Should I be criticised about not making things from scratch?
September 22, 2018 7:06 PM   Subscribe

Should I be criticised about not making things from scratch?

I work 6 days a week, 5 days in audit and 1 day on Saturday as a piano teacher.
My make after tax 25k + more than my husband. He helps me around the house and knows how to cook and is quite self disciplined. I also do the chores too so it's about 50/50 on chores.
I went to a hens party on the weekend and it was a high tea where you get to eat unlimited desserts such as macarons and lamingtons.
After coming back from the hens, I tell my husband about the delicious macarons and lamingtons.
He then says to me how come you don't make macarons or lamingtons from scratch? Why do you only enjoy bought ones or from restaurants? I say to him, i am not good baker and it tastes better purchased. Also it is not expensive especially lamingtons as they are often 2 dollars for 6 pieces in woolworths.
He then continues to say if you keep trying to make them then you will get better at them and they will taste better.
After I heard this, I felt extremely annoyed. I barked at him, that I work 6 days a week and have no such time to be baking non stop and trying to improve on macarons or lamingtons. In my mind, if you can go out and work for 8 hrs and make $200 minimum, with that money you can buy 100 lamingtons! If you did not work the weekend, then you would probably do need to stay home and make lamingtons to save money cause you didn't make more money.

I cook many things from scratch like curries etc, but just because I don't make baked goods from scratch or other stuff like mayonnaise and sauces from scratch doesn't mean I'm bad person.

What do you think of such a scenario. Are people who don't make things from scratch seen as lazy?
posted by direct1 to Food & Drink (43 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: poster's request -- cortex

I love baking stupidly complex things from scratch, and it would never occur to me to criticize someone who doesn’t. People have different hobbies, ya know?
posted by mollymayhem at 7:10 PM on September 22, 2018 [20 favorites]

You’re not lazy, you’re prioritizing use of money over use of time. I like to bake, so I often do when I have time. On the other hand, I don’t like coming home from work and having to make decisions about what to cook, so we spend more money that we should eating out (but not more than we can easily afford). That’s the same kind of choice.

Sorry your husband is being a bit of an ass and giving you a hard time over something it sounds may be a sensitive topic for you. You can still be a good wife and person and buy your baked goods, promise, and it doesn’t mean you are lazy if you make that choice.
posted by charmedimsure at 7:10 PM on September 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

This sounds like your husband doesn’t realize how much work/how finicky macarons are.
posted by raccoon409 at 7:12 PM on September 22, 2018 [17 favorites]

If he wants them he can make them himself.
posted by brujita at 7:14 PM on September 22, 2018 [184 favorites]

I would say that any time you have after working six days a week and doing your share around the house is YOUR time to fill as you want. If you like to bake, go ahead and bake macaroons and other lovely things. If you like to embroider, then do that. If you want to read a good book, that's your call.

You need to look at your husband and sweetly say, "Honey, you know too much sugar isn't all that good for you, right?"
posted by BlueHorse at 7:14 PM on September 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

To answer your last question -- yes, I suppose, by some people. But they shouldn't be. You're not lazy -- you're putting labour in! Just at a different part of the process. It sounds like you don't get much joy from the process of making these things; anyway, it is the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Eighteen and you can afford to buy macroons and lamingtons and mayonnaise because other people make them wonderfully and you make money instead of baked goods.

Your husband is in the wrong. Like mollymayhem, I love baking and making things from scratch and slow processes. But basically the deal with the industrial revolution onwards is that no one *has* to do those things. You can go out and buy them with the money you worked very hard for instead, which it sounds like is what you'd much rather do anyway.
posted by kalimac at 7:15 PM on September 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm wondering why your husband needs you to making these complicated desserts? It just sounds to me like the fight is really about something else. What's the message here? That you are lazy? That you are wasting money? That he resents that you are splurging on fancy desserts when he couldn't afford it? My advice is to figure out why you think this bothers him and then double check with him. (Sometimes we have our own guilty feelings when we shouldn't and we project them on to others) But if this is part of a larger pattern in your relationship, then you know that it isn't really about the cookies, it is about the marriage.
posted by metahawk at 7:17 PM on September 22, 2018 [31 favorites]

What would all the bakers do if everyone baked their own? What's wrong with giving employment to a little harmless baker? Baking harms no one - if anything, you should spend more money on baked goods, particularly from good local shops, as this provides decent employment and keeps money in the community.

