Every couple has their own kitchen culture. With some couples, the man does most of the cooking while in others, the man and the woman share the job. Some couples work it out along more traditional lines, with the woman doing most of the cooking.
Almost invariably, the man must take a more assertive role in the food preparation and shopping when a woman becomes pregnant. Particularly early in the pregnancy, when the woman is suffering from morning sickness, she may not feel like cooking or eating anything. If a guy wants something to eat, he is probably going to have to fix it himself.
The Joy of Cooking
Men who are used to having their partners cook for them may resent this change of roles. They may prefer the old system—she cooks, he washes the dishes—and decide to simply make do as best they can until their partner feels good enough to get back into the kitchen again.
For other fathers-to-be, pregnancy may present them with an unexpected opportunity. Suddenly thrust into the kitchen, they may find they actually like cooking and get into it.
“I love to cook, but when I was pregnant, there were some nights I was so tired I couldn't even face the kitchen,” says Jennifer Kaiser, mother of four and wife of this book's author, Kevin Nelson. “Your partner will surely feel like that some nights too. Step in, ask her what she feels like eating (if anything), and fix it for her. It doesn't have to be a culinary masterpiece. But believe me, she will appreciate it.”
Stick to the Basics
The first thing to know about cooking, if you are a novice, is that you do not need to be Bobby Flay or Mario Batali to impress your partner. You may remember from your bachelor days that a woman will appreciate almost anything you prepare because it means she doesn't have to make a meal herself. It shows you are trying, and your pregnant partner may appreciate this most of all.
One wonderful element of good cooking is using fresh ingredients. Whatever meal you choose to make—roast chicken with green beans, spaghetti and meatballs with a tossed green salad, chicken burritos and guacamole dip—will taste better if you avoid frozen or canned vegetables and rely on fresh produce. Green leafy vegetables and fruits are a rich source of vitamin C, iron, calcium, and other good minerals, all of which your partner needs (as do you).
Consult a Cookbook
The joke about men is that when driving a car, they refuse to ask for directions. They would rather drive around in circles than stoop to the indignity of asking a stranger to straighten them out. This may be true of some guys in the kitchen as well. They regard cookbooks much the way Blutarski in Animal House looked askance at textbooks and refused to open one.
When cooking for a pregnant woman, you may need to go easy on spicy or hot foods. More exotic cuisines such as East Indian, Thai, or barbecue may not sit well in her stomach. Red wine can often transform a routine meal into something special, but it is best to keep it in the cabinet during the pregnancy.
Cookbooks contain recipes and show basic techniques. They tell you how long your pot roast should stay in the oven and at what temperature. Cooking magazines and loads of websites also feature recipes and cooking tips, some of which are targeted to men.