Author Topic: My aunt is a turkey saboteur! UPDATE post 50  (Read 13392 times)

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whatsanenigma

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #45 on: November 21, 2012, 08:52:21 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.

It might be, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It translates to the offender (the aunt) that the OP is aware of her previous (and successful) attempts at sabotaging the meal, without actually coming out and directly stating as much. Stating it bluntly would be the equivalent of going nuclear on her and could turn it into a huge, painful family issue. By making the statement above, even though it's a bit PA, puts the offender on alert that the OP knows what she's up to and is not going to allow it to happen again, while still giving the offender the polite fiction that she is, and always has been, simply trying to be helpful.

Sometimes being direct is the worst way of approaching a problem. Being a little PA can be appropriate, if used correctly.

I agree with all of this and just wanted to say that IMHO it's really important to communicate with people in the "language" they speak and will understand.  For some people, being PA in that way would cause a huge fight.  For others, it might be just exactly how they need to be communicated with.  Of course, only the OP can know (or at least, make a reasonable guess) as to how to be best understood and obtain the desired outcome with this particular person, but at least, various types of suggestions (not all of which would work on all people) get people to thinking about different possible approaches, which, I think, tends to be a good thing.

Bijou

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #46 on: November 21, 2012, 12:40:10 PM »
"Thanks for your input but I've been very successful in preparing turkey.  You know what they say...'if it ain't broke, don't fix it!'  I feel confident doing it my way."
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jayhawk

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #47 on: November 21, 2012, 02:46:39 PM »
Otterpop, sounds like you are well-armed for tomorrow!  I will check back Friday for an update, but am truly hoping for your sake that it is a good one.

Drawberry

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #48 on: November 21, 2012, 06:30:51 PM »
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.


It might seem like a strange issue in the particular way it's manifested but I think we all have that one person, family or not, who is a 'saboteur' in their own way. The turkey subject just is a bit unusual :P

Shea

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #49 on: November 21, 2012, 07:30:33 PM »
I was going to suggest sticking a meat thermometer into the appropriate area of the bird (thickest part of the thigh) and when Saboteur Auntie tried to do her thing, pointing out that the thermometer had not yet reached the necessary temperature, but it sounds like even the use of a thermometer isn't deterring her! The best thing you can do is what you did last year: ignore, ignore, ignore. And bean dip. Good luck!


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baglady

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #50 on: November 21, 2012, 11:06:25 PM »
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 wonder if a mention of this all by itself might solve the problem. You could say "Your tips work for most ovens but mine is older/newer/a different type/uses gas instead of electricity/anything that sounds plausible and so I always have to make certain allowances."

While it wouldn't really solve the underlying problem of the aunt wanting to butt in, it might keep the peace for the day, which is maybe all you can expect.

This. Play the quirky oven card. "Auntie, I've been preparing poultry in this oven for (however long you've been living with it), and it can't read cookbooks; it's got a mind of its own, and if it wants to cook a __-pound bird for __ hours, that's what we do. If you'd like to help, I could really use a hand with mashing the potatoes/topping off people's drinks/refereeing the little ones' Chutes and Ladders game ... ."
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Otterpop

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #51 on: November 22, 2012, 08:07:58 PM »
O.K. Thanksgiving's officially over for us (elderly relatives like to eat early and leave).

I hovered around the oven and cook top the whole time I was in the kitchen.  When Auntie arrived I was busy bustling, told her I had every thing handled and would help her get her dishes in the oven as soon as the turkey came out.  I had the thermometer at the ready and told her the *exact* minute it would be done.  She made a few moves for the oven but I shooed her away saying "I'm going to take temp at 12:30, we're right on time."  I then handed her a drink and said MIL needed someone to talk to.  (Gave her an "important" job.)

The only irritation happened when she asked what my seating arrangement and food flow organization was (it's only 8 people, I'm not that formal, please!)  I said "Thanks for reminding me" and made a general announcement "Everyone sit where you like, food will be served from the peninsula buffet style.  We eat in 10 min."  She deflated a little but went to find a seat.  I then listened to her tales of intrigue, woe, gossip and whatnot because she really IS interesting when not overbearing.

So I think a good strategy was monopolizing the kitchen (as I needed), distracting her, giving her something to do and taking charge of the schedule.    I also made sure she felt important in areas that did not affect the dinner.  I think I'm getting the hang of this.  Thank you E-Hellions!!!

(I didn't go for the direct approach because she seemed a little more fragile this year than the last, sad really...or maybe, masterfully deceptive of her  >:D)
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 08:12:40 PM by Otterpop »

LeveeWoman

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #52 on: November 22, 2012, 08:43:03 PM »
O.K. Thanksgiving's officially over for us (elderly relatives like to eat early and leave).

I hovered around the oven and cook top the whole time I was in the kitchen.  When Auntie arrived I was busy bustling, told her I had every thing handled and would help her get her dishes in the oven as soon as the turkey came out.  I had the thermometer at the ready and told her the *exact* minute it would be done.  She made a few moves for the oven but I shooed her away saying "I'm going to take temp at 12:30, we're right on time."  I then handed her a drink and said MIL needed someone to talk to.  (Gave her an "important" job.)

The only irritation happened when she asked what my seating arrangement and food flow organization was (it's only 8 people, I'm not that formal, please!)  I said "Thanks for reminding me" and made a general announcement "Everyone sit where you like, food will be served from the peninsula buffet style.  We eat in 10 min."  She deflated a little but went to find a seat.  I then listened to her tales of intrigue, woe, gossip and whatnot because she really IS interesting when not overbearing.

So I think a good strategy was monopolizing the kitchen (as I needed), distracting her, giving her something to do and taking charge of the schedule.    I also made sure she felt important in areas that did not affect the dinner.  I think I'm getting the hang of this.  Thank you E-Hellions!!!

(I didn't go for the direct approach because she seemed a little more fragile this year than the last, sad really...or maybe, masterfully deceptive of her  >:D)

I can speak only for myself but this is the most anticipated update in a while. And, it's the most rewarding, as well.

Good going, Otterpop! You handled the whole situation with aplomb and grace.

Lindee

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur! UPDATE post 50
« Reply #53 on: November 22, 2012, 09:30:44 PM »
Well done!

buvezdevin

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur! UPDATE post 50
« Reply #54 on: November 22, 2012, 09:45:45 PM »
Congratulations!  That is such a great update, I don't miss (much) the ninja moves I was half expecting would be deployed.
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TootsNYC

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur! UPDATE post 50
« Reply #55 on: November 22, 2012, 09:49:08 PM »
Yay! Nicely done.

Luci

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur!
« Reply #56 on: November 22, 2012, 10:35:19 PM »

I can speak only for myself but this is the most anticipated update in a while. And, it's the most rewarding, as well.

Good going, Otterpop! You handled the whole situation with aplomb and grace.

Agreed! Great psychology there, gentle and considerate handling, and you get an "At'ta Girl!" award from me.

bloo

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur! UPDATE post 50
« Reply #57 on: November 22, 2012, 11:07:16 PM »
Congratulations!  That is such a great update, I don't miss (much) the ninja moves I was half expecting would be deployed.

Ditto! I'm glad you had a great day!

girlysprite

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur! UPDATE post 50
« Reply #58 on: November 23, 2012, 03:45:00 AM »
Very good update! And what I really wonder about: how did the bird turn out? ;)

jayhawk

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Re: My aunt is a turkey saboteur! UPDATE post 50
« Reply #59 on: November 23, 2012, 12:28:40 PM »
You did GREAT!  I'm sure the turkey was GREAT also.