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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.


        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.



                      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


                          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??


                                      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"??


                                          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.


                                                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.

                                                                  2. Well, we all know what happened, and why. This woman is very insecure and dominating. If you host again, you will have to ban her from the kitchen. And, you've learned you can't really trust her, possibly in other matters as well. So, she has shown what sort of person she really is and now you know for sure.

                                                                    I agree that you will have a trump story about MILs, but you might not really get over this for a couple of years.

                                                                    But you will. You will go on and cook amazing meals, with or without your MIL's approval. Rise above. Be aware. Just remind yourself that you have learned a lot about this woman and never trust her with anything important, cooking tasks or information, ever again. And really, this is her loss.

                                                                    1. I say assign her the turkey every year until she.....passes on. You get to attend to the "good" stuff.

                                                                      FWIW, I love my MIL to death,which is great since my parents died decades ago, and am so glad I never have to think about how we roll.

                                                                      1. Wow, a MIL that helps in the kitchen. Mine only cooked for me for 5 days for the initial "This is my husband" visit. We ate out dinner every night. Lunch was bad enough.

                                                                        Want to trade? Disclosure... Mine is dead. And missed.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                          You must mean something different when you say "Helps."


                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                            In this context, I stand corrected.

                                                                            Thank You.

                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                              Right, a wolf in sheep's clothing...

                                                                            2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                              My MIL hasn't been in my kitchen in years. And before that only to pour herself a glass of wine. She is very sweet, but NOT a food person.

                                                                            3. This is straight out of Everybody Loves Raymond.
                                                                              I find the phrase "get out of my kitchen" helpful in these situations.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Paprikaboy

                                                                                That was the first thing that popped into my mind, Everyone Loves Raymond. Bet the MIL is a big fan!

                                                                                1. re: Paprikaboy

                                                                                  I was going to say the same thing! And I agree with Shrinkrap as well, let her cook the turkey, and you cook the "good stuff"

                                                                                2. This is a hilariously terrible story. What did your husband say about all this? I'm so sorry this happened to you; I know you were looking forward to it and clearly the MIL was being a manipulative saboteur.

                                                                                  Just know you did everything you could.

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Tehama

                                                                                    I'd like to know what he has to say as well. Does he have your back??

                                                                                    If my mom pulled that stunt I'd have blasted her for it. Being a %$%#$ is being a %$%#$ no matter who it is. Completely unacceptable.

                                                                                    And no, you can not trust her.

                                                                                    What you can do is next year when she offers to watch over things tell her no because you can't trust her not to burn your turkey. And DO NOT let her go get her "Emergency" turkey.


                                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                                      Yeah, I'd say this is as much of a husband problem as a MIL problem. Surely he knows about her antics. The fact that he didn't give a heads up is telling. He is probably the type that ducks for cover to avoid her bullying.

                                                                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                        Husband saya he didn't know she would try a stunt like this. He knew she would be upset to not host Thanksgiving but also said she was probably jealous that I am a better cook then she is and it probably made her feel threatened.

                                                                                          1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                            DH validating your experience is a very good start.

                                                                                    2. Wow.

                                                                                      You have every right to be Furious, Suzanne :)

                                                                                      You got pwned, and you've handled it far better than I would have.

                                                                                      1. MILs are inherently witches who should be burned at the stake.

                                                                                        Mine burns things to a crisp whenever she cooks anything. My solution is not to eat anything she has cooked - and I havnt for over 20 years. Except a scone. Once. It was burned to a crisp. And horrible.

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                          but at least your MIL just sounds inept in the kitchen. Suzanne's disaster was premeditated!

                                                                                          I hope beyond hope, Suzanne, that your husband stands up for you.

                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                            I am a MIL, and I've made it my policy to NOT be a witch!

                                                                                            Please don't generalize so much. Not all of us are meanies or terribly insecure.

                                                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                              My MIL is mostly a pretty cool lady -- and when she's unpleasant, she's no more or less unpleasant to me than she is to her own brood, so I don't take it personally.

                                                                                              I couldn't honestly say she's ever been a witch to me...and we all have our moments.

                                                                                              Suzanne's MIL, however, seems to be having a lifetime of 'moments'.

                                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                Sue, I had a wonderful MIL who sadly died 6 years ago. We all miss her very much, especially around the holidays. I've been toying with starting a thread called Wonderful Experiences with the Inlaws in the Kitchen to counterbalance all the negative threads on this topic.

                                                                                              2. WOW! She's got issues. I'm sorry this happened to you.

                                                                                                  1. re: Philly Ray


                                                                                                    Maybe next year she can run MIL out of the kitchen and offer to "crisp up the edges" of her tart. Then wait until the smoke alarm goes off.


                                                                                                    1. re: Philly Ray

                                                                                                      Funny you should mention the tart! Hubby was on the phone with his dear mom earlier trying to explain the situation and apparently she made a lapse of judgment and told him she was sorry. I came home from work today and found she had dropped off a tart with a card saying "Suzzie, I noticed you didn't get to try any of my tart at thanksgiving so I baked you one of your own." How nice she baked me a hazelnut chocolate tart and I'm deathly allergic to nuts! She knows this because we had an incident before where we all ordered chinese takeout and I ate some dish I didn't know contained almonds.

                                                                                                      1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                        OMG, shades of Jane Fonda in Monster in Law!

                                                                                                        1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                          oh my hell.

                                                                                                          You need to talk this one over with hubby. pronto.

                                                                                                          I wish you luck, dear -- you'll need every shred of it.

                                                                                                          1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                            Perhaps she has early dementia. Has she ever been tested? Her behavior indicates either a personality disorder or creeping dementia.

