People, especially women, ask what they can do to help and offer to bring food over. I assure them that meals are the least of our problems while my wife is recovering. I have done half the cooking throughout our marriage, increasing to two-thirds and perhaps even three-fourths. I like it, even when it is a burden and I am strapped for time. (There are limits, though.) So going to 100% temporarily is not a big deal, especially as we have still not quite adjusted to making 2-3 portions. Most meals I make are good for at least two dinners for both of us and a lunch for one after. Storage is more of a problem.
Yet they bring a little something anyway, or even more, even when I specifically say don't. I am tired of arguing with them, so they just bring things now. We will eat much of it eventually. It hurts them not to have brought something. Because it is not this way with men (who ask far less often whether they can do anything anyway) I reflected on how much of this is a male-female, and training vs instinct phenomenon. I propose the following: Women give gifts to show affection. Men give gifts to solve a problem. Once I articulated that, I saw it is similar to other men-women differences, such as communication. These are hardly mutually exclusive, and I can think of exceptions, especially of men during courtship.
Update: CS Lewis, as usual, has some answers. i should have remembered. Donna's comment brought these to mind.
“A woman means by Unselfishness chiefly taking trouble for others; a man means not giving trouble to others...thus, while the woman thinks of doing good offices and the man of respecting other people’s rights, each sex, without any obvious unreason, can and does regard the other as radically selfish.” The Screwtape Letters.He also hypothesised Purgatory as a kitchen where things were forever going wrong. The women needed to learn to ignore them and attend to higher things (as with Mary and Martha), while the men needed to learn to get up and attend to those domestic things for others.