Someone I was seeing once started getting at me about how nice it would be if I learned to make a certain sweet traditional to their family. "If you want them that badly you can make your own," I said. What did god give your husband hands for if not to turn out macaroons? If you can learn to do it, why can't he?

I hope you're comfortable clearly setting a "don't nag me to bake sweets. For pete's sake, you have two hands and an oven" boundary with your husband.
posted by Frowner at 7:17 PM on September 22, 2018 [16 favorites]

Why isn't he making them? This is a serious question. What does your husband do with his time when he is not working? Human beings do all kinds of things with their time, including buying cookies instead of making them, for infinite reasons. You do not have to justify choices as trivial as buying cookies. Not everyone is a pastry chef. In fact, I cannot recall the last time I ate a home baked cookie! It sounds like it was a nice treat. Really, so few people bake from scratch, especially outside the holidays anymore. This seems like a very strange thing for your husband to press on.

Honestly, based on what you've written, it sounds to me like your husband was maybe trying to make you feel bad for having a nice time. And that's really shitty. Your annoyance was justified. When partners have behaved in similar ways towards me, it's been a good time for me to take stock and think about whether it's part of a pattern. Take care, and I'm sorry this happened.
posted by sockermom at 7:29 PM on September 22, 2018 [40 favorites]

Did your husband grow up in a house with a parent who cooked a lot from scratch? My Dad did, but my Mom didn’t, and he constantly gave her a hard time about it when she cooked. Mom really didn’t give a damn and we all lived and they’re still married. Dad is retired now and has more time to cook for himself. Just keep on doing your thing and reminding him he’s welcome to do his.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:49 PM on September 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Christ, what an asshole.

It would be one thing if you were spending a lot of money on takeout instead of cooking dinner—that can really add up, and it's not the healthiest option. But buying desserts? Especially fancy things like macarons? I have never given that a second thought. It's not particularly expensive compared to baking yourself, and it's infinitely faster.
posted by radioamy at 7:54 PM on September 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

I have 3 chefs in my family, 2 of them cook at award winning restaurants, one has cooked for visiting Presidents. They don't make everything from scratch at home or at work, they hire experts to do it for them or buy them. If your husband wants things made from scratch tell him he's free to make them.
posted by wwax at 7:56 PM on September 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

Some people want to bake things from scratch. Some people don't. Some people want to, but can't because of time or other constraints. Some people idly think about being a better baker, but really don't fancy putting in that much effort, and would rather spend time on other pursuits.

None of these people are lazy.

Some people feel the need to make others feel bad about their choices in life. Some people should get a life and stop picking on others for meaningless crap.
posted by greermahoney at 7:59 PM on September 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm so angry that your husband would say something like this to you! It's absolutely fine to buy lovely things made by experts. You're working hard and prioritizing your time. You don't have to feel obligated to become a hot-shot baker in your limited free time. He needs to learn to support you better and put a sock in it.
posted by quince at 8:01 PM on September 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

Did he actually say you’re a bad person or lazy? I don’t see that in your post.

I like baking, but it’s perfectly fine that you don’t. However, it seems like you didn’t give your husband your real reason at first. You told him that you aren’t a good baker and that the purchased ones taste better. If that were truly your reason, his answer, that you can learn and will get better, is not that bad.

You’re busy and you don’t want to spend your free time baking. That’s completely legitimate. If he pushes back on that, then he’s being a jerk. If he did say you’re a bad person or lazy, that’s completely out of line.
posted by FencingGal at 8:05 PM on September 22, 2018 [14 favorites]

Does he make macarons and lamingtons from scratch? If not, then when he asks you why you don't, ask him why he doesn't.

