Dominican Men – Can They Cook?

Dominican men – Can they cook?

Do Dominican men fail the kitchen test, or are they no worse than men from other countries? While I wait for your replies to pour in, let me tell you about my experience.

I have been married for 10 years to a divine Dominican man called Pedro. He is absolutely perfect in every way, but – alas – once I had decided he was the man for me, I began to realize that there was one huge drawback here: the man could not cook. In an ideal world my husband would be a gourmet chef, not because I can’t cook myself or don’t like cooking, but because I enjoy sharing the pleasure of cooking and would really prefer not to have to cook every day.

Pedro has shown some initiative in the kitchen, but this is restricted to the dishes he likes that I haven’t mastered, like mangú for breakfast. Not being a fan of heavy breakfasts of any sort, be they the English fry-up or Mexican huevos rancheros; boiling and mashing viveres first thing in the morning is not a task I rush to undertake. Pedro, who prefers his mangú to my marmite toast, has been forced by sheer necessity to enter the kitchen for this purpose.

Dominican men – Can they cook?

I have to wrack my brains to come up with another culinary achievement by Pedro, and can only cringe at the memory of his noble but ill-fated attempt to make boiled eggs and toast for a large group at breakfast last Christmas morning… and honestly nothing else comes to mind. On the positive side I think there is potential there and that some more encouragement and persistence from me could produce great results in the long term, but it’s bound to be a slow process.

Put it down to macho culture, where women do everything for their husbands and sons and in some cases do not even let them enter the kitchen. It is by no means unique to the Dominican Republic or the rest of the Latin world. This has been the case in Northern Europe and North America until recently as well. The difference is that young people in the northern countries tend to leave home to live independently well before getting married, so both men and women learn to cook out of necessity. In the Dominican Republic and other Latin countries it is still the norm to remain in the parental home until marriage, but this is changing.

I know a couple of exceptions to the rule, and not just from members of the younger generation. An outstanding example is an uncle of Pedro’s who has cooked us some of the most delicious and memorable meals I have tasted in the DR.

If you share my predicament, I have one piece of advice: there are many men all over the world who cannot cook but I have yet to find one who is physically incapable of doing auxiliary menial tasks such as washing dishes or chopping vegetables. Whether they are willing is another matter…

I would be interested in hearing people’s experiences, so if you are a Dominican man, or living with one please let us know what you think.

Aunt Ilana

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{ 39 comments… add one }

  • marcelina alonso April 29, 2015, 6:57 PM

    As you say, things have changed. I have three sons and two of them are the best cook you can have. None of their wives know how to cook and they prepare all meals for the family. My husband, borned in Cibao in a real macho culture, cooks wonderful and enjoys it. However, I know many dominican husbands that do not even prepare a sandwich. Don’t forget that in Dom. Rep. we do have help that live in our homes, and most of the time not even women have to cook.

  • Maria Montalvo November 14, 2014, 8:28 PM

    wanted to congratulate you guys for such an amazing work you are doing. Please let me know where can I purchase this jewel of a book. Thanks and keep up the good work. A proud Dominican.

    • Aunt Clara November 22, 2014, 8:33 AM

      María, our book is currently out of print, we are working on a new one. Please follow us on Facebook and you’ll be notified when the new one comes out.

  • Alex November 14, 2014, 3:23 PM

    When I first started cooking everything I made was eaither too salty, no flavor, or burned. Until I was thought to cook by my American wife and the food channel. The only thing my mother aloud me to do in the kitchen: chop ingredients, stirred some dishes, and wash dishes (The concept was there but the practice was somewhere else).
    Now I can cook Dominican food and my specialty is pastelon de platanos maduros.
    Thank you to my wife, my mother, and Tia Clara!

  • Alfredo Acosta November 14, 2014, 9:51 AM

    Well. Not to pat myself on the back but I know what I’m doing. No complaints. ….

