My mom even now competes with my cooking especially at holidays. She even goes so far to ask my husband or my children "who cooks better your mommy or me?" She gets offended when of course they say their mommy or my wife! Naturally they would say that... anyone else have to compete with family members or close friends over food?????
Ohoh, I think you'll have to overlook this problem if you can't have a heart to heart with her. I like being a terrific cook in my family's estimation but I never tried to compete with my MIL. She made great pies so I never even bothered to learn to make a good pie. Sometimes we exchanged recipes and a few times she called me for help/advice. I thought we had a great relationship. She never had a daughter and the other DILs didn't stay around very long (BILS' wives). Now that I'm a MIL I know my son is comparing his wife's cooking to mine. I think he is giving her compliments when they are due. We have family dinner every Thurs night and I always like to serve a great meal even if it's simple. I remember being secretly pleased that my son was very disappointed when he spent a week long camping trip with another family and they subsisted on hot dogs and hamburgers. Cripes, I've been know to take potted herbs on a long camping trip and we always scout out local markets. One time we spent Thanksgiving week at a NC beach house rental when our son was stationed there. His two pals were with him when we arrived at the airport and I was thrilled to feed them, too. (Unfortunately the pot roast turned out dry.) BUT I don't think it is good for family members to compete and I was really ticked when my mother brought duplicates of what I had spent hours making for a family party. She had never told me what she was making. If she had, I certainly wouldn't have made the same thing. Maybe there's other ways your husband and children can show their love to your mother. Maybe divert things next time by saying "but Gran is the best story book reader".
BTW my new DIL still has a lot to learn in the kitchen but she probably makes better chocolate chip cookies than I do.
Is she a decent cook? Did you learn anything from her? Praise her cooking and give her the admiration she is looking for. I can't think why else she's chumming for praise other than she feels as if she's getting no credit. Ask her to make her specialties for family gatherings, and get your kids involved in the 'thank you, gramma' s' as well.
If she's just a total control freak, not much to be done, but still with the praise.