Bride-to-be confesses her lack of kit...

Bride-to-be confesses her lack of kitchen confidence

There are 170 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from May 13, 2008, titled Bride-to-be confesses her lack of kitchen confidence. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

DEAR ABBY: My fiance, "Keith," and I are being married at the end of June. We met at a fraternity party last fall and knew right away we were meant for each other.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

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Asha

Midland, MI

#1 May 13, 2008
LW1 - I am from India, and i was under the impression that its only here that brides-to-be freak out about their lack of cooking skills :-)

But honestly, you dont think that your guy is marrying you to be able to eat, do you? I mean what has he been doing up until now - starving himself? And as Abby pointed out, you BOTH should be cooking, or at least learning to cook - its a pretty good life skill to learn!
Nonnie

Chaville, France

#2 May 14, 2008
how is it difficult to boil spaghetti or macaroni and pour sauce from a jar on top? And just buy a bag of frozen beans, boil them, drain them, and serve them on the side? complete meal! Don't forget to close the bread bag after. Goodness.... or even follow the directions on the back of a box of tuna or chicken helper??
EEE

Hinsdale, IL

#3 May 14, 2008
I didn't get the impression that LW1 thought she'd been the primary cook in the family, just that her fiance, like any normal person, would expect her to know how to boil water for spaghetti.

I'm not the world's best cook, but even I can turn on the oven and throw in some chicken.

LW1 sounds a bit immature to be getting married. She met this guy at a frat party less than a year ago and she considers herself "lucky" that she's managed to hide this "flaw" from her future husband.

Ah, subterfuge and obfuscation, what a great start to a life together.

I give them two years, tops.
hammerdown

Los Angeles, CA

#4 May 14, 2008
Don't worry sweetie, he won't notice for the first year.
Cynthia

Perry Point, MD

#5 May 14, 2008
A good cookbook for the novice is the Betty Crocker cookbook. The first part is called "The Best of Susan" and is geared to the non-cooking new bride. Meals are simple, easy to make and very good. If the bride goes to some of these bulletin board and posts for recipes she will get many proven delicious ones I assure you. Experienced cooks love to share their favorites and secrets. BTW, the Martha Stewart website has a recipe that includes cornflakes that you bread them in, for the world's BEST crabcakes. They fall apart due to having no filler, but are excellent!
robin

Chicago, IL

#6 May 14, 2008
Betty Crocker is a great idea...also watch the cooking shows on PBS. Even if you don't want to use the recipes, you will learn some of the basics.

Also starting out, rely on grilling, baking, steaming, etc. Very simple methods for preparing meat and vegetables. It's easy and healthier, too.
Polarity

Washington, DC

#7 May 14, 2008
If someone is used to home-cooked meals, I don't think spaghetti from a can or a microwaved TV dinner is going to cut it.

A cooking class is indeed the right answer, if learning to cook is LW1's goal.

Another option would be to take the future mother-in-law into confidence and ask her to teach LW1. This is a double-edged sword though: it could either be very good for their relationship, or it open a can of worms where the mil starts "teaching" LW1 about all aspects of her life. So this option is only to be used with care.

Lastly, I thought it was professionally inappropriate for Abby to use LW1's letter to hawk her own collection of recipes. It's one thing to have a small blurb at the bottom of the column, but it's another entirely to include an advertisement as part of your published response to a question.
jennifer

Batavia, OH

#8 May 14, 2008
Dear Abby,
Is there a way to get my husband to eat vegetables? He will only eat fresh spinach sometimes and broccoli smothered in cheese. Often I don't prepare a vegetable because I'm the only one that will eat it. I would like my children to not be like him when they are adults (in terms of eating vegetables). My children do like fruit, but I can honestly say I've never seen my husband eat a piece of fresh fruit.
Signed,
Likes variety
ferbaby724

Hilton Head Island, SC

#9 May 14, 2008
Speechless: Have you tried matching his volume and expression and saying "You're really loud!"
Daria

Detroit, MI

#10 May 14, 2008
EEE wrote:
I didn't get the impression that LW1 thought she'd been the primary cook in the family, just that her fiance, like any normal person, would expect her to know how to boil water for spaghetti.
I'm not the world's best cook, but even I can turn on the oven and throw in some chicken.
LW1 sounds a bit immature to be getting married. She met this guy at a frat party less than a year ago and she considers herself "lucky" that she's managed to hide this "flaw" from her future husband.
Ah, subterfuge and obfuscation, what a great start to a life together.
I give them two years, tops.
I'm with you! This is not a Deep Dark Secret for which he may leave her at the altar! Or maybe it is, depending on HIM.....I don't cook. Any man who chooses me accepts that. I clean, do laundry, mow the grass, and hold down a job, but I don't cook. If that's a dealbreaker for someone, God bless 'em. And their sense of priorities!
BAW

Charleston, WV

#11 May 14, 2008
I don't understand people who don't cook. How can one possibly AFFORD to eat out all the time?
Susan in Warrenville

United States

#12 May 14, 2008
For the Bride Who Can't Cook: This is not as big a deal as it was 50 years ago. Every couple has some adjustments to make. Your fiancee no doubt has flaws of his own.

Go back to the bookstore, and look again. Often they have an entire section devoted to "basic" cooking, or "fast" meals. I would highly recommend Rachel Ray's 30-minute recipes. Another great, simple cookbook is Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely.

I also agree that it's unprofessional for Abby to keep hawking her items ad nauseum in the column. A brief mention at the end is more than enough.

