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Would this be a passive-aggressive present?

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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...

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?).

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.

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".

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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