Author Topic: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?  (Read 5279 times)

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Kendo_Bunny

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Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« on: March 02, 2013, 12:00:57 AM »
I'm not sure on this, so I figured I would get some opinions first.

A friend of mine is getting married next weekend. We worked together for a year, despite just being regular friends. She and her soon to be husband are very health-conscious and very concerned about their weight, but neither of them know how to cook. When we worked together, she frequently bemoaned how expensive Lean Cuisine was and how not knowing how to cook was gobbling up their limited budget. I suggested multiple cookbooks that she could use to teach herself basic skills, and even offered to teach her a few quick meals, but she turned me down each time, saying that it was probably too complicated.

I found a very simple, step-by-step 4-ingredient cookbook on sale. Every one of my friends knows that I give a new couple a set of wooden spoons for their wedding (since it's bad luck for a bride to not have a wooden spoon), so would it be passive aggressive to give the happy couple the very basic cookbook as well? She has demurred on learning to cook, but her husband may decide to pick it up, and eating so much processed food is expensive and unhealthy, and they are both aware of it and have both told me that it makes them unhappy.

Sharnita

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2013, 12:06:40 AM »
I wouldn't do it.  If he indicated for sure he would be willing to cook or even just try then maybe but you are betting on what if from him and definitely not from her.

TootsNYC

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2013, 12:07:11 AM »
I don't think it would be a rude present at all.
(passive-agressive isn't the right term for this; judgmental or snarky might be the right ones)

But it isn't those things either.

DottyG

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2013, 12:16:46 AM »
I'm with Sharnita. The fact that you even have this hesitation shows that, knowing them, there's something in you saying that it's not a wise gift.

Err on the side of caution on this one. Don't do it.


gellchom

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2013, 12:20:10 AM »
I don't know that it's passive aggressive, but I wouldn't do it. It seems kind of "I-know-better."  She has made it clear she isn't interested in learning to cook.  So why give a gift you know she doesn't want?  I know you want her to want it, and she should want it, but she doesn't. So as DottyG wisely said, listen to your uneasy feeling and get something else.   

snappylt

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2013, 12:34:25 AM »
I had mixed feelings about my opinion here.  On the one hand, when I was a young adult first out on my own (earning a small salary), I sometimes gave an expensive-to-me hardcover cookbook as a wedding present.  I'd hate to think it was a bad present!  On the other hand, your friend has told you that she doesn't want to learn to cook, so that makes me wonder if maybe a cookbook is not the most gracious present in this one case.  I'm having a hard time deciding...

Kendo_Bunny

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2013, 01:10:40 AM »
The reason I'm going back and forth is because she goes back and forth.

1) She has complained numerous times about how expensive and unhealthy it is to eat take out and microwave meals all the time.
2) She has complained about the lack of options she has (she's a Jewish pescetarian who keeps kosher) with processed food.
3) She is extremely worried about her sodium intake, but can't find much in the way of processed food that is low in sodium (and what she can find is very expensive).

All of those lead me to believe that a simple, no-frills cookbook would be a good, thoughtful present.

On the other hand, when I suggested similar cookbooks or offered to teach her how to cook some basic meals, she said it was probably too complicated. Another friend roomed with her for awhile and told me that when she attempted to teach some basic cooking skills, she found that the BTB goes by the "close enough" method of cooking (The recipe says 20 minutes on 350? Why can't I do it in 10 minutes at 500?).

Slartibartfast

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2013, 01:15:20 AM »
If you do decide to give it to her, I'd suggest including a note saying "Here's that book I was telling you about - it's really easy and I love the recipes in it!"  In other words, "I'm giving this because it's something we've shared discussions about before" rather than "I'm giving this because I think you need to lose weight."

I wouldn't, though.  If she wants to learn to cook she can learn easily from the internet - physical cookbooks just don't seem to be all that necessary anymore.  This goes double if she's looking for some specialized cuisine (kosher vegetarian options definitely apply) - there's almost certainly someone out there who follows the same dietary restrictions AND loves to cook AND has recipes/instructions readily available.

Kendo_Bunny

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2013, 01:22:02 AM »
Well, she's thin as a rail and her fiance is a Marine. They're both health fanatics and so I do hear plenty about how worried they are about their diet consisting of so much processed food. Apparently not enough to take steps on how to learn how to cook, since she's convinced it's beyond her ken. Him, I have no idea why he doesn't cook when he's so concerned with diet and exercise.

The cookbook in question is a 4-ingredient cookbook that doesn't have anything more complicated than "Put in pot and turn the heat up until it boils. Stir it so it doesn't burn".

mmswm

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2013, 01:46:52 AM »
I don't think I would give it as a wedding present, but I might give it to her as a "just because" gift.  I might tell her something like, "hey, I found this cookbook and I thought it was pretty cool.  I was wondering if you might like to flip through it and see what you think".  If she takes it and says "Wow, this is awesome!  These recipes are super easy!", then you can say, "Oh, how wonderful.  Would you like to keep it?".  If she hates it, then you have an awesome new cookbook for yourself.  Then again, I'm obsessed with cookbooks, and don't think it's possible to own too many, so adding another would be just fine by me.
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kudeebee

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2013, 02:52:26 AM »
I wouldn't give it as a wedding present either simply because she has refused your offers of help or suggestions of cookbooks in the past.  If she hadn't done so, then I think it would be a fine gift.

Hawkwatcher

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2013, 03:30:09 AM »
I suspect that she was simply venting to you about her skills for the sake of venting.  She probably knows that she should learn how to cook but doesn't want to go to the effort.  Since you have already suggested cookbooks and offered her tips, it is possible that she will feel that you are nagging her if you give her the book.  Save yourself some stress and get her something else.

m2kbug

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2013, 04:40:30 AM »
I have never heard the wooden spoon superstition.  Why is it bad luck for a bride not to have a wooden spoon?   :)

I think it's a very thoughtful gift and would go well together with a set of wooden spoons, but at the same time, given neither of them have really taken much time or put forth much effort to learn, I am a little torn if this gift is a good idea.  Perhaps, as a wedding gift, include something else the couple would like or want.  I don't think it's passive-aggressive.  She's been complaining about learning to cook and you found a quick and easy recipe book she or her soon-to-be husband might find useful, but maybe this gift should be given with something else or just give it to her on a separate occasion.

Redsoil

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2013, 06:14:51 AM »
I find it absolutely mind-boggling that someone (especially with those dietary needs) would refuse to learn how to cook basic things!  I'm no flash cook myself, but I can feed people!

Is it really becoming more common for people to rely on takeaway or pre-prepared food to the extent that they don't know how to manage basic food for themselves?  *Still stunned*
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peaches

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Re: Would this be a passive-aggressive present?
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2013, 06:19:27 AM »
I think it's best to choose gifts based on what people are interested in, not what they should be interested in.

This is especially true of wedding gifts. A wedding is a very personal and momentous event in someone's life. It's not a time to be instructing people or improving them.

That would rule out the cookbook. (Not that cookbooks are always a bad idea. I've given the Joy of Cooking as a shower gift. But that was to people who had an interest in cooking.)

If cash or something from the registry doesn't appeal to you (or isn't in the budget), I'd try to come up with something personal that reflects them as a couple and their current interests.