Author Topic: S/O of the pizza thread  (Read 8132 times)

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Ceallach

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2014, 10:40:10 PM »
From an etiquette perspective, it does occur to me that the givers really should be thinking through what they are giving and the frequency.   It's nice to ask what they'd like, or provide options, or at least recognise that the same dish over and over is likely to get tiresome.   If I were the giver, those are all things I would consider.

However, of course, as the recipient that doesn't change their responsibility to accept the generosity graciously, or decline politely if there is a legitimate reason why it can't be used (e.g. the chicken will go to waste).    We can't change other people's actions we can only change our own.   
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


kareng57

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2014, 11:16:24 PM »
I think that rather than asking for a different meal, it would be better to just say you don't need food any more.  Chicken once a week might be boring to you, but would probably be appreciated by many people (myself included*) and the in-laws motivation was likely positive.  I'd go with something like "Thanks so much for the chicken, we're at a point now where we can cook easily so you don't have to worry about continuing" rather than "We're bored of chicken, please buy us something else."

*Edit: I understand being sick of something, though -- when I'm tired of a food it's actually really difficult to eat more.  Something I once loved seems kinda gross.  Which is obviously not what your in-laws intend, so it makes sense to decline the offer rather than keep making yourself sick over chicken.


This, exactly.  It would definitely be snowflakey to try to get them to bring something else, when they've been so generous up to the present time.

I too think that rotisserie chicken is a very nice thing to bring people, other than fast-food options such as burgers or pizza.  They can eat the chicken as-is, or store it (such as freezing) to make many other meal options. When I was cooking for my family I made many more poultry entrees than beef or pork entrees.

lmyrs

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2014, 11:26:42 AM »
I think part of the problem is that to some extent, as the recipient of the favour, that you are considering the motivation of the giver when deciding to accept that kind of favour or not.

So as the recipient, I might think, 'Are my PIL bringing food because they genuinely want to do something that's really helpful?' in which case, I think it's fine to tell them tactfully that we're sick to death of chicken and something else would be very much appreciated.

Or I might think, 'PIL want credit for being helpful, so I'll say nothing, even though we won't eat the chicken and they'll feel we're unappreciative if we ask for something else.' So I don't say anything and pitch the chicken, or fill my freezer with it and pitch it later.

I always, always ask people when I'm wanting to bring food, or be helpful in some way, 'I want to be helpful - would bringing a meal be helpful or will it be annoying - or is there something else that would be better?' That leaves them open to say, 'That would be great,' or 'Actually, we've got food covered, could you do XYZ instead.'

My sister-in-law was inundated with meals following her husband's death last year, and she said to me that it was really a pain to deal with an overflowing freezer full of food they didn't like on top of everything else.

Do you, as giver, really genuinely want to be helpful to someone in an already difficult situation? Then forcing them to think of 1001 things to do with rotisserie chicken so your feelings don't get hurt shouldn't be first on the list of priorities. Talking to them and finding something that is actually genuinely helpful is the way to go.

This exactly. As CakeEater said, the giver needs to think about their motivation. If you're bringing someone a meal because you want them to not have to worry about cooking for some reason, then you should bring them something they actually want to eat. If the person has to accept the pizza or chicken and then toss it out, they still have to make themselves something to eat. So, not only have you not saved them any time, you've likely added a layer of guilt on to them for tossing it. (I know that I have real guilt about throwing out "perfectly good" food. Even if I don't eat it. And, I don't think that, in those circumstances, a chicken is any better or worse than a pizza. Again, if I have to pick all the chicken off the bones and then make a soup or a pie or something else, then I'm still making the meal that you wanted to save me from making. I don't have to actually buy the chicken, but I'm still doing all the work of putting the meal together.

I don't think that someone should be ordering others around to go get them food on demand. But, if you are bringing regular meals to someone, I think you need to decide why you're doing it and then think about whether that objective is really being met. Are you trying to save them time and energy? Get them something they'll like. Are you trying to make yourself feel good or "check off" your good deed of the day? Then, get whatever you want.

Lynn2000

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2014, 12:14:00 PM »
I also agree with CakeEater's words--it's stuff one should think about as a giver, and it's also what a recipient ends up thinking about when the gift/favor becomes less helpful. I think it's good to address it pretty quickly, because the longer the issue goes on, the more resentment and frustration will build up, and the harder it will be to avoid seeing the giver's motivations as negative or feeling entitled to a different gift/favor.

