We serve each other. Usually who ever is cooking does the plating and brings it to the other. Great Og, there is nothing submissive or servile in being a decent human being and bringing your partner their share of the food. Sometimes when Nashiitashii is otherwise engaged in something I’ll call her for dinner and then leave it. She doesn’t mind lukewarm food, but I abhor a dinner that is cool when it should be piping hot. If it is something that must be served freshly hot I’ll bring her a plate. Likewise she will always bring me a plate or call me immediately when dinner is ready so I don’t have to heat up my food again. It is simple love and courtesy.
About 3/4 of the time that it’s just the two of us, whoever is doing the cooking makes up 2 plates, and if whoever isn’t cooking hasn’t wandered into the kitchen to fetch their plate/get a drink/whatever by the time everything is plated up and ready to go, their plate will be delivered. Their glass of wine, too, if we’re having some with dinner. If we’re having something like salads with multiple components or burgers, where everybody likes their own ratios of stuff, or if we have people over and actually put things in serving dishes on the table, everyone serves themselves.
But if either of us wants seconds or something extra from the kitchen, they’re on their own unless the other person is already going back to the kitchen. Neither of us would ever think to ask otherwise, and it would make us profoundly uncomfortable if such a thing were to be offered. Because, well, there is something a little servile about interrupting your dinner to jump up like there’s a spring in your underwear to fetch and carry for another able-bodied person, and a little lord/lady-of-the-manor about expecting someone to do so.
I find myself wanting the OP to ask the colleagues who gave her grief how often they mow the lawn, or if they leave the heaviest grocery bags in the trunk for their husbands to carry in.
I am currently without a partner, but when I’ve been coupled I’ve enjoyed fixing and serving meals. How it typically happened is I’d be cooking, and he’d be in the living room (on the other side of the dining room). To fix my own plate and sit at the table and then tell him “food’s ready” and wait for him to go through and get his own seems silly.
And, for all of our obstacles, my former husband was never selfish about things like that. Sure, I’d cook and serve dinner, but he’d be vaguely aware of when I was getting close to serving and offer to help, or get drinks on the table.
Keep doing what’s right for you, and your marriage, Electrical Storm. I’m mainly sorry you can’t just talk freely at work without it going haywire.
I’m a woman. We split the chores evenly. I cook, he keeps the kitchen clean so I can enjoy cooking. It’s less about gender roles and more the fact that my husband does horrifying things when left to his own devices with food. Also, I despise doing dishes. He gets better meals, I get a perpetually clean kitchen. Win-win.
I don’t usually bring the food to him but it’s not like we have a formal place setting anyway. We usually have dinner on the couch while watching Netflix because when he’s eating is one of the only times in the day that he’s available.
Sometimes I will make him a smoothie and bring it to him, or, if I’m chopping vegetables for dinner, I’ll feed some to him while he’s working.
I am about to start a job that most likely will require 10 hour shifts with 3 hours of commuting a day, so it will be interesting to see if we can keep this little arrangement going.
We’re still working out our cooking groove. Since there are three cooks here, we’re all over the map on family style, buffet style or plated.
If the Fella cooks, he’s apt to plate everything for everyone. If his middle son cooks, we tend to do it buffet style from the counter. When I cook, it’s usually family style. If it’s just the Fella and I, the cook plates for both. Anything is optional, however, and we all change it up now and then. Once in a blue moon, his oldest son will take a turn in the kitchen and just goes with whatever suits him at the time.
In my last relationship, I did most of the cooking and would usually plate the ex’s and bring it to her. I didn’t mind, because I enjoyed it, but a lot of the time I felt that it wasn’t appreciated.
In my current relationship, I am lucky to be with somebody who does the opposite. She will frequently serve me dinner and, if she knows I’m about to get up to grab another beer, cookie, etc., promptly tell me to sit my ass down. When I thank her and tell her how much I appreciate it, she looks at me like I’m crazy Apparently I’m doing something to make her think I deserve it.
