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Relative always ruins good food

My sister-in-law is always taking good food and ruining it with weird ingredients. E.g., I'm at their family's place making guacamole (avo+garlic+lime+salt) and she gets really excited about her "secret trick" and adds freaking sour cream! Or I was helping re-use leftover chicken by crisping it up for tacos and she insisted on adding some gross taco flavoring packet, ugh! She always has these "tricks" that she's so proud about and that I'm afraid to tell her ruins the simplicity (and healthiness!) of food. But I'm a recent addition to the household so I'm afraid to push on this.... any tips?

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  1. Wait, you're a guest in her house? Using her food, or yours?

    1. Not her house, in her parent's house (along with my wife and their other siblings) for holidays etc. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, I'm definitely aware I'm a guest (which is why I've never said anything about this). Usually people pitch in with different meals and snacks and so forth.

      13 Replies
      1. re: garlicman

        I would try to find a way to let her do the cooking then. Save your efforts for your house. Then, don't let her in the kitchen.

        1. re: chileheadmike

          But then the OP risks looking like a slacker.

          There should be a way to gently tell her that you have preferences and talent, too.
          It sounds like she doesn't know of or respect your culinary talents.
          Is she older than your wife- the "older sister"?

          1. re: monavano

            of all the risks inherent in this situation, the risk of "looking like a slacker" is BY FAR the least dangerous risk to to take on.

            1. re: monavano

              Perhaps you live in a *magical* family? I have a very large family and extended family. There is a hierarchy and seniority is a reality. This is a female family member at her parents home...she gets to be the shot caller there.Junior needs to learn how to bide his time and make his move once he is truly accepted. Why risk upsetting his new SIL? Over what? His culinary POV? Pick your battles in life.

              1. re: MamasCooking

                Exactly, it's a marathon and not a sprint. Since the OP is the new guy maybe it would be best to either bring prepared food, cookin the style the family prefers, or be the guy who does the dishes for now. Or he can ask his wife for the best way to handle her sister.

          2. re: garlicman

            In her parent's house, she probably feels she's got more room to be bossy in the kitchen. I get that.

            Well, a couple suggestions would be to tell her what you'll be in charge of and you wouldn't HEAR of her lifting a finger to help you. Her job is to just enjoy something that you yourself are an expert at.
            "Oh, honey, let me do the work- you rest and I'll let you know when it's done"
            Or, "how about we try it this way and see how it turns out. I've made it without mayo and can make it creamy without the extra calories, which is great for me right now"

            It's a tough one, but I'm sure you'll get some ammunition here!

            1. re: monavano

              or give her some food prep task to keep her occupied and not messing with what you are doing. Being that it's her parent's house, she probably wants to be puttering in the kitchen.

              1. re: BeeZee

                And might feel that her parents' kitchen is territorially hers, and your the interloper.
                She certainly believes she's further up the proverbial totem pole.

                1. re: BeeZee

                  BeeZee - I have been known to do that. the challenge is that I hate to chatter while I'm cooking, so I have to come up with enough tasks to keep them occupied while I tune them out and still stop them from removing things from my prep area to 'put away' since I didn't dump it all in at once.

              2. re: garlicman

                Good plan. Not your house, not your business.

                1. re: garlicman

                  If you're making the food, you decide how it's made. Say something like, "That sounds really interesting, I look forward to trying it when you make it next time!" or "Secret ingredient? Tell me about it while I finish this up." Or invite her ahead of time to collaborate on a set recipe.

                  I think this situation can be solved graciously and without insulting anyone's food preferences. SIL thinks she's doing you a favor, so just make it a favor of advice instead of action.

                2. Alternate Post:"Relative makes boring tasteless food.
                  My new BIL is makes the most boring tasteless food and he snubs any attempt I make to help him snazz it up, claiming that I will make it 'unhealthy"! Who cares how healthy it is if it tastes like wet cardboard? I tried to show him a trick to use sour cream to make the guacamole more creamy but he refused and we were stuck with lumpy watery green glop in a bowl. Then I tried to put some of my favorite Mexican seasoning on the taco meat , another no go, I guess we are just expected to eat plain old baked chicken in a tortilla and call it "Tacos". He is new to the family and I don't want to be pushy but one more of these flavorless meals and I am just going to have to high-tail it to Applebees first."