The "loudmouth" in the last letter sounds to me like he may have Asperger's Syndrome. This is a mild form of Autism.

People with AS can't read body language or facial expression, so they often act in a way that is percieved as "rude" by others. To somebody with AS, pointing out an obvious fact("You're short!" or even "You're fat!")is as friendly and logical a way to start a conversation as saying,"You look great today!" and shouldn't cause any hurt feelings.

If the loudmouth does have AS, he's probably also "rude" in other areas. The best way to handle it would be for his coworker to say, "Brian, it really hurts me when you say that."

People with AS don't realize that they are being offensive unless they are told directly.

Jennifer -- Your response is totally normal, but it's not the way to get your kids to eat veggies. There's probably no hope of changing your husband's behavior. But, if you serve a different, tasty, colorful vegetable at each meal, and eat it with enjoyment, your kids will imitate you.

My favorites are steamed broccoli with Mrs. Dash seasoning, or green beans with lemon pepper. Baby carrots and sugar snap peas are fun for kids -- raw or cooked. Spaghetti squash is great with canned tomato sauce. For a nice "combo" try steamed broccoli and baby carrots with raw red bell pepper strips.
Stone Thrower

Chelsea, MA

#13 May 14, 2008
LW1 - It's not the 1950s.

Abby - Subtle way to plug your book.

LW2 - I'm guilty of saying that. Tactless, bad me. But really when you are a nearly 6 feet tall woman, practically all of your female friends are short. Sometimes you randomly notice the difference and when you have foot-in-mouth disease, you say things. However, it does work both ways. One of my closest friends is 5'4" and looks at me occasionally and says "you're huge". I can't deny it...
Stone Thrower

Chelsea, MA

#14 May 14, 2008
BAW wrote:
I don't understand people who don't cook. How can one possibly AFFORD to eat out all the time?
As someone who didn't cook until last year, I can tell you. I ate: pasta, sandwiches, canned soup, frozen potatoes, microwave popcorn and bought my lunch in my work's cheap cafeteria daily ($5 lunches tops). Went out to eat maybe once a week and got myself invited over to people's houses on a regular basis to feed me.

At the age of 30, I learned to cook, and realized that I really enjoy it. But the benefit is now it isn't just me for whom I am cooking. When you are single in the city, cooking for yourself is an uninspiring situation, so you make do.
Daria

Garden City, MI

#15 May 14, 2008
BAW wrote:
I don't understand people who don't cook. How can one possibly AFFORD to eat out all the time?
Perhaps I should have been more specific. I don't "cook" cook. I live alone. My microwave is my best friend. That and my 20 cats. HA. Just seeing if you're paying attention....I eat sandwiches, bagels, lots of salads, and yes, I can make spaghetti. Nothing that I would expect anyone else to eat day in and day out! And no, I don't eat out. Unless someone else is paying, but that's another column......
suzyq

Madison, TN

#16 May 14, 2008
I agree with the other writers that the Betty Crocker Cookbook is the best first cookbook you can buy. I knew how to cook when I first married, my mother, grandmother, my dad and just about everyone in my family being great cooks and passing alone their knowledge. But I still pull out Betty Crocker to look something up or refer to a favorite - after 33 years it's pretty beat up.
Rational

Waymart, PA

#17 May 14, 2008
Stone Thrower wrote:
<quoted text>
As someone who didn't cook until last year, I can tell you. I ate: pasta, sandwiches, canned soup, frozen potatoes, microwave popcorn and bought my lunch in my work's cheap cafeteria daily ($5 lunches tops). Went out to eat maybe once a week and got myself invited over to people's houses on a regular basis to feed me.
At the age of 30, I learned to cook, and realized that I really enjoy it. But the benefit is now it isn't just me for whom I am cooking. When you are single in the city, cooking for yourself is an uninspiring situation, so you make do.
Hey Stone Thrower. Good for you for learning how to cook. Personally I have always enjoyed cooking. Even cooking for yourself is a way to practice and experiment, learn new things. It comes in handy when you want to impress a young lady. I have a few recipes that uhhh..., do well for setting the mood. One dish I make is lethal! There is no escape once it passes the lips, I seriously think its a female aphrodisiac!
lamartrotti

United States

#18 May 14, 2008
Asha wrote:
LW1 - I am from India, and i was under the impression that its only here that brides-to-be freak out about their lack of cooking skills :-)
But honestly, you dont think that your guy is marrying you to be able to eat, do you? I mean what has he been doing up until now - starving himself? And as Abby pointed out, you BOTH should be cooking, or at least learning to cook - its a pretty good life skill to learn!
ASHA. I Wonder what's wrong with women these days, they want a husband and are not equipt to even do simple things like cook. Once upon a time women actually learned how to cook because they knew that it was one of the things she had to know now I read where the husband should go along with his wife to a cooking class. BULL! There would not be a wedding here but we could still remain "close" friends. No! I would never tolerate Take-Out, that's the lazy way out.

“Merry Holidays!”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#19 May 14, 2008
So she doesn't cook. To me what I find appalling is that she is hiding the fact she doesn't cook. She is marrying this guy? How could that NOT come up? Especially since he spoke about home cooked meals.

And what's with all the really sensitive people? I'm with the other poster -- I'd probably either say "and you're really loud" or "thanks for the news flash". I'm 5'2" so I get those stupid statements alot of "oh, you're short". It's just stating the obvious. I usually ignore it.
Vic

Skokie, IL

#20 May 14, 2008
"life is short and so is this conversation. Goodbye!" Ah!! Genious! that had me laughing!

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