As I said in the other thread, I feel like with close family (however you define that), these should be conversations that can be had without rancor on either side. Unfortunately, we don't know what DH actually said to them. He might have inadvertently offended them. He might have taken the tactic of telling them you guys didn't need any help from now on, so they stopped not only bringing food but also cleaning. He might have felt their reaction was perfectly normal but wasn't good about conveying that to the OP. Them stopping the cleaning could have been only coincidental with stopping the chicken and occurred for an entirely unrelated reason. Maybe they thought, well, when you're sick you often don't care about what you're eating, so having an opinion means you're getting better, therefore, no extra food needed--it's good news. Generally I think the advice to let people handle their own families of origin is a good one, but it does assume that they know how best to handle them, without causing offense or throwing the spouse under the bus or communicating anything the spouse didn't want communicated. Did you talk with DH about how they stopped cleaning, and was it because of the chicken thing?

For the future, I think the advice about being careful not to take a repeated favor for granted is good. So if you're getting X every week, don't ask for Y instead, but just say you're done with X, thanks so much, and see if they offer an alternative. Which they may or may not, and if they don't it doesn't necessarily indicate they're offended.
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lowspark

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2014, 02:59:11 PM »
This is interesting as it is seeing the pizza situation from the other thread from the exact opposite point of view.

And it brings me back to what I said in the other thread. Although I hesitate to say it because it is the general consensus of this forum to have the person whose parents it is do the talking, I tend to disagree with that. Because it's generally a second-hand message and the person whose message it is has little control over how it gets communicated.

Just as in the pizza thread where we didn't really know what the SIL said to his wife, here we don't know what the OP's husband actually said to his parents or how it was said.

I do agree with those who say that you should be able to have these conversations with close family without anyone taking offense. Should being the key word here. If someone's feelings get hurt, they get hurt. Of course that's not the intent but it does happen.

The idea of bringing someone a meal once or twice a week after they just had a baby is so generous, of both money and time/effort. But if you bring the same thing every single time, it almost seems like you're hoping they'll get sick of it and ask you to stop. Almost. It just seems odd to me that anyone would think that someone wanted to eat the very same thing over and over again within a short span of time.

Surianne

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2014, 04:00:35 PM »
The idea of bringing someone a meal once or twice a week after they just had a baby is so generous, of both money and time/effort. But if you bring the same thing every single time, it almost seems like you're hoping they'll get sick of it and ask you to stop. Almost. It just seems odd to me that anyone would think that someone wanted to eat the very same thing over and over again within a short span of time.

That's interesting to hear, because it never would have occurred to me.  I'm probably not a very adventurous cook, though.  I definitely eat chicken at least once a week, and there are so many things you can do with it -- so I wouldn't assign negative motivations to the in-laws, because it might be quite normal in their household to have chicken once a week. 

(I recycle a *lot* of the same meals weekly!  I forget sometimes that other people don't.  I also don't have kids to worry about, so am more like the in-laws in that I just cook for myself and thus might not think of what variety would be needed if I were cooking for a whole family.)

Two Ravens

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2014, 04:13:50 PM »
The idea of bringing someone a meal once or twice a week after they just had a baby is so generous, of both money and time/effort. But if you bring the same thing every single time, it almost seems like you're hoping they'll get sick of it and ask you to stop. Almost. It just seems odd to me that anyone would think that someone wanted to eat the very same thing over and over again within a short span of time.

That's interesting to hear, because it never would have occurred to me.  I'm probably not a very adventurous cook, though.  I definitely eat chicken at least once a week, and there are so many things you can do with it -- so I wouldn't assign negative motivations to the in-laws, because it might be quite normal in their household to have chicken once a week. 

(I recycle a *lot* of the same meals weekly!  I forget sometimes that other people don't.  I also don't have kids to worry about, so am more like the in-laws in that I just cook for myself and thus might not think of what variety would be needed if I were cooking for a whole family.)