                  I jest, but food is very personal and people can be easily insulted when told something they like is "not right" or can be done better.

                  or you could challenge her to an Iron Chef style showdown and let the family decide who's Guac reigns supreme.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: JTPhilly

                    LOL. I totally deserve that. But c'mon, avocados are already creamy, there's no need to add sour cream, it's completely unnecessary and dilutes the delicious avo taste!

                    And I'm not against seasoning things, duh. She actually poured this extremely salty and gross "Taco Bell" seasoning packet all over it then put water in the pan and turned it into chicken glop.

                    1. re: garlicman

                      I was not questioning your judgment, agreed on all points. Just pointing out how she might see it a bit tongue and cheek

                      1. re: garlicman

                        Perhaps she doesn't like "the delicious avo taste"? I say cut her some slack...this definitely falls under "life is too short". (Unless you have to eat 3 meals a day with her for the rest of your life).

                          1. re: magiesmom

                            So what? I'm a cook and I take pride in what I make. I don't care how new I am to a clan I'm not letting any one dump crap into what I'm making. If she doesn't like it the way I make it that's fine and she can take some and doctor it any way she likes. But I'm not going to put up with someone changing the entire dish. Good way to lose a hand.

                            jb

                          2. re: garlicman

                            I remember when I first ate "improved" guacamole - agree that it is a crime against Mesoamerican culture.

                            1. re: garlicman

                              Out of curiousity -- is it possible that you have attempted to take over the kitchen, which is normally SIL's domain? I'm wondering if maybe she always makes the guac and tacos, and you came in and said "I'll make the guac, I have a great recipe that's oh so healthy" and "I'll make the tacos because I make delicious ones" when that's normally something she does. Could you be invading her territory?

                            2. re: JTPhilly

                              Haha. Made my day. Totally sympathize with garlicman, but I am also the person who 1) adds sour cream to guac and 2) uses Taco Bell seasoning for tacos... And yes, the instructions say to add water and cover :)

                              1. re: JTPhilly

                                like... food preferences are a very individual thing and basically we like what we're used to. She's used to doing it one way and you've come into the family and want to do something different.

                                Next time she wants to season your food say 'I like to make my own seasoning mix - it's really not difficult' (or, 'I have to watch my salt intake so I have to use salt-free spices') and show her how to mix the basic spices to do it herself without needing a premixed packet. It might open her eyes...

                                My inlaws are premade prepackaged food junkies... they're older and have serious health issues and need to do things the easy way. I don't tread on their toes, I just go along with it, and in fact I took some tips from THEM to find packaged foods that I enjoy as well - I'm not in good health either and the less effort I have to use in the kitchen the better...

                              2. If it's a control thing with SIL (and it kinda sounds like it is), let her screw up the food however she wants, and you do the clean-up. You'll get max points for being 'the son-in-law who does the dishes', and you'll avoid any potential head-to-head battles.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ricepad

                                  Agreed. This is a turf war you can't win.

                                  Just serve really awesome food at your place. And watch them go back for second helpings, while trying really hard not to ask for recipes or give good feedback. Been there, done that, I know my food is better. They know it too, which is why they never want me to host an event unless I invite them all over.

                                2. Prep and finish the dishes to be shared at ~your~ house.

                                  Deliver to the party when they are completed. If you need to store them consider a cooler in your car.

                                  Plan B is to host at your house. Your kitchen. If SIL tries to "help" thank her profusely, pour her a glass of wine and gently steer her out of the kitchen.

                                  When you are "group cooking" at the parents/grandparents house you just have to kind of roll with it. Families have their traditions and what-not.

                                  1. LOLZ.

                                    I have a buddy who is that way.

                                    Knows his way around the culinary world, but just CAN'T stop himself from meddling with any dish that is not fully prepped and made and placed in front of him.

                                    First shot at making home rolled sushi rolls, I made the std. california roll.

                                    For his he pulled out guacamole, roast chix from the mkt and salsa as add in's.
                                    Ummmmmmmmm...OK.
                                    It's his roll to eat.

                                    I call him the goulash master.

                                    Any combinded ingredient dish soon becomes a mish-mash of what is available and in the fridge vs. a known and targeted end product.

                                    My mother used to meddle with my food as a guest.
                                    Once in my 30's, a wooden spoon to her knuckles one day in the kitchen made her cogniscent of the situation.

                                    Some day's it's like having a 6 year old in the kitchen that keeps adding more m&m's or chocolate chips to the batter thinking they are making it better.

