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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 :)

      7 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: 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 this...wtf?), 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.

              15 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.

                              3. 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 :).

                        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.

                          2 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. 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.

                            1 Reply
                            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.

                            2. OMG, thanks to everyone one here. I am sad to hear to many similar stories. I used to have the holiday meals at my house and finally gave up. I would end up making all the meals and they would offer to bring cold cuts or {gasp} green bean casserole. YUCK. I finally figured I wouldn't go thru the effort if they wouldn't appreciate the big dinners. I know they don't appreciate those types of things and I don't know why I keep trying. I gave up the big dinners and figured at least little things like macarons or the homemade lemon meringue pie I made the other night. My mother said this morning she still hadn't tried her piece. I wanted to tell her I would swing by her house later and pick it up as I would love another piece.
                              It is a waste of my time and money. Its just upsetting. I guess I don't sound much better than a good friend of mine who insists on staying with a boyfriend who treats her like crap. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Thanks for the comments. I am realizing I am a bit nuts.
                              At least I do have people in my life who enjoy the efforts. From now on I'm not gonna make the family anything. They can get their own packaged chocolate chip cookies.
                              KSlink said it well, "They react that way because of who they are" After reflecting on this (obviously too much today) I think maybe some of them are more upset with themselves because they don't take the time to cook anymore and they know that the junk they are shoving in their bodies isn't great so maybe they are just taking it out on me. But I truly was trying to do something nice. I'm single and don't have kids to feed so it is fun to cook but goodness, I can't eat it all myself so I like making other's smile. I guess we always want to make those closest to us smile and when they don't it hurts.
                              So, onward and upward. Tomorrow is a new day and at least I have a big event to cook for this week and they actually had requests.
                              Thanks All

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: HighHeels

                                I don't want to be a pollyana here but.....have you made them chocolate chip cookies? My DH looooves homemade chocolate chip cookies and might inadvertently get excited seeing cookies and think they were cc's. NOT packaged however. Sorry they are so thoughtless.

                                1. re: HighHeels

                                  Why don't you do what I did? I wanted to cook, my family didn't appreciate my efforts so I went to culinary school and became a professional chef. I got to do what I loved, and got PAID for it! I loved when diners came into the kitchen to meet me and thank me for a wonderful meal!! My family still wasn't impressed with my efforts, but it was a LOT easier to deal with. Plus, I usually had a good excuse to NOT attend their dinners...I usually worked all holidays. In fact, until I had kids of my own, I would request to work the holidays if I weren't scheduled. By the time I DID have kids, I had enough 'clout' to get the important-to-kids holidays off. Of course, it was only my kids, hubby and selected friends that attended our holiday meals. (It still IS that way!) Now I'm retired, and I have an amazing career to look back on. I might have never done that if my family HAD appreciated my cooking.

                                  1. re: HighHeels

                                    - used to have the holiday meals at my house and finally gave up. I would end up making all the meals and they would offer to bring cold cuts or {gasp} green bean casserole. YUCK.-

                                    The pros and cons of green bean casserole have been endlessly debated, both on these boards and elsewhere. I'd never serve it myself, but my family doesn't consider it part of the tradition. For families that do, it can be as central as the turkey. If you in any way convey the message that you convey here: that it is yucky to the point of being shocking, I think you need to consider the possibility that your attitude could be a part of what makes your guests uncomfortable...

                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                      Ever kake green bean casserole with fresh green beans and mushrooms, topped with crisp=fried shallots? You might change your mind.

                                  2. While I do understand your lament HighHeels (been there myself more than once) I have come to realize when we do things like this and people do not appreciate it, it is more our fault than theirs. Why do they have to like something just because we made it? To be polite? Maybe. But when you think about it, deep down we are asking for validation of something we did. If others do not react the way we want them to, we are let down. But remember, we set ourselves up for this. Of course I am breaking this down to black and white. I do realize there are many gray areas in between.

                                    Just another way of looking at the situation. Like I said, I've been there and this is just my take on the situation.

                                    12 Replies
                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                      There is a difference between someone "needing" to like something, and acting appropriately when shown such a nice gesture.

                                      She might have made some beautiful Peanut Brownies for someone that, unbeknownst to her, had a serious Peanut allergy. That someone might still have said, "O HighHeels, these look beautiful, but unfortunately... Still, what a beautiful gesture."

                                      Some simple class.

                                      Hell, if someone was so hell bent on getting chocolate chip cookies, they could have said, "These look great. And, if you ever get the idea to make chocolate chip cookies, I'll give you a big hug and kiss." Or, something to that effect.

                                      Not everyone needs to like the things that we like. But we can act with some simple class when shown such a nice gesture.

                                      1. re: DougRisk


                                        So true and so the question is....how long does a person keep trying? I love to cook/bake for people who appreciate what I'm doing for them.
                                        Simple class, good manners with just the slight bit of graciousness is all the Op's asking.

                                        1. re: latindancer

                                          "So true and so the question is....how long does a person keep trying?"

                                          For someone who's reply is "they would have rather had chocolate chip cookies", you don't keep trying. Which can be a little heartbreaking, because, you may not have anyone close to you that appreciates what you appreciate.

                                          Fortunately, each day is a new one and there is always opportunities to meet new people.

                                          1. re: DougRisk

                                            my Father is this person. everything is received with a statement of "thanks, but it's not..."

                                        2. re: DougRisk

                                          "Not everyone needs to like the things that we like. But we can act with some simple class when shown such a nice gesture."

                                          True. But I feel that even a mannerly "thank you, but no thanks" would not have sufficed for the OP who from the tone of her post seems like she was looking for a big, positive reaction.

                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                            She may have been looking for a big reaction. An appreciation of her gift equal in size to the effort and intent. And, that, can never, ever be guaranteed. And, if that is what she was looking for, then disappointment is almost guaranteed.

                                            But, assuming that she simply would have appreciated some basic appropriate behaviour, I can easily sympathize.

                                            Again, I response like, "O HighHeels, these look beautiful, but unfortunately... Still, what a beautiful gesture." is pretty easy to offer, and does not take a master class in etiquette to learn or appreciate.

                                          2. re: DougRisk

                                            I love your post, you're so right.

                                          3. re: ttoommyy

                                            I agree, ttoommyy, this was my thought as well. To be sure, there are ungracious people, and yes, those who asked for CC cookies were rude. But their rudeness is a different issue from whether they appreciate the food.

                                            To give another example, I could have a friend who loves country music who wants to share that passion with me and play it for me all of the time and wants to take me to concerts, etc. It is great, admirable, and respectable that they have this passionate interest (like one might characterize the OP's passion for food), but I will never share it with them because I'm just not interested, and I have other things that inspire me. I'll thank them for exposing me to their passion, but it will never be even close to what they may be expecting from me.

                                            If you give a gift, even a well-cooked meal, with an expectation of some sort of passionate return beyond a cordial thank you, then you are setting yourself up for dejection. I am on the other side of the coin here, I have a family member who has to turn every event into a festival (food, decorations, drinks, etc.), and then she gets resentful b/c she feels people don't appreciate it. She has a problem with expectations, and then blames others for her own internal dynamics.

                                            There is no black and white here, and families and people are diverse enough to conclude that the reasons these situations evolve in this way are manifold. But while sometimes people are ingrates, sometimes they are just simply....people..

                                              1. re: Cachetes

                                                I agree; I've learned to only discuss and share "foodie" (for lack of a better term) things with others of the same ilk, otherwise I am wasting my time and end up frustrated, confused, disgusted, angry, or some other negative feeling that I just don't need. I long ago gave up trying to make things to bring to the family holiday gatherings that are nothing but Gordon Food Service lemonade and cool whip with jello desserts and chicken from Wal-mart (because it's So Big!) and I just buy something like mixed nuts now because I know nobody wants what I bring or would appreciate it if I made something - too many years of things I spent love and time on going completely untouched or getting a nose-wrinkle when someone inquired as to what it was.

                                                If I feel like cooking something now, I cook it for people who I think will love and appreciate it, even if it's just myself and my own family. I understand food is not their passion any more than shopping at Wal-Mart is mine and try to just peaceably co-exist.

                                                1. re: Cachetes

                                                  Cachetes, Great post. Not all people like and appreciate the same things, and diversity makes life interesting. Frustrating too, but interesting. :-)

                                                  A person who truly just eats to live is never going to be able to know how to adequately appreciate the kind of effort that the OP put into those wonderful macarons. Most likely it isn't anything more than cluelessness.

                                                  1. re: Cachetes

                                                    Not having been there, I can't say what the response to the OP really was, but I admit I thought of some of my own relatives who would have given a flat "Oh" and acted like I'd just handed them a bag with a dead goldfish in it. So I could get being bummed.

                                                2. HH- This is my brother's family to a 'T'. They eat primarily take out and packaged foods (hamburger helper is a favorite). DH and I love to cook and entertain. To me, cooking for family and friends is an expression of love .
                                                  It makes me sad that they don't appreciate fresh ingredients, without preservatives and lots of other 'junk'. I still have them over and prepare my food from 'my way', but I don't expect them to appreciate the effort--mostly because they really don't understand how much effort and why we bother.
                                                  And yes, I use linen napkins sometimes :)

                                                  1. My former BF's family ate from bags, boxes, cans, and jars, and although some of the very nicest people I've ever met, were actually kind of suspicious of homemade food.

                                                    For Thanksgiving one year I lovingly crafted two dozen very nice crescent rolls for dinner. Upon our departure I was handed a large Ziploc bag containing 22 of them. Why? Because they weren't the type which popped out of a tube!

                                                    Figuring that I'd solve the problem the next year, I simply made steamed, spiced shrimp for an appetizer, along with an easy to make cocktail sauce.

