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Recipe for a happy relationship?
New retailer study says cooking together can add sizzle to more than just meals

Will sharing the chopping, sautéing, and steaming improve your relationship? So says a recent Sears-funded survey of 1,500 U.S. couples conducted by Impulse Research Corporation and codeveloped by Dr. John Gray, author of "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus." The almost 70 percent of survey respondents who occasionally cook together reported being more satisfied with their relationship than those who rarely or never cook together. That satisfaction extends well beyond the kitchen.

According to the survey, almost 83 percent of respondents who always cook together rated their relationship excellent compared with roughly 26 percent who rarely or never do. Some 39 percent of respondents who always cook together also claimed excellent health compared with only 15 percent of those who rarely or never share the food-prep duties.

Still not reaching for those pots and pans? Consider the kitchen-bedroom connection: Close to 58 percent of couples who always cook together claim a satisfactory love life compared with a mere 30 percent who rarely or never hook up to make meals.

Lest you think Sears has entered the counseling business, think again: The study coincides with the retailer's new Kenmore Pro line of upscale cooktops, dishwashers, ovens, ranges, range hoods, refrigerators, and warming drawers designed to compete against models from brands such as Thermador and Viking.

Will the new appliances win our testers' hearts? We'll find out as part of our regular coverage and in our forthcoming special kitchen section, in the August 2007 issue. Our tests in recent years have shown that pro-style appliances don't guarantee better performance, as we've reported previously about refrigerators and ranges (available to ConsumerReports.org subscribers). And as evidenced by owner reports on more than 1 million kitchen appliances in our 2006 Annual Reliability Survey, pricier equipment is not necessarily the most reliable.

Our latest kitchen-remodeling advice can reinvigorate a dull, outdated space even if it won't save your relationship. Check out our planning guide, which offers expert information on design, appliances, and materials as well as Ratings (available to ConsumerReports.org subscribers). The exclusive design interactive will help you choose the features that matter most to you, while the Kitchen Remodel Cost Calculator, powered by RSMeans, will determine an estimate for your project before you open your checkbook.

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