  • mayerlynb November 14, 2014, 12:57 AM

    In my case my hubby and I are both Dominican and he is the better cook and I’m a pretty good cook myself so that says a lot. He just has a SAZON… he can make a meal with just garlic if possible.and it will be delicious and doesn’t even use measurements or anything which in my case I do. When he cooks though the kitchen looks like a tornado went through the kitchen but its all worth it and I happily clean it after since the food is how we say “para chuparse los dedos” I am a very lucky and happy woman because although I know how to cook I don’t like to do so very much lol and he loves it so he cooks and I clean and it works for us!! :)

  • Eileen November 13, 2014, 9:12 PM

    My uncle who is Dominican loves to cook. He’s the main cook in his home. He just always enjoyed it and he has never really seen it as something a man does not do. However, cleaning up in the kitchen is quite another story. In my home I do most of the cooking but I’m the better cook. But, if I cook he cleans. And, I have taught him to clean tidy. He would do a lot of what I call guy cleaning and then I sat him down to show him how it’s really done. He’s doing a much better job and it works for us.

  • Reggye November 13, 2014, 8:05 PM

    I am a dominican man and i have to say that even though I might not be great at classic dominican cooking I have to say that i am a great cook and the only thing i am not able to cook very well yet is simple white rice. I do meats, pasta, seafood and of course i have my own take on sancocho. I do prefer to do the cooking myself as it is something i really enjoy plus i am a grown man lol.

  • Frankie November 13, 2014, 7:30 PM

    Im Dominican and I don’t normally cook unless there are no other friends I can bug to cook, don’t want to stop by friends to eat their food, don’t want to go eat at the local Latino place to eat…then I cook!
    ~ Que tigre soy…! LOL

  • Angela May 10, 2013, 11:40 AM

    I read this story and loved it, I am the American wife of a Dominican man, who can definitely cook. He of course works all day everyday, except Sundays so he doesn’t have much time to cook but when he does it’s very good. I’ve come to learn how to cook some dishes; Pernil, Dominican style Spaghetti, Habichuelas, Carne & Pollo Guisado, Camarones en Salsa Roja and believe it or not a reallly good Mofongo :) And so ive heard for an “american woman”, I can cook good Spanish food. I’ve in the past years come very well off with my spanish language. I am very proud of both of our backgrounds and love to learn more, I frequently come to your website for little tips and to read blogs..I love it! Thank You and keep writing!

  • Eileen February 27, 2013, 11:21 PM

    My Dominican husband can’t cook, which is why I taught him the art of dish-washing. It works for all, particularly a large family like mine. I hate dishes and he hates cooking which is why we are happily married 😉

  • vanessa soriano January 23, 2013, 6:27 PM

    well my husband Lino Dominican can COOK! Love his rice and beans !

  • ELVIN SANTANA November 21, 2012, 4:49 PM

    I can cook, and if eat at any Dominican restaurant in New York you will notice that 98% of the cooks are Men.
    P.S I love this website.

  • Alycia September 21, 2012, 10:01 PM

    I love your site! You’ve helped me keep my dominican husband very happy! My husband, although he doesn’t cook very often, is a great cook. He doesn’t follow any sort of recipe, nor does he measure anything, and every time his meal comes out delicioso! Thank you again for all of your great recipes! We recently bought a new home, and invited all of my husbands family over for dinner, I made a Sancocho (your recipe), probably only my 6th time making one. I was so nervous that my toughest critics would not like it, I was wrong! I ended up making 2 pots of it, and had only 2 bowls left over the next day! They were all so surprised that a white girl could cook such a delicious Dominican meal :) When they asked where I learned to cook my spanish food from…!

  • Denise September 18, 2012, 2:13 PM

    My husband who is a 36 year old Dominican man born and raised in NY is an amazing cook! When I married him (14 years ago) he didnt even know how to boil an egg but since I get home late from work (and am really lazy in the kitchen) I showed him how to cook (even though I was just barely learning myself). He has become our daughters’ favorite person in the kitchen b/c as he claims “he cooks with love” and I dont. Also, his uncles, whom love food as most Dominican men, also know how to cook amazingly well. My father and many uncles are amazing cooks and have all worked at various restaurants.

    • Aunt Clara September 19, 2012, 3:54 PM

      Great to hear about more Dominican men who know and love how to cook.

  • Cat G. July 28, 2012, 2:16 PM

    I should be thanking you for posting all these delicious recipes :)

  • Cat G. July 27, 2012, 4:08 PM

    My Dominican husband loves to cook and he does the majority of the cooking here in Canada. His locrio and moro are so delicious and his Sancocho gets requested by more than a few of my friends. He regularly refers to this website to make dishes for me that his mom used to make for us in the DR.

