Author Topic: My aunt is a turkey saboteur! UPDATE post 50  (Read 12358 times)

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Margo

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2012, 08:55:07 AM »
I think I would go for a multi-pronged strategy.
1. Your husband has suggested keeping her out of the kitchen. I agree. Delegate that job to him.
2. If that fails , and she starts giving unnecessary advice or trying to touch the oven or turkey, smile and say "Thanks, but I've got it covered. I've got to know this oven pretty well and I've checked all the weights, times and temps, so I'm fine.
3. If she continues, I would repeat this but add Bloo's suggestion
Quote
"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!"

you could also take her 'side' off her when she arrives, ask if it needs anything further doing to it and then say firmly "Thank you so much. I'll call you when it's time to [put it in to warm up / dress it / turn it out and decorate it / whatever she says will need doing] until then, do go through and sit down / have some of the nibbles"

If she tries to come back into the kitchen treat is as an offer to help and pre-emptively refuse "Oh, so kind of you to come to see if I need any help, but I'm fine. You go on enjoying yourself. I'll let you know if I need any help!"

Luci45

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2012, 09:09:49 AM »


Bean dip, broken record, and blithely ignoring--the Holy Trinity of eHell.

This will definitely be printed and laminated and go on my fridge next to my sign that says 'Man who says  it cannot be done must not interupt woman who is doing it.

No one will quite be sure what it means, but it will be fun explaining it. I may have to change my screen name again.

Otterpop

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2012, 09:41:02 AM »
O.K. these responses are great, I am now fully armed!  I will employ the direct quote about Alton Brown, the question about "deliberately" sabotaging my turkey, the ignore, broken record and the bean dip alternately as she keeps popping into the kitchen offering no help but grabbing utensils to "fix" her own dishes, then messes with mine.  I will even ask my husband to "gently" run interference.

You are all right about her not wanting to be deposed from her throne.  My parents are deceased - ILs are infirm, she is IT for the matriarchal position.  Problem is she is tyrannical 1/2 the time.  The other half she's witty and fun.  You just never know which half you are dealing with. 

Oh, and I DO have a meat thermometer.  Second year we were poking the bird, the temp was reading low and she insisted we weren't doing it right.  She kept touching it and saying "It's done, it's done."  Yes, Articularis, her official story to anyone who will listen is that I undercooked the turkey by misjudging my own oven.  (She's expert at rewriting history).  Her gift to me 3rd year was an oven thermometer  ::) which she kept putting in and taking out as the bird was cooking  ::)  Deliberate?  I think so.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2012, 09:51:15 AM by Otterpop »

TootsNYC

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2012, 09:45:03 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."

This--or, even better, do what you did last year. It worked, right?

So this year, just say, "Auntie, I'm going to send you out of the kitchen. I have everything under control, and it's distracting to have people in my way."

Cut and paste--same exact wording.

bonyk

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2012, 09:50:58 AM »
Auntie gave you the meat thermometer?  Perfect!  She would never, ever buy a thermometer that doesn't work, right?  So just keep repeating, "No, Auntie your thermometer said it's not ready yet.  No, your thermometer can't be wrong."

MrTango

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2012, 10:15:00 AM »
OP, I'm sure it's too late for this year, but I'm curious: What sort of fallout would there be if you just didn't invite her next year?

If someone, even family, did something to a dish I was cooking (especially after I told them that I didn't need their "help") that compromized the safety of the dish, I would ask them to leave and I would not invite them over again in the future.

ETA: Added the underlined wording
« Last Edit: November 20, 2012, 10:21:44 AM by MrTango »

Venus193

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2012, 10:19:54 AM »
I agree with you, sir.  Anyone who sabotages my food is no longer welcome in my home.

Jones

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2012, 10:20:50 AM »
Have you considered having a nearby flyswatter and advising her that all insects and pests trying to get at your food will be smacked?

Otterpop

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2012, 10:33:36 AM »
I agree with you about not inviting a saboteur back if its an aquaintance or family "friend".  However, aunt is the last of my family in her generation that is with us (or is functional).  The fallout would be nuclear...then nuclear winter.

The flyswatter might be a good idea.  My kitchen is "open" with several entry points.  I'm going to hustle, bustle like a tornado around the oven/cooktop so she doesn't have a chance to touch anything.  Then if she does, it's direct communication time.

Anyone have any other family stories like this one?  This seems like such a strange issue, family is supposed to support you in your efforts.  Mine is dysfunctional in this area.  It's nice not to feel alone, and to hear from someone else who's successfully dealt w/ this.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2012, 10:38:05 AM by Otterpop »

TootsNYC

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2012, 10:38:41 AM »
don't wait until she tries to interfere.

Just make a general announcement that you want people to help you by staying out of the kitchen.
Then the moment she steps foot in the kitchen, shoo her out.

Take2

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2012, 10:44:11 AM »
Can you add the weapon of kindness/ego stroking?

"Auntie, look, you are a better cook than me. You know it, I know it, it will always be true. You don't have to help or hurt this dinner for everyone to know you are the family cooking genius, and your meals will be legendary long after you are gone. But THIS turkey right here is my personal assignment, and I need to be allowed to do it all by myself."

ETA: Because butter is the most useful Thanksgiving tool I know of, I use it liberally on everything and everyone, solves ALL the most tricky cooking problems :P

Venus193

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2012, 10:48:21 AM »
I started this thread last year:

http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=97669.0

Most of these stories are about relatives.

Giggity

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2012, 10:53:12 AM »
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!"

That strikes me as incredibly passive-aggressive.
Words mean things.

Otterpop

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2012, 11:18:49 AM »
I started this thread last year:

http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=97669.0

Most of these stories are about relatives.

Awesome!!!  Will commence reading...

JenJay

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2012, 12:00:30 PM »
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.

Agreed! Now you can have the pleasure of saying "Thanks for offering to help, but last year's bird was so amazingly wonderful that I'm going to follow the same directions this year."  >:D