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Offering to help in the kitchen

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MrsP81:
I wanted to run this incident past you and get some advice on what I should do at the next family gathering.

Last year for Thanksgiving we went to DH's aunt and uncle's house for dinner. When we got there aunt was in the kitchen cooking and I went in right away to ask if I could help with anything. Turns out she did need help - and I ended up being in there from the moment we walked through the door until dinner was served (probably about 2 hours).

I was helping her to cook, set the table, etc. But everything had to be done a certain way. I was searching through her drawers because apparently we needed a specific spoon to go with the apple butter.

When I was pouring water into the glasses on the table there was a whole system - first I had to pour the water from the Brita into a pitcher and then pour it into the glasses (after she showed me the correct way to hold the pitcher because apparently I was holding it wrong!). I'll add that the pitcher didn't even stay on the table so I don't know why I couldn't pour directly from the Brita!

This whole time everyone else was sitting in the living room socializing - nobody even offered to help (and now I know why).

After dinner I sat back while others offered to help clean up - I figured that I had helped prepare the entire meal so they could help clean up.

Now my question is, what do I do at the next family gathering? I feel rude not offering to help but I would like to visit with the rest of the family too. I don't think its fair that I'm in the kitchen the entire time while everyone else gets to sit around and chat.
I will also add that there were a lot of things that she could have had done ahead of time - there was no need to be rushing around at the last minute to get them done.

So, what do you think? Will I go to ehell?

fklwmn:
Honestly, I think it's great to offer to help set up and clean up b/c that is how things are done in my family.  But, you also need to take your cues from  the family you are dining with, and it seems that's not how they do things...

:)

Did I give you good enough out?

mindibrad:
I look at helping to cook dinner, especially a holiday dinner, as just part of a family gathering.  My sister hosts Thanksgiving & Easter, but we usually get there several hours before dinnertime (and often the night before) to help get everything ready.  It usually ends up with my sister, my mother and me in the kitchen all day with "the guys" watching the kids and playing pool & watching football.  Since we cook with quite a bit of wine (some of which makes it in to the food  >:D ), it's usually more fun than actually sitting down to eat!

megswsu:

--- Quote ---Posted by: mindibrad 
I look at helping to cook dinner, especially a holiday dinner, as just part of a family gathering.  My sister hosts Thanksgiving & Easter, but we usually get there several hours before dinnertime (and often the night before) to help get everything ready.  It usually ends up with my sister, my mother and me in the kitchen all day with "the guys" watching the kids and playing pool & watching football.  Since we cook with quite a bit of wine (some of which makes it in to the food   ), it's usually more fun than actually sitting down to eat!

--- End quote ---

That sounds fun, and kind of like what happens at my family gatherings. However that doesn't sound like the OP's issue. If there are a lot of other family members there, and she's the *only* one helping out, that's just rude on everyone else's part. OP....I think it's still good to offer to help, but either offer to help w/one particular duty or solict more help from the rest of the family (or get the aunt to ask for help). You shouldn't be the only one helping out.

blarg314:


I'd just not offer to help prepare unless other people do first - it would appear that the cook is very, very picky about how they do things, and it's better to let them do it themselves.

I think it would have been the part where she told me that I was holding the Britta filter wrong when I would have snapped - that's control freak behaviour, not a matter of wanting to do things in a certain way.

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