Author Topic: My aunt is a turkey saboteur! UPDATE post 50  (Read 13624 times)

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Otterpop

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My aunt is a turkey saboteur! UPDATE post 50
« on: November 20, 2012, 12:37:50 AM »
How do I handle a relative who is a great cook, but tries to ruin my turkey every Thanksgiving?

First time I ever tried to roast a turkey, I asked my aunt's advice and she my told me the wrong cooking time.  It was done 1 hour before everyone arrived.  I figured it was an accident.  The second year I Googled and calculated the right time, but she came into the kitchen and said "That bird is done.  Take it out before it gets dry."  I hesitated, she insisted, so the bird came out.  We started carving and it was raw in the middle.  We microwaved the pink pieces (dangerous and yuck!!!).  Third year she came into the kitchen and I shut down and pretended to be busy and "deaf."  She then proceeded to pout and fuss with her side dishes and didn't talk to me the rest of the evening (turkey came out perfectly cooked BTW).

Her dishes are wonderful, but I'm beginning to think she doesn't want mine to be any good.  I chalk it up to her not wanting to be replaced as the matriarch of cooking in our family (no danger as I don't enjoy cooking - I do it so my family eats better, cheaper).  How do I tactfully tell her to butt out this Thanksgiving?
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 08:08:36 PM by Otterpop »

Lindee

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2012, 12:43:56 AM »
Well now you know you can properly cook a Turkey, just stand your ground and refuse any unsolicited advice from her than conflicts with your plans. Smile while you refuse to overcook or undercook the bird but trust your own instincts. Once could be a genuine mistake on her part but 3 attempts to undermine your confidence in the meal? Not a mistake.

Luci

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2012, 12:51:33 AM »
How do I handle a relative who is a great cook, but tries to ruin my turkey every Thanksgiving?

Third year she came into the kitchen and I shut down and pretended to be busy and "deaf."  She then proceeded to pout and fuss with her side dishes and didn't talk to me the rest of the evening (turkey came out perfectly cooked BTW).



So how did the rest of the family react? The first bolded sounds great: ignore!. The second bolded is her problem.

Just thank her for her side dishes, and polish your spine, do things your way and properly, and enjoy the accolades.

Kaypeep

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 01:03:13 AM »
I'd be matter of fact with her and point out as nicely as possible "No offense, auntie, but you're turkey tips have failed me twice now.  First when you gave me instructions and it was too dry, then the year before last when you insisted it was done but turned out raw inside.  I've practiced cooking turkey since then, I know my oven very well,  and I have it down pat now.  So I'm all set and won't be taking any turkey lessons from ANYONE except Alton Brown."

Otterpop

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2012, 01:06:42 AM »
Most of my family stays out of the kitchen except my husband.  He tried to defend a longer cooking time the second year, but acquiesced as she is the consummate cook.  Then he fumed and said under his breath "I told you so" when the turkey came out raw.

This year he said "Keep her out of the kitchen."  I was curious if anyone else had this experience and what was appropriate and effective to say?  Stand my ground is good advice, but how might that dialog look?  (I read this forum a lot and can help other people, when it comes to me with my aunt though- she's a force to be reckoned with and has been a thread topic more than once.)

Just read Kaypeep as I was posting.  That sounds good.

Deetee

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2012, 01:42:23 AM »
I have never run into anyone like that.

I would not let her touch the turkey and would reply as though she was trying to be actually helpful as opposed to ignoring her. I mean, I would ignore her advice, but not ignore her. So if she said it was time to come out I would say "I don't think so. Let me double check......Nope, it will be ready to come out in another 45 minutes and then we will let it sit for 15 minutes and Bob will carve and I think the mashed pototoes are almost ready and the casserole will be just done and how does the table look. Do we have salad servers?"


 

cicero

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2012, 02:40:42 AM »
first - if she pouts and fumes, then that is her problem. is *this* the only control issue she has? she may have trouble giving up her throne.

second - i would blame this on the stove. or use a thermometer. "Oh i know that you're supposed to cook it X hours, but this oven is temperamental and X+2 hours works for us. Here, why don't you put out the bean dip?"

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bonyk

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2012, 05:00:42 AM »
I second buying a thermometer.  I just spent less than $20 for one that has an alarm that goes off when the turkey reaches the proper temperature.

If that's not possible, just keep saying, "No, it's not done."  After about 3 times (or whenever you feel your blood pressure climbing), just ignore.

acicularis

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2012, 06:40:26 AM »
I've never had anyone try to sabotage me, but I have had the problem of too many cooks in the kitchen. I'll never forget my first Thanksgiving cooking for both sides of the family, with both my mom and MIL in the kitchen, disagreeing with me and each other about how to cook a turkey. The one thing they both agreed on was insisting the turkey needed to come out of the oven too early (I disagreed, but was overruled). It was raw in the middle. All of a sudden it became my turkey again. Yes, to this day, the official story is that I was the one who undercooked it.

