Tempers have a tendency to flare when couples are in the kitchen, claims study

Couple spend 61 hours a year discussing food

Emma Elsworthy
Wednesday 13 February 2019 14:51 GMT
Many don't have the time or energy to cook up new and exciting dishes after a long day at work
Many don't have the time or energy to cook up new and exciting dishes after a long day at work

The kitchen is known as the heart of the home but also the space in which tempers have a tendancy to flare amongst couples, say researchers leading a study of top 20 fall-outs.

The study, which looked at the relationship dynamic of 2,000 men and women, found the most common disputes stemmed from who would play chef, the mess and the quanitity of hot spices to use during preparation of meals.

Researchers found bus-ups would also erupt when one partner attempted to interfere in the culinary creation of the other - and even during conversations about what to eat for dinner.

Lack of inspiration and variety when it comes to culinary choices are at the heart of many dinner-time disagreements with many couples complaining they eat the same meals time after time, and the dishes are always boring.

It also emerged the average couple will talk about what to eat for the evening meal for at least 10 minutes a day, the equivalent of 61 hours a year.

Andre Dupin, head chef at HelloFresh UK, which carried out the study, said: “Food is central to most people’s lives – we think, talk and disagree about food all day every day.

“For many people, the evening meal is the prime time to catch up with their partner after a long day.

“Finding something tasty to eat that you will both like and is easy to cook is a way to avoid daily disagreements about food.”

Other arguments which regularly blow up in kitchens up and down the country are what time to eat, wasting food by not eating it all and whether or not someone is a good or bad cook.

As a consequence of these rows, 12 per cent of unhappy couples have ended up eating separately, while a further 13 per cent have refused to cook for their other half altogether.

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More than one in 10 adults have gone as far as ordering a takeaway for themselves, but not one for their partner when disagreeing about what to have for dinner.

Researchers at OnePoll also found the average couple has the same five meals every single week, changing just two for something new.

Meals on rotation include roast dinner, spaghetti bolognese, fish and chips, pizza and a sandwich.

One third of couples admit they would be more adventurous with their food choices if given the chance, but blamed their partner for being awkward and stuck in their ways.

More than half would love to have more variety in their evening meals, but of these, four in 10 said their partner did not like to eat anything adventurous for a change.

A quarter said new ingredients are too expensive, while 24 per cent are too tired at the end of a busy day to start experimenting.

Fifteen per cent said they do not have the energy to start researching new recipes, and when they do, they lack the impetus to find all the necessary ingredients to make the dish.

Mr Dupin added: “Often the lack of variety at dinnertime is simply down to a lack of time, energy and inspiration.

"There's really no need to fall out with the one you love over boring dinners. There are ways of mixing up mealtimes, such as having fresh ingredients delivered or trying out different recipes, which will solve those daily dinnertime debates.

"This means less time arguing, and more time with a loved one over a meal you'll both enjoy."

The kind of things that couples will bicker over in the kitchen

1. What to eat

2. What time to eat

3. Leaving the kitchen looking like a bomb has hit it

4. Interfere while the other is in the process of culinary creation

5. Whether a takeaway is a better idea

6. Whether a meal should include an item the other person does not like, such as mushrooms

7. Who should wash up

8. How spicy a meal should be

9. Who should cook

10. Who let the food go off

11. Unhealthy meal options

12. Who eats all the snacks in the cupboard without replacing them

13. The quality of washing up

14. Wasting food by leaving it on the plate

15. Hoarding a certain ingredient and then buying more of the same

16. Eating the same meal every week

17. The food is boring

18. Whether ,meals should be planned for the week ahead

19. Who buys the most junk food

20. Who should shop for the food

21. If meals are too healthy

22. Whether or not there is enough sauce

22. Milk going off before being used

24. Debating whether someone is a good or bad cook

25. Taking the culinary crown by stepping in when all the hard work is done to add the finishing touches


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