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Apr 22, 2012 12:30 PM

Do you have family/friends who don't appreciate good home cooking?

I am just gonna take a second to vent. I love to cook. I enjoy trying hard things that some people would steer clear of. And I love learning from others, like here. But I have family who just don't care. It drives me nuts. I went to brunch today and got up at 5am today to make homemade macarons. I've made them a couple times before for events with groups I belong to. But wanted to pass them out to family today. So, made 3 types, super colorful and tasty. They turned out just perfect. Wrapped 6-7 in special bags with ribbons and passed them out. Of course I had to explain what they were and a couple people said they would have rather had chocolate chip cookies. WTF? They hadn't even opened them and tried them.
I just don't understand adults who don't like to try new things. It is depressing sometimes to put that much effort into something & feel like it was a complete waste of time when they would have been happy with some sort of pre-made chocolate chip cookies.
Do others on here feel like the hard work to cook for others just isn't worth it sometimes. Are people to used to packaged crap that they don't appreciate home cooking anymore?
I'm not normally this negative, just kinda bummed today.

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  1. That is so sad, I know how much work macarons are, I can see that you would feel very disheartened. Most of my family and friends, thankfully, are appreciative. For those who are not, I have trained myself to not overdo on my efforts -- certainly I will never serve anything I am not proud of, but I will not go the extra mile either. I used to spend a lot of time making really nice things to put in my father's freezer for him to heat up and after they sat there for months, realized he no longer cares what he eats (which is sad in and of itself) but it does free up a lot of time and he is just as happy with cheese ravioli or something equally monochromatic and boring. :(

    1. IME it's not really about them not liking it, or you, or your cooking. It's about them being miserable, feeling inadequate, insecure, stupid, boring, or whatever simply because you are enthusiastic about and skilled at something they are not. How dare you have joy! Or they assume you are trying to show off rather than understanding that you are doing and sharing something you love and that brings you (and presumably others) joy.
      At least that's the conclusion I've come to with my SO's family. They treat my love of cooking and entertaining with thinly veiled contempt and passive agressive rudeness because they all hate to cook and think having people over is punishment. Showing off or trying to show them up could not be further from what I aspire to. They all have crazier, busier lives than I, and since they hate to cook or have guests, I always felt like it was the least I could do to take care of them a little--besides really truly being happy to do it. I just stopped cooking for them or inviting them over. There's plenty of other non-miserable people in my life that share my joy of cooking and eating.

      P.S. Send me the macarons. I'm sure I'll gush your ear off over them :) What an amazingly special treat.

      eta: I realize there are people who are truly adverse to eating outside their food box. We all have our character flaws :)

      8 Replies
      1. re: splatgirl

        What a bunch of ingrates! I don't waste my time on people like that any more, my best efforts are spent on people who appreciate it and share my joy instead of stomping all over it.....

        1. re: splatgirl

          I have the same sort of problems only it's with my own family. Anyway, I don't take it as a reflection of myself anymore; they react the way they do because of who they are. A lot of people seem to be threatened by people who like to cook for whatever reason. My mother has never enjoyed cooking so she frequently tries to tell me that she has forgotten more than I will ever know about cooking. Ok? It's not a contest! It should also be noted that she never attempted to teach me anything about cooking or food when I was growing up.

          1. re: Fromageball

            I'm wondering if your mom may be Irish. I ask because on the Irish side of my family, we kids (back then) were told frequently that the adults had forgotten things that we would never know. It was meant to put us in our place, part of a general cultural belief that you should never praise a child, lest you "feed the devil."

          2. re: splatgirl

            It's funny, I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

            While the people I encounter are never downright nasty about my knowledge of and passion for cooking (and I send my deep condolences to all who experience, everyone treats me LIKE I HAVE A DISEASE. I'm not kidding. First comes the look--they recoil, scan you up and down, and say something like "Oh." Then there's a pause while they consider. They then accuse, "You *really* like to cook, don't you?"

            I'm sorry, but what is so weird about knowing how to cook, and making an effort to do so? If I'm not mistaken, it's something that allows us to live and survive day to day, as eating is a bodily function that cannot be separated from living! I don't even expect people to appreciate what I do, but at least don't treat me like I'm morally bankrupt!

            1. re: treestonerivershrub

              or the recoil over something homemade and "the look" that since the sauce/condiment didn't come out of a squeeze bottle or the greens were hand foraged (and in the rain no less) I'm surely trying to poison them.