While many people here sound pretty content with the way their household duties are divided, I think a lot of women do shoulder most of the burdens, and they’re not happy about it. Ideally, couples do things for each other, and they don’t keep score. Unfortunately, a lot of women can’t get their partners to do much of anything at home. If you feel things are balanced in your household to your satisfaction, and serving dinner is something you enjoy, you’re in a good place. Just remember a lot of women are struggling. I don’t think it’s something to dismiss as women being whiny and political.
I plate my husband’s food because otherwise he thinks it’s his job to leave no leftovers. He’ll do it too. Effectively overeating, because I made too much rice or whatever. Plating his food solves this issue. Also, I may have made too much rice or pasta, so I’ll have leftovers, to leave for his dinner, if I’m working the next day (till 8pm).
I don’t see servitude, it just makes sense to me that it should be this way. I think your friends are reacting to your use of the word, ‘serving’. Your usage is entirely correct, of course, but if you’d said, ‘plating’, instead, it may have flown under the radar of their outrage meter.
Not that it matters! Who the hell cares what those boobs think?
Question: does this plating happen in kitchen or at the table? I could see if I was cooking and I put a couple plates together in the kitchen and brought them out to the table. Ill do that if I’m making us sandwiches, putting soup from the pot in bowls or something. But we mostly use serving bowls/platters at the table and we serve ourselves (how much, which specific piece looks good to us etc). I’d find it a bit strange to plate his food at the table right in front of him as he sat and waited. But if that works for you, that’s cool.
I do most of the cooking, usually separate evening meals for the kids and the adults, and almost always put the food on the plates. I also load and empty the dishwasher the majority of the time though not always, she does nearly all the laundry, often I will strip and make the beds and I often load and empty the tumble drier or the clothes line but probably less than half the time. If we need to go grocery shopping I will usually volunteer in the likely event that she got home later than me or has had a tiring day.
Never. We serve ourselves, probably because I know how much of everything I want. My mother didn’t serve any of us at home, and I don’t think his mother did, either. I guess because I’m not used to it I would find it rather odd.
It took me a good 15 posts to understand what was meant by “serving” dinner. It’s not something we do, but then again, we don’t usually eat together. I don’t think I would like to be presented with a plate of food on a regular basis; I like to have more control over what/how much I eat. I guess I served the kids their dinner when they were little, but it just strikes me as an odd practice to do for another adult.
I do nearly all the food prep because I cannot afford to buy a new set of pans every time he cooks. Sometime early on we got in the habit of my plating food for the two of us in the kitchen except on special occasions when we don’t mind cleaning a lot of extra serving bowls and platters. Never though about, it just seems more practical to bring two plates to the table rather than dirty a bunch of extra dishes. While I’m prepping & plating he is usually setting the table, opening wine, selecting music, keeping the cats off the table, or otherwise engaged in chores.
I hadn’t thought about that possibility, but yeah, having him sitting in front of you as you scoop food onto his plate is somehow way weirder than just loading up two plates of dinner and bringing them to the dining room.
I feel the same way about stay-at-home moms whose children are school age. It’s not for me (I’d go crazy with that much free time and no job), but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t feel like a good thing to them. I bring my husband lunch on the weekend days when he’s working during the lunch hour, but our personalities are such that I never get questioned about June Cleaveresque behavior.
Usually I end up calling him a few times for dinner, as occasionally he doesn’t hear me or is too engrossed in whatever it is he’s doing over there. We’ll switch back and forth, depending upon who’s cooking dinner, and if it’s something extra, like dessert, whoever had the idea to get it will frequently get requested to bring back enough for two.
Usually I’m plating food at the stove, then call Acid Lamp over to pick up his plate of food. Other times, I’ll call him to plate his own food. We rarely have a dining room table that is clear enough to eat at (neverending projects and not enough space to work in), so we’re usually sitting at desks, on the floor in front of the tv, or with little IKEA tables as our dining furniture. When we do have the dining table available, we’ll usually bring out all the foods in serving containers and serve ourselves.
I err on the small portion side. My husband only likes to eat enough that he won’t wake up starving in the middle of the night and kids get daunted when presented with a mountain of food. Plus, I don’t care if they eat all or very little of what I serve. No need to overthink what or how much everyone wants. They get what they get; if they want more, they can have it.