  • Gloria Perez March 16, 2012, 10:21 AM

    My 3 brothers and 3 brother-in-laws as well as my dad all cook and very well and they were all born and raised in the Dominican Republic.

  • Chantale March 5, 2012, 6:41 PM

    OMG!!! My dominican is my personal chef! He loves cooking and moreover, loves cooking for me!!! He's sooo good and his sancocho is DIVINE!!!

    • Aunt Clara March 5, 2012, 6:45 PM

      Congrats! I love hearing about my fellow countrymen who know how to cook.

  • Juan G. January 5, 2012, 9:18 PM

    My whole family was born in Dominican Republic, and all of the women cook. The only men that cook are one of my uncles, one of my cousins and……me! I love to cook and i cook very well i might add. Although im not a huge fan of all dominican dishes, some are great. This website inspired me to start making dominican dishes more often, of course adding my own twists on things. Thanks Aunt Clara :)

  • Charles Medina Jr November 16, 2011, 1:49 PM

    I'm half Dominican and half Puerto Rican. My opinion is that most times if men fail in the kitchen it's because their mother did everything for them as is the culture in Latin American countries. However, you also have to enjoy cooking as well. I cook almost every day in my house. It isn't rocket science. I love to use this website as a reference and I try my best. Mothers of all races and cultures MUST teach their sons to be more independent and self sufficient so that they never have to depend on a woman. If I ever have to depend on my wife for something, maybe its to sew a button….at most..We're in the 21st century already. Come on guys !!!! Men are the best chefs in the world !! Start using Aunt Clara's recipes & show these women what good Dominican cooking is all about…Gotta go, making arroz con pollo right now

  • Orestes Noboa August 5, 2011, 5:05 PM

    I am a dominican man living in Santo Domingo and I love to cook for family, friends and visitors. In free time I can cook variaties of pasta, salads, potatoes, steak, and other international food, to dominican "pati-mongo," fish in coconut milk stew, etc. I made many mistakes as I was learning but I kept practicing. I can follow a recipe but also I cook from my mind trying new things and using diferent ingredients.

    Our culture is changing. I have many dominican friends that love cooking. It is another great example of leadership and love to see a father cooking once at week or more for his wife and kids.

    I am not all the time in the kitchen but I do pretty well keeping everything clean and orderly around the kitchen and the house.

    The reason why many dominican men don't cook, or do not clean, or don't do any household chores is because their mon's did not teach their sons. They sent the boys to play at the streets and the girls stay at home doing everything. That is why we have a culture where women are more responsible than men.

    I learned from the Bible that a man should be a servant at home, just like ladies are. Both are returning from work, he is waching a tv game, while his wife is bussy cooking… he tells her that the baby is crying. Terrible!!!!

    Latinamerican mon's are the one's to blame for teaching and develop that "macho" mentality. Husbands do nothing about it because we take advantage of that.

  • Richard July 26, 2011, 9:29 AM

    In my family my father was actually a better cook than my mother. Even my wife loves my father cooking. I love to cook as well I like trying new things i can follow a recipe and invent some stuff on the way. Although I love my Dominican dishes i can't do that all the time so I do branch out to other styles and have made dishes for my family that they have received great kudos. I just did my first Egg Benedict a few days ago the poaching of the eggs came out perfect but my sauce did not workout that great ;-(. there are some things I will no touch though is sancocho, i feel that is a dish i rather have someone else make for me good thing my wife can do it :-). But when it comes to cooking out of norm dishes i am usually the one to do it.

  • jianel July 2, 2011, 3:46 PM

    I have to say i enjoyed reading your blog. I have my live-in partner and he is by no means of Dominican decent. He is Caucasian and i have introduced to him from fried cheese and mangu to quipes. We live in the mid-west and in my city there are no Dominicans by no means. (there is barely any spanish ingredients). Anyways, i asked him to come and live with me in NYC for a while and he was flabbergasted by the amazing and delish food that we have. Since then we have moved back to the mid-west and he has to rub in my face that he learned how to make pastelitos from scratch. So, since i never learned how to make it (i would buy made already) he now considers himself somewhat of a Dominican (LOL) because he learned before i did.