Yes, it would never occur to me that chicken is sometime people would get sick out. I eat chicken at least three times a week. And, of course, it doesn't have to be the same thing every time. A rotisserie chicken is *so* versatile! It can be used in soups or stews, casseroles, sandwiches, to make a chicken salad, or even in fajitas or tacos.

lowspark

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2014, 04:14:57 PM »
The idea of bringing someone a meal once or twice a week after they just had a baby is so generous, of both money and time/effort. But if you bring the same thing every single time, it almost seems like you're hoping they'll get sick of it and ask you to stop. Almost. It just seems odd to me that anyone would think that someone wanted to eat the very same thing over and over again within a short span of time.

That's interesting to hear, because it never would have occurred to me.  I'm probably not a very adventurous cook, though.  I definitely eat chicken at least once a week, and there are so many things you can do with it -- so I wouldn't assign negative motivations to the in-laws, because it might be quite normal in their household to have chicken once a week. 

(I recycle a *lot* of the same meals weekly!  I forget sometimes that other people don't.  I also don't have kids to worry about, so am more like the in-laws in that I just cook for myself and thus might not think of what variety would be needed if I were cooking for a whole family.)

That's why I said "almost". And emphasized and repeated it. It's a bit of a stretch, admittedly, but you know, it just feels like they aren't putting any real thought into it which makes it feel more like a chore than a favor after a while.

And yeah, I could easily eat chicken (or beef or fish even) multiple times a week, week after week. But not fixed the same exact way every single time.

I was just starting to type: "I can't think of a single dish I'd want to eat multiple times a week, multiple weeks in a row", when I realized that in fact, I actually do eat the same thing almost every night! I eat salad for dinner almost every night. But I think the difference here is this is my own choice and something I wouldn't expect others to do. Plus I eat it because it's healthy and because I'm able to customize it with different ingredients so that although it's "salad" every time, it's not exactly the same every time.

lowspark

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2014, 04:18:22 PM »
The idea of bringing someone a meal once or twice a week after they just had a baby is so generous, of both money and time/effort. But if you bring the same thing every single time, it almost seems like you're hoping they'll get sick of it and ask you to stop. Almost. It just seems odd to me that anyone would think that someone wanted to eat the very same thing over and over again within a short span of time.

That's interesting to hear, because it never would have occurred to me.  I'm probably not a very adventurous cook, though.  I definitely eat chicken at least once a week, and there are so many things you can do with it -- so I wouldn't assign negative motivations to the in-laws, because it might be quite normal in their household to have chicken once a week. 

(I recycle a *lot* of the same meals weekly!  I forget sometimes that other people don't.  I also don't have kids to worry about, so am more like the in-laws in that I just cook for myself and thus might not think of what variety would be needed if I were cooking for a whole family.)

Yes, it would never occur to me that chicken is sometime people would get sick out. I eat chicken at least three times a week. And, of course, it doesn't have to be the same thing every time. A rotisserie chicken is *so* versatile! It can be used in soups or stews, casseroles, sandwiches, to make a chicken salad, or even in fajitas or tacos.

If they are buying the chicken as an ingredient to use in one of the many dishes as you've mentioned, then yeah, it makes sense. But if they are buying it to save exhausted new parents from having to labor in the kitchen, then it's not its versatility that is intended, it's the convenience of a fully cooked meal. It seems to me that the chicken was intended to be eaten as is.

Surianne

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2014, 04:24:49 PM »
If they are buying the chicken as an ingredient to use in one of the many dishes as you've mentioned, then yeah, it makes sense. But if they are buying it to save exhausted new parents from having to labor in the kitchen, then it's not its versatility that is intended, it's the convenience of a fully cooked meal. It seems to me that the chicken was intended to be eaten as is.

I often will buy a pre-cooked chicken like that specifically because it's the most labour-intensive and time-intensive part of the cooking -- once I have the chicken, it's simple to toss it on a salad, in a wrap, or on some rice.  Cooking the chicken is the part I'm trying to avoid to save myself effort/time. 

That's why I think their motivations could very well be positive, and why they might not have thought about it in the same way you do, or the OP does. 

lowspark

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2014, 04:32:22 PM »
I can see that. :)

To me, baking or grilling some chicken is very easy but I can understand that not everyone would see it that way.

So I'll just post this as a helpful hint (for those who are interested). If you want an easy way to make chicken for this kind of purpose, buy boneless skinless breasts or thighs, put in an oven ready pan, pour a bottle of beer over it all, and generously season with any spice blend you like. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes till juices run clear.

