Please stop that. I do all the cooking in the house and it takes planning. Just because you have the luxury of not planning it in advance doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be. What you eat tonight can have knock on effects for days as to what the menu options are and how to best make use of leftovers.
Um, what works for us may not work for others?
Hear hear! I’m on the same cruise. I find that the hardest part of cooking is actually deciding and planning what to cook. The actual act of cooking is pretty straightforward after that.
Also, the need to keep making that decision over and over for someone else who may then feel free to comment on your choice is exhausting.
Depends. I get having to be part of the planning. But just deciding?
Over here, it goes like like:
Wife: Tonights choices are A and B.
Wife: Please provide a 300 word essay why you prefer A.
I does so.
Wife cooks B or C for reasons I can’t appreciate.
Also, Wife can’t really cook, but doesn’t appreciate my lack of enthusiasm for runny sauces made of café du Paris, yoghurt I never wanted to buy and twenty year old spice mixes she’s too cheap to throw away.
So, off topic, but to this:
Agreed. It’s part of what they call the “mental load” that often but not always falls to the women in cis-het relationships.
I like to cook, but I don’t like being asked over and over to decide what to make after a full day of my paid work. In the past few years I’ve been making a menu over the weekend and stick it on the fridge. We get the required groceries, and then whoever feels like cooking can just look at the list and pick something. So, still taking on some of the management role, but more relaxing.
On the IHOP thing, whoever put up that sign is an angry, whiny asshole. I imagine they’re the type to rage listen to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” during the long Alaskan winter to “own the libs” in protest of the local radio stations stopping playing it.
Yes, metal load is there, but after spending years watching female relatives spending insane amount of time on trivialities, I gradually shift towards that a good part of is self-afflicted.
My mother – who’s comfortably retired, drawing a bigger pension than what I get by working – worries weeks about the very best post box.
My wife spent literally 30 hours search on what € 130 vacuum to purchase. I assure you, she makes considerably more than 4.30 € / hour. Packing for a short vacation of a week? Literally 1 cubic metre of stuff.
This! It’s like the artist is spying on me. Thank you, I now have a name to the concept!
I also try to plan the week’s meals, in fact I’ll try to plan 9 meals for 7 days so I have a fall back in case plans change, unexpected “emergencies” pop up (“what do you mean you have a swim meet today? Why didn’t you tell me on Sunday when I asked?”), or I just don’t have the energy to cook the more elaborate meal. I have a (growing) list of 35 regular meals to draw from. With this list, I can do the week’s shopping and get that out of the way. I have no time or tolerance for a 40 minute grocery run for a couple of missing ingredients.
Deciding in the first step of process, and is often recursive. Something as simple as hot dogs requires evaluation of the planning involved: it’ll take a couple hours to thaw the frozen hotdogs to grill or fry (of course I can drop them in hot water to speed the process), and an hour to thaw the buns if I don’t want soggy, mushy buns. They take 8 minutes to grill or fry, but two to boil (once the water is boiling). In that time I have to chop the onions, tomatoes, and pickles for the toppings / relish. Is it 7:00 on a school nights by the time I’m able to start cooking? Hot dogs means we won’t eat until 8 to 9 pm, so that meal is now off the table. I guess it’s bibimbap again tonight, which is a lot more complex, but I’ve gotten it down to such a rhythm that I can make — ingredient prep to finished meal — in 30-35 minutes, which is the time it takes the rice cooker to make the rice.
No buns, so hot dogs are off the menu? Let’s see what ingredients I have in the fridge? Now I have to think what can I make that it edible, have all the ingredients or acceptable substitutions for, and prepare in reasonable amount of time.
Multiply by seven, then by 52, then by however many years you have yet to live.
Sure, I can always grab something from a restaurant in a pinch, but a can cook a week’s worth of meals for the price of one night’s takeout.
I of course don’t know your family dynamics, but as an outsider it sounds more like a desire to connect and communicate than providing menu options. Why option A and not B? “Because I like the way the beef is cooked. Reminds me of that time we stayed at the little inn by the seashore.” YMMV
Might be time to brush up on your own cooking skills then.
I just read an article that said something like 50% of adults in the States are single (meaning neither married nor living with a partner). Somehow they all manage to eat despite not having a servant at home to do the work.
Almost as bad as male relatives, amirite? But not quite, because at least they’re getting things accomplished.
In all seriousness, the socialization of girls and women to get all the details right in the home (as their ‘natural’ responsibility) is quite substantial. It’s not surprising that it’s hard to overcome all that programming, especially if one’s partner expects them to carry all the mental load…just, you know, faster and less conspicuously.
We don’t have that many different dishes we use regularly. Probably less than your 35. (Not counting simple variations as different dishes.) And we already buy according to a plan, more or less.
The desire to communicate is a good theory, but alas, it’s just a theory. My wife has no real interest in cooking, but we easily talk about what we watch and read and politics and the like. But the dishes you allude to, she’s indifferent towards and wouldn’t make them herself. Or even go to a restaurant or get takeout on a whim.
These options A and B, they usually aren’t about what to “really" cook, but what kind of premade dish to get heated or heated in the pan. Most real cooking happens at the weekend, when I do it.
… with the unspoken assumption that the male partner doesn’t have any.
Yes, there’s still a divide here, with putting the responsibility on women when it should be shared. I know my wife apparently flabbergasted female acquaintances with the casual remark that as soon as I get home from work I started on the house work or care work for our kid. There are some aspects of house work I’m not allowed to touch, though. Laundry, for example.
My wife and I have slowly turn this process into a collaborative effort over the years. I did all of it (cooking, cleaning, and was even primary care giver for our daughter) for the longest time because I worked from home and she didn’t.
It’s exhausting, especially meals. I burned out on that one in a huge way because not only is thinking of a meal every single day hard (after chasing a toddler around all day), but I also just lost interest in cooking our go-tos.
I’ll fight with anybody who says stay at home moms don’t work or who claim that maintaining a house isn’t hard. Most of the men I know wouldn’t last a week.
And most women today are doing both, so…
Oh yeah, I kind of made everyone panic when my last child left the nest and I basically stopped cooking entirely. My friends were worried about my mental state, but it was simply that I was relieved to be able to take a break from all of that work.
If I’m only cooking for myself, I will still make meals that are considerably better than “Place tray on center rack. Peel back corner of foil to expose tater tots …”
But I will also tend to make a lot of it at once because I don’t mind eating the same thing a few days in a row. My quiche tastes great reheated! It’s the same amount of work for one night, but then I don’t have to do as much for several other nights. That said, most nights I’d rather have dinner with others, but there is a lot to be said for only having myself to worry about once in a while.
This is very much me, as well. If I’m cooking for myself, I almost always go with whatever’s easiest (followed by whatever I can easily make/buy lots of). Lunches are where I suffer the most. I really struggle to do more than boil water and add it to noodles.
There’s just something about cooking for only me that makes me lose interest in the entire process.
If I’m cooking for myself alone it’s most likely a multi dish vegan Indian.
Hence: whatever you want/are having/ I’m not fussy /oh anything / I can’t think of that now it’s too soon after lunch etc. are stone cold lies or utterly unhelpful.
I think this is a big part of it. I like to cook, but if left on my own, I’ll just as often have cheese and crackers or toast for dinner as cook a “proper” meal. Carrots or apples and peanut butter is a common lunch.
So being made to feel responsible for feeding another able-bodied human, and bend my own tendencies to something deemed more “normal” is eternally frustrating. Most people who say they “don’t care” when asked what they want react rather poorly (IME) to being given a bowl of popcorn.