Home Featured The Problem with the ‘Can You Cook?’ Debate

The Problem with the ‘Can You Cook?’ Debate



Original Article: http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2014/10/10-responses-can-cook-thatll-shut-good/

This article sounds like someone is caught up in their feelings of being asked this question and it being a deal breaker for guy. Everyone has deal breakers…or not? Do you have any deal breakers? If so, let us know what they are, and why? It’s not always self explanatory.

I don’t like jumping to conclusions or making assumptions, but either the author can’t cook or one of her friends can’t. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking someone you’re interested in, if they can perform a certain duty, in my humble opinion. All it offers is some insight to them as an individual as you get to know them. What’s wrong with asking questions. The only dumb questions are the questions that are never asked? Wouldn’t you agree?

If people stepped off their high horse to place their feet on the ground that we all started this journey of life on they might learn to understand first as opposed to being understood. If I ask someone this question and she replies with can I cook I have no problem replying honestly and truthful, “I have a few dishes that I can put my foot in, but I’m no top chef. My breakfast game is mean, but I’m open to learning new things.” A question sparks a response and further dialogue.

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Society has conditioned us to believe that the woman’s place is in the kitchen, but as time passes that has started to disappear. Not all women have their inner-feminist on high alert at all times, but author or a close friend of the author needs to tell that inner being to drink a warm cup of tea.

My responses:

Can I change a tire? Yes.

Can I change your oil? Yes…with ease.

Can you fix a leak? Yes, of course. Let me get my bag of tools.

Is your penis longer than 8”? Do you have a ruler on you now?

Can you change a lightbulb? Yes, and I won’t need any assistance at all.

Can you build a desk/chair/bookshelf/whole Ikea bedroom? Of course, you got me on the materials?

Can you pump gas/ take out the trash? C’mon…really?

Can you shovel snow/mow the lawn? I would’ve thrown down a layer of salt already, so I wouldn’t even need to shovel, and I’m paying my nephew or a neighborhood kid to do this.

Can you cook? (see my response above)

Conversations should be the start of something new as opposed to bringing old baggage into a new possibility. Women and men both bring something to the table, so you enter the conversation on equal playing field. It’s not my fault, if you don’t feel as my equal. That’s something that you need to address on your own, and I can’t fix that.

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If you choose to turn up after this question, and then in turn don’t speak to me at all, it wasn’t meant to be, right? It just seems so trivial. We’re of a particular age where men grew up without fathers, and boys grew up without their mothers. There are always layers of preconceived notions that everyone needs to peel away before they can see themselves and others just as who they are. No one is asking you to make 365 sandwiches (Link: https://www.singleblackmale.org/2014/05/29/300sandwiches-lady-gets-engaged-256-sandwiches-later/) for an engagement ring. It’s just a question.

Fellas do you ask ladies whether or not they can cook? If so, why? If not, why?

Ladies, are you against guys asking whether you can cook? If so, why? If not why?

Written by AlacrityAmir

Amir is a research scientist and community activist, who is also inspired to not only see growth in himself, but those he comes in contact with.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AlacrityAmir

Instagram: http://instagram/AlacrityAmir


  1. “If you choose to turn up after this question, and then in turn don’t speak to me at all, it wasn’t meant to be, right?” My sentiments exactly.

    We’re all seeking a greater understanding for one another. A question is just a question. If it’s too personal too soon, then I’d understand some unrest. Asking can you cook, is not trivial at all.

    I’m a simple yet honest person hoping to live a peaceful life. I am direct, but very respectful. When I’m getting to know someone, how he/she responds to me is noted more so than the actual response. For example a response laced with showcasing a bad attitude, negativity, question(s) without responding, and negative body language (just to name a few) would be RED FLAGS for me. I wouldn’t want to be around this person. A persons character, respectfulness, and integrity mean much more than just the words.

    It’s too much over nothing, IMO.

  2. I shouldn’t be responding to this without reading the article in question, however funk dat!
    Wouldn’t having a deal-breaker that ask if a woman can cook be the equivalent of a woman having her deal-breaker be “Do you have a job/car/sans spouse/etc”?
    Every person should have some standards of the person they want to be with in a relationship. And if you don’t meet those standards for someone, why try to fit in with exceptions. If you care about that person, you will respect what makes them happy. I imagine the article is coming from the point of view of a person having found a guy that meets all their standards but doesn’t like that they don’t match up in return.

