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Thanksgiving disaster!

Hi y'all, first time posting but needed to vent a little about the holiday that just passed (thank god it's over).

To make a long story short it was my first year being allowed to cook and host for the family thanksgiving. My MIL was very hesitant about letting the big day change hands she has been hosting it at her house for the past few years. To avoid any hard feelings I agreed to her bringing all the deserts.

Come the day of the big meal dear MIL comes in to the kitchen and insists she help finish any dishes that are cooking while the turkey is in. Im a bit annoyed as I like the kitchen, but decided what they hey...it's only once a year. She was getting a bit on my nerves telling me im not stirring enough or Im cutting the onion to small but I took a deep breath and just smiled through it. She tells me i'm doing a great job and she wouldn't mind keeping an eye on things while I go visit with the family for a while. I knew it was a bad idea but at that point i'd do anything to take a breather. I went to visit with my great aunt who I very rarely get a chance to see, we ended up talking for a good hour or so when I smelt smoke wafting out of my kitchen.

I went a runnin to see MIL over the sink holding a completly black and charred turkey. She told me she had put her tart in the oven that she had brought to crisp the edges and turned the oven up a bit. What she neglected to do was turn the oven back to the temperature It was originally at. At this point im almost in tears and she hugs me and assures me it was an accident and she's sorry. I could care less at this point but I let it slide as she is my hubbys mom afterall and it may have been an honest mistake (he was suspiciously not involved in any of this fiasco watching the games with FIL).

The part of this story that gets me really upset though is, she told me she had a way to solve the problem and sh got in her car and drove a few blocks away to her house and brough back a freshly cooked piping hot turkey. Now im truley speechless! How did she know to have this as a just in case?? I let her serve the turkey as I ddint want ym guests to go hungry but I can't help but feel my big day was ruined....

How can I avoid such a catastrophe in the future? does anyone else have an over zealous MIL?? Good god I'm not sure I could look at a turkey again

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  1. I love that story. I think you should embrace it as, after all, no one died. For the rest of your life, whenever someone throws out a thanksgiving disaster story, you can kick their asses with this one. One really bad holiday meal is a small price to pay for a lifetime of great stories. See, a bright side.
    All kidding aside ( and it's difficult for me to put all kidding aside), next year you can not leave the kitchen. Overzealous MIL's are a tough one. You'll have to get her son to grow a pair and have him deal with his mother even though my guess is that will never happen. Good luck.

    7 Replies
    1. re: bobbert

      bobbert i already hit "recommend" on this once... i'd like to do that many more times. excellent reply

      however, if we were to take a more compassionate look at this situation: perhaps this is one of her only times left to cook for the family. we all know how important that is to us! if this is her way of showing her love, and it is about to be taken from her, i can totally see where she would "unconsciously" char the turkey. now i'm feeling sorry for her... someday i'm going to be in that boat with her. it's hard to be kicked to the curb.

      i think a nice gesture would be to work on a compromise for next year - MIL do part, the OP do part. also, as bobbert suggested, it would be helpful if the husband grew a pair in the meantime. perhaps FIL as well...

      1. re: rmarisco

        If this really is he one and only chance to cook for the family burning someone else's turkey intentionally is not how to handle it. Zero excuse for this.

        DT

        1. re: Davwud

          Yeeeeeaaahhhh....nasty passive-aggressive sabotage never, ever trumps rational discussion.

        2. re: rmarisco

          Always dicey dealing with this type of MIL. I'm one who believes in family harmony and I do a lot of hard swallowing and tongue biting but we usually walk away smiling and loving each other. I doubt FIL will be of any help - he's probably just a shell of the man he once was and DH is probably already walking a tightrope hoping not to fall.

          What I probably would really do is invite MIL to help with not only desserts but another dish or two. I wouldn't leave the kitchen with her in it alone but would solicit her advice on everything (ignoring most of it). I would drown her with praise at the dinner table pointing out everything she did, helped with, etc, etc. She will love it. FIL and DH will love you for it and even though you gave her so much credit, those at the table will know the real score.