                                                                                                            1. re: justalex


                                                                                                              I'm no mental-health expert, but I'm really not seeing deliberate sabotage and planning another turkey to JUST HAPPEN to be read JUST as the other turkey burns to a crisp as being any deficiency in mental acuity.

                                                                                                              Batshit crazy, maybe, but not dementia.

                                                                                                              1. re: justalex

                                                                                                                Passive-aggressive. Not dementia. Look how she planned ahead, strategized, anticipated, executed. This lady is sharp as a tack. And mean as a snake.

                                                                                                              2. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                Your mother-in-law's behavior over Thanksgiving sounds bizarre, and I hope you'll be able to find solutions to enjoy the holidays in the future without anyone being alienated.

                                                                                                                Regarding the tart, and to play devil's advocate, I'm sure many of us know people who truly believe "just one won't hurt", whether a chocolate, a drink, or an allergen. (There are also people who are allergic to one nut and not others, to one kind of seafood and not others.)

                                                                                                                You do say that your husband addressed the issue and that your mother-in-law apologized (to him and to you). I'm reading an internet story about people I don't know, with the inherent possibilities of misunderstanding, but from this post, I see some hope.

                                                                                                                1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                  I hope you were able to come up with an extremely creative use for the death tart.

                                                                                                                  1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                    Wow. I'm firmly in the letting things go camp but this is beyond the pale. I wouldn't have her in my house.

                                                                                                                      1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                        OMG!!!! This is someone you have to circumvent at all costs. That's not even remotely funny. That's dangerous, mean and f'ing stupid. I hope your husband sees where this is going.

                                                                                                                    1. I'm really impressed that she had a freshly cooked, piping hot turkey at the ready when she had been at your house for a couple of hours. What would have happened had you not left the kitchen and she hadn't burned your turkey? That would have been one burnt bird!

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: pollymerase

                                                                                                                        Yeah, I'm thinking since she burned the turkey -- and left another one in a hot oven in an empty house -- that she's the one who is clearly not capable of "pulling off a big meal." You could tell her you might have been okay with her taking over Thanksgiving duties again, but this proves that she can't handle the pressure. Turnabout, fair play. And an excuse to keep her out of the kitchen next time, since, you explain condescendingly, her absentmindedness is pretty dangerous in a busy kitchen.

                                                                                                                        Also agree with others, glad the tradeoff was a good visit with your great-aunt (and wondering what she thought!)

                                                                                                                        1. re: mselectra

                                                                                                                          Clearly MIL did not think this through fully. MIL wants to make DIL look bad in the kitchen, but...but... she's the one who burned the turkey!

                                                                                                                      2. Wow. What a piece of work! She clearly has control issues and is highly manipulative. This was obviously not just about the turkey but about something much deeper. You need to speak with your husband about this and then stand your ground firmly with MIL. If you give up and let her host next year, she will then think that you are an easy target and she will attempt to extend her control further into your lives. This would have completely ruined my Thanksgiving. I am so sorry.

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Kat

                                                                                                                          Exactly the point I made upstream. Stand your ground.


                                                                                                                          1. re: Kat

                                                                                                                            Yes, be a united front. DH needs to have your back here and address this with his mother.
                                                                                                                            It is very difficult and easier said than done.

                                                                                                                          2. Wow. Just, wow. My sympathies. I have a lot of experience with my own pushy MIL (including my own worst Thanksgiving ever but it's unrelated to food prep so I won't go into it here). If your account is accurate she either deliberately sabotaged your turkey or she had absolutely no faith in your abilities to do things. Neither reflects well on her. And she didn't "save the day." She was the one who messed up in the first place!

                                                                                                                            My advice? Next year, don't let her in the kitchen. Period. If she brings stuff that needs to "crisp" tell her to give you the instructions and you can do it yourself. Be insistent. If she offers to help let her know that you would rather not have a miscommunication like last year. If it were my own MIL I wouldn't be as polite.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: Ladycale

                                                                                                                              I would simply tell her that I can't trust her to do it right.


                                                                                                                            2. Next year I would admit it was too much for you to do and let her host it again.

                                                                                                                              Show up an hour or two prior to when the food is supposed to be served, find your way into the kitchen and turn her oven to 450/500, obviously don't be seen doing this.

                                                                                                                              When the smoke alarms start going off, act in shock, then say "OMG thank God I have a perfectly cooked turkey at home, brb!!!"

                                                                                                                              Nothing starts the Holiday Season off as good as revenge.

                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                I like this. Devious. And revenge is a dish best served cold. And what the MIL deserves.

                                                                                                                                Though, actually, the lady has a big problem and unless you and your husband put your foot down-now-it will never, ever stop.

                                                                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                  LOL or turn to MIL and ask..."You have a backup ready, right?

                                                                                                                                2. Host but make it potluck. That way your MIL can get the chance to feel like she's trumping you, you get to control your kitchen (and the turkey! Hostess controls the turkey) and the credit, and family harmony is preserved. Have other people bring things besides your MIL.

                                                                                                                                  1. Well, well, well, you found the sociopathic layer of your MIL's personality.

                                                                                                                                    Dealing with the consequences of this is now your husband's responsibility to shoulder, not yours. If he's not prepared, he'll need to put his man pants on to pull this off. It requires him to set a clearly communicated, no-nonsense floor of unequivocal and unconditional support for you. (It doesn't require him to engage in a blame game, which would suit her sociopathy. Rather, something more like, Mom, there won't be a repeat of what happened this year at Thanksgiving in 2014, because my wife and I will again co-host Thanksgiving dinner at our home, and we will prepare all the food, without any surprising supplements from other quarters.) You have to have a version of Emily Post's non-negotiable universal etiquette tool when Mommy Dearest tries to bargain: "It simply won't be possible." Repeat ad nauseam (5 times will probably do the trick).