  • LN Santana June 27, 2011, 8:17 AM

    My uncles are the best Dominican cooks. They are the ones that do most of the cooking for my cousins. I think most of my cousins can't even peeled a platano or fry an egg. When it comes to cooking in the backyard they are the best. In the winter the cooked a locrio de arenque under a tent. If its not them cooking it they most likely wont eat. They love cooking for other people and alot of people are surprise that they are very good cooks. The reason why I think they are great cooks is because my grandmother taught them how to be independent and she had all boys first. My mom told me that she learned how to cook standing on a building block so she can reach the stove. I think is very important to teach your kids how to cook something no matter of they're gender. I wish I can find a boyfriend like my uncles (just the cooking talent). Felix, Jose, Jesus and Yonis.

  • CocinandoConOrgulloD May 4, 2011, 8:31 AM

    Lol!.. Funny!.. I am an excellent Dominican cook.. Born in NY so you can say I am Dominican-American but both parents are from DR.. My father from Moca and my mom from Santiago.. Well I began at a very young age. It started with my father helping him make pastelitos, then graduated to helping my mother with her cooking. She would have me turn the rice or stir the meats so they wouldn't stick and chop and clean vegi's. In turn there was to lessons to be learn by my mother she always said to me "To be a man there are 2 important things to know how to cook and how to clean your own underwear". Also my uncle was an insanely incredible cook, every Sunday I would help him make the sanconcho for the dominno games!

  • Karina May 3, 2011, 9:46 PM

    I'm not married to a dominican but I grew up in a household watching my father cook, and very good I might say. My uncles also cook but my brothers don't. I wonder why?

  • Brilib May 3, 2011, 7:13 AM

    My husband is Dominican and he can definitely cook! When we first lived together before getting married, he made sure to teach me how to cook the most important Domincan dishes. We make Locrio at least once a week and have Mangu pretty often. While visiting his family in Nagua, I learned how to make Sancocho and I must say it's something I am very proud of! The best thing about my husband's cooking is his sazon. No matter how good my food tastes, his sazon is so much more authentic tasting and I love it!

  • fausto412 April 29, 2011, 7:35 AM

    moro de gandules no me sales siempre bien…o el color no esta bien or me sale pegado.

  • Aunt Clara April 29, 2011, 7:28 AM

    Ese es el espirity, Fausto. ¡Felicidades!

  • fausto412 April 29, 2011, 7:27 AM

    oye! yo no soy super chef pero con recetas y practica…tu website y mi mama en el telefono…yo let meto mano a eso de cocinar. tengo unos cuantos platos que ya me salen consistente bien.

  • B. April 29, 2011, 4:00 AM

    Ha ha, I find this blog so funny. It's funny because I'm a dominican woman and I find that the one dish that every single dominican man can cook whether he is old or young, very progressive or a total machismo is Mangu, with their accompaniments (eggs,cheese,salami). It's nice to know that the only thing they can make is connected to their roots.

  • Kate April 28, 2011, 5:26 PM

    My boyfriend Juan who is Domincan is the most amazing guy i've ever been with =]. I never expect him to know and do household chores.I thought I'd be doing all these things…cooking( delicious,super delicious)meals,wash,iron & sew his clothes and wash dishes…I think I am the luckiest girl in this planet lol! At first I thought he is one of those guys who just sit all day, play video games,eat & leave trash everywhere (sorry guys) but he has proven me wrong. I love him & I am so proud of him. He cooks me all kinds of delicious Dominican dishes…he even made the dominican national drink(Morir Sonando)

  • Charlene April 28, 2011, 8:04 AM

    Oh yes, they can cook but only out of neccesity and not without making a huge mess in the kitchen. When my husband and I first lived together he was clueless in the kitchen (or so he said – I still have my doubts) but as he used to finish work 3 hours before me he had two options, stay hungry or get cooking. That being said I was the same, I could only cook 1 or 2 dishes until I lived alone. He is actually the better cook nowadays.

  • Tonia April 28, 2011, 7:53 AM

    Cute blog. I do all of the cooking in my house. I love Latin dishes and I can cook them very well–with the exception of one particular type of rice and beans, which is [was] my boyfriend's claim to fame. My boyfriend, although not Dominican (PR), cannot cook, except said rice and beans. I always stayed away from this so he could have his moment in the sun, but then I found your one recipe, the beans with the red sauce…. it was all over for him. Now, he is my sous chef and dish washer. Haha. :-)