                                    Want it your way? Then MAKE it your way. But don't monkey with my dish please.
                                    Thankyouverymuch.
                                    Unless ur 6. Ha.

                                    Best way to solve it is to prepare ahead and just serve at the venue ready to eat if not at your own abode.

                                    BTDT.
                                    :-)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: jjjrfoodie

                                      "Want it your way? Then MAKE it your way. But don't monkey with my dish please. Thankyouverymuch."

                                      I like this a lot.

                                    2. "I prefer a more traditional guacamole, let's divide this into 2 bowls and you can add sour cream to yours."

                                      and

                                      "I stay away from heavily processed ingredients, lets split the chicken into 2 pans and you can add the package to yours."

                                      I don't like to squash anyone's enthusiasm for cooking, even if it's misguided.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                        I'd be careful with the language "heavily processed ingredients," to me it sounds judgmental. As in, "I'm more healthy than you," or any other philosophy that contradicts what she is doing. I'd just say you're using less sour cream (or whatever the "special" ingredient is) and leave it at that. Keep it light, "oh, I'm just used to it this way," and keep the relationship neutral. Do it your way at home, try to respect their culinary (or other) traditions (as bizarre as you may find them) and "just try to get along."

                                        As for the taco seasoning packets, there were more than a few nights when I was pressed for time cooking dinner for my son and used them. As a single mother working full time, I used a few packaged items (can you say Kraft blue box?) to get dinner done quick. I would throw that stupid seasoning on chicken to spend a few more minutes helping him with his homework. I still have some left, haven't touched them since he left home for college almost 9 years ago, but can't decide what to do with them. Seeing them brings back warm memories of those dinners with him.

                                        1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                          Changing the words would change the meaning and I really mean I don't eat things with heavily processed ingredients. (The OP also mentioned the desire for healthier choices, there may be health concerns we aren't aware of.) If she asked why I would let her know my health concerns. I don't think lying and coddling is necessary. There is nothing wrong with being politely honest with people. Lying to "try to get along" is disrespectful and only causes a problem later when that person finds out you weren't truthful with them (and they continue turning food into something you can't eat.) That's a bad decision in a long term situation like extended family.

                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                            I wasn't suggesting lying at all. I was just trying to say there might be a better way to say it. And I don't recommend coddling either. I just think the situation is beyond his control, just a bit, so a more "political" approach might be received easier. Maybe he IS using less sour cream, or whatever; maybe he could say "I prefer not to use heavily processed ingredients" instead of "I stay away from..." which still to me sounds more loaded with meaning.

                                            I'm in sales, so I have to be very diplomatic as to what I say to clients. I've found there are ways to say "no" without actually saying it directly, and there are very few times I will actually say it directly (and then I'll give a very good reason as to why I've said it).

                                      2. In my book, your guacamole was just avocados with lime and salt. Where's the onion? The jalepenos? Maybe some tomatoes? I'm wondering if maybe she thought it needed more than just lime and salt and thought the sour cream would add some flavor to it.

                                        As for the taco seasoning, did you just heat up plain chicken, or did you add some spices to it to make it "taco worthy"? Plain chicken needs some seasoning like cumin to taste good in a taco, at least IMO. Plus I've never heard of crisping chicken for tacos -- were you frying it?

                                        I'm guessing she thinks your food is too plain. Seasoning your food with onions and spices doesn't make it unhealthy, but it adds flavor. But then again, I'll use the occasional packet of taco seasoning if I'm pressed for time.

                                        11 Replies
                                        1. re: boogiebaby

                                          Ok Ok. I concede that there are alternative theories on guac. I've even been known to put diced jalapenos in there. But IMHO avocados mashed with lime and salt IS the pure platonic form of guacamole and any alterations are steps away from holy purity into the sinful realm of men.

                                          For the tacos, my plan was basically what you said. Lightly fry it with cumin, chile flakes, maybe some garlic and onions, etc. Give it a little texture.

                                          1. re: garlicman

                                            >But IMHO avocados mashed with lime and salt IS the pure platonic form of guacamole and any alterations are steps away from holy purity into the sinful realm of men.

                                            IMHO your idea of guacamole sucks.

                                            1. re: joonjoon

                                              I'm with jj. Platonic ideal? Where did you get that? If you want to stick with pre-columbian version of guac, you would have avocado and salt, maybe tomato and jalapenos since those are new world. Limes? Well since that's old world, it couldn't be part of the platonic ideal. So not worth the fight dude. Relax. Eat what the family eats in their home. When you make it in your home, then its your rules.

