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How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

As it turns out, the karma gods came to collect their debt for my putting out bad energy. On December 7th, my sister summoned me home (650 miles away) as my own mother suffered severe complications from her recently-ended chemotherapy. She has been on a respirator since that time and has had 3 emergency surgeries. It has been touch-and-go for the past two weeks, but at this time she is beginning to show signs that she will ultimately survive. She will be in the hospital for at least another month and then will likely have inpatient physical rehab for another 4 weeks.

Shame on me.

Dec 21, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

Sadly, in fact, I am not speaking only for myself. There has been a consensus among the sibs for at least 5 years with regard to this topic.

Dec 21, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

Thanks, HillJ--it does help. Your post made me giggle--thankful that MIL is not on the interwebs--that could open a Pandora's box! I might just bring the wine, too--though I might not share ;-)

Dec 03, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

The food is usually good--she is a fine cook. And a fine person.

Dec 03, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

Catering has been brought up--hopefully the idea will take hold. And I agree completely, the food is way past secondary to the family--the problem here is that the preparation of the food eclipses the family at nearly every family gathering that we have had in recent years.

Hoping that this year will be different.

Dec 03, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

Not so much my 'controlling' of these things, more the family wishing to not be 'controlled' into a uncomfortable holiday. We are all aiming for a drama-free, low-stress (for everyone) memorable holiday.

Dec 03, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

Please do elaborate--any insights would be helpful.

Dec 03, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

You (and others here) have made so many outstanding suggestions.

One of DH's siblings called the other night to suggest having it at their (much larger) home. We have had it there in the past (when MIL had back surgery) and it was great. DH made the argument that the guilt would be overwhelming if this should happen to be anyone's last or last healthy holiday, and that it obviously means a lot to MIL to have it at her house.

DH has his work cut out for him, given that he will be the one trying to convince her to 'evolve' her plans...

Dec 02, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

The dropping the turkey thing--that is our greatest fear. It would be humiliating for her and FIL would likely erupt (out of embarrassment). Of course, none of us wants to see that happen.

I am afraid that she will not listen to reason (because this very issue was brought up last year--she promised to let us help by bringing food--she promptly 'forgot' that we were all bringing stuff and wound up working her tuchas off all evening anyway) and it will take a huge disaster (such as dropping the entree or igniting the tablecloth with the candles that are forever in the way) for things to change.

It's almost pathological.

Dec 02, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

That sounds like exactly the kind of low-key, everyone pitching-in, enjoyable holiday that we wish we could have--with any luck, this year will be different.

Dec 02, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

And therein lies the complicated problem...and the delicate, balanced approach that needs to be taken, I suppose. Yes, I want to spare MIL's feelings. I love her & respect her.

But the holiday is not hers alone.

That's what vexes me--it winds up being a very self-serving spectacle, which no one (likely herself included) ends up enjoying very much.

Dec 02, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

It is a sad thing. After my maternal grandmother passed (10 years ago) the family just sort of lost its footing. I hadn't seen some of my aunts, uncles and cousins since her funeral; that is, until my own mom was diagnosed with cancer this past summer. Yet another reason all of this has me wearing my heart on my sleeve w/regard to sweet & lovely memories.

Nov 30, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

LOL--unless we want to eat scrambled eggs or take-out, the gentlemen in this particular family are unable to contribute much to the feast. But they do help with the dishes :)

Nov 30, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

They won't have it any other way. I hosted one about 3 years ago. The eldest brother hosted another year when MIL had back surgery--and everyone enjoyed themselves (except the M & FIL, evidently--as this invitation has come so close to Thanksgiving.)

I suppose I simply need to accept and bow to the 'control freak' in my MIL. I just wish they (she) could see how this approach negatively impacts everyone's enjoyment of the holiday.

Nov 29, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

You are probably right. Just makes me sad for my kids...I myself have distinct memories of one set of grandparents being loose, fun & happy and the other being strict, mean & uptight. I guess you can't force people to look inward and prioritize--happy, sweet memories vs. the dishes were washed before we opened the presents.

Nov 29, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

everything you just said--yes. But the advice(s) given here are causing me to rethink my issue. Lots of good stuff to think about.

Nov 29, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

How do you tell your mother-in-law her dinner parties/family dinners are not fun?

My mother-in-law is a nice lady. She means well. She is 78 years old with 6 adult children. She loves having everyone over for Christmas Eve dinner & present opening. My father-in-law has had some health issues this year & doesn't have all of his strength back.

This is the way it typically plays out: Mother & Father-in-law slaving away in the kitchen, bickering about timers & gravy, etc. Father-in-law usually loses his temper about something, due to the stressful nature of cooking for such a large crowd. We don't see them until dinner & then mother-in-law won't sit down, for fretting about forgetting something and then 'polices' everyone's plates--"Why aren't you eating that?"

Mother-in-law asked today if we would like to come this year. I said "Yes, but I don't want you killing yourself to make it happen. We all want to help. I think you should consider a different logistical set-up, instead of a formal sit-down dinner. Perhaps heavy hors d'oeurves, buffet style?" Of course, she would not hear of it.

I have three young kids--age 7, 4 and 8 months. I want them to remember Christmas at Grandma & Grandpa's fondly, not with the two of them hiding in the kitchen & stressing out, not at the celebration.

All of us (the adult children & spouses) have discussed this at length and are in agreement that it is really unpleasant. Is there any way to handle this or do I just suck it up?

Nov 29, 2010
reedmangler in Not About Food

Can someone please tell me what the hell I am eating???

One of my students gave me this and I can't stop eating it. There is no English anywhere on the bag, but it is clearly seaweed of some sort, with sesame seeds & oil and sugar. It is PHENOMENAL. Please help me so I can buy about a case of it.

Nov 19, 2010
reedmangler in General Topics

Almond Dew?

Well that's a bummer! I'm thinking of using some in my Thanksgiving cocktails. Oh--I can't remember in which section I found it. Maybe by the vinegars?

Nov 19, 2010
reedmangler in General Topics

Almond Dew?

I've been thinking of making a cocktail with it--maybe with some Calvados or other brandy. I'm just afraid to open it as I don't know how long it will keep once it's open. And I also fear that I will not be able to find it again at the market.

Nov 12, 2010
reedmangler in General Topics

Almond Dew?

Yeah--sorry about that--my camera is a bit on the 'outdated' side.

Conversely, I am going to try to find the powdered kind in my market :)

Nov 12, 2010
reedmangler in General Topics

Almond Dew?

Anything you can tell me would be great!

Nov 12, 2010
reedmangler in General Topics

Almond Dew?

It's a clear liquid--can't tell the brand name because the label is written entirely in Asian characters.

Nov 12, 2010
reedmangler in General Topics

Almond Dew?

Thanks--I'll Google that!

Nov 12, 2010
reedmangler in General Topics

Almond Dew?

Couldn't resist buying a bottle of Almond Dew during my last trip to the Asian market. Anyone know what to do with it?

Jun 12, 2010
reedmangler in General Topics