According to the government, there were more than 11 million divorced men in the United States during the last census. There are no statistics on how many of them know how to cook. Some do, for sure. There are more and more these days. But for most of us, we’re talking about guy cooking. Barbeque, omelets, spaghetti with the good stuff, like Newman’s Own.

It’s not that were stupid. Not most of us. Take my Uncle Ernie. He is a rocket scientist. No really, he was a real rocket scientist during the 1950’s. He worked directly for Dr. Werner von Braun in Huntsville, Alabama. A few years ago he came to visit me and we went to the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, where I live and he stood in front of a life-sized model of a Saturn V nozzle, which was about 15 feet high. The Saturn V rocket engines powered the space ship that took the first men to the moon. Ernie stood in front of it and he just shook his head. “It was really hard to get all five to work together,” he said. “Two or three is one thing, but five of these was really hard.” He just stood there looking at it and if we were in a movie, they’d do one of those tricks where you can see the math equations floating around in mid-air. So I think we can establish that he’s not a dummy. But when my Aunt left him back in the 70’s, when normal people were first learning how to get divorced, he couldn’t boil an egg. Their kid got married on Sunday, his future ex-wife cooked about 30 dinners all week, and she was gone by Friday. He didn’t have a clue, but she did. She worried he might starve during the first month, and she was right. Men didn’t cook then, and they don’t do a heck of a lot more now. If you’re one of those men who wishes his ex-wife was a sensitive as Ernie’s, this blog is for you. It just doesn’t have to be that way.

Women like my Aunt who wait until the kids are gone to cook a month’s worth of meals and then split don’t exist anymore. Whether we leave or they do, the one good thing to come out of that marriage; the one reason we will never say, “I wish I never married her,” is coming to our house three nights a week and they are not coming to see the pizza delivery guy. If we didn’t love our kids, we’d never have opened this site. But the truth is, we do love them and we know that no matter how many of our friends rationalize it, we know they are hurt, and mad and our happiness, if and when it comes, will be partly at their expense.

So now here we are, in our empty house that’s no longer home, or shitty apartment, or rented house, or condo we just bought, and there they are, in “their room” that’s not their room, and everyone knows it sucks, but no one wants to talk about it. Whether we left, or she left; no matter who was right or wrong, we know it wasn’t their fault, yet they seem to carry so much of the weight.

Nothing is going to fix it for them, but time and love and grace. Many things can make it worse, and unfortunately, many of them are done in their name, but that’s the subject of other blogs. This one is about how you can make your house a home for your kids by doing something with them that they least expect and need most: cooking a family meal and eating it with them.

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