                                              1. re: Bkeats

                                                ohh kittens, sheathe your claws. gman said his guac was no more than avocado, salt and lime juice. (I like some tomato chunks but then I'm in the midwest/south)

                                                what others do to it is not his liability.

                                                1. re: hill food

                                                  Claws? Curious as to why you thought I had claws out. I just thought referring to a version of guac as a Platonic ideal was sort of silly. The Platonic ideal doesn't have a form. So to have a particular recipe actually cuts against the whole concept. To give manifestation to the form is to vary from the idea. The idea is an abstraction. Or perhaps I should just drop the point all together as I don't want a thread drift into philosophy so never mind.

                                          2. re: boogiebaby

                                            I do this with leftover chicken breast, pork or steak all the time. Fry up the meat with some garlic or onions, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Makes a delicious taco/lettuce wrap filling. Top with salsa and cilantro.

                                            1. re: MVNYC

                                              I didn't call out the OP for using leftover meat for tacos. I was asking if he used any spices or seasoning at all since the sister in law felt it needed taco mix. I read the initial post as him "crisping" leftover chicken but that he didn't add anything to it, so his sister in law decided to add taco seasoning.

                                              1. re: MVNYC

                                                When pressed for time, I buy the rotisserie chx, skin and lightly shred the meat. Add little bacon fat in the pan, some spices and the meat will crisp up nicely. Good to go for tacos or quesadillas. Or, I'll just eat it with some chips and guac.

                                                The bacon fat gives it a little smokiness that I love.

                                              2. re: boogiebaby

                                                The many times I've had guac prepared table-side in Mexico, it's been avocado, lime, and salt. Period.

                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                  Many years ago we used to put sour cream in guacamole, but have since discovered that it is tastier and more *authentic* without.

                                              3. She surely has not been doing this sort of thing only to you or since you joined the family. What does your wife/her sister think, assuming you've mentioned it to her? Does your sister-in-law try to "improve" only your preparations, or everyone's?

                                                I have a similar issue. I'm somewhat an outsider with respect to a branch of my family --I moved to the area from another location, and they've been getting together for years; generations really. They make some pretty odd stuff, often heavy with cream. If it were just one person pushing these concoctions, I might try to "conspire" with other members of the family to provide a balance of non-ruined food (so to speak). But since the whole crowd seems to enjoy it, I just keep my mouth shut, and bring something I've pre-made at home, which usually gets raves --mainly I suspect because I'm male and can cook something other than BBQ.

                                                2 Replies
                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                    I knew someone would call me on that :-)
                                                    Creamed green beans? Lots of cream in a crab dip? No thanks. I'm with the OP on this one regarding sour cream in guac -if it ain't broke, dont purport to "fix" it.

                                                1. Is it possible she's not good at being graceful? Maybe the mom and dad don't think it's 'really' guacamole without sour cream or 'really' tacos without the envelope and she hasn't figured out a way to be more direct with you. In general, I'd be on your side, but when families (particularly parents) are involved, I'd tend to back off.

                                                  1. Sometimes, the person who wins the war is the person who graciously concedes the battle. You are new to the family. Let her cook as she wishes in her parents' home. Let everyone in the family notice how good you are with her (if she's a PITA to you, she's a PITA to everyone else too) and they will appreciate you all the more. You have your own home in which to cook as you wish and make dishes showcasing your healthful and fresh cooking choices (just don't let her in your kitchen!).

                                                    1. Food doesn't always have to be simple (or healthy).

                                                      1. Any tips? Yeah, stop making a big deal out of nothing. A little sour cream in guacamole, so what, how bad could that be. And "crisping" up chicken for tacos. Never done that. I have no problem with taco mix(add water) and simmer. Don't try to tell someone how to cook outside of your own home.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: miss_belle

                                                          Thank you miss belle. If I tried pulling a stunt like trying to tell any of the fabulous cooks in my family how they should do it *my way* ( when I was on their home turf)they would torture me with their mockery and laughter! I would never live it down:)

                                                        2. I kind of like sour cream. A lot. Especially with guacamole, and chips.

                                                          I guess that makes me weird. And "ruined."

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                            I like the sour cream (or crema fresca or what ever) on the side. but this is an afternoon, not a one-act-play by Sartre. it will end.