                                                    Damned if there wasn't a new girlfriend being introduced to the family, who had brought along one of those hideous grocery store shrimp rings with Godawful sauce...out of politeness to her they feasted on what she brought and my offering went virtually untouched...

                                                    Luckily I moved away not too long after that!

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: KSlink

                                                      ...........were actually kind of suspicious of homemade food.
                                                      I have also run across this and find it fascinating.

                                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                                        I've run into that a lot too, because besides cooking I make a lot of things myself that most people are accustomed to buying from the grocery store like beer, kimchi, and kefir. No one explicitly says that, but they are often visibly mistrustful and put off by the fact that there is no package or label. It's like it needs a label to be edible.

                                                        1. re: treestonerivershrub

                                                          Ha! Once again proving not enough people read labels!

                                                    2. for some people, food is just not that important to them.

                                                      on the other hand, i have friends that are really into music, and no matter how many songs they play for me, i am still tonedeaf.

                                                      don't be upset!

                                                      6 Replies
                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                          Agreed. I have really oddball taste in music that's all over the map but I have likes and dislikes that are extremely strong. I guess I'd be just as big a pain in the ass about music as some of the people mentioned are about food. For instance, if you tried to play country western music during a sumptuous holiday meal, I'd probably have to get up and leave or fall into an extreme depression. I can't personally picture being that polarized about good food, but then they probably can't picture somebody hating country western music as much as I do. This is, after all, a forum for food lovers, and you won't catch me posting on a George Strait fan forum...

                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                            EWS - I dunno, Patsy Cline, early Loretta, Bob Wills and their likes make for good BG dinner music IMHO. depression can make for strong appetites after all. the recent stuff? yeah forget it.

                                                        2. re: jamieeats

                                                          "for some people, food is just not that important to them. "

                                                          As I said, we all have our character flaws :)

                                                          I think being excited for and interested in what interests the people I care about is a lot of what makes life fun and good and well-lived. It's an opportunity for learning and to connect with people on another level, but it also seems to be beyond the ability or outside the comfort zone of most people. The ones who look you up and down suspiciously when they find out you love to do ________. And I think cooking and food is a big one because we happen to be at a point socially, where there is a lot of noise r/t food and cooking and eating. I think this is received as a lot of pressure and an ego bashing for people who are not interested or not making an effort, KWIM? Internally, they have bad feelings about what they are or are not doing so they automatically assume your enthusiasm and effort is a judgment against them. This is how I've come to wrap my head around the whole "elitist foodie" rant, too.

                                                          1. re: splatgirl

                                                            I agree that much of the problem lies in a perception of "elitism." Shouldn't life be about finding the best of everything, be it food, music, art, theatre, TV, films, and on and on? If that's elitist, I'll gladly own up to the label.

                                                            I've arrived at a point at which I cook for myself and a few selected others who appreciate the effort and curiosity about ingredients, technique, and presentation involved. Others - well, I don't really worry about them, and stick out a bowl of mixed nuts, some Tostitos, and let them dial the number for the takeout. ;)

                                                            1. re: caravan70

                                                              "I've arrived at a point at which I cook for myself and a few selected others who appreciate the effort and curiosity about ingredients, technique, and presentation involved. Others - well, I don't really worry about them, and stick out a bowl of mixed nuts, some Tostitos, and let them dial the number for the takeout. ;)"

                                                              Same here caravan 70. No kidding. We have 5-course dinner parties every few months and pull out all the stops. My "best friends," those I have know for almost half my life at this point, have never been to one of those dinner parties. They are too picky and don't eat half the things I would serve. For them, it is either eating out when we get together or ordering pizza if we stay in. The people I do invite to our dinner parties always eat everything I serve and with gusto. It's just the way it is.

                                                        3. HighHeels, one of the ways we cured ourselves of this feeling was to join and participate in supper clubs. Surround yourself with folks who adore food, ingredients, food speak and food culture and the moments like you described will not even phase you.

                                                          You can get to the point in your life where you just focus on what feeds your soul and let folks worry about their own.

                                                          1. When I was first married (hubby #1's family was crazy) at Christmas my inlaws would set up a cookie swap and I was the only one who actually baked homemade cookies. Yes, the other bakers in the family brought store bought cookies to a casual, family Christmas cookie swap!

                                                            That marriage ended mutually but I still have stories galore from those early days of my adult life.

                                                            It takes all kinds, HighHeels!

                                                            1. Mine was much more minor than yours. There was a dessert contest in the Food Science department back in college. I entered a homemade wild turkey pecan pie with real whipped cream on the side. I even made the crust by hand!

                                                              A friend brought in a 'Sandra Lee~ish' trifle of Sara Lee pound cake tossed in with vanilla pudding mixed with cool whip topped with frozen strawberries. Tasted like pure sugar and it won first place. Insult to injury, even though I had my whipped cream next to my pie, someone grabbed a can of Readi-whip and covered their slice with it.

                                                              After that, I stopped bring dessert to those events.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  More than once, I served real whipped cream only to have my guests pull an odd face. I now save that treat for just for the three of us.

                                                              1. I understand your frustration. Unfortunately, some people just don't appreciate good home cooking or anything that strays too far afield of processed, packaged meals from the supermarket or garden-variety chain fare.

                                                                I think there may be some middle ground to be found here, though. You may never be able to fully imbue in them your appreciation for good home cooking, but you'd be surprised what you can do. Manage your own expectations, and play to your crowd. If they like chocolate chip cookies, bake them the best chocolate cookies they've ever had.

                                                                My situation is a little analogous:

                                                                I have three (fairly) distinct groups of 6-8 friends, and I usually end up cooking for at least one group every week. With my one group of friends, all late-20's - mid-30's, everybody likes grilled meat - all the time. So, ribs, steaks, chops, a couple veggie dishes on the side, a few cases of good beer, and everybody's happy. Even with this relatively limited range, I can't remember the last time I prepared the same main, and I still have the opportunity for creativity in my cooking. I try not to go outside of their comfort zone, and I am almost always appreciated for my efforts.

                                                                Another group is similar. My family, which comprises members from 20 - 90 years of age, and none of whom are very adventurous in terms of what they eat. I cooked for them yesterday, and it was simple, but it still took me a few hours to pull everything together, and I put a lot into it. I made goulash, spatzle, potato pancakes, fresh baked bread and a side salad. It was right up their alley: pot roast-like, noodle-like, with fried potatoes, bread and salad. This is indicative of what I usually do when I cook for them. Determine what they like, try to cook a similar dish while changing things around a little bit. They raved.

                                                                The third group I regular cook for (or, rather, with) is of no consequence here. Everybody in the group is passionate about food, we usually spend a decent amount of time visualizing, composing and cooking our food together. With them, anything goes, and all efforts are appreciated for their success or, in good humor, their lack thereof.

                                                                Point is, you may never bring them around to appreciate food and cooking the way you do, but there are probably ways you can adapt to improve the situation for them and you.

                                                                1. I agree with the OP, and with much of the sentiments here. Those of us who are truly passionate about food deal with this all the time.

                                                                  A love of food and cooking can cut both ways. Some people will never appreciate the love, effort and knowledge put into a nice meal and will just chew it back like hounds around a gut wagon, and others will complain that "you made too big a fuss", and then get intimidated and in my case (a family situation) forever leave me with all the cooking duties for big holidays because I'm "the food person". Somewhere in the middle are a handful of my friends who really appreciate food and want to talk about it, try new things, and are truly good guests.

                                                                  The greatest compliment, to me anyway, is when someone asks me about a dish, the flavors, the ingredients, etc. and then ask me how they might be able to work that kind of flavor into something they make at home. Or if they ask me for a recipe, or a suggestion about some ingredient they've seen and don't know how to use. When they do that, I feel like I'm sharing something - like my love of tarragon/star anise/puff pastry, etc and maybe, just maybe, someone will try something outside of their usual zone and get bitten by the food bug too.

                                                                  But even when they are ungrateful, I'll still do it. An expensive trip to the grocery store and an afternoon in the kitchen is a great way to clear the mind, and much cheaper than an hour at a therapist's office.

                                                                  1. This type of thing used to drive me crazy, I felt so unappreciated. My mother, for instance, has said to me repeatedly that she really loves grocery store cake. I spent many years assuming she was being polite because it was cheaper and she didn't want me to spend a lot of money on a gourmet cake on her, or, perhaps, she didn't really like my baking. After many years of trying out tremendous gourmet baked goods on her and having her do the "mhm, it's... nice" dance, I finally realized that truly, my mother Loves grocery store sugary frosting, slightly dry cake and any attempts to force my tastes on her were actually rather selfish.

                                                                    That said, I would have been depressed by your family's reactions as well, which seemed to lack even common curtesty.

                                                                    1. My son - I am a great home cook. I cook dinner almost every night. My 21 year old son is around most nights, but doesn't eat anything I cook. He mostly eats fast food and hot pockets. It frustrates me to death!

                                                                      1. Yes, but I've also had the opposite happen - serve a guest the simplest of spaghetti and garlic toast, or scrambled eggs and bacon and they gush like you've created the meat, sauce, milled your own wheat and slaughtered your own pig as well . . .both are embarrassing. I just cook for what I know I'll enjoy and move on.

                                                                        1. Oh HighHeels ... i feel your pain. If you'd brought me those macarons, I would have swooned in gratitude. There are a few in my family (we'll get to the in-laws in a moment) who don't really care about such things, and when i visit them, I just eat the Fritos and enjoy the company. My sister (a very uninspired cook who cooks everything to well-done) has a daughter who decided to become a vegetarian at age 9. She is now 17, still a vegetarian, and when I asked her casually why she made this culinary change in her life she said "have you ever eaten my mom's cooking?" Im proud to say she's received a full scholarship to college and will be studying nutrition this fall.