No, you should not be criticized for not making things from scratch. But I'll just point out that asking you why you don't do something and suggesting it might be worthwhile to do it is not exactly the same thing as criticizing you for not doing it. Maybe there was more to the conversation than what you typed here and maybe you're right to see it as criticism. Or maybe he just thought you could probably make great macarons since you're a good cook, so it seemed like a reasonable thing to suggest.
posted by Redstart at 8:08 PM on September 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

Maybe he was just envious that you got to eat tasty things.

Anyway, no, obviously nobody should be criticized for not baking sweets at home. Sugar is bad for you, and home baking is not economically efficient, as you note. It's a hobby some people enjoy despite its being inefficient. If you don't enjoy it, I can't think of a reason to do it.

(I actually DO enjoy fancy home baking; but macarons can kiss my ass. I've tried like four or five times and NEVER gotten a result I was happy with.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:29 PM on September 22, 2018

Even if you didn't work as hard as you do, you should never be given shit for not making things from scratch. Simply put: you don't have to do it if you don't enjoy it. There are a lot of things I make from scratch because I genuinely enjoy the process and know my version is better than store-bought, but there are plenty of other things I won't bother with because I just don't enjoy it.

If this is your husband's way of subtly saying he wants fresh baked goodies then you should buy him a cookbook and tell him to go to town!
posted by joan_holloway at 8:33 PM on September 22, 2018

Macarons are absolutely not worth the effort put into them if that effort is not enjoyed! They are WORK. Some people truly enjoy the process. You are not one of those people. Neither am I. Continue purchasing your macarons, and enjoy your free time!
posted by the webmistress at 8:37 PM on September 22, 2018

Your questions all have the theme of strained communication between your husband and yourself.
It feels like this is about more than whether or not you bake from scratch, whether you ate enough zongzi, or what his sister's future plans are... there's another emotional issue that's not being mentioned.
Your bringing how much money you make and how hard you work into these questions seems telling.
posted by mdrew at 8:38 PM on September 22, 2018 [37 favorites]

What do you think of such a scenario. Are people who don't make things from scratch seen as lazy?

Worst case scenario: perhaps someone who doesn't bake is lazy. So what? You have the right to be lazy. Adults can be whatever they want to be, and if someone doesn't like it, they have to deal around it. No apologies needed.

But you work 6 days a week. That isn't lazy. You do not have to bake. It is a democracy. You do not need to feel bad or make apologies. It is not on you to bake cookies that you can easily buy at a bakery for a lot less time and money than if you slaved doing it.

Anyone can cook or bake. You have recipes. That is not the issue. The issue is life is short, and it's your life.

If your husband wants cookies made from scratch, he knows where the kitchen is. I wouldn't argue about it. I wouldn't justify it or make excuses because it implies that you are doing something wrong, and you're not. If he mentions it again, I would point out several chores there are to do around the house, and I would make a list and divide it, telling him how to best occupy his time in a more productive manner by doing the things he has neglected. Or look at at all the household repairs and perhaps he can take up another job to raise the money to afford them.

A happy household is one where meddlesome members of the family are put to work nonstop, and are hence too busy to meddle or tell others how "lazy" they are.

Good luck to you. It sounds as if your husband is trying to play a game with you where you are made to feel inadequate and apologetic. I wouldn't give him any emotional victory here. You already are being overworked and stressed, and you can be easily put off balance because of it -- if you had the time and luxury of reflection, you wouldn't be asking if you are being lazy, but how best to boot him to sleep on the sofa for the next six months and how to best make a facial expression of Sinister Icy Stare of Doom. He should be supporting you, not making you question yourself when have already proven to be hard-working.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:41 PM on September 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have made ravioli from flour and water and eggs and ricotta, using ricotta I made by curdling whey, which I had left over from straining yogurt, which I cultured out of milk. And I give you permission to buy macarons.

