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Ask Rene: My Mother-In-Law’s Meals STINK!

overcooked burned turkey on a blue platter isolated on white

Ask Rene:
My Mother-In-Law’s Meals STINK!


Hey Rene:

I hope you can help me. We just got back from my mother-in-law’s house for the holidays and, as usual, it was dreadful!  

My mother-in-law is a TERRIBLE cook! Saying she’s awful doesn’t even begin to cover it. Each year she has to call that turkey hotline because something’s gone wrong with the bird. When it is presented, it’s either under or overcooked; with each bite I worry if this is the year I (or one of the kids) is going to end up in the hospital with food poisoning.

Sadie is on a fixed income yet she insists on hosting us, even though the food (it’s all she can afford) leaves a bit to be desired. It would be so much easier if she would just let us cook or take her out for the holidays.

I think I have an idea about what you’re going to say but I had to get this off my chest. 

 Any ideas?

 Always Dreading Dinner in Delaware:


Dear Triple D:

Wow, where to start with this one? So you don’t want your mother-in-law’s crappy cooking? Try this on for size. Keep your ungrateful behind at home during the next holiday.. how’s that?

Of course I do think you should go but only if you adjust your attitude. But if you do decide to go, here are a few things you can try.

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Creative Commons/STeFou

You know how fitness pros always tell you when you’re dieting you should eat before you get to the party so as not to be tempted by the bad stuff? This applies to you, too. Eat at home so you won’t be ravenous (and miserable)  around a bunch of food you hate. If you are seriously worried about the safety of the food, you might feed the kids before you go, too.

Read more:  Super Start To Summer.. 6 Weeks To A Better You


Sakurako Kitsa

Creative Commons/Sakurako Kitsa


While you’re at your mother-in-law’s house, eat only the things you feel comfortable eating. Look, not every.single.thing is contaminated or questionable (and poor food preparation is something that needs to be taken very seriously). Stick with the stuff that’s safe, like saltine crackers or anything else that comes from a box. Feign loss of appetite if you must, but be polite.

Read more: Thanksgiving Good Enough Mother Style: What’s Your Favorite Side Dish?



Creative Commons/daviddoo

Stand by as I lower the boom: it actually sounds like you need less antacid and more attitude adjustment. For God’s sake woman, Sadie gave birth to the man you married! Love and appreciate her for who she is. She’s doing what she can and why? Because she loves YOU! On her fixed income she is sacrificing so she can make something nice for you. I think the least you can do is suck it up for a day, eat what you can and put a sock in it.

Seriously though, I hope you’ll see this situation for what it is, not for what you want it to be.

Good luck to you.

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  1. This time anonymous...protecting feelings

    November 27, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I can relate, this is something that I go thru every other year, as we rotate between families. Its not just one…its all of them that try to cook on my wife’s side of the family. They are good folks but cooking just isn’t their forte. I usually eat before we go there and then head to McDonalds directly after. My wife realized it a several years ago and questioned me about it. I did my best to explain without hurting her feelings and she understood. Being a strong woman she asked if I would like it if she would come home and cook for me the day following. Of course I said yes…sister girl can cook. When we met she told me she couldn’t cook because her mom never spent the time in the kitchen with her. (more evidence) But she loved my aunt and my mom’s cooking so I enlisted the help of my food guru’s and she has tighten up her skill wonderfully.

    I’ve generally kept my feelings about their cooking to myself and I sucked it up but recently my kids questioned the food during our last couple of gatherings. My son who is older was very discrete about it but my daughter not so much. I had to put my hand over her mouth and whisper in her ear…then she got it. Eight year olds tend to speak their minds when something bothers them. We have offered to host dinner at our home every year but they feel it necessary to alternate. Even last year one of the sisters got into it with a sister in law about her bringing the same dish as she prepared. Words were exchanged and feelings were hurt.

    Shamefully, I have tried to stay home but my wife prefers that I attend with her. She’s my sweetie so I happily go knowing that I will be eating at McDonalds on the way home.

  2. Erica B.

    November 27, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Cook your own holiday meal at home.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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