                                                                          The in-laws invite us to their Thanksgiving dinner every year, and since we fly from our home to theirs, bringing food is really not an option. I've been eating this foodie-significant meal with them for 13 years straight now, and have yet to really enjoy it. Our hostess (cousin's wife) is a delightful woman who is more concerned about food SAFETY than flavor. Ergo, the turkey is cooked. to. death, with all possibility of live bacteria (or flavor) long gone. She uses glass cutting boards (easier to sanitize) and listening to SIL beat the knives against them just breaks my heart. Each year hostess shows me her beautiful china, and yet we eat from paper plates with plastic forks. The meal is all the standards -- some jello concoction, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes paved with a generous layer of marshmallows, potatoes cooked the day before to save time, dressing cooked outside the bird = flavorless, and pies from the nearby Publix (baked, probably, a week before). They made it clear the first year I attended that they did NOT need my help in the kitchen (I've even offered to sharpen the knives, and show them cutting skills). One year I suggested a nice green salad as a side dish, and they looked at me like I had sprouted antlers. "No room on the table" was the excuse I got. Our only contribution to the meal is whatever decent wine I can find at the nearby liquor store. Hub always says "no need to spend more than $10/bottle - they won't know the difference". I buy the best I can find -- since I will be drinking most of it as the day wears on.....

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                            Honestly? If I was making what I considered to be a nice meal and my guests wanted to tell me how to take care of my stuff or how to chop ingredients (will better knife skills improve the flavour of these dishes?), I would probably make it clear in a gracious way that we were handling things fine, thank you, and steer you out of the kitchen with a glass of wine. And I actually would appreciate a lesson in knife skills, but not when I'm hosting a huge holiday meal for in-laws.

                                                                          2. What a great, insightful, supportive thread. I think that people who don't know the difference feel inferior and threatened by those who do.

                                                                            1. I'm not sure I can accept the notion that the actions of those who are "used to packaged crap [and] don't appreciate home cooking" are defensible. Their consumption patterns are harmful to themselves, hurtful to their children, and damaging to both society and the planet. It is not like the information about such issues is not widely known or held only by those who are passionate about food.

                                                                              I submit that it is much more likely that the reactions some of you have received are borne out of resentment. It's hard to believe that most people don't know that overly sugared, salted, processed food is not healthy. They hold to such items because they have developed a dependence upon them and because they are unwilling to admit that they are, and have been, wrong.

                                                                              You go through the beneficent act of preparing something positive and real. They react with dislike because you, unintentionally, suggest their flawed notions and inability to acknowledge fault. The problem is squarely on their shoulders, so they seek shelter in the agreement of others who maintain ignorance and thereby avoid dealing with it.

                                                                              Eventually, hopefully, they will abandon their need to defend their comforts and admit their error. Until then, they will hurt those around them and drain our society as a whole. I say cook your ass off for the love of doing it and because you know it is right. Why give in to hardheadedness? Why act dumb when you know better?

                                                                              27 Replies
                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                +1. The key is to be true to yourself, and pursue excellence in all things in your own life, while behaving in a responsible fashion with respect to society and the environment, especially where food is concerned. That may mean sacrificing some relationships, but you'll feel a hell of a lot better about yourself and the life you've lived in the long run. Where you don't really have control over the relationships - in-laws, etc. ... as I've mentioned, give them what they want and don't let their negativity affect your own pleasure in the smells, the sounds, and the feelings you get when you're in your kitchen, much less the finished products.

                                                                                1. re: caravan70

                                                                                  +1, But don't you think this should cut both ways?
                                                                                  I'm willing to stand down on my food policy and play genuinely nice when I'm a guest at the relatives, so why shouldn't I expect the same when they're a guest? How would it be if, at their processed, boxed potato Thanksgiving with paper plates and napkins I sat there and said "I only like the homemade kind with lots of organic butter and pastured cream from my favored small dairy and I simply can't dine in the presence of paper products"?
                                                                                  It's the opposite side of the same coin, but somehow it's more socially acceptable to disapprove the homemade than the skanky boxed. Or that expectation rules based on majority? We food enthusiasts would NEVER be granted the courtesy of having the food politics adapted to us as guests at the relatives, because that expectation is quite ridiculous, but the same applies when they are guests at our homes, IMO.
                                                                                  My policy is to be a grateful and enthusiastic guest or don't attend. I believe it's called good manners. Silly me for expecting it from others.

                                                                                  1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                    But don't you think this should cut both ways?
                                                                                    It should but with difficult people, it rarely does. That is why they are difficult.

                                                                                    But you do bring up a good point splatgirl.

                                                                                    Imagine the discussion that could arise from a "do bad eaters(in this case, those who shun "good" food) have bad manners?" thread!

                                                                                    1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                      "We food enthusiasts would NEVER be granted the courtesy of having the food politics adapted to us as guests at the relatives, because that expectation is quite ridiculous[.]"

                                                                                      But what if we consider that it's not merely an issue of preference, but the fact that the food being served is known to be bad? In other words, should you have to give in and consume something that may hurt you simply because the hosts cling to their ignorance? Would the answer be much different if,say, the packaged goods they were serving were subject to one of the ever increasing number of industrial food recalls?

                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                        "....give in and consume something that may hurt you....

                                                                                        Unless you know something's laced with strychnine isn't it really the thought of getting together with loved ones or friends, knowing their food isn't up to your standards, and let the togetherness outweigh the food preparation or lack of nutrition?
                                                                                        I love fresh, nutritional, creative, highly flavored and wonderful food. But I also realize there are lots of people I love who aren't the same as I am. It would never enter my mind not to be around them because of their food choices. I highly doubt, once in awhile, a substandard food, unless it's poisonous, is going to hurt anyone.
                                                                                        My choice for lunch is usually a salad with lots of vegetables and/or fruit. I wouldn't think twice if a friend wanted to be with me and invited me to a crappy fast food joint. it's her/him I choose to be with and certainly, once in a while, I can lower my standards.

                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                          I agree with latindancer. If I can sit through a dinner at a relatives that included "Pasta Alfredo" made with fat-free diary creamer, margarine, fat-free cream cheese and a good amount of Parmesan in the can--and say yes, it was very good--then anybody can. Sometimes we have to yumm a yuck. (And it also helps if you all stop harping on people who don't make our food choices.)

                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                            The point of the questions posed was basically where does one draw the line to not eat the food? There are certain prepackaged, prepared foods that are basically poisonous - the toxins just take a prolonged period of exposure to cause their ultimate harm. I remain curious.

                                                                                            If there was an increasing amount of data supporting the notion that HFCS caused cancer would you eat things containing it simply because they were served to you? Most would agree that avoiding food that has been adulterated is ok. Few would eat a meatloaf if they knew it was made with ground glass mixed in. Does one have to exhibit immediate distress from consuming substandard food in order to be permitted to pass on it or suggest another place to eat?

                                                                                            Keep in mind that this subthread is predicated upon an inability to accept the defense of people who refuse to eat good, homecooked meals. If it is fine for them to say no to lovingly made, wholesome food that they have not even tasted, is it not fine for someone else to say no to a Pizza Hut cheeseburger crust pizza? The science, which has been widely dispersed, clearly supports the position of the latter group.

                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                              I understand your passion....I really do. But, sorry MGZ, this sounds a little like a conversation I heard from a co-worker who stated she wouldn't ride in anything but a Prius. Ever.
                                                                                              Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do but what happens, out in the middle of nowhere if you're stuck, your plug-in runs outa punch, and the person helping you on the highway drives a brand new Mercedes S class?
                                                                                              And, BTW, if I was served meatloaf and "knew it was made with ground glass mixed in"? I think this is a little more serious than 'consuming substandard food... don't you think?

                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                I suppose I still can't fanthom not being able to decline. Is it really that hard to communicate with family and friends we see on a regular basis. Once again latindancer, I find myself nodding over your comments with a smile. How did our most important relationships stray where we can't just decline for whatever our reasons and still have a friendship, relationship in tact.

                                                                                                Otherwise, this tit for tat never ends and resentment grows and we're settling and expecting others to settle. Phew, what a royal pain that would be.

                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                  "And, BTW, if I was served meatloaf and "knew it was made with ground glass mixed in"? I think this is a little more serious than 'consuming substandard food... don't you think?"

                                                                                                  It's the difference between being shot and being slowly poisoned to death.

                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                    ah but isn't the point really about how flexible we are willing to be at the (often) expense of a relationship.

                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                      "It's the difference between being shot and being slowly poisoned to death".

                                                                                                      Huh. Well this 6 decade young woman is, by most standards, pretty damn healthy and the poisonous part hasn't' happened to me yet....to me it's all a basic crapshoot anyway. That saying "eat, drink and be merry?" That's me.
                                                                                                      Look...I live my life with, what I consider, wonderful friends....and I mean friends.
                                                                                                      They come from all backgrounds....very very diverse. I love them. They know my background.. To ask them to only put fresh vegetable and fruit and organic food on the table with no preservatives so I can eat it? No way. They have a certain lifestyle and I respect that.

                                                                                                  2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                    "There are certain prepackaged, prepared foods that are basically poisonous-the toxins just take a prolonged period of exposure to cause their ultimate harm."

                                                                                                    I'm curious. Just for my information can you list a few of these? Thanks, in advance.

                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                      Forgive me if that may have been a bit hyperbolic, but there is certainly growing scientific support for the notion that items containing excessive amounts of corn syrup, sugar, sodium, trans fats, etc. have a deleterious effect on the body. As to identifying products, I'm afraid I don't have sufficient exposure to them that I might be able to name any without specifically going to the store and reading labels. If I were to do so, however, I suppose I'd start with cereals made for kids or maybe prepared frozen foods?

