How many do you cook for?

This is idle curiosity but does relate to calibrating posts.

How many people do you cook for in general?

Rule: If you have kids, say two parents and three kids and cook four different meals that is NOT cooking for five. It’s cooking for 2+1+1+1. If everyone eats the same thing it’s cooking for five.

My wife and I take turns cooking for two. That’s our base. On trips, I cook for four. Family gatherings (which we are just starting to think about again due to COVID) may be fifteen or twenty. Those might only be half a dozen times per year pre-pandemic.

At family or friend gatherings, are things ahem amorphous, is there a lead, does one person do all the cooking with minimal help?

One, usually - me. Medium-sized H & I eat mostly different things, so it’s only occasionally, when I make pizza or skate, or when we’re upstate and I grill our dinner, that I cook for us both. When I host the family for Christmas/Chanukah brunch, I’m feeding about 15. It’s buffet style, so maybe it’s not 15, because who knows if everyone’s eating everything? Maybe it’s 6+3+1+5.


Usually me and the manchild (adult son) otherwise just me.

Happily Friday made a dish to take to a party (where everyone! was vaxed) a welcome return to something that feels like normal.

Had a friend staying with me for a few months…he’s a chef (the CIA variety) so dinner at my house was top shelf while he was here. Sometimes he cooked, sometimes I cooked, sometimes it was a completely ridiculous and over the top joint effort fueled with wine and laughter.


I cook for two four legged personal assistants. Sometimes they share.

One with her learner’s permit.

And the other who prefers his water under his palm in the back yard.


Two for dinner, plus lunch on weekends or when we are both working from home. When entertaining or visiting friends or family, can be 10+. I do almost 100% of the cooking at home and am the lead cook 95% of the time when there is a group gathering. What can I say - I like to cook and my friends like to eat!


Hmm. That leads to the question of meals. My wife and I fend for ourselves for breakfast (me around 6, her around 9) and lunch (me around 11, her around 1) and eat dinner together around 7. Meal planning which includes who cooks is our biggest relationship struggle. We both love to cook.

For family/friends group, even with a lot of help (mostly my wife and her sister, sometimes my brother-in-law) I’m usually the lead cook. In my absence prep usually takes twice as long, at least. Too many jobs that could be done in parallel done in series, and too often two or three people doing a one person job. It is of course important to know the skills of those you’re working with. Some are helpful in their skill sets. Some are just in the way.


Very true. My brother is actually a chef, and we work very well together no matter who takes the lead. Oddly enough, my family seems to prefer my cooking to his - I think it’s because his skill set shines more when cooking for lots of people in a restaurant or catering style kitchen, whereas I am more experienced with family-style and -sized meals. When other family members want to help, I usually give them a bunch of onions and a cutting board, move them to a location other than the kitchen, and carry on ;).


Funny. I get fussy about consistency. I can see giving that up to give someone out of the way. In my extended family I think that delegation would result in a lot of whiny interruptions. It does all depend. Mixing is easy but some people are messy. Knife work may result in a trip to an emergency room. I have a family member who can’t measure. Seriously? sigh


I never said I actually USED the onions they chop! :wink:


I have the luxury of cooking for myself.
Sometimes an Alice, Hazel, or Rosie would be nice as motivation for cooking only for myself becomes a problem.
I’ve found lately I’m more interested in eating than cooking :fried_egg:


I cook dinner for two humans - breakfast and lunch we do our own things. Partner excels at cleaning the kitchen when I’m done and stays out of my way while I’m making stuff. He’s also my taste-tester when I think a dish needs something but can’t identify what.

My cooking style is to make a large amount of a base dish (a pot of beans, say) and then repurpose those into different mains - or make a large batch of something (today it’s brown rice with lentils and a bunch of vegetables) that we can eat for a couple of days, along with future meals shoved into the freezer.

We also have a houseful of beasties: some are our family companions and others are fosters here for an indeterminate period of time. Depending on the number, the species and dietary needs, and the age/health of the critters, sometimes I’m cooking/prepping multiple meals a day for them - and trying to find space in the fridge/freezer for their foods.