Also, not the question you asked, but, that was a really weird conversation at every turn. It was weird that he made that comment, and weird that you reacted so angrily, and weird that he persisted, and weird that you prefaced it here by comparing your salary with his. Are you sure you were talking about what you think you were talking about? I feel like there's some context or subtext that I'm missing here.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 8:43 PM on September 22, 2018 [32 favorites]

Your husband may have associations from the past about his mother or grandmother baking at home and how nice this was. Might even have been a friend's mother or nan, somewhere he visited.

If that's the case, odds are those women were not also working outside the house 6 days a week. He needs to notice this and give you a break.
posted by zadcat at 9:34 PM on September 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Macarons are a multi-step finicky process that requires precise measurments, specialized ingredients, a lot of different tools, an oven with even heating, and several hours of prep time.

Lamingtons are a multi-step finicky process that require specialized ingredients, specialized tools, and hours of prep time.

Any food that includes in its instructions, "...then chill overnight" or "set out until room temperature is reached" is a free pass for "just buy it." If your husband wants homemade macarons, he can make them himself.

NOBODY is lazy because they don't want to make these, especially not anyone with a full-time job, extra-especially anyone who works over 40 hours or more than 5 days in a week. These are chef specialty recipes designed by people who have a whole kitchen packed with specialized tools, and enough kitchen tasks to not mind "just let this part sit for forty minutes while you work on other things," instead of that being a nuisance that interrupts the rest of your day.

Sounds like husband has never considered what actually goes into these kinds of snacks. If you're feeling generous, you can direct him to watch a set of instructions so he can see how complicated they are - they're not impossible, but if you don't like measuring, sorting, sifting, separating, and mixing several different sets of ingredients, it's a nightmare process.

If you're feeling less generous, you can point out that part of why you have a job, is to afford treats that you don't enjoy cooking, and that the idea that women should find fulfillment in the kitchen is a very outdated concept. (And if you're being downright vicious: "but I suppose I'm not surprised to hear it from someone your age, dear." But that really is vicious; don't use it on a husband you intend to keep.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:38 PM on September 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

I can only assert that this is more about performing traditional femininity (time inside the home, financial dependence) than baking and confectionary. Has his ego taken a hit lately?
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:04 PM on September 22, 2018 [15 favorites]

What do you think of such a scenario. Are people who don't make things from scratch seen as lazy?

i think in this scenario your husband was being a huge douche and trying to tear you down and make you feel bad about yourself so he could feel good about himself. for me personally if a man i was in a relationship with spoke to me like that i would laugh in his face and tell him men should be seen and not heard, or maybe allude to him being my 25k trophy husband. or like. god. just fuck someone else because why waste time with a fragile-egoed asshole. but obviously ymmv.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:47 AM on September 23, 2018 [9 favorites]

I tell my husband about the delicious macarons and lamingtons.
He then says to me how come you don't make macarons or lamingtons from scratch? Why do you only enjoy bought ones or from restaurants? I say to him, i am not good baker and it tastes better purchased. Also it is not expensive especially lamingtons as they are often 2 dollars for 6 pieces in woolworths.
He then continues to say if you keep trying to make them then you will get better at them and they will taste better.
After I heard this, I felt extremely annoyed. I barked at him

The core of your post is this conversation, which all sounds perfectly reasonable until suddenly you are extremely annoyed and react angrily to what sounds like a totally innocuous statement. The rest of the post is you talking about other things like your salary and acting like he said you are a bad person or lazy for not making your own lamingtons - but if he said that why didn't you include it in your report of the conversation? Did he say it or is that how you interpreted him even asking about it? There is a big gap between the conversation you described and the question you are asking.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 1:59 AM on September 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

I would be irritated by this too. It's irritating to have to justify your decision not to do something totally unneccessary, and in this instance asking the first time could be innocent but going on about it isn't.

Also, I bake a lot, I enjoy it, but it's actually more time consuming *and more expensive* than just buying a cake so for everyday stuff screw that.