      1. Yea, I read what the article said. I *mostly* agree with her that she isn’t answering in a feminist vein. That response was more based in a angry woman/pro-girlfriend mindset.
        I get some of the questions in response, but the context of that simple question should not illicit the vitriol that ensued. She tried to turn frame angry and vindictive as snark and failed.
        If the can you cook question was brought up in a “so what do you (as the woman) have to offer, I can understand that type of response but on its own or as a way to find out about the other person, this is much ado about nothing.

  3. everyone has their own deal breaker. there are ‘rules, I guess and there are exceptions….what one seriousy has to figure out is if their so-called deal breakers are really tha important vs. missing out on someone who is really great for you….if she can’t cook, not a biggie for me…cause I can BURN BABY BURN in the kitchen. Other things are more important to me.
    And i know certain questions can be ‘triggers’ for certain people as we all have various experiences that make certain things a trigger….I say…relax chill and press forward. Now that I think of it, I’ve never asked a woman IF she can cook….I haven’t been with any that cannot as evidenced by meals that they eventually prepared…not to mention a few delicious birthday cakes too (SMILE).
    But I don’t think someone should get uptight at certain questions but on the flipside, maybe she has a question that she doesn’t think is a big deal that I may find…intrusive…or…whatever.
    I don’t know….I’m just rambling….life is so short, not tripping over the bullshit. I’m just stepping over it…around it….or turning around and going in the opposite direction. 😉

    1. Exactly… I am a woman in pretty good shape that does not believe in being promiscuous living in a world where promiscuity is the norm in dating. In the Black community, it is extremely hard for a woman like me to get a date with a man without promising him that there will be s-x afterward. Therefore, questions like “can you cook?” might raise an eyebrow because I don’t want to be a stay-at-home mom since I am a working woman and Ph.D. student, but they are not deal breakers. I’ve had to deal with too many players, men pretending to be Christian when they were not, men that wanted to be ‘first’ after finding out that I am still a v1rgin, etc., so I can deal with anything that is not as horrible as those things.
      I have bigger fish to fry than to worry about someone not liking my cooking!

  4. I think where the author of the original post (as well as many of the comments agreeing with the post) are coming from a point of view where a man asks her if she can cook with the expectation that she ought to be able to throw down in the kitchen for a man’s sake. The assumption of why she’s being asked is problematic, not the question itself. IMO every adult should know how to cook something. Hunger is not biased to gender.

    1. In my case it’s not about hunger. I want to know if my (potential) children are going to be eating home cooked meals or fast food. I prefer the former.

  5. LOL @ the original article!

    …it’s not that serious. I don’t think it’s fair to assume that if you’re being asked “can you cook”, it’s cause the dude is expecting you to be his personal chef. If you’re asked this question, you can respond with “why do you ask”…to be sure. If his response is chauvinistic, then deal with THAT vs. the original question. He may enjoy cooking too and wonder if that’s a task you can enjoy together. *shrugs*

    In my home, we both can cook but neither of us really care to. So, I typically handle dinner meals and he handles breakfast type meals.

    Other things tasks in the home are divvied in a traditional manner…but mainly cause that’s how our strengths/weaknesses happen to fall. For instance, the only way I can be certain that the kitchen and bathrooms are my kind of clean is if I clean them, lol. I gladly take on these tasks cause they are then done my way and to my satisfaction! He enjoys washing the cars, putting things together…typical guy stuff. But when were doing a major cleaning job (dusting, vacuuming, and such), we work together.

    How can you imagine or envision how your home life would potentially be with someone (that you’re considering seriously) if you don’t ask these questions????

    1. Preach! And I feel you on something meeting your satisfaction. I’m a stickler for washing dishes. I can’t help it. I think it’s PTSD, though, I used to get beat for not washing the dishes, so I unconsciously believe if I don’t wash the sh*t outta some dishes nearby (even when i’m at friends homes) something bad will happen to me. LMAO! j/k I just love a clean sink.

      1. LMBO! Oh, I totally feel you, lol. Do you remember the episode of the Cosby Show where Cliff goes around with the rubber gloves checking for dust after the kids cleaned the house??? That was practically my Momma, LOL…especially when it came to her kitchen and her bathroom. Skip the baseboards???? You better not! LOL! I can’t expect anyone to be that anal about it so…I have no problem being Mommy Junior here, lol. Thanks to her, my kitchen and bathrooom have to be a certain kind of clean…so I’m the only person for the job!
        I’m 33…and I STILL make sure my house is her kind of clean before she comes over! LOL… …the fear is still there, lolol…

    2. Eeehhhh…I’ve been asked “can you cook”, I’ve been asked “what do you like to cook”, and I’ve been asked “what’s your favorite meal”. The first question is almost always followed up with “when can I try some home cooking”…and almost always occurs before date one. That’s not a question asked to inspire dialogue…I mean there are only two one-word answers to the question. Defending the question is like defending “hi” as a thing every guy does to a woman on the street “to be nice”. You know you wouldn’t say hello to a man or woman that did not interest you in some way, lol.

