Author Topic: Offering to help in the kitchen  (Read 1828 times)

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MrsP81

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Offering to help in the kitchen
« on: February 27, 2007, 09:34:59 AM »
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

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Re: Offering to help in the kitchen
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2007, 09:43:47 AM »
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

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Re: Offering to help in the kitchen
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2007, 12:35:41 PM »
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

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Re: Offering to help in the kitchen
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2007, 01:58:25 PM »
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!

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

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Re: Offering to help in the kitchen
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2007, 10:33:38 PM »


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.

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Offering to help in the kitchen
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2007, 10:12:06 AM »
I wouldnt offer to help at the next family gathering. 

If you do offer to help - ask for a very specific task "Do you need someone to fill the water glasses?" (now that you know how to do it properly, of course,  ::)) and when you are done with that, walk away. If she tries to say "oh, could you..." I dont think it would be rude at all to say "Oh, I am just going to catch up with Uncle Jimmy, I'll send someone in to help."  Then go into the living room, and state "Auntie Disorganized needs some help in the kitchen." and go about yoru business.

Alternatively, just say "Ok, I'll do the water glasses and put the silverware on the table.  Doing that will still give me time to catch up with Uncle Jimmy." And then walk away. 

You could add, if she persists "Oh, I hope you understand, I was planning on catching up with Uncle Jimmy a bit before dinner."
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

pryncsskittyn

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Re: Offering to help in the kitchen
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2007, 04:57:48 PM »
When you arrive, say "hello" then walk away.  If you feel she needs a little help (like 15 minutes fore setteling down to eat, offer to help, but not until you've had a little time to visit and socialize.  I feel bad for the lady, I get the feeling she's pushed most of the family away with her particulars, but if people overwhelmed her with help, she'd have to leet some it go because she wouldn't be able to keep up, plus, it would get done a lot sooner. 
Maybe you should offer to bring a dish next year, that way your helping hand gets done before you get there ;)

MrsP81

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Re: Offering to help in the kitchen
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2007, 07:11:16 PM »
Thanks for your suggestions. I think next time I'll wait an offer to help closer to when dinner is ready.

Pryncsskittyn, I brought a dish last time and that didn't help! haha.

Mazdoy

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Re: Offering to help in the kitchen
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2007, 08:46:44 AM »
It's your DHs family so he should be the one helping in the kitchen!

Lisbeth

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Re: Offering to help in the kitchen
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2007, 10:14:49 AM »
Well, now that you know that they want very specific kitchen help that takes as much as two hours to do, I'd personally refrain from offering it.  Just say hello and join the other guests.

If you still want to offer assistance, I'd offer to bring a dish or to help clear the table, but let it go at that.
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