          In reality, I try to avoid family battles whenever possible especially when dealing with in-laws. My own parents were a different story but in-laws? Never worth the fight. Still, a great story.

            1. re: rmarisco

              Having spent a long marriage with the mother-in-law-from-hell, I feel for Suzanne. We invited my in-laws to our first married Thanksgiving dinner, which we had proudly prepared, and she showed up with her own roast turkey, her own silverware, her own tablecloth, and her own bedsheets (they were staying for the weekend). That's pretty bad, but Suzanne's story is blood-curdling. If you haven't encountered a MIL of this species, you might not be able to visualize. Marisco is dead on the money---a lot depends here on whether Suzanne's husband can stand up to his mother and defend his wife. What was Husband doing while Mama was simpering that the turkey might not be to her liking? I am proud, truly proud, to say that if I pulled such an act of unkindness with my DIIL, my married son would dissolve me with his Death Ray.

          1. That is pretty damn weird.

            Did you ask her why and how she managed to have a perfectly cooked, hot turkey "at the ready"? It is a really legitimate question, given the circumstances.

            If this were a game of "Clue" I would say it was Mrs. Peacock in the kitchen with the turkey carcass......

            14 Replies
            1. re: sedimental

              Actually my SIL asked that question to her dear mom and her response was that she had one cooking at home just in case my first attempt was not to her liking. She just gave a smile after and said she is glad she did make one and was able to save the day. SIL and I exchanged looks....

                1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                  Looks like both you and SIL learned a lesson that day. Involving things besides food as well. . .

                  1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                    Wow, talk about passive aggressive. She should have lied and said she wanted to have turkey leftover for later in the week.

                    1. re: melpy

                      late to this party, but calling BS on passive aggressive - that MIL's a total bitch! Seriously - planning on not liking her DIL's first attempt at the turkey to the point of sabotage? thank god my "MIL" (not married but might as well be) is nothing like this.

                      and the SIL, instead of just exchanging looks with the OP, should have said, Ma, how could you do that? but i guess she knows her dear old mom.

                    2. re: FuriousSuzanne

                      Sounds like something Marie Barone would have done on Everybody Loves Raymond.

                      1. re: baseballfan

                        Totally! Remember the braciole episode?

                        1. re: jlhinwa

                          Or the meatball recipe episode? Where Marie replaces the basil with tarragon?

                          1. re: eviemichael

                            and who can ever forget the epic ribs thread about someone bringing ribs to a bbq? (sorry couldn't find the link) but even that was above board, the turkey incident is nefarious, underhanded, and malicious.

                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                              I don't remember if anyone posted the link to the infamous Mr. Rib thread on this thread, but here it is, along with the second link explaining what Mr. Rib brought to the BBQ party.

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/411218

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/444218

                      2. re: FuriousSuzanne

                        We all went to my sister's. The next day, mom made a turkey to have for herself and dad. Totally different scenarios, sounds like...

                        1. re: Leonardo

                          completely.

                          I make a turkey fairly often after Thanksgiving or Christmas because my family loves roasted turkey, and I can usually pick up a bird on sale in the post-holiday rush.

                          Making a second turkey because you like turkey/leftovers is totally honorable. What Suzanne's MIL did is not.

                        2. re: FuriousSuzanne

                          I know this kind of MIL..trust me. Get a backbone to stand up to thing you will not accept, and get your dear husband on board with your viewpoints about not being screwed with ASAP. Really. Truly. Please.

                      3. MIL sabotage.You got to visit with your Great Aunt. Priceless.Next year you'll be on the lookout.

                        1. Your MIL sabotaged your dinner. Sending you out of the kitchen and having a stunt turkey at the ready tells me she set this up.
                          Very disturbing and I'm betting that deep down, you know what she's done and it probably jives with past behavior.
                          Next time, insist she be a guest and stay the hell out of your kitchen.

