Wife Problems (For the Ladies)...

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by Backwoods Presbyterian, Sep 1, 2008.

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  1. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Posting this in two forums so I can get advice from older ladies as well...

    I originally posted this in the Iron Chef forum in a response you see below...

    My wife was/is in the same boat. Unfortunately her Mom does not know either and is not interested in teaching her daughter anything (this creates other problems as well but that is for another thread). She is quite intimidated by other women who do know how to do these things and feels quite inadequate around them which creates a lot of tension.

    Any advice from the ladies on how to help?
  2. Galatians220

    Galatians220 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Ben, I sympathize with your wife. I lost my mom when I was a quite young adult and always just had to "wing it" as to cooking skills.

    Bottom line, I think: if you can read, and if you have the right equipment and ingredients for any particular dish, you can cook. It might be helpful to take a basic class at a community college to fill in some beginning basics. It also helps to buddy up with another lady, a kind and helpful type, who does know how to cook. This should be someone who doesn't mind a quick phone call, even on Thanksgiving morning :)lol: !!!) if your wife needs some help...

    Even after she gets fairly confident in the kitchen, she's still going to make mistakes, but the trick is not to beat oneself up over them. I made a beauty of one just recently when having a couple of ministers here for dinner, but for the first time in my life, it didn't keep me up all night with self-recriminations. Progress!

    I wish your wife well as she undertakes this learning process! And if she needs any help, she can always PM me -- not that I'm going to be a great source myself! :graduate:

  3. calgal

    calgal Puritan Board Graduate

    DO NOT compare her to these women. Women (sorry to say it) are a bunch of competitive biddies (hidden in sweet sugary tones) and live to make each other feel like the gum on your shoe. My mother has never been able to cook and I came into our marriage able to make pizza (frozen), egg dishes (scrambled), pasta, rice and stuff in a box. Oh and bake strange looking cookies. DH is a better cook than I am (as are his brothers: they all learned to cook from their dad). I am sure your lovely wife has many stellar skills, talents and qualities in the home that more than compensate for being cooking impaired. Focus on what she DOES well, NOT on her shortcomings. It hurts us more than you can imagine when we "come up short" in these areas. we are judged on how well we do by the women at church and the LAST thing your wife needs is to have the church biddies be aware of how much she does NOT measure up. And you guys may be confused but there is a competition about who is a better "Proverbs 31 kind of gal." :rant: It should not be so but it is what it is. :um: The tension could also be coming from these other women: we are a viscious lot and I honestly avoid female fellowship as much as possible for that reason.

    Here is a story for you (ladies please feel free to chime in): I was invited to a baby shower one evening. Now being that I work full time, I figured I could buy a nice healthy fruit platter and the content would make up for the lack of presentation. And that should be ok, right? Well, I walk into a Better Homes and Gardens photoshoot kind of spread with my Costco fruit plate (we don't have a "designated fruit platter") and feel like the worst wife, worst woman and a total failure. The icing on the cookie (which had the baby's first initial placed perfectly) was that the prayer given was how wonderful the pregnant one was from such a great Christian family. :eek: Um okay, that is success: pregnancy and a perfect Christian family. The word going through my mind was "Gail is all FAIL." My family is atheist, I can't bake pretty things (time constraints and lack of artistic ability) and I am not able to bear children. :(
  4. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I am not comparing her to these other women to be sure. But she does which is what is creating the tension.
  5. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    I'm told by the ladies at my church that I cook pretty well, which is something because I didn't know how to do much but bake a little either when I left home. Maybe they're just being nice! ;) She should learn how to make dishes one at a time and, as she gets successful at this, her confidence will grow and she'll feel less tense. She should learn to make a roast, some soups (these range from simple to quite complex, it's up to her how complicated she wants to make it) pasta can be quite good. A guy actually taught me to make stew, I make chili with ground beef and a can of beans, tomato paste and spices. Of course I'm cooking for myself :lol:
  6. Laura