(An aside: we humans are mostly plant-based eaters, but some of the critters need meat and so I buy and cook it. I struggle with the ethical questions regarding that whole situation and have yet to come to a comfortable logic - so I try not to think about it and do my best to foster herbivores.)

I like to cook. Would like it more if we had more counter space, larger fridge/freezer, and central air. :grin:


Ditto to your 1st 2 paragraphs. One of the humans and the other furred one are cavemen reincarnated- mainly meat. Plant based eating always appreciated but meat drives them. Have to keep my cooking creativity going to entice.


“How many do you cook for?” is a loaded question. Some nights it is just me, some nights it is my BF and I, some nights it is my mom and I, some nights it is all three! Depending on our schedules, etc, etc.

I find it so difficult to cook for one person, so I try to make something that my mom will like and make a plate for her to have the next night. She is a great cook and the one who taught me, but the last several years after my father passed, she does not cook as much. My BF has no problem not having leftovers as he is very much into DoorDash and the like, but if it is something he really likes, I save some for him. So I may be by myself but still cooking for 2-3. The question should really be “How many people are eating?”

All three of us have varied tastes (generally we agree on a lot), and while we say “I’ll eat anything”, I struggle to tell which of us is pickier. It could very well be me on some nights. My mom and I like to have a vegetable side with dinner when possible, but that is not a big priority for the BF who is a bigger carnivore than us. Her and I also try to limit red meat, while he has no such limits. He likes vegetables but would never complain if there was just meat/poultry and a starch on the plate.

I created a thread a while back on what is everyone’s answer to indifference on those nights when it is impossible to decide what to eat. In this house it is chicken cutlets. So at least there is always that option. I keep the freezer stocked with chicken breasts. We also tend to overdo it on a meal that we discover and really love (i.e. “Let’s have this once a week until we get sick of it!”). Lately, our cooking variety has been limited. Working late hours, lots of stress, some GI issues for me the last two months, and for the first time in a long time am slowly losing the will to prepare a nice meal for when I’m eating by myself, which was never a problem before. Hopefully that will change.

Good thread idea.


When I’ve this luxury, I tend to be lazy, less than 50% of the time I make an effort to cook.


Cook for 2 humans too. I cook, H buys and washes (kind of, I need to clean after him what he doesn’t feel like to do).

When we invite, usually it’s barbecue, so I prepare, and he cooks on the grill according to the instructions. Lately, when we party, it’s always potluck, it saves a lot of time to cook for everyone.


Guilty also.

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Same. If I do cook, it’s something DH doesn’t like (pâté, anything with mustard, etc.), but usually I just raid the pantry for a bag of pork rinds and call it good!


I mostly cook for two, and pitch in but not in charge when cooking for groups.


I cook from myself or two others at any given time . Just last week I wanted the two girls to cook dinner for me . Was planned the night before . I was beat after work . Glass of wine or two . I said I’ve got this . Salmon with salad and rice . Kick back on the deck . Smoke your cigarettes. Drink the wine. This is your captain speaking. Enjoy your flight. I just can’t turn the kitchen over to another cook . Turned out well . It’s the way I relax .


For me there are two pieces of this. The first bit is to eat the things my wife not only doesn’t want to eat but doesn’t really want to smell. Corned beef hash springs to mind. I love it - she thinks it looks, smells, and tastes like cat food. Not clear to me what her standard of comparison is for the latter but I shan’t ask. Pre-COVID when she was traveling regularly the first few days were big meals packed with the things she’d prefer not to see on her plate, or at least not as often as I’d like to see them. After that I revert to my old single approach of balanced meals averaged over a week. One night might be a steak, the next a loaded baked potato, then a passle of veg led by steamed broccoli, then a big salad. It averages out. My wife is a balanced meal “I want at least three things” sort of person.

I don’t recall if I contributed to your indifference thread. Our weekly meal planning means something came out of the freezer the day before. Certainly it could last another day or two or longer in the fridge. Usually we just make what we planned because the burden of decision making is relieved.

One of our internal issues is that when I cook, I cook for two. When my wife cooks, she cooks for four or five even if there are just two of us. Most of my breakfasts and lunches are just trying to keep up with the leftovers. I despise food waste.

Thank you for your kind words.