                                                                                                      Again, this is all well beyond the instant topic or even the issues raised by the questions I have posed.

                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                        "but there is certainly growing scientific support for the notion that items containing excessive amounts of corn syrup, sugar, sodium, trans fats, etc. have a deleterious effect on the body."

                                                                                                        So do excessive amounts of alcohol, beef, and numerous other foods CHers consume regularly either at home with their "home cooked" meals or in the best 4-star restaurants.

                                                                                                        And I wonder how many CHers who eschew the types of food MGZ mentions smoke cigarettes and/or weed. Just an observation.

                                                                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                          Those are good points, and completely in accord with what I was asking - Where on the spectrum is it ok to decline to eat something served to you? Wouldn't an objection based upon health concerns trump one based upon stubborness or ignorance? If you told someone you don't drink and they poured you a couple fingers of scotch, do you have a right to decline? Is it different if you told someone you would prefer not to drink and they did the same?

                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                            "Where on the spectrum is it ok to decline to eat something served to you?"

                                                                                                            In my opinion, it is always OK to decline something offered to you to eat. Only you know what your body may and may not want. Whether this is based on past, concrete cause and effect experience or just personal preference makes no difference. Why in the world should someone eat something they do not want to eat? Whether it is processed food or home grown, home baked or home churned?

                                                                                                        2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                          You don't' have to identifying products....you don't have to. I get the picture :). The cereals made for kids with copius amounts of sugar. Yep. They're not good. I get it. But, once in awhile, if my kids were exposed to them at another kid's home,...are they really that damaging? Should my child got into another child's home and say, 'I don't eat that crap??'

                                                                                                  3. re: MGZ

                                                                                                    Yes, well, then they're at the ready with one of three arguments:
                                                                                                    a. "this 'industrial food is bad' nonsense is for you idiotic, mindless, tree-hugging liberals"
                                                                                                    b. "I can't afford it." (nevermind the new iPad and $60K truck, four giant TV's, etc.)
                                                                                                    c. "I don't have time" (my kids have to be in six activities each and I'm too busy making money, see argument b.)
                                                                                                    (Of course sometimes B and C are truly valid, but IME and circumstance, it's 100% about priorities.)

                                                                                                    Besides, as long as you have hand sanitizer within three feet of your person at all times, use only antibacterial soap and never touch a doorknob bare handed, you'll never get sick from industrial food. Marketing departments (and our government) have gotten very good at convincing people that the problem isn't with the food. You just need to cook it more, duh.

                                                                                                    1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                                      I guess I'm lucky that no one I eat with would engage me seriously in such a way. Most people I know acknowledge that a stop at McDonald's is a bad way to feed a child and do so as a last resort - not a routine. Generally, the admission is followed with an apology.

                                                                                                      As I noted above, people often will defend their beliefs most vigorously simply because they cannot admit that they are wrong. It's quite sad, actually, as each of us is wrong sometimes and refusing to accept that fact prevents us from learning and growing.

                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                        "...each of us is wrong sometimes and refusing to accept that fact prevents us from learning and growing."

                                                                                                        It is sad. I call it wishful thinking disease or fear-aholism and find that it's truly a lifestyle for many or most people. But stepping outside ones' food box when a guest seems to so obviously favor gain over risk that it drives me a particular kind of nuts in that context.

                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                          I was raised with a vegetable garden, fruit trees and a mother and grandmother who made some of the most delicious/nutritious food I've ever eaten.
                                                                                                          I was also raised in an era when McDonald's was a newcomer.
                                                                                                          If I said to any of my friends that I wouldn't eat out at an In-n-Out because I prefer homemade, delicious food the way I was raised, they'd question my friendship....and 'apology"? For what? I wouldn't do that to a friend. Now, food is an important part of our well-being. So is friendship.

                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                            This is a very curious sub-thread... Whole lotta judging going on 'round these parts.

                                                                                                            splatgirl ... I'll take option a. from one of your posts above. I'm not being facetious.

                                                                                                            I am not going to begrudge anyone their enjoyment. The people we are talking about are my family and friends. When I have them over my place I strive to entertain them. Food-wise, if that means they will be most entertained if I run out and grab a bunch of bags of McDonald's and a few cases of sugary soda that we can eat while watching a game, then that's what they'll get.

                                                                                                            Sure enough, when I have large groups of family over around the holidays, I strive to cook a creative and delicious meal everyone will enjoy, but there are invariably children in the group that absolutely love KFC chicken tenders and delivery pizza, so I provide such items for those that want them.

                                                                                                            The corollary is that many of my friends and family are not great cooks. To many of them, cooking consists of putting a bunch of frozen stuff in the oven; their culinary ability peaks at putting steaks, burgers and hotdogs on the grill. I go over and break bread with them, so to speak, not for a great meal, and not for my health and well-being, but because they are my friends and family, and I enjoy being with them. I am appreciative of their efforts in the kitchen, regardless of what they churn out.

                                                                                                            I do not try to alienate or force my views on anyone - especially family and friends. Food is often a part of our get-togethers, but only a part, and certainly not the defining aspect of my relationship with those I care about.

                                                                                                            Some of my friends and family eat junk food, drink too much and/or smoke cigarettes. I do all of these things from time to time. Judge not lest ye be judged.

                                                                                                            1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                              Oh come on now MonMauler, it's a bit tricky to discuss the OP with our judgement call (not judgement). We all have our p.o.v. from our own experience. This is just a friendly discussion about all sides of the issue. Fascinating, really.

                                                                                                              1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                The questions at hand are really intended to solicit when is it ok to judge. Would you stop serving those kid's chicken fingers if their mom said "no"? If you found out KFC was using chicken not subjected to proper inspections?

                                                                                                                1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                  The OP is a vent about being judged, so yes, this entire thread is predicated on judgement.

                                                                                                          2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                            Here's a tired psychobabble saying that's actually very true- you can't control other people's behavior, you can only control you reaction to it. Those with good manners will make the host feel good about the meal. Those with bad manners won't. It's the opposite of the sign I saw at Manny's Bar and Grill in Rocky Point, Sonora, Mexico- "If our food and drink are not up to your standards, kindly lower your standards".

                                                                                                    2. "I'm not normally this negative, just kinda bummed today."

                                                                                                      I would be too. There's nothing worse than going to the effort you do/did and having it not only fall on deaf ears but more than that....actual contempt for what you did....humiliating you on top of it.
                                                                                                      The macaroons you made are not only beautiful but they're delicious. Certain family members are the ones who think they can get away with saying whatever they want and what's ironic is that what they say usually ends up hurting the most. It's the weirdest dynamic.
                                                                                                      If I were you, and you ever choose to try again, I'd make them their chocolate chip cookies and just chuckle to myself....they don't know what they're missing. You could be making them, as long as they'd try new things, some of the best food they'd ever tasted.

                                                                                                      1. WOW, wow, wow. As the OP, I just had some time today to catch up on this thread I started and I have to sorta laugh at how this thread flew into territories I had no idea it would. I truly thought this past Sunday, "Hey, I'm sad cause my family has to act like spoiled jacka**es and make snide comments about something I made for them out of love." So, I was annoyed when I got home & just wanted to vent. I didn't even think I would get more than a couple responses. Keep in mind, I handed them baked goods in a cellophone bag that was tied and ready to take home. We were out at a restaurant for brunch. I knew some of them weren't going to appreciate like the others. I'm not an idiot. I realize that all those macarons weren't going to get eaten. But if I had handed a bag to one person and not another then I would have been tarred and feathered for that. I am not saying in any way shape of form that if I gave someone a homemade baked/cooked item that they had to eat it. I am just asking that when someone gives you something they want you to have (whether it be food or a candle) that you don't say something rude about how you wished it was something else.
                                                                                                        Not sure how it got so off topic but I wasn't saying they had to eat the food there and rave about it. Just graciously accept it and be kind. Of course I could be misunderstanding some of the later posts, if that's the case I apologize.

                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: HighHeels

                                                                                                          HA! - nah you just touched a nerve a lot of us share.

                                                                                                          and BTW I make a damn fine green bean casserole, I just don't care anymore that nobody notices I make the sauce from scratch and use only fresh beans and mushrooms (though I do cheat on the fried onions).

                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                            Now, that doesn't count. You make a REAL green bean casserole. The kind that most of us only dream of but NEVER get a chance to taste. I hope noone thought I truly meant that all green bean casseroles were YUCK. lol Just the kind with canned green beans. I grew up with those and those are one of those things that gross me out to no extent.

                                                                                                            1. re: HighHeels

                                                                                                              The soup-based one that tortured us all in the seventies is indeed gross. Cook's Illustrated did a great scratch one years ago that is heaven.

                                                                                                              1. re: HighHeels

                                                                                                                oh I ain't so high falutin' I actually do like the canned crap. just won't make it myself

                                                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                  Shoot- even the cafeteria at work makes their green bean casserole with fresh green beans- and they serve a lot of gross things. Whenever I see the GBC I get it. There's really no excuse for using canned beans with the availability of fresh ones these days. But I know, I digress. I shan't speak of this again.

                                                                                                            2. re: HighHeels

                                                                                                              I fully appreciate your sentiments, HighHeels. It is so disappointing when people just can't graciously accept a gift, whether or not they want it. There are plenty of folks in my life who just don't care about these things. I don't take it personallly - life is too short!

                                                                                                              1. re: HighHeels

                                                                                                                I think those of us who put a lot of effort into our cooking walk a thin line. I had a friend who would make hors d'oeuvres for her cocktail parties and then tell us all about the work that went into her "special" dishes. All of us were foodies but she treated us like know nothings. I'm know I've done the same with other folks so I try not to get too showy with my homemade goodies.