  6. I’m not taking offense to the question of whether or not I can cook. Just because a man ask me if I can cook doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to be cooking for him, so why get defensive? Especially if this question is being asked on the 1st, 2nd & or 3rd date. From my previous experiences I’ve had some guys ask straight up if they bought groceries could I come over and cook, my reply sure. I’ve dated a guy where our schedules conflicted so I may have cooked 3-4 times in a years span. I would like to take a leap of faith and say most men are not asking women to be in the kitchen 24/7 unless their stay at home moms.

  7. What gets lost in the question is the assumption that the only reason a man is asking is becasue he expects you to cook for his benefit. However it also is worth noting that domesticated skills arent necessarily for the service of a man but does lends credence to your maturity and self reliance. A woman who lives at home with parents, only can make pasta and doesnt know how to balance a budget more power to them but i wouldnt be interested

  8. I can cook and like to do so/don’t mind being asked. What I don’t like is a trend where guys ask you if you can cook and expect you to set out a holiday-esque meal (among other things lol) on date 2. Like sir, can we actually call this thing a thing first before I slave over a stove for you? Ijs

    1. I know I can jump to assumptions sometimes–I am human–and/or be arrogant in my skills to fix practically anything with my hands (I get really frustrated if I can’t fix something), but if I am every requested to cook, clean or fix something I do it out of love. I’m not dissecting your reply, but I think language is important. I wouldn’t want my lady to be thinking that she’s slaving over a stove for me. I feel you, though.

      The second thing, I wanted to note that it is in how we respond. Would you agree? For example, if you asked me to fix the leaking sink. I wouldn’t do it and not show you. I would have you with me, just in case if I am not around you would know how to fix it. Vice versa, if I ask you to cook, why not give me a duty to do in the kitchen as opposed to just eating. Can I cut some onions? Or even use the stopwatch on my phone to let you know when the sweet potatoes are done? LOL!

      1. Lol I do those things out of love, slaving over a stove was phrasing but I think moreso some guys ask too soon out of the gate. If I care about you, it’s nothing to do it. I’m quick to help and observe if I have someone doing something for me and I like help in the kitchen. Teamwork makes the dream work right?

  9. As a woman, I think that BOTH men and women should be able to cook. Sorry but if you’re over the age of 21 and can’t make something – spaghetti, eggs, rice, the very basics – I’m going to look at you a lil differently. I don’t expect you to be a gourmet chef, but you should be able to prepare food properly and feed yourself to survive. I believe that’s apart of growing up.

    Now, I like cooking and am trying to become better at it. I may be “old-fashioned,” but I like the idea of cooking a meal for the person I’m dating. My mom cooked most nights, and I hope to do the same for my future SO — disclaimer: that’s what I want and what I aspire to.

    But back to your original question, I’ve never had a man actually ask me if I can cook BEFORE cooking for me, and no I wouldn’t be offended if he did. Usually when I do cook, he may jokingly ask, “Oh so you can cook?” The answer is right there on his plate.

    1. Let ’em know! I feel you. If my memory is correct the gentleman code states that you should be able to have one meal that you can put your foot in. I have about two, maybe three. LOL! I’m no master chef, but I can feed myself and others. I feel you.

  10. When men asked me if I can cook I used to respond by saying something like, “I can make a mean grilled cheese sandwhich”. I just didn’t like a man knowing that I can cook because I didn’t want him to expect that I will cook for him often while we are taking the time to get to know each other. As I mature, I just let them know that I can cook and I turn around and ask them if they can cook. The question isn’t as bad as I thought, lol.

  11. I may be reaching here… but as I read the article it seems that the author equated her being able to cook to her value/worth as a woman. You can’t boil water?! What kind of woman are you?! …. She basically smacked it up and flipped it and pointed the mirror back at men who hold this antiquated notion that as a woman if you can’t cook then what good are you to me… She was like, ok sir you not being able to change the oil in my car, build me a bookshelf, or put up the backsplash in my kitchen decreases your value as a man.

