I love my husband. In fact, I often say that the spouse department is the only area of my life where I really lucked out.

Mine buys me dresses I've been lusting after, as well as jewelry, on a regular basis (and not just for holidays); he's kind to my friends, no matter how annoying; and he seeks out new restaurants for every anniversary: We're going on 15 years together now, all told, so that's a lot of reconnaissance. Believe me when I say, he's pretty much perfect.

But then I read some news that reminded me of his one eensy-weensy flaw: Last week, Tom Colicchio, of "Top Chef" fame, was nominated for a 2010 James Beard outstanding chef award. You see, I have a thing for bald men and, man, can that bald man cook.

While my husband may be bald and equally adorable, the thing is, he's just not much of a chef.

The thing is, I don't blame my husband for his lack of culinary prowess -- I blame his mother! Growing up, he and his brother weren't allowed to set foot in the kitchen (or the laundry room, for that matter). Even on a recent visit home, he was banned from boiling water to make pasta for me. I should add that he's well into his 30s.

And I'm not the only woman wishing the situation were different: In a recent survey, nearly 65 percent of women admitted to finding it sexy when a partner cooked for them, as compared to the 33 percent who found it alluring when the same guy picked up the tab.

In fact, the more I dug into the "lacking in the kitchen" topic, the more I discovered that my lament is rather universal. In an era when women actually outnumber men in the workforce, there's a whole generation of guys who still don't know their way around an oven. But, suddenly, it seems, that's starting to change.

Tupperware is now trying to woo more dudes, said the New York Times last week. For them, of course, it's about market share. But for wives everywhere, it's a start -- even if it means our men will become intimate with nothing more than the microwave.

Then GQ launched a three-part series called GQ Cooks, teaching their strapping male readers tips on everything from how to "Make Vegetables Taste Good" to "The Only Five Cookbooks You'll Ever Need," three of which are by chicks, by the way.

Even Nintendo is getting in on the game: They're hawking a curious software called "DS Chef," a "friendly, electronic cooking instructor" that guides you through the process of making more than 240 dishes from around the world. It also covers the basics, including how to properly julienne your girl's vegetables.

I say: Bring on the zucchini, baby!

In fact, if more men realized how seductive wielding a chef's knife can be, I have to believe they'd drop fantasy baseball in favor of splicing and dicing. Besides, in today's culture of "Iron Chef" and "Top Chef," it's perfectly acceptable -- even manly -- to get down and dirty in the kitchen.

And, Tom Colicchio aside, I think it's due time hubby steps up his game from Sunday morning eggs and pancakes. We all know fallbacks only get you so far when you pass the five-year mark in a relationship. And if I, as a vegetarian, can cook a roasted poussin for my man, then he can certainly take an online tutorial or two in between double-checking his fantasy football lineup.

But I know there's a glimmer of hope: Over Christmas we were watching another James Beard nominee, chef Lidia Bastianich, lovingly roll gnocchi from scratch, and the glint in my husband's eye was unmistakable. He printed out the recipe later that day, and has been carrying it around in a notebook ever since. His proclamation that morning: He was going to make those pillow-soft morsels for me someday. I relish the thought. In fact, if he does set a date, I might even invite his mother.


Liz Ozaist has been an editor at More and Budget Travel. She and her husband were arrested for trespassing on their first date and have lived happily ever after since then.

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