              1. re: hill food

                You're right Hill, I've been getting into canning fruits and berries, and people are afraid to taste any of it, as if they will automatically get botulism. Forget about my rose hip syrup, no way could I tell them I picked the rose hips at the local beach! I used it as a sub for cranberry in a pitcher of Cosmopolitans and no one was the wiser.

                I have learned not to discuss the source of the food I serve at holidays now, it's so disheartening. I'd love to share the fun of this new adventure, but just not worth it.

              2. re: treestonerivershrub

                Tell them, "No, I just enjoy eating tasty, well-prepared food".

                1. re: Stephanie Wong

                  Or you could pretend not to understand what they are talking about, a la Miss Manners.

            2. Do you have family/friends who don't appreciate good home cooking?

              Yes. Mine are divided into two camps.

              First camp is the eat to live variety. They view food as fuel and nothing more. They get absolutely no pleasure in preparing or consuming. Time spent at the table means time spent away from the TV (always some sporting event trumping a meal) or from shopping.

              The other, well, I don't even know how to describe them. I have been told many times that I "make too big of a deal" out meals. It is like they don't think they are worthy of care and attention shown to them. Once, I was told that I "ruined her meal" because I put linen napkins on the table, instead of paper towels. Some of these guests can't be avoided.

              17 Replies
              1. re: cleobeach

                OMD YES on the making it nice thing. It's like if it's not depressing or half assed (meaning store bought, reheated, frozen box potatoes on paper plates, yes really, and at Thanksgiving), it's an insult. Or it makes them uncomfortable? Gosh, I know. It's such a chore to be a guest.

                1. re: splatgirl

                  Or you are doing it to intentionally make them feel uncomfortable! (I swear I didn't)

                  Oh the stories I could tell about one particular Thanksgiving! I had the best of intentions, thinking that they would enjoy a "nice" meal. Not so much, it backfired in the biggest possible way.

                    1. re: melpy

                      First time my ILs were invited to our house. It started a couple of days ahead of time when I got out the table cloth -

                      Mr. CB - What is that for?
                      Me - For Thanksgiving dinner
                      Mr. CB - Don't
                      Me - Don't what?
                      Mr. CB - Don't put that on the table
                      Me - Why?
                      Mr. CB - Just don't

                      I should have listened.......

                      My innocent mistake was thinking that they, MIL in particular, would enjoy being treated to someone else cooking a holiday meal. I heard stories about what a great cook she was from my husand.

                      Turns out, they were completely freaked out by me making a "big" deal about this meal. As soon as they walked in, I knew the day was going down hill fast. I could just tell that they were extremely uncomfortable.

                      As I was prepping the cheese and crackers, my husband wrestled the box of crackers out of my hands and delivered them to the table still in the box, telling me that putting them on a plate wasn't necessary.

                      It was at this point I started drinking.....

                      Then my husband lit the yams and stuffing on fire (he thought it would be a good idea to cook these dishes on the grill because the oven was occupied by the turkey) which caused my MIL to scream and then cry for several minutes.

                      By the time the meal was served, no one was speaking to each other. I don't know why, aside from general family dysfunction because nothing brings out those old family demons like holiday stress.

                      I had put a great deal of effort into a cake, some sort of spice cake, that they took one look at and pushed away. I thought Mr. CB was going to blow his stack.

                      They haven't received a second invitation. It is never, for example, just about the table cloth (or whatever) but it was the spark that set the fire, so to speak. They live across the country so a repeat visit wasn't in the cards.

                      I don't blame or judge them for not appreciating my effort but it did teach me that not everyone can or will put on a happy face and make the best of a situation they rather not be in.

                      1. re: cleobeach

                        Cleo, I could've written your post myself. I discontinued inviting my own mother to Thanksgiving because she could never see the point in making it "special".
                        I now have my own large family who appreciates the time and effort put into a beautiful meal. Fortunately, my beloved late MIL became my surrogate foodie partner, and while she was around, we put together some face-melting spreads and choreographed a pretty intricate kitchen dance. I so miss her, but now have a SIL who is an even bigger foodie! When she lived in NOLA, she worked at Commanders full-time, and in her spare time made gumbo an jambayla at some hole in the wall. She's Chinese-American and as a young girl cooked under the tutelage of her mother and five aunties. Those ladies can cook up a storm and much of it has to do with precision and formality. I've learned so much from her, and best of all we're always testing out our latest libations while we're doing our own dance. Good times.

                        1. re: cleobeach

                          This is an extreme version of my experience. Although they did say they were happy not to cook. I completely made them uncomfortable with my Thanksgiving dinner including tablecloth. I wanted to have courses and por out hor'devoures but luckily SO talked me out of it. We also had to go alcohol free.