    Laura Puritan Board Junior

    I understand. Like someone else said in the original thread, I started learning to bake homemade cookies and chocolate cake for fun when I was in high school, but unfortunately people can't very well live off those... I had a year at home before marrying and tried to focus more on planning and cooking actual meals. The magazines Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country, together with their show "America's Test Kitchen" (which also puts out books and an online newsletter) have helped me immeasurably. They test a bunch of good old traditional recipes (it's not worthlessly "gourmet" and doesn't assume that you have $$$ for expensive ingredients), explain the techniques and why they chose those ingredients, and give you a foolproof recipe. My husband has raved about everything I've ever made from them, and I have learned so much. You can check out their publications from the library, just search for Cook's Illustrated or America's Test Kitchen. Or go to their website, but be aware that you have to pay for a website membership :)rolleyes:) to see much of the content.
  7. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    If y'all do not mind I'd like to extend the discussion past the cooking to just "handy around the house" issues as well. From basic things as why a house should be picked up and dusting, etc... to how to talk to me in public (and private) are issues that are starting to become a problem. As I said previously she did not grow up with any "training" in these matters and in fact her only paternal and maternal influence (including her grandmother) are of meek men being "bossed around" by feminist women, none of whom are Christians by any stretch of the definition.

    I would appreciate any reading I could do to help in these matters. For me and my wife.
  8. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    The flip side to the Proverbs 31 competition Calgirl brings up is that people naturally like to show off (and there are many Christian ladies who really do want to help more than show other women up). My 14 year old has been forced to immediately do the cooking and cleaning for me and 3 brothers, and I just had her over once a week to the houses of a couple of the more advanced women at church, and she's really coming along.

    So, it could be very flattering to someone to take your wife under her wing, and in a healthy church it will bring praise to your wife as well rather than mockery to do so. But something else I've see over the years is that someone's got to want to do something, or no amount of teaching in the world will help.

    The same with men. I've trained my sons in most all of the things men are supposed to be able to do, and some surpass me, and others have the head knowledge but are too lazy to do anything about it. And they naturally get that from me, so parents of young children read these words and ponder.
  9. calgal

    calgal Puritan Board Graduate

    We all do. And the other women feed our insecurities oh so subtly. It is not always deliberate but it always always happens. :(
  10. calgal

    calgal Puritan Board Graduate

    What do you mean by "how to talk to you in public and private?" If you mean she being disrespectful, call her on it IN PRIVATE and give specific times, places and events. And realize change can be incremental but still be change.

    Cleaning is a useful skill indeed and is best done as a set of little things (note to self: decluttering is your friend):

    Decluttering Tips

    Cleaning and organizing

    I learned to do something every day and tackle the big chores room by room. Each week, I do something major (windows, clean tub and floors and organize a storage area). The above links are useful. Now if anyone knows how to get the soap scum out of a 60 year old tub, I will be eternally grateful (I have a scrubber and have used CLR to make a dent but it still bothers me).
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
  11. turmeric

    turmeric Megerator

    This might help. It made a lot of sense to me when I heard him talking. It's sorta Evanjellyfish but I think it's got truth in it.
  12. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Gail, that makes it sound like there aren't any sanctified women in the world. Now I am a man and no doubt have male-pattern blindness to feminine foibles, but surely it can't be right to assert that women live to make other women feel like recycled table scraps.
  13. calgal

    calgal Puritan Board Graduate

    Thank you Ruben for the reminder that there are a few wonderful sanctified ladies out there (I have met them and they are amazing but sadly are rare). Unfortunately, there are a lot of worldly women in churches who may be consciously or unconsciously making us feel worse than recycled table scraps. Many of these ladies love to make other women feel useless, worthless and utterly horrible. And it is hard to see past the biddies when we are made to feel inadequate and useless (women are relational).
  14. Leslie

    Leslie Puritan Board Junior

    Move overseas where household help is affordable. I hate housework and cooking. We pay our maid 3 birr (about 29 cents) an hour and that's far more than the going rate. The day we fire her, we'll have 20 women lined up at the door, wanting her job.
  15. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    You treat her well. Even in South Africa where the wages are crazy high for the average person the going rate for a full time servant is about 4 bucks per day.
  16. Grace Alone

    Grace Alone Puritan Board Senior

    Tim, does it really say in the Bible that men and boys cannot help clean and cook? I really think it is sort of sad that a 14 year old girl would have that complete responsibility alone. My husband happens to love to cook (along with yard work and car repair, all the traditional male jobs). He cooks sometimes because he enjoys it and he likes to do things to help me.
  17. JohnGill

    JohnGill Puritan Board Senior

    Being single I have to cook. I'd recommend the Alton Brown cookbook series. It's fun to read and easy to understand. The recipes work quite well. She could also watch his show and go to his website for recipes. There is also the Gordon Ramsay cookbooks which are quite good. They're a bit more upscale though, but they teach how to add variety.
  18. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    No, and I'm very sorry if it came out that way. I work from 5am to 6pm, usually without more than a 15 minute break for lunch, and my sons work with me, and it's very intense. One son does the laundry as well, I do the trash, another is in charge of transportation for the younger, another tutors math. In addition, I pay the daughter for the house work to make if fair, since I pay the boys.