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                      And, "We really hope you can join us" to let her know the ball is in her court.

                                                                                                                                    2. We normally have very large Thanksgiving Dinner's, 30-50 people between our two families wouldn't be a surprise. Everyone prepares things to bring and we host it at our home.

                                                                                                                                      After a few years I was entrusted with preparing the turkey for Thanksgiving, I was very excited by this. I went out and bought a 40+lbs turkey for the occasion. Because of the prep-work of the other items I was cooking for the next day my refrigerator room was at a minimum so I was having problems fitting everything in there for the night with the bird in there. The outside temp. was below freezing and my garage was probably around 35 or so. So I took the turkey out of the fridge and left it in a pan in my garage for the night. (still all wrapped up, nothing exposed)

                                                                                                                                      I got up nice and early put the bird in the oven and however long later.....I had a beautiful bird. My mother-in-law comes over early to help with last minute things.......somehow the story of the bird sitting in the garage comes up, and she throws out my bird claiming I contaminated the bird by not keeping it refrigerated. Insisting I was going to poison everyone with that bird!!

                                                                                                                                      Regardless of my attempts to reason with her, apparently only 35 degree's inside a refrigerator is "safe", to no avail, she threw out my turkey. I was fit to be tied. Luckily I already didn't like the lady too much to begin with so my opinion didn't change much.

                                                                                                                                      True story.

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                        Growing up, we had a freezer located in an uninsulated but fully enclosed porch off one side of our house. In the winter time, we routinely just put stuff *on* the freezer to let it freeze, because it was significantly colder in the porch than in the freezer.

                                                                                                                                        It wasn't something you'd do long term, because highs and lows and sunlight could affect the temperature in the porch, but it was absolutely fine for overnight.

                                                                                                                                        I'd have probably had to be bodily restrained to keep from bodily restraining your MIL to keep her from throwing out that turkey. If she didn't want to eat it, that would be totally fine, but other people should have been allowed to make that choice for themselves, and at very least, you could have had a lot of leftover turkey to use as you pleased.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                          Wow, cooking a 40 lb. turkey is an awesome achievement. I can't believe she insisted on throwing out your turkey.
                                                                                                                                          What a waste!
                                                                                                                                          How did the human race survive without refrigeration?

                                                                                                                                          My only story is cooking for my DH's whole family on vacation, in a very nice vacation home.
                                                                                                                                          Nice kitchen with gas Viking cooktop.
                                                                                                                                          DH and I made a dinner that we knew would hit the "sweet spot"- meatballs, ziti, salad, apps.
                                                                                                                                          When making 3 lbs. of pasta, the water boiled over and extinguished the flame below and the electronic clicker kept firing.
                                                                                                                                          So, we turned that burner off and continued cooking on another, but the offended burner wouldn't stop clicking, which made SIL absolutely paranoid that we were going to cause a gas explosion, even though the burner was turned off!
                                                                                                                                          SIL does not have gas, so I guess never had this happen. I have and no biggie, we've got a dinner to finish cooking and serve.
                                                                                                                                          She was about to lose her mind that we kept using the gas range. It was almost comical, if it weren't for her constant paranoia.
                                                                                                                                          I got 60 meatballs (homemade, along with the sauce) to serve, lady, go away!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                            I recognize myself in the MIL throwing out the 35 degree bird.

                                                                                                                                            Years back (it may have been our first Thanksgiving) my husband put a frozen, 14+ pound turkey in my car, which was parked at my office and didn't tell me. It was 40-ish degrees that day. The turkey was in there 2 or 3 hours. The plan was I was to take it home and put it in the fridge to defrost.

                                                                                                                                            I was so convinced it would make us sick, I threw it out and drove to the store for a replacement.

                                                                                                                                            At the time, I had no idea how long it takes to defrost a turkey.

                                                                                                                                          2. Maybe the OP should just direct the MiL towards this thread and she can read what all we strangers think about her and her mental state.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                              Oh that would be so fantastic!

                                                                                                                                              Given my knowledge of the personality type, she would do one of the following -

                                                                                                                                              1. Deny it happened


                                                                                                                                              2. Turn it around and say "look how she is making fun of me, when all I was doing was trying to help."

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                                Well, people who engage in sociopathic behavior don't typically care that other people think negatively of their sociopathic behavior - if anything, it's a feature rather than a bug for them. They only respond to unequivocal boundary setting. Don't worry that you will hurt their feelings; it's a pose.

                                                                                                                                            2. Wow. Don't spend Christmas with the in-laws due to a horrible one we were put through a few years ago... they know it and don't ask anymore. Give us the opportunity to do what we want and change things up every year. The fact that she had a turkey going is creepy. Would not bother spending any time with someone like that. Wow.

                                                                                                                                              1. Jeez, what a narcissist, and I mean that in the true mental health sense. She deliberately ruined your turkey for her own edification??? and lied about how it happened???? That is so sick and self centered. I would have been a poor daughter in law at that point. You deserve many kudos for not ruining the whole day. This was crossing so many boundaries. It should give you a clear picture of with whom you are dealing ....be wary of her in every way. She would never be trustworthy to me ever again.
                                                                                                                                                BTW I had a mother in love that was wonderful. I am not projecting anything here. I miss her dearly.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Nanzi

                                                                                                                                                  Yes exactly. Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

                                                                                                                                                2. I should point one thing out for you Suzanne. If you take one thing from this, afaic, it should be this.

                                                                                                                                                  You learned who your MIL is for the price of 1 turkey. Be thankful. A lot of times it costs someone many thousands of dollars to learn who a person is. You got off pretty cheaply.


                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                                    Often, this learning comes with the advent of grandchildren.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                                      Also that the SIL is a potential ally in the war against the mother's crazy.