I put 'making fancy desserts' in the same bucket as 'sewing your own clothes' and 'making your own soap' and 'DIY home repairs' - if that's your thing, great, but it would be irrational to expect everyone to do it. Civilisation was built on the idea that people specialise and don't do everything themselves!
posted by stillnocturnal at 2:48 AM on September 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

AmI seriously the only one here who thinks this has nothing at all to do with cookies and everything to do with an obnoxious husband who's acting like an asshole?

1. A person never ever ever ever ever needs to justify to their significant other the things they cook or eat or read or watch or play with or whatever.
2. A partner who tells their partner they should do A THING that they personally are capable of doing themselves should be told to shut up.
3. If, in a relationship, one sees that they are having endless variations of the same fight, but it's about cookies, money, going to the gym, etc., it's time to call in the therapists and get a handle on this controlling crap.

**grumble grumble, this isn't about baking**
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 3:35 AM on September 23, 2018 [14 favorites]

Yeah, some armchair psychology based in your last para on working weekends-- this is about your extra day of work giving piano lessons. Could that be a half day? Could you go in a date Saturday evening?

Your husband might be an old school asshat, I don't know. But he might also just be a guy who wants more sweetness in his life, wondering why you are prioritising your side hustle over time together.
posted by athirstforsalt at 4:51 AM on September 23, 2018

Should I be criticised about not making things from scratch?

This is an easy one! No.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:26 AM on September 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

It seems like you have some ongoing communication problems with your husband. On reflection, it's difficult to tell how culture, personality and work/life stress are interacting here, but it seems like there's a lot of hurt feelings that come from bad communication about different priorities.

Do you and he have a history of successful conversations about how you're feeling and what's going on in your relationship and you've just hit a bad patch? Or have you always had trouble talking about your feelings if they're difficult? I wonder if you'd benefit from a couple of sessions with a therapist, not so much for the "let me tell you deep thoughts about your problems" aspect but so that you'd have someone to mediate a few deep conversations about your feelings.

Maybe your relationship isn't that strong and it won't weather a constant set of stressors, but maybe if you can both speak freely with each other about what's actually on your minds and both really hear each other, you can build a deeper and stronger bond.

It seems like both you and he have faced some challenges in life that probably make it pretty hard to be open and vulnerable. What if you're both sort of shouting into the void here? Maybe you're both trying to communicate your feelings and needs but because you don't have the tools it's like you're each just making the other upset?

I guess if I were you I'd try to have some frank conversations where you share all your feelings and talk about these communication problems, with a counselor to help if needed. I mean, I'd be very angry if someone told me to make macaroons too, and the stuff from your other questions would drive me up the wall as well, but it seems like it's worth trying to talk more frankly.
posted by Frowner at 5:40 AM on September 23, 2018 [5 favorites]

No it is not lazy to buy prepared foods esp when one works 6 days a week. There is less free time when you work that many hours, use them to do things that have to be done like cleaning & laundry etc, and the rest for things you enjoy. Does your husband make furniture for the home down in his workshop? No? Tell him those sexist tropes about women cooking from scratch are relics from the olden days. Then ask him what his comments are really about, it might be time for a relationship check-in convo.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 6:48 AM on September 23, 2018

Husband, if you want home made baked goods, how come you don't make macarons or lamingtons from scratch? If you keep trying to make them then you will get better at them and they will taste better. Traditionally, women baked, and it may be considered a sign of love and femininity. But you work full - time and it doesn't sound baking interests you. I would tell him that you understand the tradition but you show your love with your work and care for the family, as he does, That you show you are a woman by being strong, caring, etc., and perhaps he would prefer to be proud of you instead of hurting your feelings. Maybe tease him a little. Sexism is deeply ingrained, change is hard.
posted by theora55 at 7:01 AM on September 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I mean seriously, he can make 200 lamingtons or what-have-you himself if he wants. If you're the one providing the food, you get to decide how it's done. End of story.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:58 AM on September 23, 2018

