Little Help, Please?

February 8th, 2011 · 11 Comments · Cameos, Dinner, Domestic Affairs, Kitchenlightenment, Quick, Vegetarian

I get the feeling, judging by the comments section on certain posts, that family dinner is not always a family affair. That, you know, some of us aren’t so good at pulling our weight. Luckily, there’s a new book — full disclosure: I edited it — that just might help take a little of the resentment out of the equation. Here, to give us a whole new way of thinking about the division of labor around the house (i.e. stop focusing so much on 50/50!) is DALS guest-poster Paula Szuchman, Wall Street Journal editor and co-author, with Jenny Anderson, of Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage & Dirty Dishes. You can also read their excellent and funny blog here. — Andy

My husband and I both cook, and we both loved being cooked for. There are few things more luxurious than lying on the couch after a long day, the smell of sautéed onions wafting through the living room, secure in the knowledge that at any minute, your favorite person is going to walk over and put a plate of food in front of you—and if you’re really lucky, also a glass of wine, a remote control, and license to watch reruns of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills until you pass out.

Others aren’t so lucky. From what I hear, there are plenty of readers of this blog whose spouses don’t cook, can’t cook or never come home on time to cook. You guys are wondering if there’s a secret to reprogramming such spouses. I have two suggestions.

First, accept and overcome. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but let me explain. Each person in a relationship has things he or she does better, relative to other things. So sure, your spouse could fry an egg if someone had a gun to his head, but in terms of skill and efficiency, he’s way better at changing light bulbs. He has what an economist might call the comparative advantage in light-bulb changing. You have the comparative advantage in cooking. (more…)

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