You can also do the identical thing on the stove top -- season the chicken first and brown it on both sides on high, then add the beer, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Beer = any flavorful liquid including wine, apple juice, diluted lemonade, etc.

Two Ravens

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2014, 04:36:10 PM »
I can see that. :)

To me, baking or grilling some chicken is very easy but I can understand that not everyone would see it that way.

So I'll just post this as a helpful hint (for those who are interested). If you want an easy way to make chicken for this kind of purpose, buy boneless skinless breasts or thighs, put in an oven ready pan, pour a bottle of beer over it all, and generously season with any spice blend you like. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes till juices run clear.

You can also do the identical thing on the stove top -- season the chicken first and brown it on both sides on high, then add the beer, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Beer = any flavorful liquid including wine, apple juice, diluted lemonade, etc.

Yes, but as an exhausted parent, I'm not waiting 40 minutes for the chicken to cook. I'd rather have the pre-cooked chicken, thanks.

Lynn2000

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2014, 04:38:48 PM »
If they are buying the chicken as an ingredient to use in one of the many dishes as you've mentioned, then yeah, it makes sense. But if they are buying it to save exhausted new parents from having to labor in the kitchen, then it's not its versatility that is intended, it's the convenience of a fully cooked meal. It seems to me that the chicken was intended to be eaten as is.

This is how I would be seeing it. Of course, I don't cook at all, so if someone brought me something intended as an ingredient that I would have to work with to make a multitude of dishes, I would just kind of look at them like, "Wha...??" But if they are competent cooks who set aside time every night to do that sort of thing and don't consider it a big deal, even with a new baby, or as Surianne said that the pre-cooking of the chicken was a huge timesaver, they would probably look at me the same way, like aliens eying each other across a Martian landscape.

Is it possible they were expecting their son to work with the chicken to make a variety of dishes, and instead he just set it on the table in front of his wife to be served as-is? Did they stay for dinner or make any comments one way or the other?

I couldn't eat that much chicken, again because I'd be eating it straight and it would get really dull for me. I have "overdosed" on foods in the past, by taking them for lunch every day for example, and now I can't eat them at all, they kind of turn my stomach. I wouldn't want that to happen with something as yummy as rotisserie chicken.
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Surianne

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2014, 04:39:23 PM »
I can see that. :)

To me, baking or grilling some chicken is very easy but I can understand that not everyone would see it that way.

So I'll just post this as a helpful hint (for those who are interested). If you want an easy way to make chicken for this kind of purpose, buy boneless skinless breasts or thighs, put in an oven ready pan, pour a bottle of beer over it all, and generously season with any spice blend you like. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes till juices run clear.

You can also do the identical thing on the stove top -- season the chicken first and brown it on both sides on high, then add the beer, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Beer = any flavorful liquid including wine, apple juice, diluted lemonade, etc.

Yum!  I'll still buy the pre-cooked when I'm in a lazy/rushed mood, but I will totally try this on a weekend.  Sounds delicious, thank you for sharing  :)

lmyrs

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Re: S/O of the pizza thread
« Reply #29 on: August 25, 2014, 05:07:47 PM »
I understand that it takes an hour or more for a chicken to actually cook, but the "prep time" or the time that someone is actively doing something to the chicken is a couple of minutes, tops. Then, it's in the oven until it's done. Whereas, the amount of "prep time" to make a chicken soup or a chicken pie can be a really, really long time to cut vegetables, make gravy, roll out pie crust, etc. So, the amount of actual work to do to "doctor" a cooked chicken is very likely more work than actually cooking a chicken.

So, if you're bringing someone a cooked chicken so they don't have to cook, yet you expect them to "doctor it" to make it palatable because it's coming every single week or even more, then it's hardly a time saver. It's not really helpful at all. I would rather make something I actually want to eat, rather than have my main ingredient dictated to me once or twice a week.

It goes back to asking yourself the question: "Why am I bringing this?" If it's to save them the time of having to cook a meal, then why bring something they don't want to eat? If it's to make yourself feel good, then I guess take whatever you want, but then I don't think you can get offended when the person isn't falling all over themselves to eat it for the 15th time in 10 weeks.