                                                          2. What does your spouse say about this dynamic?

                                                            1. If everyone is eating her food and seems happy then why do you feel the need to *one up* her? No one really likes a show off.

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                ?

                                                                I don't see any *one up* or showing off.

                                                                It looks like the OP just wants to cook the way he cooks and not have someone else adding things to what he's making.

                                                                1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                  It sounds like SIL is the one one-upping and showing off.

                                                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                    Wait are we reading the same post? New man in family.....wants to show his SIL how to do things correctly. She does things her way in her parents home. Sorry, she gets to be *the kitchen boss*@her parents house. Such is life.What am I missing? If everyone but the new guy is happy eating her food why is he *throwing down*? He can cook his way at his own house. Let her do what she has been doing.

                                                                    1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                      The idea that someone gets to come in and change something you've made because they have been there longer is..... interesting. Who acts that way? That's totally disrespectful and dysfunctional. If it were a family preference I think it's safe to say that SIL would explain that by saying something like "Dad won't eat it if we don't use this packaged crap," not say she has a "secret trick." That totally sounds like she has the need to show off and pull something out of her sleeve that she thinks only she knows.

                                                                      You don't know that everyone is happy eating her food or that they have a problem with his, that's not in the OP, that's something you're assuming. No mention was made of anyone other than the SIL having a problem with how things were being done but the OP did clarify that everyone pitches in so it sounds like he's welcome to cook at the parents house and it sounds like it was a group effort since he did say "I was helping re-use leftover chicken." Maybe she thinks she's the star cook of the family and feels threatened.

                                                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                        Some people enjoy preparing food together. It is a bonding experience. I like to work alone, but I know many associates who want to pull up a chair and do the work side by side. It bugs me, but they really enjoy it.

                                                                      2. re: MamasCooking

                                                                        "New man in family.....wants to show his SIL how to do things correctly."
                                                                        ______
                                                                        New man in family... wants to do a job without interference and finds it slightly insulting when someone 'improves' his work without asking his permission. He's not showing her how to do things (correctly or otherwise) unless he's taking over her cooking. You've got the situation reversed.

                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                          I read it the same - SIL is hijacking his contributions to suit herself.

                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                            Doesn't matter. None of it changes his status as the *new guy*. In the family hierarchy he is at the bottom. Being new and *butting heads* with the SIL who obviously gets her way at her parents house is unwise. As I posted below. Choose your battle wisely. He will not win this one.

                                                                          1. re: magiesmom

                                                                            "Turf?" I thought we were talking about adults.

                                                                      3. I would probably tell her that 'today we're having it my way'. On the other hand, having lived in Mexico for a number of years, I have never seen guacamole with garlic or without tomatoes and Serrano or Jalapeno chiles.

                                                                        1. If it was me, I'd let it go. No need to put energy into changing the way the family cooks meals in their own home. When I want something "my" way, I offer to contribute a prepared-at-home item, or host a bring-a-dish dinner.

                                                                          1. Perhaps in her mind she is trying to help you. Maybe she likes you and knows darn well that if you don't add sour cream or taco seasoning folks will talk!

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: ErnieA

                                                                              Interesting possibility. Some families do get fetishistic about certain ways of preparing things.

                                                                              I recall the polite but nonetheless discernible backfiring when I served some upstate New Yorkers a pasta-and-red-sauce dish more the way Italians do than Italian-Americans do. They wanted more sauce, and they were taken aback that I'd finished the pasta by coating it in sauce.

                                                                            2. How about you just bring the guac or chicken or whatever, over to the house? Done deal. Then you can spend the time you would have been cooking, having a drink and socializing.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: RosePearl

                                                                                Just eat what you want to and leave alone what do don't. Leave it for the rest of the family. Tuck a nice peice of KFC in your jacket pocket and go out for a walk. Wolf it down and throw the bones under someone's car then go back inside and tell your new SIL you're not hungry.

                                                                              2. limit your experiences of being with her in the kitchen cooking. eat less of what she makes. if she has other redeemable qualities, focus on that. she's now family - deal with it. this seems like a small problem - if it's systemic of something more insidious about her character that you dislike (maybe she's too into herself, maybe she's bossy, maybe she doesnt like you and her sister marrying and is passive aggressively channeling that anger through things like this), well no one on a food board can help you out with that.

                                                                                1. To quote Frozen, "let it go, let it go!"

                                                                                  Resign yourself to crap food while at the ILs and smile and eat it and be polite, the way the rest of us do. Cook and eat good food when you aren't there.

