tuna etc, quiche, pasta, pies, pizzas and other ready meals from the supermarket, microwaved or heated up in the oven. He can do the heating up, following the instructions on the packet. It will be a good place for him to start rather than expecting recipes from scratch. You never know, if he gains confidence in this way, he might start branching out from choice.

Morganly Thu 23-Jul-15 23:46:30

Oh yeah, and internet shopping is the answer for busy working families and pregnant women who are two tired/sick to troll round supermarkets.

goddessofsmallthings Fri 24-Jul-15 00:17:21

Your pg hormones appear to be creating a problem where none should exist as you were well aware that his cookery skills were slim to non-existent and weren't going to improve through the act of conception alone.

Any attempt you make to teach/force this reluctant chef to cook will only lead to disharmony and you're best advised to take over the shopping/cooking until such time as he can be gently encouraged to add a new string to his bow. In return he can ply the hoover and duster, wash windows, dishes, etc, and generally assume the responsibility of keeping your home fit to live in while you put delicious meals on the table.

Do your grocery shopping online (Ocado is brilliant), batch cook when you aren't feeling nauseous, and fill your freezer with food that will get you through the early weeks post birth.

Buy him a one day cookery course at River Cottage or Rick Stein's establishment in Padstow with overnight accomodation if necessary - you can accompany him and spend the day lazing/shopping/lolling on a beach while he's occupied elsewhere.

If you're in/near London, Waitrose offer an extensive choice of one day cookery courses or you can source whatever suits your palate closer to home and gift him with the opportunity of learning how to make it. He needn't fear he'll be a lone male in a roomful of females as many men attend these courses and he should have a grand day out in good company.

If you want to introduce him to fine dining you'll find offers online for lunch for 2 at the Ritz or other 5* restaurants for a relatively modest sum and even a gastronomic philistine won't fail to be impressed with the quality of the food and the service. Le Gavroche is in a class of its own and its business lunch menu is one of London's worst kept secrets.

If he gets a taste for the culinary arts please don't come back complaining he won't let you in the kitchen, or that you're having to spend days/nights alone while he competes on amateur Masterchef grin

BoxOfKittens Fri 24-Jul-15 02:27:22

I was going to also suggest a student cook book. Fast, cheap, simple yet healthy and tasty. Plus info on basics too.

textfan Fri 24-Jul-15 02:47:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

textfan Fri 24-Jul-15 02:50:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

textfan Fri 24-Jul-15 02:51:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

goddessofsmallthings Fri 24-Jul-15 04:29:57

The above suggestions pre-suppose that your h has an interest in cooking and ime it's unlikely that the finished articles will resemble those which the 2 responders in question would produce from the same book/ingredients grin

Buy him a box set of Hairy Bikers dvds, or strap him into an armchair in front of Saturday Kitchen and hope that osmosis will inspire him to chuck out the jar of ragu sauce and make his signature dish from scratch.

Please don't encourage him to buy/use ready prepared food for his culinary experiments or he'll never learn the basics and your tastebuds will be continually disappointed.

textfan Fri 24-Jul-15 05:00:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

avocadotoast Fri 24-Jul-15 05:20:45

He needs to nail a couple of basic recipes. Even something like grilled chicken and potatoes and steamed veg. It might not be the most interesting meal but it'll at least get you through!

Or something like egg on toast even. Egg and chips. Ham and chips. Pasta with a really basic sauce. My mum hates cooking and she manages ok with those without getting bored halfway through!

Or just get some chicken kievs and stick 'em in the freezer.

I do sympathise though OP. I had a boyfriend at uni who couldn't use a tin opener. People said I was being mean to him over it but he was 20 years old ffs. The mind boggles.

jaffajiffy Fri 24-Jul-15 05:37:45

My DH is similar in his ineptitude though very willing to try, which is where it sounds different for you. I'd have a serious conversation about how you can both compromise on this. My DH did a series of cooking trials before DS was born, e.g. Spag Bol, and it was hard not to intervene all the time (setting fire to spaghetti anyone?). You will not be able to do much or indeed anything with a newborn. We existed on Charlie bighams meals and also a (vast, v tasty and not unhealthy) selection from Cook. So in my view he has to step up and take responsibility for feeding you both, but you will need to revise your expectations to be in line with what's realistic for his current skills. We are expecting ds2 in a few weeks and preparing for another Cook episode.

Congrats on your pregnancy!

mathanxiety Fri 24-Jul-15 06:23:05

My exH was terrible and still is. Lucky for me I no longer have to eat any of the raw meats he regularly made us sick with, including DD1 and DS when I was at the hospital having DD2. DS was a whisker away from needing a drip, so bad was the food poisoning. It was all helpless/ 'I can't cope' behaviour, mixed in with resentment that he was cooking, plus lots and lots of overconfidence about his BBQing skills.

Get yourselves a slow cooker for the short term, and together make some meals at the weekend and freeze them. He can do most of it. That way you will hopefully have something in the freezer for when the baby arrives too. There are only two of you so you shouldn't be cooking every day no matter what.

Could you order grocery shopping?

In the short term, you have to figure out what he is going to contribute if he isn't going to cook. And he simply has to gradually learn to cook, in the longer term (before the baby arrives). It doesn't have to be fancy stuff. As long as he can follow instructions and put together four or five slow cooker meals that will last a while if frozen, you will be set.

Some ideas. There is lots of this sort of thing on Pinterest.

My DS was quite receptive to lessons on cooking, but what really made him interested was TV cooks, including Gordon Ramsay, whose methods are quite easy to follow. DS now makes excellent scrambled eggs and a few other staples. He takes pride in his skills and likes to learn new dishes, having started out as someone who thought dinner magically appeared.

mathanxiety Fri 24-Jul-15 06:28:53

I really sympathise with you as you do not want to end up eating raw foods while pregnant or with a new baby. THis is a health issue as much as anything else.

But it is learned helplessness too, and that can be unlearned.

My morning sickness was so horrible I couldn't open the fridge without gagging, but the alternative of having exH cook was unthinkable as he simply did not appreciate that meat was not cooked just because he had got bored standing there looking at it.

Hope you eel better soon. If you're anything like me you probably have another 8-10 weeks to go so he really needs to up his game.

mathanxiety Fri 24-Jul-15 06:29:07


Phoenix0x0 Fri 24-Jul-15 06:37:03

A slow cooker is your friend here. Minimal effort, as he would just have to chuck everything into it before he goes to work.

Put meat, frozen veg (such as: chopped onions, spinach, broccoli, carrots etc) sauce/or packet mixed with tinned tomatoes and voila he will have made a bolognase/chilli/curry.

Then all you need to do is heat a microwave packet of rice/pasta/baked potato.

Phoenix0x0 Fri 24-Jul-15 06:52:38

In tesco/or any other supermarket, in the fresh meat section pre-prepared chicken, such as hunters chicken, chicken encroute etc.

They come in a container that can be put straight into the oven. All he would need to do is turn on the oven to preheat, put in the prepared chicken and set a timer as these things always tell you how long to cook it for.

He could then serve with a pre-made potato dish (in the chilled section), salad, steamed vegtables.

It's not hard. I agree with the others he is reluctant to do it as he cannot be bothered.

junebirthdaygirl Fri 24-Jul-15 07:53:18

My ds had no interest in learning to cook before college. While there he was desperate enough to try a few things. He popped the laptop up and followed it step by step. He would have hated me teaching him. Success encouraged him. Now he has a good few possibilities . He has dyspraxia so does find fine motor stuff easy but step by step images really helped.

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