                                                                                                                                                    2. So much good advice. I can't add anything, other than to ask, "Is this the hill you want to die on?"

                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                        I agreed with that sentiment on the "tale of the unwanted stuffing". Here I think the transgression is much larger.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                          yeah, this a whole different issue than the unwanted stuffing.

                                                                                                                                                          This is a hill that *someone* is going to die on, regardless.

                                                                                                                                                          Hope it's the MIL, and not Suzanne.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                            I had a different take on that one (as you can tell). With the TOTUS, I saw it as a 'death by a thousand cuts' thing, where the OP was subjected to relentless but subtle jabs from SIL, and I advocated making a stand once and for all.

                                                                                                                                                            With this incident, however, it sounds as if it's MIL's first transgression (but what a doozy!), and this OP needs to consider, in totality, how bad was this episode compared to whatever wonderfulness MIL may provide otherwise. Clearly, MIL is a whack-job, but was it a one-off that FuriousSuzanne can chalk up to experience, or was it a harbinger of things to come? FuriousSuzanne is in a better place than I to make that call.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                            Given my experience with my MIL, someone would die on this hill but it wouldn't be me.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                              Is this the hill to die on?

                                                                                                                                                              Is this the Hilton, Diane?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                "Is this the hill you want to die on?"

                                                                                                                                                                No, but it IS a hill I would KILL on!!!

                                                                                                                                                              2. Oh no! I smell sabotage... next year don't let her anywhere NEAR the kitchen!

                                                                                                                                                                1. yeah. how DARE you Attempt outshine her!

                                                                                                                                                                  we're in the same boat. we share a MIL, as many here do.

                                                                                                                                                                  tell her to fuck off. I did. works like a charm!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Oh you need to put an end to this nonsense now. After reading the follow up reply even more so. She has no boundaries, I don't want to know what the hell she would do with grandkids.

                                                                                                                                                                    Any future events either need to be on someone neutral's turf, her banished to a limited role where she can't sabotoge anything or her not involved in whatever you choose to do for the holiday. At least you have learned this lesson, don't forget it, do not negotiate with this woman. I have relatives like this and they won't behave unless forced to by circumstances and multiple people minding them.

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: blackpointyboots

                                                                                                                                                                      This is one reason families have TG at a restaurant. Maybe MIL can host by paying for that.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                        and I'd tip extravagantly to ensure that MIL was served a plate of turkey turned to charcoal.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. wow.

                                                                                                                                                                      that is one seriously disturbed woman. this crosses the line.

                                                                                                                                                                      So. When appropriate, tell the story. Make sure they get the full details, especially about the fake 'just in case' bird and that she 'faked' you out to get you out of the kitchen, then Burned Up the original, lied about it and then substituted her convenient T, and then made disturbed, condescending comments.

                                                                                                                                                                      NO EXTRA COMMENTS from you beyond ' it was a disturbing and scary experience, I worry about her mental health, I hope someone (not me) can persuade her to get help'. Then drop the subject and talk about something else.

                                                                                                                                                                      Please consider doing this because its true. This will get back to her. It is unlikely to change her behavior or persuade her to get help but it will put others on notice that this is borderline dangerous behavior and you know it and will not accelerate/ratchet up _but_ you are not playing, nor are you intimidated. You are direct and truthful, not seeking revenge or whining.

                                                                                                                                                                      She does not ever get another chance to harm anything - not dinner, not a car, not your carpet. She is never to be depended on for anything ('helping' in any way) related to you, your home, possessions or your family, _especially_
                                                                                                                                                                      Never, ever share any personal or emotionally private information with her. If she asks why, tell her clearly and without rancor that she cannot be trusted. Make it a statement, not a discussion. If she persists, leave the room. If she persists, walk around the block. Do not allow her to discuss this with you, be polite but utterly unmoveable. No snark from you, ever.

                                                                                                                                                                      Continue to treat her cordially/politely without any nasty comments, backbiting or gossip w/others about her.

                                                                                                                                                                      sueatmo is right:
                                                                                                                                                                      "Be aware. Just remind yourself that you have learned a lot about this woman and never trust her with anything important, cooking tasks or information, ever again"

                                                                                                                                                                      over-reacting? no. No payback from you and no gossip or accusations. Just reality.

                                                                                                                                                                      you could ask me how I know...but it would depress me to share and sadden you to hear.

                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kariin

                                                                                                                                                                        "Make it a statement, not a discussion. If she persists, leave the room. If she persists, walk around the block. Do not allow her to discuss this with you, be polite but utterly unmoveable. No snark from you, ever."


                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kariin

                                                                                                                                                                          this is a brilliant response, and should be a must-read for anyone dealing with toxic people.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kariin

                                                                                                                                                                            Best response of any by far, and there were a lot of good ones.

                                                                                                                                                                            The whole family was there, they all know what was really going on, and in all likelihood have experienced some form of the same behavior. When you tell the story no one is going to be surprised - no matter what they say - and they will believe you.

                                                                                                                                                                            She has unintentionally given you the high ground, make sure you stay there. You are not ever going to be able to change her, but you can protect yourself and your family.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                              Unfortunately, in this type of situation the family members who will not be surprised are, perversely, unlikely to believe you.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: kariin

                                                                                                                                                                              Well written response in dealing with this manipulative and poisonous MIL.

                                                                                                                                                                              I've had my share of dealings with family members who are more than happy to put themselves or their outward appearances over the relationships with their 'loved ones'. With these types of individuals, there is no reasoning that can persuade them to change. If they cannot value you now as an individual, no amount of logic or care will change their opinion. Grandchildren arriving only results in a heated battleground to make her the 'best mother expert'.

                                                                                                                                                                              Snide or perceived snide comments will only give her reason to escalate her views of being on a pedestal and better than you. This is not a hill for you or her to die on ... rather, it's a slow diplomatic embargo for you to hold your ground.