                                                                                  1. Let it slide and say nothing, you'll be way ahead of the game over the long haul.

                                                                                    1. My advice, simply let it go
                                                                                      To expound on that… maybe her family LOVES the way she cooks and thinks she’s the next Sandra whatever her name is (Semi-home made)

                                                                                      “June makes the BEST Chicken Tacos… it’s that flavor packet, does the trick every time!”

                                                                                      Is it the way you like to eat?
                                                                                      No. not me either, but I’ve learned (from my own life experience) that sometimes it’s just best to ‘go with the flow’ at the moment, when you’re with your spouse’s family and save your cheffy moments for yourself and your spouse to appreciate

                                                                                      My 2cents

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: cgarner

                                                                                        Many people don't even appreciate chefy-ness. My hubbies family is full of country types. They thought the fresh food I made was weird and ignored it. They like canned green beans, gravy made we canned mushroom soup, etc... So, I decided to stop making super fresh stuff and just joined in on their kind of food. I make things like homemade Mac and cheese like my mom would make, or deviled eggs, or macaroni salad. I never make anything fancy when I go there.

                                                                                      2. You've got two separate issues here:

                                                                                        1) Her cooking 'tricks' aren't up to par.

                                                                                        - There is no winning this one. Don't tell her your way tastes better; don't tell her your way is better technique; don't tell her your way is more healthful. You might be right on all accounts, but it's a losing battle nonetheless.

                                                                                        2) She's taking over and 'improving' your work without your permission.

                                                                                        - This is rude, insulting, and annoying as all fuck, and frankly I'm surprised at how much support your SIL has gotten in this thread. That said, it boils down to how much you care. In your shoes, I might just stop volunteering to cook and volunteer to clean up instead. But if it's a constant problem that goes beyond the kitchen (or if the fam frequently asks you to cook, putting you constantly at odds with SIL), I'd probably tell her bluntly that I prefer to cook my way, but I would happily make smaller portions so she could make her own dish and we could try each other's. Even in this case, I would stay away from any claims that your cooking is tastier, better, healthier, etc.

                                                                                        1. <<E.g., I'm at their family's place making guacamole (avo+garlic+lime+salt)>>

                                                                                          why???

                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                            "Usually people pitch in with different meals and snacks and so forth."

                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                              I don't recall having homemade guacamole with sour cream, but whatever. I tend to omit garlic as well, but I do add cilantro. Guacamole takes Cilantro. Is that a "trick" that would "ruin" the dish or make it More healthy?

                                                                                              Some of us do not like "simple" and do not see the "healthier" aspect of plain bland food.

                                                                                              There IS a simple dish, here and there. There IS a more aggressive dish, there and here.

                                                                                              I fear that the OP likes "simple" and restrained for personal views of "healthier" eating. Do as you like, but some of us look for full bodied flavor beyond a simple sprinkle of salt.

                                                                                              I do not use "taco flavoring packet" but will almost definitely add some of the spices found in those packets. Oh yeah. Cumin, for sure. Simple and flavorful. And Healthy. Oh Yeah.

                                                                                              Plain crispy chicken? Was it fully seasoned? Don't leftovers usually get the "hash" treatment by adding cumin and/or black pepper??? Yeah. Traditionally they do. And they are tasty and healthy. Oh yeah.

                                                                                              Sorry. I see the personal issue with SiL, but the food and the simplicity issue is a bigger problem

                                                                                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                Have you read this thread?

                                                                                                "garlicman Mar 20, 2014 01:41 PM

                                                                                                Ok Ok. I concede that there are alternative theories on guac. I've even been known to put diced jalapenos in there. But IMHO avocados mashed with lime and salt IS the pure platonic form of guacamole and any alterations are steps away from holy purity into the sinful realm of men.

                                                                                                For the tacos, my plan was basically what you said. Lightly fry it with cumin, chile flakes, maybe some garlic and onions, etc. Give it a little texture."

                                                                                                1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                  sorry. I did not read the entire satire.
                                                                                                  That's an afterthought when the OP saw, no, "concedes" that there are those of us that call his " re-use leftover chicken by crisping it up for tacos" has Nothing to do with what the OP writes later, and you just quoted at me.

                                                                                                  I'm not gonna fall for some Backpedaling on anyones part.

                                                                                                  BS. That's all. Let it go. The OP and my statements hold true.