                          1. re: melpy

                            Alcohol free family get together. <shudder!>

                            Sometimes a glass of wine is just what the chef needs to get dinner on the table.

                            1. re: bonefreakchef

                              I believe we imbibed before and after they left. They expect to eat when you walk in the door and don't linger long after dessert, which immediately follows dinner, many times on the same Plate. Plus dinner for holidays is to be serves promptly at 11:30. Since it was my house I set the ground rule at noon because my family has to travel two hours to get there. We asked them to have dinner at 11:45 once and they said sure, we called saying we might be late but then weren't, walked in at 11:45 and they had already finished eating Christmas dinner. We were eating the dregs while they had dessert after we drove two hours to get there. And the is absitively posolutley no drinking at their house!

                              1. re: melpy

                                Oh I feel for you. We had that type of behavior in another branch of the family, the-hurry-up-and-get-it-over-with holiday meal event.

                                I have to ask - regilious or addicition issues for the no-alcohol policy? We had a number of "dry drunks" in the family, which made for interesting holiday events.

                                1. re: cleobeach

                                  Religious, which includes tv and jewelry as well as the booze. Apparently the rapture is coming and. Their son and I living under the same roof unwed means we won't get to see them in the afterlife.

                                  Now we aren't atheists by any means but being raised Catholic Italian American means a lot of wine in my family!

                                2. re: melpy

                                  They couldn't wait 15 minutes?! That sounds like the sort of situation flasks were invented for, ugh.

                              2. re: melpy

                                There was also a weird alcohol issue too.

                                My ILs enjoy a couple of beers. In the few times I was around them, I never saw bad alcohol-related behavior but husband has different memories.

                                For whatever reason, they declined my offer of beer (even bought their favorite brand) that day. I think a drink would have done wonders for their comfort level.

                                1. re: melpy

                                  Alcohol free? WTF? Red flag! Someone in that family is a nasty drunk. Avoid these people at all costs.

                                2. re: cleobeach

                                  "It was at this point I started drinking....."

                                  says it all. I found last year that Xanax is a much better choice. and you can snap the tabs in half to keep it mild (or gradually pick up the pace as you choose)

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    or gradually pick up the pace as you choose

                                    brilliant advice! and thanks for the giggle

                                  2. re: cleobeach

                                    Omg....I'm so sorry you've had this experience. The visuals from your post are priceless. It's had me laughing and feeling so bad for you all at the same time.
                                    You're a great writer :).

                                  3. re: melpy

                                    I too could have written this - complete with - "that's when I started drinking...." My FIL was a miserable only child overweight picky eater (may his soul rest but probably not) who assumed as your ILs that I was "putting on the dog." Fortunately at the time I was old enough to know that his miserable attitude was due to his own self-loathing and nothing to do with me. Ditto for MIL. They also thought it was OK to just drop by without calling or an invitation (in the early AM no less). I cured them of that habit by answering the door in a skimpy teddy. It was8:30 am on a Saturday morning - we were newly weds! Now to get to my original point - after 34 years hubby still doesn't appreciate my cooking, new recipes, etc. I keep swearing to myself to just stop cooking but I like it too much. Maybe one day my food lover prince will come!

                            2. Bree: The response you received was most unfortunate. My advise to you is no longer set yourself up for disappointment and save your foodie efforts for friends and colleagues who you know would gladly appreciate it. And the next time you have the members of your family over that requested chocolate chip cookies, I would gleefully serve them the absolute bottom-shelf variety sold at your grocer.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                I agree, Why waste your time cooking for people who are critical. I remember someone awhile ago asking for help on how to make French bread that was just like the soft stuff from the grocery store that her family loved. I believe the consensus was buy the store bread and save your efforts for items people will appreciate.

                                1. re: escondido123

                                  That kind of request drives me insane!!

                                2. re: hawkeyeui93

                         could slip a little 'something' into the cookies.
                                  "These cookies are DELICIOUS!!!!!!! What's the secret ingredient?"

                                  1. I'm sort of leaning towards "Splatgirl" that the issue lies with them. I only had this kind of tension with a sibling who enjoyed taking shots at me and would almost look for mistakes in my cooking (she finally found it with a pudding) just to undermine me. It made me feel quite bad because prior to serving it, I had mentioned a problem and asked that no one make a negative comment and she still went ahead and did so with a smirk on their face.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Professional_Amateur

                                      We have the same sister?? My mother was like that, too. It's a control issue for them, never mind my sister is a non-cook with a lowbrow palate and I really, really hate people like that.

                                      1. re: Professional_Amateur

                                        Your sibling is a bitch. Why would you trust her not to say anything?