                                                                                                                                                                              Best wishes to you and as someone said, it was a cruel lesson to learn about her true personality but a fairly cheap one (a turkey was injured instead of your bank account or children) so consider yourself moderately lucky.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                Yes - Ms Angelou is a wise woman.

                                                                                                                                                                                And thanks to Karl S, sunshine842, Kai and Nevy for the support and to all who found value. The help for me came from family therapist (trained by Virginia Satir) so its right to credit him (thanks Russ and Virginia).

                                                                                                                                                                                the tip-off that this is more than just annoying lies in several criteria: the actual destruction of 'something concrete and valuable' (main dinner item); destroyed at an important/symbolic family occasion; there were several organized actions (pre-cooked turkey, maneuvering her out of the kitchen; 'accidentally' burning the item requiring her substitution; MIL refusing to own her behavior or apologize to DIL and family.

                                                                                                                                                                                For years as a young woman I didn't put these together and there were _many_ worse examples, because I thought family harmony was more important than my own perceptions. Competent outside observations made the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                Food, like children, gifts etc, are heavily freighted territory.
                                                                                                                                                                                Thats why 'not about the food' is so compelling.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kariin

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm so glad you've shared because this is nothing to gloss over in order to keep the peace.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Coming from someone like you, who has really been there, I think is truly valuable.
                                                                                                                                                                                  These types can make one doubt their own sanity.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kariin

                                                                                                                                                                                    I hope FuriousSuzanne will really read what you wrote here and above.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kariin

                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, this is someone who puts her own selfish ego needs (as opposed to healthy ego needs - which do exist) over her own son's marriage. Were I her son, I would be majorly pissed. The problem is, children are often raised to develop a blindspot about their parent's sociopathic behaviors; hence my focus that the husband here has a role to play in this - he should manifest to his mother (not a negotiation here) that he will not enable her actively or passively.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                                        I was talking to Mrs. Sippi and told her that if my mom ever did that to her, she'd have had a hard time getting in the door without an earful. I don't care who it is, BS behaviour is BS behaviour.


                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I don't know what's worse...a MIL who has to control everything and does everything in her way or the complete opposite like my MIL and begs to have pity and sympathy which she doesn't need.

                                                                                                                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                                                                        What if you have both? Mine is super controlling but if she doesn't get her way suddenly she is crying and telling everyone that she won't be around forever trying to evoke as much sympathy as possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The worst part is that if someone outside the family is witness to this, they totally buy into the BS and we (me) look like heartless bitches.

                                                                                                                                                                                        So incredibly frustrating that I can no longer participate.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Monica

                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, I have the same MIL! Nothing is EVER good enough, and not only is she always miserable, she wants to make SURE that you and every one else knows she is miserable.

                                                                                                                                                                                          She doesn't sabotage the actual dinner, but rather the ambiance and energy of the get-together, complaining all through the meal about anything and everything, and long after. There's nothing anyone can say to make her relax and just enjoy being with loved ones. Someone will be in the middle of a story and she'll suddenly say "I know you all are just waiting for me to die. Well, it shouldn't be long", or something like that. Try to keep up the jolliness after that.
                                                                                                                                                                                          (DH is the only child, and has a blind eye and deaf ear to her behavior).

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Michelly

                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow. Your MIL is similar to mine. My MIL might be less dramtatic, but only because she doesn't have a vivid imagination. She doesn't really cause too much interference, but she is a bit wacky.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Contrast my MIL with my mother. She is probably the best MIL ever. She does not interfear and she always asks about family stuff rather than just assuming. However, I have a SIL who has been sort of a b*tch since I have known her (junior high, but I did not really know her until she started to date my brother while we were in college.)

                                                                                                                                                                                            Anyway, I'll never forget, nor forgive the day, when I saw her call my mother an 'effin' bitch'. All my mother was attempting to do was to commnicate with said SIL, but SIL had a habit of the 'silent treatment' or not answering when asked a question. Unfortunately, her sons have learned this behavior from there mother.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Michelly

                                                                                                                                                                                              The only response to that line is something like: "don't make promises you don't intend to keep." It should give you at least 30 or 40 seconds of silence.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Michelly

                                                                                                                                                                                                To you and baseballfan above, and any others this affects:

                                                                                                                                                                                                yes, my MIL had many many problems, same behaviors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                this is _such_ a hard road, you have my respect and my sympathy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Seriously, working w/a good therapist (family therapy trained) made a difference in _my_ perspective and behavior. Whether her son/daughter goes, go for yourself and your peace of mind. Eventually my H. gained much - part of the change was us mourning the absence of a loving relationship we both had hoped for and facing our own disappointment and anger and not letting that eat us up or cause us to do 'payback'.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Took me a long time but we made it far enough to care for her gently for 4 years before she passed. I cannot tell you the relief and compassion for ourselves when she died because we had been able to face the reality but find ways to _not_ get hooked into her abusive and destructive behavior.
                                                                                                                                                                                                you are not crazy to see your situation, please consider the help that's out there. This is honestly too hard to carry alone and 'payback' is fruitless. Sometimes it turns you into that other person. I 'll keep you both in my thoughts

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kariin

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I have actually considered this in the past and I may revisit it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: baseballfan

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Good luck! These types of people truly believe that they are doing nothing wrong, that they are acting in a proper manner, and thus do not need to seek therapy. And the older they are, the lower the chances of them ever changing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Michelly

                                                                                                                                                                                                      What you said is true, but what kariin suggests is that even though the MIL won't go, the daughter in law and her husband should. This will help them deal with the MIL's behavior.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Michelly