Anyway, I learned two things from that: 1) An instant read thermometer is my friend. 2) No one else should be in my kitchen yammering at me when I'm trying to cook. Every time I've had people in the kitchen "helping" or just wanting to be in the middle of things, it has caused confusion and delay (bonus points to anyone who recognizes that fine literary/dramatic reference  ;D)

The first item was easy. The second is something I still struggle with to this day. Sometimes I use humor to keep people out of the kitchen, pointing out that our kitchen is small and I am clumsy and "Spill hot grease on someone and suddenly you're the bad guy!" or "Sorry, I just don't work or play well with others." Sometimes I try to be polite but firm, saying "No thanks, everything's under control," which makes my mother sulk sometimes, but that's still preferable to the chaos of extra people in the kitchen (because somehow, one extra person always becomes several extra people milling about). I also use stealth. Seriously. When all else fails, I try to sneak into the kitchen when it's time to get the turkey out, in hopes that I can do all those last minute things with as little interference as possible. Sometimes I've even had my husband cover for me, and keep my mother engaged while I sneak to the kitchen!  ;D
« Last Edit: November 20, 2012, 06:42:40 AM by acicularis »

Hmmmmm

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2012, 07:50:07 AM »
When she offers advice, just smile and say you have it handled.  Or, "the turkeys fine but you might want to taste your dressing again.  I had a taste and it seemed to be missing some thing.  Did you forget salt."  >:D

buvezdevin

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2012, 07:55:00 AM »
i love your thread title!

In such a situation, I would tell sabateur "thanks, but this is the way I cook turkey."
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
Mark Twain

weeblewobble

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2012, 07:55:52 AM »
The fact that she pouted when you ignored her shows that she does indeed know what she's doing.  It sounds like she takes great pride in being the best cook in the family and doesn't want to be "deposed."  I would continue to ignore her and maybe assign someone to keep her out of your kitchen. (As in when she tries to go into the kitchen, someone redirects her.  "Hey Aunt Saboteur*, do want to try these garlic stuffed olives Otterpop left on the appetizer table?")  And definitely assign someone to watch the oven if you have to go to the bathroom or leave the kitchen for any reason.  My FIL and brother are both known for fiddling with temperature settings and basting when the cook is out of the room.

*I'm totally borrowing the phrase "turkey saboteur."  My FIL, who is a lovable man, has meat phobia. He's so afraid giving people food poisoning that he overcooks meat until it resembles shoe leather.  For years, he has needled my beloved MIL about undercooking the turkey, cranking up the temperature while MIL wasn't looking and telling her she needed to put the bird back in when it was perfectly cooked.

weeblewobble

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2012, 08:10:15 AM »
Re: dealing with someone who is a "force to be reckoned with."

We, too, have an aunt who is a force to be reckoned with.  If she decided something, that's the way it was going to be.  Whether it was the family Christmas gift exchange or the location of holiday dinners. No one wants to be the one to argue with her.  As the younger generation has come up, though, we have found that blithely ignoring her while continuing what we planned, the way we planned it, is the best course of action. 


JennJenn68

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2012, 08:27:35 AM »
Lindee's response reminded me of a quote by Ian Fleming--"Once is happenstance; twice is coincidence; three times is enemy action".

I'd have to agree there.  The pouting when her attempts to chuck a spanner in the works of the turkey failed (my, what an interesting mental image that conjures up!) was a dead giveaway.  I don't have any new advice to give that previous posters haven't come up with already.  Bean dip, broken record, and blithely ignoring--the Holy Trinity of eHell.  Why she's doing it is almost irrelevant.  Keep polishing that spine and never let her see you lose your cool, and it sounds like you've already got that part under control.


bloo

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2012, 08:38:55 AM »
I'd be matter of fact with her and point out as nicely as possible "No offense, auntie, but you're turkey tips have failed me twice now.  First when you gave me instructions and it was too dry, then the year before last when you insisted it was done but turned out raw inside.  I've practiced cooking turkey since then, I know my oven very well,  and I have it down pat now.  So I'm all set and won't be taking any turkey lessons from ANYONE except Alton Brown."


I like this.

I might add (with a smile): "Now you're not deliberately TRYING to sabotage my cooking, are you? Because if you remember (last year) and (year before)...well it's just so odd since you're such an awesome cook!"

This puts the Turkey Saboteur on notice that you are ON to her. If she plans to ruin any future turkeys, she'll have to go full-on, black ops aggressive.

Station a back-up for the kitchen if you have to go to the bathroom or peel a kid off the curtains! ;D