Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication



Major Advisor

Heidi Reeder, Ph.D.


Natalie Nelson-Marsh, Ph.D.


Mary Frances Casper, Ph.D.


Food and communication are equally vital to the human experience. They are essential to nourishment and growth. Both can be complex and rich, or rudimentary and straightforward. Food and food preparation as a lens for study has recently expanded within the communication field. This study attempts to add to the existing body of research and specifically focuses on a complex interpersonal setting: meal preparation. The author posits that a greater understanding of roles and expectations in developing romantic relationships can be gained by examining the ways in which partners communicate while working together to prepare a meal. The author employs qualitative methods, observing four couples in their own homes and conducting six follow-up interviews. With specific attention paid to food choice and task delegation, a grounded theory approach is utilized and the author attempts to establish an argument demonstrating that partners consistently challenge and strengthen their roles and the relationship in ways unique to the kitchen site and cooking process.