That’s a completely valid point. We do still live in a world where a lot people talk about a man “helping out” around the house if he takes on any share of the work involved in keeping his living conditions sanitary and comfortable, as though tending the house is the woman’s job and any contribution he makes toward that is some magnanimous gift. People who say that sort of thing are the same sort who talk about a man “baby-sitting” when he assumes sole care of his own children for an evening; they are of course assholes of the first water and should be ridiculed and abused at every opportunity, but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s a lot of them in the world. And somehow or other, a lot of the guys who think like that find someone willing to marry them.
And those women wind up like my friend who swears before all that is holy that one night she was in the bathroom trying to poop, and it was the longest she’d been off her feet all day, when she heard her husband calling for her. She yelled back she was in the bathroom, and he kept yelling for her to come because the kids needed her. When she came out to see who was bleeding or crying because so-and-so wouldn’t play with them or whatever other situation only Mommy could handle, the huge crisis was this: the kids wanted juice boxes and to have a video started for them, and he was too busy watching tv to deal with them. And from what I’ve seen of him over the years, I absolutely believe every word of it.
Do those women fix a plate for their husbands? Oh HELL no. His arms aren’t broken, he can at least do that much for his own damn self.
Like so many things, this is something that means completely different things in different contexts. If DoctorJ or I were to refuse to fix the other a plate because nobody’s arms are broken here, that would be An Ideological Statement because we have a pretty equitable split of work and both know the other respects and appreciates our contributions toward keeping the place up and running. When my friend refuses to fix her husband a plate because his arms aren’t broken, it’s a line in the sand: I will do this much for your lazy, unappreciative ass, and not a single damn thing more.
And like so many things, our natural tendency is to assume other people’s contexts are similar to our own–so the OP assumes her coworkers are being “political”, and her coworkers assume she’s some servile little mouse scurrying around cooking and cleaning while her lout of a husband won’t even dish up his own plate.
Good point. Eeep. I hope I didn’t make my home out to be some sort of domestic paradise or anything. We have our moments like anyone else, but in terms of how labor is divided in the house, I could count myself relatively fortunate. Some things I prefer to do myself (I’m picky) but StormHusband does other things just as critical that I can’t do, or that he just prefers to do himself. Eh. Somehow we keep the household running with our combined efforts.
I admit I sort of took their comments in a way they probably didn’t mean. I took it to mean: “Why are you being a doormat?”
I guess I was a little surprised at the strong reactions I got, so I suppose I read a lot more into it than was really there. (There is a cultural component to this as well.)
IvoryTowerDenizen: I plate the food in the kitchen and then walk it over to the table to deliver it. And if I see him wrinkle his nose at the food, then he’s wearing it. (I kid, I kid!)
Recusant: My sentiments exactly.
That’s why I love this place. Perspective!
Yech - sorry for the terrible snipping and quote job. I’ll get the hang of it.
You do bring up some great points, especially in regard to housework. Acid Lamp and I had a couple of years where we had to figure out what’s equitable in terms of housework labor division; we had pretty different upbringings in terms of how chores got handed out, etc. but have come to a semi-happy middle ground. He helps around the house most of the time, but frequently gets distracted by his art, and I try to use my days off to do the major cleaning (laundry, thorough scrub-down of the kitchen/bathrooms). If he weren’t contributing to the household labor, I probably wouldn’t be in a domestic agreement with him, let alone serve him his food, but I do understand the importance of drawing that line in the sand for those whose husbands don’t help around the house at all.
I think I would’ve gone crazy had that been my husband in the example. Doesn’t matter how hard your job is or how tired you are; if you’ve decided to have children, you’re responsible for taking care of them in at least some capacity. I always have to wonder about the dads who think their childrearing job is done when the wife is impregnated-- do they make any effort to get to know their kids while eschewing all the labor that goes into raising children?
We breakdown household chores thusly: Whoever cooks doesn’t have to do the cleanup (I usually cook); we both do laundry as need; and we pay someone to do the rest of it.