                                                                                                                1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                  classic lesson from "The Preppie Handbook" always make it look effortless. just put out cheese and crackers or lie if it's more saying it was catered (and at that point make up a name of the source and darnit a few days later they had already closed doors - tragic really).

                                                                                                                  too much perceived work makes some uncomfortable and that's not the point of a party. so yeah to paraphrase Ryan Adams and Parker Posey's lyrics 'note to self don't change for anyone, don't change just lie'

                                                                                                                2. re: HighHeels

                                                                                                                  It got off topic because the post's title asks about " home cooking" and not " gift giving." Mention home cooking and there is bound to be a healthy discussion. This is CH after all! :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                    I agree, ttoommyy....

                                                                                                                    This thread could have gone in a about a hundred different directions...
                                                                                                                    "Good Homecooking" could mean several different things. To me, good home cooking means fresh greens, fresh vegetables, fresh just about anything. A braised pot roast, mashed potatoes and hand picked apple pie for dessert. To some people a home cooked meal means something entire ly different with canned green beans as the vegetable etc....
                                                                                                                    Subjectivity takes on a whole different meaning on these CH boards.

                                                                                                                3. I love to cook and my kids/hubby are fantastic about appreciating a home-cooked meal nearly every night (we do take breaks for pizza night, Chinese take-out, etc.), as are many of their friends who find themselves at our dinner table on occasion. My In-Laws are another story. Total and complete Fast Food Junkies. They know all the latest creations from the various FF Establishments and eat it voraciously for every meal whenever possible. Not that I have a problem with that - to each his own and I do love me a Big Mac - but when they come to visit us for a few weeks, are staying at our home and I have to literally FIGHT to cook to feed my kids, I have a problem with that. My FIL will hound me in the kitchen, saying repeatedly over my shoulder "You don't have to cook, we can just go to Dairy Queen - they have great burgers! Don't go to the trouble - we'll pick up a few Totino's frozen pizzas! Why are you thawing out chicken when we can just get a bucket from KFC?" and on and on. He even pulled a package of pork chops out of my hands one night with the intention of putting it back in the freezer insisting a fish sammich or two from a local FF place was sufficient. I can't count how many times I would explain they were free to eat whatever they wanted - but the kids actually asked if I'd make their favorite crispy fried chicken tonight....or how about my Chinese spare-ribs they can never get enough of? My boys enjoy the various fast food places in our area too - but the extent at which I get badgered by the FIL especially has led to zero visits to our home going on 4 years now. It just went beyond my level of tolerance and good manners - and boy did the hubby get an earful for just sitting by with this thumb up his butt while his Dad sniped in my ear. **rant over**

                                                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Mutch2Do

                                                                                                                    "... and I have to literally FIGHT to cook to feed my kids"

                                                                                                                    you threw punches? LITERALLY?

                                                                                                                    1. re: thegforceny

                                                                                                                      FIL pulls the food/ingredients outta my hands and walks off to put it back (cupboard / fridge), I follow and take it back (having to wrangle it from him because he's holding on tight with no intention of letting go), he makes another play at snatching it from me with one hand while trying to push me away from him at the same time. By now I'm practically yelling at him to STOP already, I'd really like to cook a meal for my children and he's trying to talk over me, saying I'm going to too much trouble no matter how many times I tell him I enjoy cooking and I'm not just "putting on a show" because they're visiting. So physically it's more push n pull, but punches were not far behind so I thought it best if they didn't visit for awhile. I was always just dumbfounded by the whole thing - I'd never behave like that in somebody else's home.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Mutch2Do

                                                                                                                        You poor thing! Yup, you literally fight.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Mutch2Do

                                                                                                                          Wow that's some kind of drama....

                                                                                                                          Is there a small chance your FIL was just trying to save you the work and wanted to treat you, like escondido was suggesting? Would your son have been okay with 'a bowl of cornflakes' just to save some peace in what otherwise sounds like a miserable visit by his Grandparents?

                                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                            sounds like he was trying to be nice (in a deranged uncommunicated way), yet clearly has never worked in PR.

                                                                                                                            some folks just don't get that sometimes the fuss is part of the fun (personally for me it's a control issue as I DO like FF on occasion) the physical interaction is what would concern me. it's your house - so your rules. if one wants dinner from wherever one doesn't 'decide' it's happening DURING your prep. the invite should have been offered earlier in the day. but then people who don't cook don't realize this ain't astronaut food we're (heating)

                                                                                                                            to pull food out of your hands does cross a distinct boundary and would put me perched waaay up on my high horse. your spouse needs to gently explain (and w/o you around - "hey Y gets a real kick out of cooking and the kids love it! so just let her")

                                                                                                                            my bet is FIL just doesn't know how to be a good guest. or have interpersonal skills.

                                                                                                                            although I would have been tempted to wrest the food back, chuck it out the window and say "Fine! do that!" and locked myself in my room for the duration.

                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                              Hill - you'd win that bet. Although the use of the kitchen is without a doubt my FILs biggest quirk....there are other issues with their visits that are off-topic and I was trying (but think I may have failed) to stay along the lines of the "appreciating good cooking" thread from the OP. Loved your "chuck it out the window" quip because boy did that ever cross my mind during the 15+ years I've been married to my hubby when the ILs came to visit. They're generally very pleasant people and do dote on their grandchildren with glee, so I tried very hard to keep that in mind during the years they did come to visit.

                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                Yeah! :).

                                                                                                                                All of the above. The truth is, when Mommy locks herself in her room out of frustration, for any reason, everyone knows it's all downhill from there until she comes back out.

                                                                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                  Yeah, because if mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy.

                                                                                                                                2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                  I honestly wish his motivations were based more on trying to be helpful or gracious. It took me a few years to realize this wasn't the case - he tends to be quite steadfast about certain things (as we all can be) and cooking in the kitchen is something he thinks is a complete waste of time. They prefer fast food and I pass no judgement on that. My boys were raised to respect their elders as well as understand people have different tastes/preferences in food - so being offered an alternative usually wasn't a problem unless it was something they truly didn't like. As they grew older, they learned to be even more accommodating of Gma/Gpa's ways and I would cook all their favorites when the visit was over to show my appreciation. It just got to be too much to handle when even cooking only one night a week during their 3-wk long visits resulted in this kind of drama (perfect way to describe it). I'm just thankful I have others in my circle who also enjoy cooking, trying new recipes and have fun while doing so.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mutch2Do

                                                                                                                                    The true problem here, in MHO, is that 3 weeks is too long for folks to visit, unless you have a house with a guest wing where they can spend time on their own...including mealtime. None of us are good guests for that long, all that changes is what we bitch about or what we cause our guests to bitch about.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                      I agree 110%. About 2 years after we moved from IA to OR, the ILs retired so they had the luxury of extending their visits from approx 10 days to a full 3 weeks. Of course all of this was discussed between the hubby and his parents....and I would be blessed with the news of their impending visits (and duration of their stay) 2 days before their arrival. ....sigh.....

                                                                                                                                      1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                        true - guests are like underwear. even the best of us have an expiration date.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Mutch2Do

                                                                                                                                        Three weeks of entertaining and going out to eat with children for most of the meals? Seriously? By the end of those 3 weeks I think I'd have refused to get in the car.
                                                                                                                                        Nah...I tend to agree with you on this one. Your FIL sounds completely inflexible.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mutch2Do

                                                                                                                                          Ok diving back in as I am (really!) an ace on 2nd guessing. it begs the question to posit back to them - "so then why do you even HAVE a kitchen in your house? think of what you could do with the room or wouldn't a simple tent in AZ or NV be cheaper and more pleasant?"

                                                                                                                                      3. re: Mutch2Do

                                                                                                                                        Oh, you have my sympathies. Are our ILs related? We have never had a tug of war (probably because they never spent a night under our roof, totally my husband's choice) over food but I definately understand the FF addiction.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mutch2Do

                                                                                                                                          You know what? He sounds like a real jackass. Seriously. You must be a saint to put up with that kind of aggression. I'd throw the bastidge out, and his son, too. Honestly.

                                                                                                                                      4. re: Mutch2Do

                                                                                                                                        Is there any chance your in laws are trying to find a way to pay for meals since they are staying with you? Would they be amenable to going shopping with you and paying for the groceries? I had a friend who used to come and stay once in awhile and she was always offering to take us to inexpensive places when we'd rather say home and cook good food. So we finally figured out what each of us wanted and then we'd make a trip to the grocery store, both of us picking up things we liked, and then she'd pick up the tab. She got to treat us and we got to cook for her--win, win.,

                                                                                                                                        1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                          I really wish that were the case and would love to share the experience of shopping / cooking / dining out with them but unfortunately my In-Laws just prefer a different kind of dining experience and it hasn't ever involved home-cooking even as the hubby and his brothers were growing up. Fresh veggies are toppings on burgers or tacos from a drive-thru window, soda is consumed by the case, milk is only used on a bowl of cornflakes in the morning - I don't expect anybody to mirror my own way of eating / preparing meals, but to come into my home and I have to go on the defense about something as simple as scrambling eggs for my son when "a bowl of cornflakes is good enough" is something I can't wrap my head around. Your friend is welcome to visit me any time!

                                                                                                                                      5. I don't like it very much, if you give me some macarons then I feel compelled to eat one whether I want to or not.

                                                                                                                                        However, I wouldn't be rude about it, I would tell you how much I loved your macarons even though I didn't eat them.

                                                                                                                                        1. yea, it's sad. some people simply like fast food, to go food, restaurant food.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                            To be quite honest....