                          1. I've told my MIL point blank that no one cooks in my kitchen except me. After she unloaded my dishwasher and put things where she thought they should go while I was nursing my 2 week old. I couldn't find my spatulas for 2 days! (I keep them in a drawer next to the stove. Not with the corkscrew on the to her side of the kitchen. . .) My husband gets a slight pass for microwave only stuff. She never lets me host gatherings, always talking one of her daughters into it, then takes over their kitchens.

                            I've decided I can beat her by serving amazing food that she clearly can't take credit for. It drives her crazy, we are always assigned beverages for family gatherings, but I know I've made my point. My kitchen, my food.

                            But glad you were able to spend time with your Great Aunt

                            34 Replies
                            1. re: autumm

                              After reading some of the replies here I decided to call MIL and try to find out where she really stands and try to put the past behind. She thanked me for hosting and said she had a good time and that she would be glad to resume her old hosting and cooking duties to unburden me so I could enjoy myself more next year. I told her I would like to try again and make a success of it and her response was....you know dear not everyone is able to pull a big meal off maybe wait a few years to hone your skills before we try that again....at this point I was fuming and hung up on the old bag...the nerve of my dear MIL.

                              1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                Stand your ground, and hopefully it will be with the help of your husband.
                                Push back and insist that you plan on hosting next year and tell her you hope she can make it.
                                Not a question, but a statement.
                                "I'm hosting next year and would love it if you could join us".
                                Good luck. MIL is a real piece of work.

                                1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                  Maybe you should plan that great vacation or cruise for the week around next Thanksgiving?

                                  1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                    If this is for real, I would just give up. She's just going to keep pretending things are the way she wants them to be and make them so when they aren't. It's already to the point of absurdity, why escalate? Everyone else will see the truth, you have nothing to prove here. You can host many other wonderful dinners and let her keep Thanksgiving.
                                    Honestly, why get crazy about a crazy person?

                                    1. re: julesrules

                                      There's a lot to be said about not being bullied by your MIL. This is really where hubby needs to step in and lay down the law. If she gets away with this, what's next??

                                      DT

                                      1. re: Davwud

                                        Sure if you are talking a more or less normal person who can be called on some bad behaviour and might improve. I am not sure that is the case here. I think fighting this battle might be endless and painful.
                                        It's just my random internet stranger opinion, worth little to nothing but a perspective the OP might want to consider :)

                                        1. re: julesrules

                                          I'm sorry but this is deplorable behavior and should not stand unopposed. As I said, "what's next"??

                                          DT

                                          1. re: Davwud

                                            I agree-- that's where my mind goes. If MIL is this nefarious, I'd try my best to stand my ground and shut down her antics right away.
                                            This is so, so bad, that you have to begin to circle the wagons around your family and protect yourselves from her.
                                            It's very sad to say, because I agree, there may very well be no winning with this raging narcissist, and your only recourse may be to disengaging with her entirely.
                                            This is a huge red flag that should not be ignored.
                                            MIL is literally playing with fire.

                                            1. re: monavano

                                              And I say disengage now - from the antics :)

                                            2. re: Davwud

                                              What's next? Grandchildren (assuming the op doesn't already have any). Imagine what MIL is capable of trying to do with grandchildren.

                                              1. re: bobbert

                                                Exaclty, you have to draw a line somewhere. This seems like a perfect spot.

                                                DT

                                                1. re: bobbert

                                                  My thought exactly.
                                                  MIL want to make the OP seem like a bad cook. Will she want to show up her mothering skills?
                                                  What's that going to look like?

                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                    "My thought exactly.
                                                    MIL want to make the OP seem like a bad cook. Will she want to show up her mothering skills?
                                                    What's that going to look like?"

                                                    It isn't going to be pretty, ask me how I know!