                                                                                                                                                                                                  that's so my MIL. We'd all be talking about something and she always butts in and says something like, oh, I used to do that..I...I..any topic we talk about it's always about I..I...My...me..
                                                                                                                                                                                                  She'd call us 3 in the morning and crying...I think I have a cancer. Last time, she called and said, she hasn't gone to bathroom in 3 days and she thinks that's a sign of cancer. She doesn't have a freakin cancer. She calls early in the morning and asks my husband to come over because she needs her computer printer fixed as if she has an important business to deal with. We both work and have 2 young children and she lives 2 bridges away.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Last time we were at a supermarket, we were getting a cart where it requires to put a quarter, I told my husband, this is so incovenient, my MIL goes, alright...you think I am inconvenient..i get it..I see....
                                                                                                                                                                                                  She is also extremely cheap even though she pays like $400 for an hour to her therapist. I've known for about 7 years and she has yet to bought a single meal..it's always us who has to treat her and her gift to her grandkids would be like $10-$15 toy she has picked up somewhere.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can go on and on....

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Michelly

                                                                                                                                                                                                    After listening to this for about 15 years (at least) from one of my relatives ('You have to make those Christmas cookies *this* year, it could be my last'), I recently playfully called her on it. She referenced being about to die again, and I said, You've been saying that for at least the past 15 years--but here you still are, in reasonably good health!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mumble, mumble--I said that 15 years ago? Really?? (Yup, really.) Oh, I must've meant something else back then ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                      When I was growing up, there were two aunts who were hypochondriacs. They were both always coming up with either a disease or allergy they were going to die from. One of them did die at age 70. The other will turn 88 in a little over a month. (Both were terrible cooks. I still don't really know sloppy joes can be ruined, but they were.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Got that from my Nana for years and years. She was well into her 80's when she passed away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        And we all got the books back that we had given her, because she always instructed us to put our names in them so they could be returned when she died. I guess that system worked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Wow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If it were me, I doubt I'd host again. In fact, I might be taking a Caribbean vacation on the 4th Thursday in November from here on out ... or at least until MIL has gone to her 'reward.'

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The upside is you know now to watch your back at all times. This woman is an utter snake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I would host again, but would not invite MIL. After all, she's gonna make her own turkey anyway, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would like to invite MIL and "accidentally" turn the oven to broil just to help crisp up the skin on her delicious turkey

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                          you know FS, I did just that in my mom's stove in 2012, the great part is, the turkey LOOKED fantastic. Completely raw in the middle, but gorgeous color on the outside. and yes mine was accidental, and yes the whole family pitched in to rescue the meal, but as a tactic it would work great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Of course I'm not sure what Karlin's therapist would say about escalating the hostilities. Next time she might not tell you what's in the dessert. "Oh, I just thought she was allergic to nuts - I didn't realize almond extract would be a problem!" "I feel so terrible about killing her, more cake anyone?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't use almond extract very often but it never would have occurred to me not to use it for a nut allergy person. The things I learn here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: miss_belle

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't have a nut allergy, but I do have a mellon allergy. Even a splash of midori in a cocktail is enough to trigger it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. You must insist she do thanksgiving next year. Hang out with family, watch a long movie and on your way through the kitchen for your third glass of wine be sure to raise the temp on the oven to 500 and sit down and enjoy that whine!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: motomom