                                                                                                                                            I've been a guest at various homes, throughout my lifetime, where a 'good home cooked' meal was served and I remember thinking I'd rather have been eating at a restaurant or eating fast food.
                                                                                                                                            Not everyone's a good cook even though they think they are.
                                                                                                                                            One of my friend's idea of a home cooked meal is taking her piece of meat out of the freezer, microwaving it to thaw it and serving it an hour later.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                              I'm sorry....but that sounds truly nasty. Maybe I didn't have it so bad with my ILs afterall. ;-)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mutch2Do

                                                                                                                                                no no, while the FIL's behavior as you reported, leaves my jaw in my lap, there's something that's probably not a big deal but something possibly interesting to uncover. I'd get all investigative on this if it were my family.

                                                                                                                                          2. In my extended family, it truly is ignorance, so I have had to let it go without resentment. Only my mom, who lived with us the last 7 years of her life, truly knows (knew) the effort of my cooking. The rest of the family honestly doesn't cook enough. They all are FF junkies, similar to a pp's in-laws, and cooking a meal at home is from a box or can, and requires only measured cups of water, one pot, and no kitchen utensils other than a can opener and a spoon. Their taste buds are so burned up with the salt of processed food they don't even taste my food properly, anyway. I don't let it bother me because my husband and daughter appreciate it and I have a few friends that are food lovers with discerning palates who not only understand the effort, but appreciate the results.

                                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: velochic

                                                                                                                                              Frankly, the notion of "Fast Food Junkies" fascinates me. I have never encountered anyone who I would categorize in this way. My Dad's sort of the closest, and I'd more likely label him a closet fast food indulger. He's the type who will secretly stop at Mc Donalds for a large fries and an apple pie when he's feeling sorry for himself. It's more self destructive/punishment for feeling bad than it is an addictive trait.

                                                                                                                                              I can't help but wonder if there are socio-economic or geographic patterns to the fast food addicts. As I basically stated above, I don't know anyone who even routinely eats fast food and, at least among my contemporaries, many really see it as just plain a bad thing to do. For what it's worth, I live on the Northern part of the NJ Shore which is a relatively affluent place with a pretty well educated population.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                I know plenty of "fast food junkies" who had every creature comfort money could buy while growing up and still had to get their fast food fixes. I disagree with your theory MGZ.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                  Don't really have a theory. More trying to accumulate some anecdotal data. Though, admittedly, such conduct from well-educated people seems more odd than from those who may not have significant access to information.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                    "Though, admittedly, such conduct from well-educated people seems more odd than from those who may not have significant access to information."

                                                                                                                                                    I grew up in a nice suburban home with a mom who cooked every night and was quite a good cook at that. My friends and I while no "Rhodes Scholars" were well-read and intelligent. Still, we went out at night and on weekends and hit every fast food joint known to man, especially after a night of drinking. Heck, I still like fast food if truth be know. I just choose not to eat it at 51 because I know it's not the best thing for me given some dietary issues I have.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                      First, that doesn't really sound quite like addictive behavior. Second, there is much more information available regarding the over-consumption of such foods, and it is significantly more widely disseminated, today.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                  Most of my family live in a small town with only fast food and a coffee shop to choose from, and I think that has more to do with it than anything else. I have family that barely make-ends-meet and others that are not just rich, but wealthy. Some are very educated, others are not. They all have the same habits regardless.

                                                                                                                                                  I have a friend at work, though, that has many choices, including going home every day for lunch as she lives 2 blocks away. She goes to McDonalds every.single.day for lunch. There are other fast food places close by, but she chooses this particular poison. Every day. Without fail. Some days she'll get their salad, but usually it's the fish or big mac. She tells me she goes on weekends, too. I know of other people who go at least a few times a week. From all socio-economic levels.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: velochic

                                                                                                                                                    I read something yesterday that suggested to me that geography may indeed be a bigger factor. Apparently, less than 25% of restaurants in NJ are national chains. This makes it the fourth least saturated State (DC, NY, and VT are even less saturated). In my immediate area, I'd calculate the number to be closer to only 10% of the restaurants (and even lower in my own town). Thus, it would seem that it is significantly easier to avoid when there is such an abundance of other choices.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                      I do think that geography is a factor. I have a lot of really intelligent, well-educated and successful people in my family that, because they have lived their entire lives (except for college) in a small town, they just don't have the exposure to a variety of food. They simply don't know or care to know about food other than what is available within a 30 mile radius. There is nothing wrong with that, but it does affect their eating habits. I chose a different path when I left home for college at 17 years of age.

                                                                                                                                                      They have their own expertise that I am ignorant about. I'm sure I cannot appreciate the efforts required to be successful in what they are passionate about.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: velochic

                                                                                                                                                        The distinguishing factor, however, is the fact that ignorance about food choices, as opposed to, say, art, leads to significant negative consequences not just for the individual, but also for their families, communities, and society in general. Occasionally eating fast food may be subjectively preferable - fast food "addiction" is objectively bad.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                    There are many studies out about food insecurity and fast food consumption and it comes down to how comparatively inexpensive it is to purchase. With that being said, I've seen affluent, well-educated people partake in fast food routinely.

                                                                                                                                                3. Reading the entire thread, and having had IL issues myself, I am REALLY curious to know what sort of spin said ILs would put on these dreadful situations....anyone care to speculate?

                                                                                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                    I believe a lot of families that have just one foodie in them tend to see that person as kind of a snob who looks down on their way of cooking/eating and think they make too be a deal out of what is put on the table. I remember going to my sister's house--she is a very good cook but tends to serve everything at once and we eat at the coffee table after serving ourselves in the kitchen--and I heard her husband say "If your sister is cooking, does that mean we have to sit at the dining room table and have courses?" He wasn't being mean, it just wasn't how he liked to eat a meal.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                                      "she is a very good cook but tends to serve everything at once "

                                                                                                                                                      What's wrong with that? Not trying to needle you, but I really want to know...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                        There's nothing wrong with it, I just serve my meal in courses. First course, maybe salad, main course, dessert...kind of like you're usually served in restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                                          I have done that a few times, but usually I don't want the additional kitchen coordination involved.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                            Sorry to interefere....

                                                                                                                                                            Do you server dessert as a different course?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                              No, I usually place it directly on top of the entree. Ha. Yes, you have me there!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc


                                                                                                                                                                I wasn't trying to be sarcastic, seriously. I've been to dinners, really lovely and tasty ones, where everything, even the dessert, was placed on the table.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                  Even the dessert? Really? Interesting. Might be tempting to do the eat-it-first thing.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                              I like dinner to be a long event, so that's why I do it in courses. There are only two of us most nights, so that is certainly easy and with company I don't consider it easier to serve, first course, salad and main course all at once--much too much time coordination and isn't the first course meant to be eaten first?

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                        I would venture to guess that any sort of "spin" on it would be based upon (a) the fact that they "like" the food they like and (b) that their worldview must be shared by others so, therefore, they can project it onto them. It doesn't sound like their is a great deal of openmindedness being exhibited.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                          Reading the entire thread, and having had IL issues myself, I am REALLY curious to know what sort of spin said ILs would put on these dreadful situations....anyone care to speculate?

                                                                                                                                                          Well, I can't speak for my IL. I could speculate but won't :)

                                                                                                                                                          My own mother's thoughts about meals at our house -

                                                                                                                                                          1. I make too big of a deal about the menu
                                                                                                                                                          because I ask for their input, along the lines of "steak or shrimp? chicken or fish?

                                                                                                                                                          2. gets annoyed if she thinks the food will arrive at the table late. A 4pm Christmas meal, in her mind, means we should be seated at 3:55pm with food reaching mouth at the strike of 4pm.

                                                                                                                                                          3. I work too hard and shouldn't have to cook (yet she hasn't offered to cook a holiday meal in at least 7 years, maybe 10 years) and it makes her uncomfortable to see me work "so hard"

                                                                                                                                                          Her SIL is similar to me and my mom said she "can't eat" at SIL's house because she knows that SIL (willingly) cooked "all day"

                                                                                                                                                          Any mental health professionals care to chime in on this thought process?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                            I think your mother's reaction are a combination of guilt and apathy. She does not wish for you to go to too much effort yet will not put forth any effort herself. Years ago I remember my father complaining that my mother went to too much trouble or made too much of a big deal when guests were going to visit. His thought was that if you didn't make a big deal out of it, it would take less effort to prepare the meals. My mother tried to convince him that it took much less effort with planning. I don't think he ever got the message.

                                                                                                                                                            I'm driving him to my brother's home (4 hour drive) for my nephew's graduation party. My father wishes to bring some food from the freezer or the store. I suggested he make a call instead of surprising them with some frozen meat of some sort. He argued with me about making a big deal out of it, so he still has a problem with planning.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                              I recognize my own husband in your father. He also does not understand planning = much less work and effort and no planning = stress.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                Guilt, perhaps. I would've chalked it up to a classic rivalry manifestation.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                  I hadn't considered that. If it were rivalry I would have thought it would have been two people attempting to outcook one another.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                    Unable to directly compete, she resorts to ceding and undermining. The four o'clock thing is her way of saying my way is better, 'cause it would be on time.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                      interesting POV but no, definatlely not competing. She is the first to admit she has no desire to cook or host and always is very grateful that I do it, she just can't enjoy it.

                                                                                                                                                                      No doubt there is an element of guilt and maybe anxiety.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                        That she cannot enjoy a holiday meal is too bad. That's almost as bad as the in-laws that wish to eat FF for every meal while on a visit.

                                                                                                                                                                        I have an aunt (now 86 years old) that never learned how to cook. Believe it or not, as an only child in the Depression she was spoiled rotten and was never taught the basics. Her mother realized the mistake she made when my aunt was about 15 but by then it was too late. She had no desire to learn to cook and thus has no cooking instincts. She always had to follow a recipe or directions for most of the cooking she did. She did manage to raise 4 successful children and ran the business side (financials) of the family business so she wasn't all bad. She and my mother's brother have been happily married for 33 years. They got married in 1946 but have not said a nice word to each other since 1979.