    It's just that it is so nice to come home to a clean house and have meals made for you, and she enjoys it. And having those women take her under her wing has given her amazing confidence in a most horrible time of her life. Everyone complements her, and the ladies come over to give her pointers.
  19. Grace Alone

    Grace Alone Puritan Board Senior

    Benjamin, our oldest daughter graduated from college a year ago and moved into her own place. I gave her a 4-ingredient cookbook and she loves it! Anyone new to cooking is going to be a little overwhelmed by the complex recipes in some of the more detailed cookbooks. Not to mention it can be expensive to cook some of the items with more obscure ingredients! If you wife could learn to cook some simple things, then she might want to branch out and cook some other things. You might help her develop this interest by offering to do it together.

    Amazon.com: 4 Ingredient Cookbook: Books

    Amazon.com: Best-Ever Three & Four Ingredient Cookbook: Jenny White, Joanna Farrow: Books
  20. Grace Alone

    Grace Alone Puritan Board Senior

    Thanks for clarifying! I was picturing poor little Cinderella (before she met the prince)! I think it is terrific that the ladies are taking her under their wing!
  21. sailorswife

    sailorswife Puritan Board Freshman


    I'm just curious how long you have been married, does your wife work or do you have kids? I liked the suggestion of cooking together, that sounds like fun, I would have loved to do that with my husband (who can't cook) when we were newlyweds! Does your wife seem frustrated about not keeping the house clean or does she not notice? I grew up in a cluttered messy home and I struggle with housekeeping. Here is a website you may want to have her check out : FlyLady.net: Your personal online coach to help you gain control of your house and home . Gives tips on cleaning etc... As far as cooking goes I would encourage her to start by learning a few simple meals. I have a George Forman Grill and use it all the time. You can grill chicken, hamburgers, steak, hot dogs. It's easy and comes with it's own cookbook. I have a couple things I usually make if we are having company. One is Chicken Caesar salad. I have a great marinade that I usefor the chicken, grill it on the Forman, cut it up and put it on some Romaine lettuce with Cardini's Caesar dressing. Very easy and tastes great. I also make a lasagna that everyone seems to like and is very easy. Let me know if you want some easy recipes I will email them to you. She can even call me if she wants or email me I would be happy to help. It would also help to know what kinds of foods you like to eat, are you picky?
  22. LadyCalvinist

    LadyCalvinist Puritan Board Junior

    Suggestion: get a few basic cookbooks such as the The Joy of Cooking or the The New Basics Cookbook, that not only have recipes but show you how to cook.
    I can cook but women who how to decorate and sew intimidate me.
  23. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    The tale of two women:

    We were invited to eat at two houses while going church to church and having meetings with pastors (while in the USA).

    House 1: Was a highly perfectionistic woman who SLAVED fro hours to honor us and the other guests in her home ( a couple of other pastors). Everything was just right, but it was TOO perfect and she was visibly exhausted afterward. One of the dishes was imperfect or uncercooked and we watched her stress out as she tried to fix it. The dinner was served in courses and talk stopped as the salad was taken and then the next round was served. We gathered a a long oak table that was beautiful but notideal for easy talk.

    HOUSE 2: We had a bunch of pastors want to get together and a very laid back woman who was comfortable in the fact that she was not a great cook ordered a rotiserrie chicken and some subway sandwiches from Walmart and made a simple sallad and served it in paper plates around our chairs so we could all talk instead of gather around a family decorated table. The food was put on a big plate in the middle of the floor sothat we could alljust lean down and grab another sliceof turkey and swiss sub.

    Which house do you think had the better fellowship?

    IN the West Today, great cooking is just a phone call or a trip to Walmart away! No need to stress.

    Some of the most nutritious foods, too, are the simplest to make or buy from the store.
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