                                                                                                                                                                                                        the only problem with that is that you then ruin dinner for everyone else, and YOU look like the vindictive witch - no matter how good it feels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not if she has a nice hot turkey heating up at home in her stove.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                            sad part is that I'm not truly convinced that there's such a thing as revenge...because revenge means that the object of the revenge has the mental acuity to grasp that they've been retaliated against.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm not at all sure that Suzanne's MIL has the thought processes available for it to register that Suzanne is indeed retaliating and not just being a horrid daughter-in-law.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            It also invites escalation...and escalation with a loose cannon can get just downright scary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                              My MIL was a saint, so I'm not an expert by any means. She taught me everything I know about cooking. At this time of year, I know she is watching over us in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sunshine, Yes. This, to the Max. that's why an outside opinion or 2 is key. A really disturbed person is oblivious to their own problems and behavior . It really is possible (with help) to disengage. My therapist called it 'not picking up that rope'...as in paticipating in a 'tug-of-war'. Took me long time to absorb but great relief when I did, and it doesn't mean being a doormat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unfortunately, that assumes she has empathy that can be triggered by such an act, but it's likely she does NOT, not in the way you or I would wish, that is. She has enough empathy to know how to push other people's buttons but probably not enough to experience compunction. Compunction for her will likely require an epiphanic experience like the ending of a Flannery O'Connor story. (For examples: Mrs Shortley, who, after a stroke in her car in "The Displaced Person", "seemed to contemplate for the first time the tremendous frontiers of her true country". Or Mrs Turpin in "Revelation": "A visionary light settled in her eyes. She saw the streak [of purple sunset] as a vast swinging bridge extending upward from the earth through a field of living fire. Upon it a vast horde of souls were rumbling toward heaven. There were whole companies of white-trash, clean for the first time in all their lives, and bands of black [people] in white robes, and battalions of freaks and lunatics shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs. And bringing up the end of the procession was a tribe of people whom she recognized as those who, like herself and Claud, had always had a little of everything and the God-given wit to use it right. She leaned forward to observe them closer. They were marching behind the others with great dignity, accountable as they had always been for good order and common sense and respectable behavior. They alone were on key. Yet she could see by their shocked and altered faces that even their virtues were being burned away. ... In the woods around her the invisible cricket choruses had struck up, but what she heard were the voices of the souls climbing upward into the starry field and shouting hallelujah." I know this may be too literary for most Chowhounds, but I think it's important to not fool ourselves, and ritual meals are properly weighted with much liminal meaning that can often only be plumbed in literature. Food is more than food in a ritual meal, and that's what gives the OP's MIL's actions here such added weight.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'd be interested to read more than this introduction!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you don't have modern literary indigestion over the Omniscient Narrator (I don't, but then again I've never cottoned to the literary injunctions against it), you can find lots more. O'Connor would have had a field day with some of the classic stories of Chowhound though, despite her tremendous fondness for fowl, preferred them not for food but for other reasons. A glutton she was not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sounds interesting, especially the post stroke ruminations. I'm sure I can handle it. Thanks for the info.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No, Karl. You nailed this. And O'Connor was an amazing observer of people, wasn't she? thanks for this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Culinary anthropology/family dynamics - you are _so_ on target.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Some visuals from Christmas past, MIL and grandmother in law.....gee I miss them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                What a cute apron! (That Pyrex pie plate is in my kitchen too.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Got the same Pyrex pie plate too; truth be told, it was part iof my husband's pre- marriage kitchen. I've no idea why he had it as he has never baked a pie in his life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As for the apron, both my mother and aunt had a whole collection. In those years, of course, they dressed up for company, so they needed an apron to keep their party dresses nice. Not so necessary when you wear jeans to entertain. My mother had a really cute smock- like apron similar in style to the one in the picture -- forest green, trimmed with red rickrack. My sister got it somewhere along the line (back in the day when I didn't cook). Memories of a different era.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm pretty sure she had those smocks in every color, to match what she was wearing. She called them something else, I can't remember, housecoats maybe?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And I only recently got that exact pie plate too, which I do use mostly for pies, also a Wilton flat scalloped dish like you would use for tarts. That I use for everything, for example the backup plate of pasta as you see in the picture. Now I know where I got that idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You're right, I have tons of aprons myself, enough for an army, and many handmade by my craft oriented SIL; but they are all hanging in the closet, waiting to be donated to a museum; times have changed!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      that pie plate is still made and sold -- it's referred to as a Deep-Dish plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mine was Great-Aunt Helen's though, and has proper patina ... which I believe I see in the picture as well ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          All her kitchenware was WW2 and older, half it was Grandmas (pictured here) so going back to the turn of the century. They don't make 'em like they used to! My SIL took it all when the time came, unfortunately it doesn't get all that much use anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Back around the time of the picture, I wanted to learn how to make pie crust, and she gave me a tin pie plate that she said would guarantee success. I've never seen another like it and she was right. I have a feeling it came over from Italy with Grandma. She was my mentor when it came to cooking, wouldn't be where I am today without her. This thread made me meditate on my good fortune in this area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  coll, thanks for this and these wonderful pictures. You are very lucky.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kariin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks, the luckiest thing is to know when you're lucky I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. I responded several times to this thread, already, but let me add that next year, you should get some red duct tape and put an X with it over the doorway to your kitchen, then station the hubby there to stop anyone from coming in unless they have your expressed permission.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Ugh. Well, now you know that this is the kind of stunt she pulls, so now you can be prepared for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    At the very least, you have a great story to contribute to an "Oh, let me tell you about MY in-laws" rant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I LIKED my mother-in-law. It was my ex daughters-in-law who were problematic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Thanks for the advice everyone. I actually phoned dear MIL up and told her how I felt and that I did not appreciate her tart that I could not eat. She told me she thought I was just faking my nut allergy and that if I tried her tart I might like nuts :s. Also she let me know I was out of my element trying to host thanksgiving and I would get my next chance when she passed away. Oh well I tried it's just a hopeless situation </3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Have you considered spending your holidays without her?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            May you and your supportive hubby have many happy holidays ahead of you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm happy and sad for you and Hubby at the same time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I really admire your taking this issue head on. That takes a lot, but at least nothing is gray anymore.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No more games.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Many people spend their lives skirting these issues, torturing themselves wit the hope that something or really, someone will change.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Many, many future happy holidays to you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Will you be hosting Thanksgiving next year??? Without her??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another option is a weekend getaway. Don't have to deal with the situation.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's great Suzanne. I just hope you are taking kariin's advice about taking control of the narrative here as much as possible. That is, that the issue is that MIL is not capable of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, she is the one who burned the turkey, she couldn't handle being alone in the kitchen without making a huge, dangerous mistake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  She's trying make the story exactly the opposite, and she'll cast it as you're cutting her off because she showed you up. Not that you want to put a whole lot more energy into this -- but I'd practice telling your story with a calm, benevolent tone for when you need to explain to others why you won't be doing Thanksgiving with her any more. Poor woman, burned the turkey, not safe to have her cook Thanksgiving any more, nice that she could for so many years, but no more, oh well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We instituted a No Contact decision ourselves. It's amazing how cool and calm life is without in law interference. Happy Holidays!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I loved both my mother in laws. Both were fabulous cooks and both hubbies were mama's boys:) Having said that I think your MIL is treacherous cruel and sick. So putting her on extinction is a smart move. I am sure your poor hubby has a few *family* secrets about that woman!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Your hubby sounds like a winner, despite (or perhaps because of!) his dreadful mother. I think you were spot on to recognize that the fact she thinks you're faking your nut allergy was a sign that there was no way to fix this relationship. Who knows what else she might have put nuts in and not told you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            nuts to a person who is allergic to nuts is far more serious than a case of the runs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            coll, you sound like you were very lucky to have a MIL you loved and who loved you, and who would never think to do these things to you. but it's like moms - i had the most amazingly sweet mother in the world, and i'm often drawn to telling people now that she's gone that they should call their moms and love their moms, because i didn't do it enough because i miss her terribly, but that's unfair, because i didn't have their moms, and they didn't have mine. there are such things as toxic people, and people don't need to feel like they are bad people or ingrates because they don't miss their moms/MILs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            as i said upthread somewhere, my own "MIL" is a really sweet woman, so i've never had anyone in the family treat me as badly as the OP's MIL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and in case i've offended, which wasn't my intention at all, i am glad for you that you had such a great relationship with your MIL, and sorry for your loss. i'm sure you enhanced her life as much as she did yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you, it was surely a best case scenario. I was caught by surprise how many bad MILs there were out there, so I thought I'd throw my two cents in. And stir the pot, so to speak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good for you. Now you know and you can move forward and it great that you have your husband's support. Believe me, over time you will be very happy that you have this stress out of your life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Seems she doesn't realize what a lonely old woman she will soon be. May you enjoy hosting many thanksgivings and other holiday and non holiday get togethers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow. Just wow. You are to be commended for giving her yet another chance. I bet if I looked up "passive aggressive" in the dictionary, it'd have her picture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          How do you get along with FIL? For that matter, how does MIL get along with FIL?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am so sorry you got such an awful reply, yet I'm thrilled that your husband is supporting you. Let this be a new day! I hope next year's holidays will be full of joy, which is what you deserve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yowza. I'm so sorry for you and your husband but it's fantastic that he supports you! I'd get a realtor...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, despite my previous advice to not engage I am glad you did. Because she clearly wanted to take it to the next level and now you can walk away knowing you did your best while also letting her know how you feel. Hopefully a clean break and not a long drawn-out drama!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am happy you confronted her and now you will have no regrets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My guess is your DH has his own tales of woe concerning his Mom and having your own holidays and your home as your safe haven, as it should be, is a relief for him as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would have been tempted to say that from interactions with her alone, I was sure I didn't like nuts ;) Glad you've made a decision wrt your home--I think it's a good one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FuriousSuzanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I just read all of your responses to this thread and I have two questions, how long have you been married and do you have children? Your MIL certainly seems the type to cause much more trouble for you than her Thanksgiving antics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I cannot believe her attitude towards you about the nut allergy. I would not eat any more of her food if it were me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I've read everything up to this point and yet I am still trying to wrap my mind around:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "she got in her car and drove a few blocks away to her house"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That is way to close for comfort for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As the old saying goes you can't change people you can only change your reaction to them. As mentioned before a professional therapist can help in this area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. MIL desperately needs a swift kick in the nuts. Hard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          MIL simply needs fewer people around to give oxygen to her flame.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That is the bottom of the bottom line.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd expect MIL to escalate, and hopefully, the OP and her dear DH will seek assistance whenever they need a professional to help guide them, because MIL ain't gonna be happy when she realizes that their word is bond.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's true. The best way to 'win' is to refuse to play. Sometimes that's hard to do, tho.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's what cuts to a narcissist's core. It's their Kryptonite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monavano