                                                                                                                                                          2. It's all about knowing your audience. I've learned to cook things that the non-appreciative types will appreciate. Everyone loves my ribs, so I do a lot of parties with ribs. They might not touch the homemade cole slaw and baked beans, but that's their loss. Most of them don't eat vegetables or beans anyway, so I don't expect them to change for me. If it's breakfast for a group, I'll make quiche because it's easy to feed a lot of people. A majority of the quiches, however, will have to include mass quantities of bacon, sausage and cheese because it most closely resembles the traditional bacon and eggs or omelets. I'm not going to make osso bucco and risotto for a group that would rather have grilled sirloin and baked potato. I do have a few friends and family members that are great cooks, gardeners, or hunter/gatherers and appreciate the effort of a home cooked or home grown meal, so I reserve the nice meals for those who will appreciate the effort. Otherwise, I'm just setting myself up for disappointment.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Well, they appreciate their own home cooking, but not mine. :( I have learned to tailor my recipes to their tastes and everyone is much happier, myself included.

                                                                                                                                                              I remember making homemade chocolate sauce for ice cream with berries and freshly whipped cream, which I thought they'd really love. You should have seen the crinkled noses! I realized at the first sneery "Oh, my, homemade! How fancy!" that it was probably darker than they like and that they would have been happier with Hershey's Syrup. Nothing wrong with that, but geez. Very little of the sauce was eaten. I understand that it wasn't to their liking, particularly, but it wasn't *bad*. Less sweet than usual, but there was ice cream, sweetened whipped cream, and berries, for heaven's sake! Yeah, it can be annoying. Really annoying when you consider that these are the adults acting this way! I've adjusted and remember that I can eat the way I like almost all of the time so it's all ok.

                                                                                                                                                              They're difficult people in the first place and over the years have made plenty of back-handed remarks about my being "fancy" in the kitchen. Whatever. I know what they like and make that now.
                                                                                                                                                              You'll find a happy me in the corner with a delicious dish of dark chocolate sauce and a spoon after they all go home. :)

                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                                                                                                                                I also loathe the term "fancy". Somehow making dinner from raw, fresh ingredients is "fancy". I asked a co-worker for a recommendation on good restaurants. He said "you want a fancy dinner?" No... I just want GOOD. His suggestion was Applebee's.


                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jeebs

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes! The trouble with the word fancy is that so many people use it to mean pretentious. I am mostly a simple cook. As you say, fresh, raw ingredients. Homemade, though I use some convenience foods like most people.

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not offended if others don't care for my dishes. Truly. I totally understand that we all like what we like. What bugs me about the whole "fancy" and sneery stuff is that it's so jerky and sometimes seems like intentional rudeness! I make no judgement about the way others cook, do your thing. But try to be nice, ok?

                                                                                                                                                                  The relatives I referred to in my post are sort of mean spirited and very competitive. Even with food. If it's not their way, it's not good. No imagination. And so it goes.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                                                                                                                                    Agree 100%. Calling something "fancy" is about as insulting as it gets.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                                                                                                                                  You remind me of a story my mother used to tell about 'fancy'. Early in my parents' marriage they were at my paternal grandparents' house for Thanksgiving. My mother was helping her MIL in the kitchen. She asked my mother to put miniature marshmallows on the sweet potatoes. My mother, still new to the family, asked how she should do it. My grandmother said '...do it fancy-like." My mother said she didn't know what 'fancy-like' was. My grandmother said "why not, you got fancy husband'. (Her youngest son). That drew a loud laugh from my mother and a family story was born.

                                                                                                                                                                3. There can be the same sort of issues going out to eat. I remember taking my parents (who ate out a lot but mainly steak/seafood places) to the trendy Italian place we ate at regularly. They found the menu confusing but they did their best. When my mother ordered the "argoola" salad, I corrected here with a condescending tone that now makes me embarrassed for myself and sad for my mom. She found out she loved arugula and I learned that I wasn't all that.

                                                                                                                                                                  23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                                                    escondido, your story brought back a flash of shame! Many years ago I corrected a friend, in front of 2 others, when he said expresso for espresso. I immediately felt like a huge jerk (I WAS one at that moment!) and didn't know how to just apologize for my bad behavior. Still get that physical wave of embarrassment when I think of it.

                                                                                                                                                                    I'll bet your dear mom took your remark as one of many that we kids poke our parents with: with a grain of salt. :) I love how they dove right in to the new experience and enjoyed it, too. :)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                                                                                                                                      Ha. My mother is similar: not that well traveled or versed in the cuisines of many cultures. She's still fairly adventurous when we eat out, and I don't think I've ever corrected her, but in discussing the dish before or afterwards, I will use the correct pronounciation. A lot of the time she'll adopt the correct pronounciation, but most of the time she'll stick with her original version. I get a kick out of it, and sometimes I feel as if I'm condescending, even though that is not the tone or intent I am trying to convey. I often wonder if I should just stick with her version when discussing such things with her, but I figure that if she likes it and wants to order such an item later, she might be able to do so correctly...

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                                                                                                                                        "Many years ago I corrected a friend, in front of 2 others, when he said expresso for espresso."

                                                                                                                                                                        The Italian word for the English word "express" is "espresso." Also, "expresso" is not incorrect if you are in this country. From 2 different English-language dictionaries:

                                                                                                                                                                        es·pres·so (-sprs, -sprs) also ex·pres·so (k-sprs, k-)
                                                                                                                                                                        n. pl. es·pres·sos also ex·pres·sos
                                                                                                                                                                        A strong coffee brewed by forcing steam under pressure through darkly roasted, powdered coffee beans.

                                                                                                                                                                        expresso |ikˈspresō|
                                                                                                                                                                        variant spelling of espresso .

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                          Then not only was I rude, I was wrong! Serves me right. :) It seems my friend had the good grace not to correct *me* even after my foible.

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the info, ttoommmyy. I learn something every time I hangout at Chowhound. :)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                                                                                                                                            AnneMarieDear: I only found this out after doing something similar to what you did. Then I started thinking about seeing the spelling "expresso" on many menus and went home one night after dining out only to find I was wrong. Sometimes a piece of humble pie goes nicely with an expresso! :)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                              We've earned large slices then, haven't we? :D

                                                                                                                                                                              May I say that after 25 years I've gone from an awful shudder at the memory to being able to laugh at myself. Somehow being wrong in addition to jerky makes it funny to me. Maybe I just feel better thinking that rather than being embarrassed by my correction, he and the others got a private laugh out of my foolishness.

                                                                                                                                                                              They're good people and liked me in spite of myself.

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks, ttoommyy! :)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                                                                                                                                                I often wonder if there is some website out there where people say things about us being so obsessed with eating. I can only imagine the venting they may have to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Scooter8

                                                                                                                                                                                  Scooter - we could start one. y'know, just to see.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, it would be like the anti-Chowhound where people rave about which brand of boxed macaroni they serve to guests and whether Stouffer's is better than Lean Cuisine and if boxed wine can be kept out of the fridge. (Don't get me wrong, all four of those things have graced my kitchen, I just know Chowhound isn't really the place to ask for approval of those items.)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Scooter8

                                                                                                                                                                                      If i could read your mind, love...

                                                                                                                                                                                      "...and then she brings out this dish of chocolate sauce and I'm thinking "Ooh, aren't we fancy! Where's the Hershey's?". ;) One taste of this big bowl of bitter and I'm REALLY missing the good stuff! She's been watching too much Martha Stewart.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Did I mention that she set the table with cloth napkins?! Get over yourself, it's ice cream sundaes!!!"


                                                                                                                                                                                      We must be just as frustrating to them!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh man, I got a good laugh out of that, AnneMarie!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Scooter8

                                                                                                                                                                                        Post threads entitled:

                                                                                                                                                                                        "Any place on the Upper East Side still frying in Trans-Fats?"

                                                                                                                                                                                        "In SF for 3 Days - Help us find buffets without sneezeguards?"

                                                                                                                                                                                        "Quantity over Quality - Why do restaurants insist on serving vegetables?"

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Scooter8

                                                                                                                                                                                          "Yeah, it would be like the anti-Chowhound where people rave about which brand of boxed macaroni they serve to guests and whether Stouffer's is better than Lean Cuisine and if boxed wine can be kept out of the fridge. (Don't get me wrong, all four of those things have graced my kitchen, I just know Chowhound isn't really the place to ask for approval of those items.)"

                                                                                                                                                                                          But why not? From the CH mission statement on the CH homepage:

                                                                                                                                                                                          "WELCOME to the Chowhound discussion, where food-lovers gather to swap tips about restaurants, cooking, and everything food and drink.'

                                                                                                                                                                                          Notice it says "everything food and drink." Also notice it says "food lovers" and not "food snobs." Just as many of us love our homemade pasta, risotto, braised lamb shanks, macarons, etc., other love their Lean Cuisine, green bean casserole, McDonald's and much, much more. And just like in the real world, I think we should all be able to peacefully coexist here on CH.