                                                    You don't believe these people exist until you marry into their family.

                                            3. re: Davwud

                                              I agree that it is necessary to stand your ground. I put up with BS for 30 years and finally put my foot down. In retrospect, not standing up for myself did not help my relationship with MIL and only left me frustrated and fuming. Guess who the bitch is now that I do stand my ground?

                                                1. re: baseballfan

                                                  After 30 years that must have been hard to break the pattern - unless it was actually a relief to finally be able to release those frustrations.

                                                  It feels like a no-win situation to me. Before putting your foot down you were probably fuming inside a lot, afterwards you are the bitch - there's horrible tension in both situations and I don't know which one would be the least unpleasant.

                                                  Kudos to you for doing it though. I couldn't.

                                                  1. re: ursy_ten

                                                    It is far, far less stressful to know you are not letting someone wipe their malicious, passive-aggressive feet all over your soul.

                                                    1. re: ursy_ten

                                                      What did it for me is when she started in on my teenage kids. Mess with me all you want but you better not f*ck with my kids. At that point, I knew I had no choice and even though it has been difficult, it has also been a relief and I feel much more true to myself.

                                                      1. re: baseballfan

                                                        Ah, I understand.

                                                        I avoid confrontation like the plague, but I find it much much easier to take a stand for my daughter than for myself.

                                                        1. re: baseballfan

                                                          ugh. Picking on your own grandchildren? That's beyond the pale.

                                                    2. re: Davwud

                                                      From past experiences, I can tell you not to expect your MIL's little boy to step in and lay down the law.
                                                      It's your event in your kitchen, so it's your rules and your call.

                                                      OOO! Maybe next year you can have your SIL sneak into MIL's house while they arrive at yours and turn off the oven where her Just-In-Case turkey is!!

                                                      Or....start everything early and tell her to arrive at a time when it would be too late to do anything but sit down and eat.

                                                    1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                      Oh my. Wow. The smoke would be pouring out of my ears. If you decide to try again (and I think you should) your hubby is going to have to find something that will keep her out of the kitchen. Maybe old baby photos that he can't figure out the order they go in?

                                                      1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                        Wow she really played you pretty bad. Unfortunately, the angrier you get the more you play into her scheme.

                                                        One day you might look back on this and laugh. You have to admit, deliberately burning someone else's turkey then magically showing up with your own is pretty creative.

                                                        1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                          After that response from her, I would be hard pressed to EVER have a meal with her...whether at her home or yours. If your husband won't back you up on that, then maybe that needs to be addressed as well.

                                                          1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                            Next year you should invite all your friends to join you at HER house....no one should be alone at Thanksgiving.

                                                              1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                For God's sake, Suzanne, don't let her take over. Where is your husband in all of this? If he has spent his life letting her castrate him and his father because she gives everybody grief if they stand up to her, you are going to see these performances all your life. Wait until there is a baby and you will see her really hit her stride. We left our one year-old with my MIL for a week and she undertook to toilet-train him and wean him in our absence. MILs like this do not magically become nice.. And every little success she pulls off will just put wind in her sails for the next time.

                                                                1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                  I'd let her keep Thanksgiving if it means that much to her. You can sit back and visit with your family (and by all means do not offer to help, pointing out that since you're such an inept cook you'd only be a hinderance!), and just wait until she begs you to take over because it's too much for her. Take pleasure in the fact that you will undoubtedly outlive her. Meanwhile, save all your energy for the fight over how to raise your children.

                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                    Maybe volunteer to make desserts? Then bring something exquisite and over the top.

                                                                    On the other hand, maybe not. She'd just accuse you of lying when you said you had made it.

                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                      THAT'S an idea! Let her do ALL of it!

                                                                    2. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                      ugh. out-and-out witch, this woman is! and others are right here, if you don't nip this in the bud and let her know that you're not going to be a pushover, she'll take advantage of your good nature for the rest of your lives together.