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Q: How much noise does a narcissist make when she or he flails in the forest?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A: It is simply not possible to care.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed ... you absolutely cannot play their game. You must make the rules ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Some advice here for dealing with narcissists ... http://aboutwhatmatters.wordpress.com...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Your problem isn't the dinner---it's the mother-in-law. She came over and cremated your turkey and then just happened to have a freshly-roasted one waiting at her house? And no doubt thinks she is terribly clever to have strategized this bit of sabotage. This woman is going to be major trouble unless your-husband-her-son recognizes the problem and if he fails to recognize it, you are screwed, forever. But let's start with what we can do something about: you. You say "this is the first year I have been ALLOWED to cook dinner." Forget about other people allowing or disallowing---you allow yourself, then you decide what you do. Power isn't given---it is taken. I suggest that you have a polite, civil conversation with the MIL explaining that you wanted very much to make this dinner your special production and that her contributions made that impossible---then, next Thanksgiving, do not ask her to bring anything and do not let her in the kitchen. JUST SAY NO. If you have a family member you can enlist to engage her in the living room, that might help. She is having trouble giving up her position as Queen of the Family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Read the OP's updates buried in the thread. The OP and her husband done did quite good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Who is hosting Christmas? :-/ (If you celebrate it, that is)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. My MIL is gone and not missed. There are food stories to tell, sometime, but right now I'll suggest something else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Shingles vaccines for Suzanne and her SIL. Maybe for their husbands as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Toxic folks can cause Shingles eruptions, and the new cases must be treated in three days or the pain is long lasting and never really totally normal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you are around horse poop, your tetanus shots may need a booster shot. If you are around toxic people, the Shingles shot may be a necessity....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. wow. just, wow. I admire the patience, humor, and long term vision of many of the posters here. That woman would be banned from my house, and possibly my life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      she has been -- Suzanne filed the update a couple of weeks ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I noticed that after I read down the thread. Gosh, makes me thankful for my down to earth family. I was so glad to read the OP made a swift decision. Life is too short to allow people and their drama to muck up a holiday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Dear Furious,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps you have changed your stage name (online handle) by now, but I bet I'm not the only one hoping that you had a peaceful, uneventful Christmas celebration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Best wishes for the New Year as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. completely concur with bobbert: you now have the VERY BEST thanksgiving disaster story EVER!!!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        write it down and SAVE it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        share it with the whole family EVERY thanksgiving as part of the "tradition."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DON'T LET IT DIE!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        a perfectly executed thanksgiving meal is NOTHING compared to the GREAT STORY you now have!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It will be funny to FuriousSuzanne in about ten to twenty years, I know how she feels!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Advice columnist Carolyn Hax, syndicated from the Washington Post, does a holiday themed chat with readers called the Holiday Hootenany where all sorts of holiday transgressions are described and is hilarious -- albeit often only in hindsight from the afflicted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Furious, you should submit this next year, or whenever you're ready, and you'll get a lot of support!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Suzanne, I'm hoping your Christmas and New Year's were healthy and sane.