    And for the record, I’ve met way too many men who have no idea how to change the oil or what that “noise is under my hood” let alone how to fix it. Those manly handy-men like many of our fathers and grandfathers who could fix anything are gone with the wind … just as the women making Sunday worthy meals on Tuesday, wash/dry/fold 6 loads of clothes all while breastfeeding quadruplets are…

    Btw, my dad does all my car repairs when he visits and put up the backsplash in my kitchen (^_^).

    1. Probably the reason why I’m single; the bar is set high because of the father I have who can do all those things. He fishes, fixes things, will kill bugs… but all you know how to do is change the channel? Welp…

      Everytime I’ve been asked that question, it led to the chauvinistic explanation that I was expecting to follow. If you expect me to me like women of the past, then why aren’t you like the men of the past? Don’t expect your partner to meet expectations that you yourself don’t meet.

      1. That is why communicating expectations and asking questions as such (with the reasons you are inquiring, of course) are so vital. It’s not about being a woman of the past, or a man of the past. We are in 2014, “The Digital Age”. Some nights one person cooks, and then the other. Then there’s always Seamless, GrubHub or a nearby/distant favorite spot. Agree? Disagree? And I don’t believe this is the reason you are single. There’s someone out there who will be willing to live up to your expectations. You just haven’t found that person yet. Thx for sharing.

      2. This is where I am with that. I don’t assume value in ability/lack, you don’t assume value in ability/lack and we will be fine!

  12. There’s huge difference between the question being a part of discussions and it being the lead. Any man that leads with that question is an idiot. You either look like you want a mommy to take care of you, a dummy whose biggest concern is getting fed, or a chauvinist who thinks that’s the most important thing about a woman. Those comeback questions were corny in the article. But if a woman lead with “can you pay my bills?”
    See, it’s not about whether one can or can’t or will or won’t. When someone shows themselves to have shallow intentions and views, it’s quite reasonable to shut them down.

  13. There’s huge difference between the question being a part of discussions and it being the lead. Any man that leads with that question is an idiot. You either look like you want a mommy to take care of you, a dummy whose biggest concern is getting fed, or a chauvinist who thinks that’s the most important thing about a woman. Those comeback questions were corny in the article. But if a woman lead with “can you pay my bills?”
    See, it’s not about whether one can or can’t or will or won’t. When someone shows themselves to have shallow intentions and views, it’s quite reasonable to shut them down.

  14. The only problem I can see with asking a woman if she can cook is the expectations behind the question. Men now-a-days want women to cook, clean, work, be the main person taking care of the kids.

    1. That’s such an overarching generalization, though. There are men out there, who are nurturing as well. They will handle the cooking, cleaning, work, and taking care of the kids. I know a good deal of brothers like that too #ImJustSaying

  15. Yes I have been asked and I have answered yes I can cook however I would be more interested in what he can bring to the kitchen In other words, I prefer that a man know how to cook as well. Why? Because my daddy cooked. And I like to eat as well.

  16. I must admit I do hate this question, but mostly because of what usually follows and is behind it (at least in my experience). I’ve chatted with plenty of men and women who genuinely believe a woman who cant/doesn’t cook as no value–and I think that is the basis of the original article’s argument. If my worth as a woman is tied to my ability (or lack there of) in the kitchen, then what is a man’s worth tied to? his ‘handiness’? That’s the problem there is a huge inequity there. When the question is flipped, I’ve encountered a lot of males who cant do any of those things AND say “well ill just pay someone to do it”. Well if that’s the case (and your worth is still in tact) why cant I just hire a chef? Theres that and the fact that if you can cook the follow up is “when you cooking for me?” BRUH. I think I can count on my hands the number of times ive been asked this question in a general discussion type manner. 95% of the time I lie and say I can’t cook. *kanye shrug* On a side note, as a woman raised by a very handy father (who also made it a point to teach those skills to his kids and who can/did cook regularly), I have to say I am saddened by (what seems to be) the loss of handiness, and the appreciation for being able to do things yourself vs simply paying someone, among my generation’s men.

  17. Ehhh, I always have such mixed feelings about that question. I get that it’s one of those get-to-know you questions, but I’m always wondering are you asking me this because I’m a woman and I should or just generally. I don’t get caught up in my feelings about it. I do ask why he asked me that and carry on. It eventually comes out that I get slightly agitated/weirded out by those “women” questions, but ahhh… those questions are deal breakers – well until he says something about what I’m “supposed” to do.

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