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Another Thanksgiving thread...to accept contributions or not?

My husband and I were having this discussion just this morning. I used to *never* accept help. I wanted things the way I wanted them. Period. I'm not a control freak about much, but I can definitely get my cook-zilla on when trying to execute a party or holiday celebration.

I finally relented a couple years ago and decided that I would accept the gracious offers to help. When it came to grocery shopping and prep, I loved the idea. It was so nice to have a much shorter to do list.

It was all good, of course, until they arrived with said dishes and I was bombarded with "Where should I put this? Is there an oven I can use? This needs to warm on the stove." Or worse, when they had to GET INTO MY KITCHEN to cut, slice, garnish, whatever. i think I almost lost it when my husband's aunt offered to bring the relish tray and walked into the house with jars of pickles and olives in a grocery bag. Not only did I have to stop and find her a tray, but then we needed to find room for all the open pickle jars.

Yes, I know I sound like a curmudgeon, and the offers to contribute are very considerate. I just don't want them in *my* sandbox. KWIM?

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  1. LOL, I hear you, I am a total control freak and I just don't like having other people "help" in my kitchen. I have a system in the kitchen, and it takes too much time to stop and answer the "where do you keep the...", "where can i find x....". Ugh. I grew up in a very small family and am used to doing things just me. Maybe if I was from a big family and was used to lots of people always around, I'd feel differently. It even bothers me a little when my spouse cooks!

    1. First of all, I have to admit that I had to look up "KWIM". I guess I'm kind of an old fashion "use words" kind of guy. Nonetheless, thank you for providing the impetus for me to learn something.

      As to the focus of your point, I'm good with people helping if they are adding value and I have learned to manage the Holiday kitchen so as to function pretty well. In part, I think it may be because, I have cooked in so many other folks' homes that I can find a bit of balance.

      Now, I have certainly grown a bit frustrated - even had to step in to finish things that were taking too long or a little over the "bringer's" head - but, that's what stepping away to fix a cocktail is for. At the end of the day, I just remember that they are trying to help, to share, and to celebrate with us.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MGZ

        MGZ, I'm with you. I have no problem at all with someone helping me out, but when I have to stop every 30 seconds and constantly answer questions (Cut them THIS big? Do you put this in too? How much do I put in? Should I stir it this fast? Do you have a recipe? EXACTLY half a cup?), when their "help" is actually more work, then, and I say this with the most heartfelt gratitude, no thank you.

        Now, if you're going to help me by doing your own thing, or by making something you already know how, please, go crazy!

        It also drives me nuts when I AM making something that my would-be helper knows how to make, they ask me if I want help, I agree and appreciate it, and then they stand there and ask me "Ok, what do you want me to do?" Uh, you see me prepping the bird/chopping the onions/seasoning the steak, so just do whatever is next/left. Why do you need me to instruct you?

      2. I know EXACTLY what you mean. We don't have a problem at Thanksgiving because those guests either don't bring anything or "like me" and know how to be a good "bringer" but many times I was inconvienced by guests saying they were bring a dish only to have them arrive with ingredients.

        1. I am the same way.

          At Christmas we have beef & my brother makes a great salad and I would ask him to bring it. He'd come in with a grocery bag of vegetables (not cleaned, sliced, or chopped) and makings for salad dressing.

          Two years ago, I told him I would make the salad. I make it that morning, put it in the frig and add dressing just before serving.

          1. The only outsourced item I allow is candied yams, and that is only because it uses and old family recipe and it would not matter who makes it. Usually my sister makes it these days, and always cooks it completely, and the. I just need to caramelise the top while the turkey rests, and always allow for the oven space required.

            Additional dessert is also permitted, and can stay in the garage or go in the fridge in the basement.