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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?

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!

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.

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.

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...

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.

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!

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.

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.

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 13:32:33

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.

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 13:16:05

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 13:03:55

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?

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.

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?

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

bbface

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.

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.

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.

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