                                                                                                                                                                                          And now I'm off to have my Lean Cuisine Swedish Meatballs for lunch. Seriously! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                            I was trying to be lighthearted. The ratio of constructive posts to critical posts regarding things like boxed or frozen meals is pretty broad. And like I said, I am no stranger to boxed/frozen/processed food. I happen to think velveeta singles are the only way to make a grilled cheese. On white bread with country crock spread on the outside. And (no lie) I just worked an endless day and will be eating Stouffer's fried chicken with mashed potatoes and corn. I'm just mad it doesn't come with a brownie like it used to when I was a kid. Tomorrow I plan to make pulled pork out of a 5lb pork butt to stick in the freezer, but some nights, a frozen dinner just hits the spot.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Scooter8

                                                                                                                                                                                              Noted Scooter8. I just get frustrated sometimes with others that turn up their noses at anything not home grown, churned, bred, milled, canned, fermented and cooked. I guess I mistakenly took my frustration out on you. Sorry. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                No worries. :-) I am right there with you with the frustration. I love to cook and am a little obsessed with reading about well prepared food and would love to think that everything I fix is worthy of a magazine cover, but the reality is if people really knew what I ate most days, I'm afraid I'd lose my membership here. My husband has a pretty limited range of things he will eat (think mac n cheese, top ramen and ravioli in the can.) Finances don't allow me the opportunity to eat out very often, but I'm hoping the four dollars I invested in seeds and planted in the yard will produce some nice veggies in a month or two and then I can claim to have home grown food! (Although I'm not touching the green beans my husband planted, bad memories of sitting in the dark with a plate of unfinished ones have given me a strong aversion, though I'm pleased he'll actually eat something green.)

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Scooter8

                                                                                                                                                                                            some of targets box wine is not quite undrinkable.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                                                                                                                                                    Ha. Me, too, AnneMarieDear (re: your last statement). Chowhound really is a wonderful place.

                                                                                                                                                                                    God (and whoever is listening at the time) knows that I regularly misprounounce and get things wrong once in a blue moon (read: every single day).

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes! Many words I know are only known through reading. I see them, know their meaning, but not the pronunciation!

                                                                                                                                                                                      There it is...

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AnneMarieDear

                                                                                                                                                                                        that stream of thought reminded me of being with a relative who ought to know better who intended to order a "Capreeze" salad (and I know of no salads that employ calf-length pants) I nodded and realized there was a double 'E' in the pronunciation. and just said "oh those are GREAT, classic flavors I might have one too"

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                                                                My father and my mother’s father both spoke English as their second language and I remember MANY one-off word mispronunciations and/or made-up words.

                                                                                                                                                                                In their speak, argoola (arugula) would have been something like "agoogle-la-la."

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                                                  I haven't finished reading this entire thread but I'm loving it and empathizing with every post! I no longer feel so alone! I have friends and family lie some of the aforementioned relatives and I'm amazed that I'm not bald from pulling at my hair all these years! Thank you all for sharing your horror stories! I have plenty and will share my own as soon as I have time!

                                                                                                                                                                              3. My folks belonged to a gourmet group that got together once a month, and each person or couple brought one of the courses for a meal. Maybe you could find or start something like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                You can't really change what other people like, or how they respond. Maybe you'll be less stressed, if you make what you want, and don't worry about how it's received. Or, fix cookies for those who prefer them, and make macarons for your own enjoyment. My mom used to say, "More for those who know what's good."

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Two thoughts come to mind. Many years ago I learned to follow the axiom - Don't do anything for anybody who does not appreciate it. That goes well beyond cooking.
                                                                                                                                                                                  And number two, when reality butts up against expectations, time to change your expectations.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Enigma3

                                                                                                                                                                                    Enigma, I love both of your axioms. Thanks much for the reminder.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                                                                      aww c'mon, you 2 are going to put all the advice columnists out of work.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I laugh on the inside at those who don't appreciate good home cooking and family on Thanksgiving Day.

                                                                                                                                                                                    On the outside I ignore them.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Tell your ungrateful family to cook for themselves. If a few days of them going hungry doesn't change their tune, they don't deserve to eat. Tough love works. Don't let them mow over you and take your hard work for granted.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I have recently become interested in cooking and have tried to make things from scratch. I have received the same response as you have. I don't get it. I would never act that way to anybody else. I don't know what to do because I want to cook for myself but also for other peoples enjoyment. Also feeling depressed. Wish I were back to poor cooking and not caring.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Factscount

                                                                                                                                                                                          Easier to just find new friends! Sometimes as you go through the phases of your life, it becomes a necessary evil to shed your skin a few times. It they are true friends, they will stick around. Either way, don't get depressed, there's plenty more where they came from.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks, you are right. It is a new phase and I'll see what friends come along!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Factscount

                                                                                                                                                                                              It worked for me! Sort of like a butterfly appearing out of a cocoon. Just keep your antennae tuned in.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. since this thread (and it's a good one) has been revived, it has occurred to me that some things I've made get 2 or even 3 helpings at the table, but once it goes in the freezer it is never touched as then it has become 'special' food-hoard material like it's a slice of wedding cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                          "we can't eat that! X made that from scratch! it's special."

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I was just thinking this the other day. I host all the holiday meals and enjoy it. The day before Christmas Eve this year, my (non-cooking) mother said she gets " stressed out" coming to my home for the holidays because it makes her nervous to see me cook so much and set a special table. She asked me to use paper plates and to order a pre-made supermarket holiday meal this year and just warm it up. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kat

                                                                                                                                                                                              Kat - My mother is EXACTLY the same way, I probably mentioned it on this thread already.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The subject of paper plates came up at dinner on Christmas day, along the lines of paper plates are just so much easier than this "fuss" as a hand was waved over my linen napkins.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. "I just don't understand adults who don't like to try new things."

                                                                                                                                                                                              I know this an old(er) thread but it just popped up on my radar, I think the above sentence describes the crux of the thread succinctly.

                                                                                                                                                                                              IMHO what make one "OLD" is the reluctance to try new things. One doesn't have to "like" everything, but just give new tastes (and new experiences) a TRY.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Culinarily, I hope to never grow "old"....and I wish the best to my fellow Chowhounds!

                                                                                                                                                                                              (and may you never stop cooking!)

                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                My mother stopped being interested in anything new when I was a toddler, and she seemed forever old to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mine as well! It is like she just gave up.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Heck no! Never in my family...if it ain't moving they will eat it:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. one piece of advice:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE before putting on the entire show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  (if you're in sales, it would be KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                    In one way you're really right on, but it really isn't easy to..."dumb down" your cooking to suit the audience...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I'm having a very similar problem lately. I absolutely love cooking and I'm constantly leaning and experimenting. I get really frustrated when I meet someone that doesn't put any effort into what they make... almost like they don't care to make something from scratch and make it the right way. I feel like I put so much care into what I make that I expect everyone to at least make their food from scratch if they intend to serve it to me. Am I the only one that feels this way?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: red_desires

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I enjoy being in the company of people who have a relationship to food and an awareness of good ingredients....food....cooking skills and shopping savvy. I have been cooking for decades but I was surprised at so many techniques...ingredients etc. that my adult kids and my adult nephews have taught me and vice versa....fun fun fun:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: red_desires

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I know what you mean. I am tired of being served canned, boxed or straight out of the package food. I don't think one has to spend days cooking for company, but a little extra effort is nice. It's to the point that I find ways out of eating at some of these peoples homes, I'd rather go out with them. And, I would like to add, that when I cook for others, I always take into consideration their likes and dislikes. That doesn't happen for me at their place, and they know me well enough. I'm not super picky, just please stop serving me things you know I don't like & then act surprised that I didn't eat it

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. My friend "Roz" came over to my dinner party 3 days ago and kept calling my new Flan recipe "Phlegm" and then saying "oops, I mispronounce things!" with a snicker. She knew exactly what she was saying, and it made me mad as it ruined it for the others. So yes, I know how you feel, and the flan was delicious to boot. It's just rude. It's the classic "looking a gift horse in the mouth" syndrome. Ungrateful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SamuelAt

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Might I suggest, based on the number of times that you've posted about "Roz" disrupting dinner parties/gatherings at restaurants, that you stop inviting "Roz" to said dinner parties/gatherings at restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fair assessment - I don't invite her usually though, so my dining questions in which she has been mentioned are not always my invite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: SamuelAt

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, then everyone else who takes issue with her has to not invite her as well, I guess. But that' their decision. If she's invited, you just need to decide whether you want to deal with her and make your RSVP based on if you wish to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I guess so. I am seeing her tomorrow night - she has a Christmas in June party every year - she cranks up the A/C, and serves a turkey dinner and trimmings. Can 't wait - but hope for none of the usual holiday dysfunction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just back - "Roz" was actually quite hospitable, and even had a sense of humor about her Green Bean casserole, which was a source of argument last year. Phew - maybe a new leaf was turned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. OMG! Thank you HighHeels for starting this post! I'm just sorry I didn't see it sooner.Melpy and Cleo, peeing my pants over your stories, I'm so sorry for your holidays, but can totally relate. Sadly, it's my hubby who not only has no appreciation for my love and need of cooking and entertaining, but is so damn limited to what he'll eat or even try!!! Argh! If he didn't travel most of the week so the girl's and i could have our fancy girly dinners, who knows if we'd still be married.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have a Thanksgiving story as well. First of all Thanks giving is a holiday I start planning in Sept. I do different themes each year. One particular year we had hubby's sister and her family over. I went all out. His sister and I conversed daily before the event. She knew how much thought was going into this meal, that I had special place settings, tablecloth, silverware, etc. Anyway thanks giving day comes and she and her family, hubby and 4 kids, show up with all the kids in their PJ's. If that's not a "hurry up let's get this over with" sign, I don't know what is. The reaction to the meal from her family was, her hubby, "this is the best turkey I have ever had!" and "you make homemade gravy!?" Her oldest son, "This ham is way better than mom's, her's is always
                                                                                                                                                                                                          dried out" Her reaction, rolls eye's, rolls eyes and an under the breath comment on me being a showoff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          P.S I too would love your macarons. There's a special little French bakery my daughter and I love where we get them. Round of applause to you for making them homemade!