Is it okay for the cook to force everyone to eat healthy?

Let’s say we have a family where one person goes to work, and the other does the cooking and shopping. The family eats the stereotypical American diet of fried stuff, regular pasta, processed foods, lots of cookies etc. and no one is having any health problems. Yet.

The spouse who does the cooking decides to stop any health issues before they begin, and starts purchasing healthier meal options (whole grain pasta, brown rice) fresh/frozen vegetables and fruits, and starts baking foods that s/he used to fry. The spouse who brings in the paycheck isn’t on board, and doesn’t want to change his/her eating habits.

Is it reasonable for the cook to set the menu for the whole family, refuse to cook the less healthy stuff 80-90% of the time, and tell the others to fend for themselves if they don’t like it? Or, should s/he try to be more accomodating, and do a more even split, or make try and make two daily options to fit everyone?

Or, you could look at it the other way, where the cook has the crisco in a death grip, and the other spouse wants healthy food. Does the answer change if this is the scenario?

No, it’s not okay. The person who’s cooking is accountable just like the person making the money. If the family’s unhappy with the food, then that person isn’t doing their job.

I’d say this is one of those situations when everyone has to compromise.

In a home where one of the partners does not have a full-time job and has thus taken on cooking as one of their household responsibilities, I believe that means they get to make decisions concerning what is being cooked. What if the spouse who brings home the bacon decides to switch jobs, or accepts a promotion that will result in longer hours, or switches jobs and takes less pay? Would the spouse who is responsible for household chores get to have a veto power on these decisions, or not?

Whole grain pasta isn’t exactly a fate worse than death, and if one prefers trans fats, there are probably 63 places to stop and get some between work and home.

The cook, as a rule, plans the menus. S/He should be willing to accommodate occasional requests, but asking the cook to make more than one option for each meal is a bit obnoxious.

To me, it depends how the household duties are split/decided. If one person essentially dumps the cooking on the other person (say they both work fulltime), then person A just has to lump it or cook, too.

If one person takes on working outside the home, while the other takes on working inside the home, there should be lots of compromise as to how these things get done. Jobs, hours, duties, etc. should be a matter of agreement, whenever possible.

I think the cook gets to cook whatever he/she is willing to cook. At one stage i was cooking for my wife and myself, my suddenly vegetarian teenager and a very fussy 8 year old. I didn’t mind concocting a menu that suited all 3 options. But if I hadn’t enjoyed the challenge everyone would have been offered the same meal and those that wanted something else would have had to fend for themselves. Just as if I cooked a vegetarian meal and someone didn’t “feel like vegetarian lasagne,” it’s not a restaurant folks.

If not veto power, at least weighty input. Isn’t that how most marriages/partnerships work?

If someone is taking responsibility for the cooking, then to me the whole job is to make sure the food is healthy. Hopefully everyone enjoys it but that’s second to making sure it’s good food. It doesn’t work in reverse. That’s why it’s a job nobody wants!

Sure, they would. I would hope if, say, a husband decided to spend all his day and night at work, his wife would be able to say, “Hey, wait a minute! What about me?”

Likewise, if the wife decided to serve nothing but chitlins and assmuffins, the husband has the right to say, “Hold the hell up! What about what I want to eat?”

I don’t think the stay-in-the-kitchen spouse should be a short-order cook, but they should be kind enough to cook something the other wants to eat.

I am the stay-at-home spouse, and I handle 100% of the cooking. Therefore, I plan all of the meals, and that’s where there is to eat. I want my family to be healthy, so I cook healthful foods. My kids are young enough that they don’t get the option of “make something for yourself if you don’t like it,” and I’m not running a restaurant here. You don’t like peas? Fine, maybe we’ll have carrots tomorrow, but this is what we’re having tonight. If anyone else over the age of 12 wants to take over the kitchen duty, they’re welcome to make whatever they wish, but nobody has volunteered yet. So it’s my domain for now.

I do, however, make concessions for health or pain issues. My step-daughter prefers soft foods right after her braces are tightened, so I prepare soups and grilled cheese sandwiches for a couple of days. At least I know she’s getting something nutritious, because I make it myself, and it must hurt like hell to chew with wires all over your teeth.

In a family, you’re supposed to look out for the best interests of one another. If your epileptic wife says she wants to take up tight-rope walking with the circus for example, you might dissuade her from it. If you decide to try and give yourself a coronary by shoving constant streams of fried food loaded with enough trans fat to send your cholesterol through the roof, I’d hope she would put a stop to it. It’s not like you couldn’t stop at some greasy spoon if you felt you were being deprived of arteriosclerosis causing foods.

Well, like I said, it’s about compromise.

I think it’s reasonable to require vegetables and fruits be served (and eaten) at every meal. I also think whole grains is acceptable.

But how much control should be forked over before the breadwinning spouse should have a say-so? Say the kitchen spouse decides the family should become vegetarian for health reasons? Or what if the kitchen spouse decides the family should eat only organic, and ends up spending twice as much money on groceries? Shouldn’t the other spouse be able to say something? It’s a partnership, right?

I guess what I’m saying, the scenario laid out in the OP seems reasonable enough. But I disagree that the breadwinner should never have any say, since “healthy” isn’t always something that two people can agree with. A couple of years ago, Adkins diet was considered healthy. If my spouse was serving up nothing but bacon and eggs, I’d complain too, especially if there were kids involved.

The cook cooks however he/she sees fit. Following the non-cooks instructions leads to an employee/employer master/servant kind of relationship, which usually doesn’t end well. The occasional request for a pizza night, or a spaghetti night etc, well sure. But if you want bacon chili cheeseburgers every night, you really ought to go buy yourself some, not expect them prepared for you.

Yes, it is. It is not reasonable for the person who brings home the bacon to hold the health of the cook hostage, or expect for them to cook multiple meals so that they may continue to shovel lard into their gullet.

Sure, why not? The cook only makes the food, presumably he/she isn’t actually forcing it down anyone’s throat. The diners can always stage a mutiny if they don’t like it.

Or hunger strike.

That really doesn’t work all that well. I remember a night when my Mom was feeling adventurous as a cook. She laid our plates in front of us, Dad and I looked at it, looked at each other, we both said “McDonalds,” and we ate out for at least a week, because Mom wouldn’t let us back in the house until we both apologised. But it was the last time she tried that dish.

That’s how it works in my house. We come up with a solution that works for both of us, because that’s how we live our lives. If it doesn’t work for the couple, it doesn’t work for the individual. This applies to, well, everything. :smiley:

It seems that the cook’s responsibility is to provide tastey . healthy food for the group, in this case. I make a vegitarian chilli that has people saying “NO WAY does this NOt contain meat!”, for instance. On the other hand, my calf liver and cabbage casserole is LOVED until they find out what’s in it…

The cook’s responsibility also extends to creating a menu that all can, some how agree on… Deep fried yam in tempura… (Knock out fave!) and fairly low fat if you fry it in hot enough fat.

So I make the occasional english pot roast…

(Both my wife and I love to cook… I am more adventurous, she is more classic)…
People who eat my cooking have come to trust me… It may be unusual, but it will be palatable… There are several dishes that my wife “doesn’t want to know what’s in it” - it would ruin it for her…

I can cook vegan, vegitarian, lacto ovo, standards, “cafe” style, and more…

I enjoy the challenge of making healthy food taste good…


The cook controls the kitchen and thus the food. In this role, whatever the cook prepares is what’s for dinner. If you don’t like it, it you can go out and do your own thing for food, or stage a Kitchen Revolt and install a new Cook.