Even though it wouldn't be healthy, my passive aggressive self would probably point out each time he ate something that he had not made from scratch. "I see you didn't make that bread yourself...Ah, non-homemade pasta...Did you churn that butter?... That tomato sauce isn't from a jar right?"
posted by eisforcool at 12:40 PM on September 23, 2018

There are people who mention that he did not say that I was lazy even though I suggested it in the post. The truth is he did not directly say I am lazy or bad person. From what he commented, I inferred it. I felt like what else could he mean by saying those things. But after my barking at him he didn't say a word cause he could see I was annoyed.
posted by direct1 at 12:48 PM on September 23, 2018

This is a very odd fight. He asked legitimate questions (stupid questions, but just questions). You got angry at the implications of the questions. He then kept pushing, knowing he was annoying you.

Why would he ask you specifically about those cookies? Are there not other store-bought things that you like? Maybe he was trying to be helpful to let you know that if you really liked those cookies that you could make them at home? (Not actually helpful, but maybe in his clueless-ness, he thought he was being helpful?)

It sounds like there's so much more to this fight than was said. Is it about money? Is it about the time away from the house? I think you and he should communicate a bit more.

After all is calm, maybe ask him, "Why did you ask me to start making my own macarons from scratch? It makes me feel like you don't think I do enough around here already." See where the conversation goes.

Don't just let this drop. Use it to strengthen your relationship.
posted by hydra77 at 1:49 PM on September 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

It sounds to me like he's just ticked off that you work all the time. It's a pointless argument that has nothing to do with baking. Spend less time working and more together, going out for dessert. Just my opinion, but going out for dessert would be more fun than making it, for me.
posted by Enid Lareg at 2:57 PM on September 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

With this and your last question, you seem to maybe have a bit of a problem with fearing a worst-case scenario and then making assumptions based on that fear. Is this case, it sounds like you heard an accusation that might not have even been there. That can be very easy to do. I know you’re very busy, but have you considered seeing a therapist? That might help you sort out what’s really happening a bit better. I’ve found therapy very useful for helping me examine my assumptions, which can easily be based on something unrelated to the situation. And if your husband is genuinely being obnoxious, therapy can help you figure out how you want to deal with that too.
posted by FencingGal at 4:10 PM on September 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't see anything about the husband asking OP to make these desserts for him. Just a "if you like them, why don't you try making them yourself?" (OP objection) "But if you try, you'll get better." (advice often given on AskMe) This is a conversation I've had with my own husband about pies, and I interpreted it as a very encouraging "you should give it a shot!" rather than "you lazy sonofab...make me pies!" And I laugh it off and go on with my life.

OP, you and your husband seem really tightly wound around each other and it should not be that way for the short amount of time you've been married. I think therapy is over-prescribed here, but it would be beneficial for you 2 to see if this is some sort of culture/language knot that can be worked out or truly an incompatibility.
posted by kimberussell at 5:38 AM on September 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

[One deleted. Do not comment in Ask Me threads just to insult/attack people. If you have no helpful or productive advice, leave the thread alone. If you think the post shouldn't be here, flag it or contact moderators, and leave the thread alone. If you're in a bad mood and just feel like venting here, leave the site alone.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:32 AM on September 24, 2018

My read of your question is similar to FencingGal's and kimberussell's. It read to me as if your husband was initially trying to encourage you when you made a self-deprecating comment about your own baking. The info you provided in your follow-up seems to support this. Imagining myself as the husband in this scenario, I could see myself clamming up after your reaction. Especially so if your husband isn't great with confrontation.

There is so much missing in terms of tone and context so it's hard to give a strong opinion, but this is the way it read to me. Of course, if your husband was insinuating that you're lazy, or if he expects you to put in a bunch of effort to provide him home-baked goods, that's a jerk move and should be called out.

Based on your description of salary differences, chores, the amount of time you spend working each week, etc. it sounds like it would benefit you two to have a frank, non-emotional discussion about the finances and your schedules. The way you framed your question makes it sound like you resent the current situation - that resentment is bound to show up in other arenas.
posted by hootenatty at 11:45 AM on September 24, 2018 [3 favorites]

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