How To: Teach Your Partner to Cook

I’m consistently gob-smacked at the number of people I know who do all the cooking in their household because their partner ‘doesn’t know how to cook’.

What the hell?

Maybe I’m biased by a childhood spent learning to cook, but surely – cooking ISN’T rocket science. RIGHT? I firmly believe that just about anyone can learn to cook. If they actually want to, that is.

So, if you’re one of the multitude with a clueless-in-the-kitchen partner, here are some basic rules that I’ve used to help hubby out over our marriage.

RULE 1: Work out how they learn best. Sometimes it’s easiest just to ask something along the lines of ‘if you need to learn how to do something, how would you prefer to learn it?’ Would they prefer, for example, to read a manual? Be shown through the process step-by-step a few times? Be talked through the process once? Be given a few basic tips, and left alone to figure it out themselves?

RULE 2: Find some simple recipes that they’ll enjoy eating. If they’re a ‘read the manual’ type, find an ‘intro to cooking’ type book that’s easy to read and simple to follow. I’ve seen a couple of ‘cooking for blokes’ books that fall into this category.

RULE 3: If you’ll be giving lessons – never start a cooking lesson when either of you are tired or grouchy.

RULE 4: Relax your standards. It doesn’t have to be perfect. A learner WILL make more mess than you. They may discover different ways of doing things, and this may be irritating – but unless it’s going to cause actual health problems or more work for you, let it be. If you’re too uptight, your partner is likely to give up before they even start.

RULE 5: Be kind, and be encouraging. No ‘I can’t believe you don’t know _____!!’

RULE 6: Make use of your partner’s preferred learning style. If, like my hubby, your partner learns best when taken through something step-by-step, you’ll need to be very hands-on. Demonstrate at the beginning of each step (if needed), and offer suggestions on important aspects of technique. Try not to give too much information at once, though.

RULE 7: Compliment the chef.

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8 Responses

  1. I do 95% of the cooking at our place but that is because

    1. Hubby works 12 hour shifts and the way the roster is scheduled he is never here at meals times, or if he is here he is sleeping.
    2. I like to cook and get very cranky if my precious de-stress kitchen time is taken away from me.

    But for those days when I’m not here or need a break from the kitchen he is more than able to make a meal for himself and the kids.

  2. I’m very lucky that once my hubby figured out how to cook more than sausages and mash he discovered that he enjoys cooking. We split it probably 60/40 when he’s home.

    Now the real question that I want answered is how do you get your blog bling to to what it’s doing?

  3. The Spouse was already house trained when I met him so we have little spats over wanting to cook lol.

  4. I wish my husband would read this! He’s actually the cook in the family. He’s all gourmet and all that. The thing is he’s very condescending about the whole thing. He treats me as if I’m incapable of feeding myself (and our child) if he’s not around.

    Okay, maybe I’m not all gourmet like him. But I CAN manage simple things.

    When he cooks a family dinner, I appreciate that. It’s nice having fancy homecooking.

    I hate though when he rushes to make a dinner so we have something to eat while he’s working at night. He once hurried and cooked us something–making sure we had something to eat while he was working. I know he’s trying to be nice. Maybe. But to me, I find it insulting. It’s like….you know, I do know how to boil water, turn on the oven, read a simple recipe, etc.

  5. I’m a bachelor, so i have developed some cooking ability. I can follow directions on a package, I can use directions and contents of package as the base for my own deviations ( my Hamburger Helper, for instance, typically has extra pasta and sweet onions in it), and I make a kickass batch of scrambled eggs.

  6. Ask him to fix toast. It’s easy to make and really tasty. Everyone loves toast.

  7. Marita – good to hear 🙂

    B – That’s next week’s how-to!

    Jayne – good stuff. That’s the sort of marital dispute I like to hear about 😉

    Dina – Awww 😦 Maybe he’s trying to take some stress off you?

    Dok – Always nice to hear about your deviations 😉

    Evyl – Damn good idea.

  8. lol. Hubby cooks and leaves the biggest mess.

    Rule in our house is whoever cooks, isn’t meant to clean up.

    So I prefer to cook.

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