                                                                                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                    I hear you, but I also like a little cilantro and minced jalapeno or serrano in mine. Sour cream, hell no. the only worse thing is cottage cheese in guacamole. And I love cottage cheese. But keep it away from my guacamole, please.

                                                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                      EWSFlash, you just reminded me of a dinner I had years ago. I lived in Mpls and was single at the time. Friends took me to dinner with a friend of theirs who had just moved up from Texas (I'm originally from AZ.) They took us to a Mexican place in St. Paul, a lousy one. The friend they wanted me to meet politely asked the waitress to take the green stuff away because it certainly wasn't guacamole. It was light green and creamy looking and perfectly smooth. Horrid.

                                                                                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                        Well- you haven't lived until you've tried Mexican food in Kenai, Alaska. Horrible stuff. At least it was in the mid-1970s. Couldn't help it, I was Jonesing for Mexican food, but I won't make that mistake again.

                                                                                            2. I feel for you, sour cream in guacamole and taco bell seasoning packets, enough said.

                                                                                              My southern ex made pasta sauce for me which included a bottle of ranch dressing, a bag of three cheese shreds, ketchup and butter. I politely ate it, was disgusted by it and vowed never again to sit silently and endure something so mindblowingly awful. This same person thought it was strange I eat insects and worms, organ meats.

                                                                                              Tastes vary, but it's better to find a middle ground. No ranch dressing and ketchup in my pasta sauce and I won't serve you fried grasshoppers.

                                                                                              Tell your SIL you're allergic to sour cream.

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                Oh no, don't start with the allergy stuff unless it's true

                                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                  so just say you hate sour cream, always have and it'll make you puke. a lot. on her shoes. and palm a handy emetic if you have to make good on it.

                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                      yeah but nothing says "I told you so" like explosive vomit.

                                                                                                2. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                  My god that is a singularly wretched sounding creation. Like give a hundred monkeys a hundred years and they probably wouldn't hit upon it.

                                                                                                3. Having two or more people trying to do a one-person job is a sure invitation to annoyance and might set up a collision course. I find the phrase "I'll get out of your way" to be invaluable for escape. Then I wash my hands of it and do a vanishing act.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                    << I find the phrase "I'll get out of your way" to be invaluable for escape. Then I wash my hands of it and do a vanishing act.>>

                                                                                                    I agree.

                                                                                                    1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                      Evidently the OP's family collaborates in the kitchen, so they have to find ways to play nicely together.

                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                        One preps, the other mixes. With the mixers ingredients of choice.

                                                                                                        Family is coming down in a few weeks. I will go to the beach, eat Cuban, play golf, and partake in all the humdrum normality for their excitement. With a grin.

                                                                                                        Not a grimace. Because I will enjoy our time together. Immensely.

                                                                                                    2. Take over the cooking duties...but as a guest, my best advice is to just be polite, be gracious and say thank you. it's only a meal.

                                                                                                      Acting superior is not attractive to most in-laws

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. My MIL is a great cook but she was afraid of mad cow and salmonella so her preferences was for meat cooked to well done. I mourned for the Prime Ribs and the turkeys that gave their vital juices towards the gravy. :-)

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                          My late mom was a great scratch cook.However for my father all beef was cooked well done.Tragic.

                                                                                                          1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                            At least you had *some* lube to deal with the dry meat.

                                                                                                          2. Does she just bull her way in and start doctoring the dish you're in the middle of working on? That's not right. Or is she just trying to be "helpful" by suggesting one of her "tricks"?

                                                                                                            In either case, tell her and don't be afraid to tell her. "Oh, thanks, but I'd like to do my X dish the way I prefer."

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                              Why not one-up her secret trick? "Sour cream, that's brilliant! I have a secret trick too, I put tartar sauce in guacamole. Your secret trick and my secret trick sound like they'll be pretty amazing together!"

                                                                                                              or make two separate servings? Avocados thankfully are not super expensive.

                                                                                                              1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                Love that! "Hey, check out MY trick: I put mashed Froot Loops cereal in the guac. Isn't it great!"

                                                                                                            2. Have you married into this family? Then this sister-in-law may one day be attending your deathbed---family goes on forever.This business is about family relations more than it's about cooking. The cooking quickly becomes a vehicle for self-assertion and for declaration of turf. Decide what your priorities are.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                that sparks a weird idea, on my deathbed asking for your horrific recipe to gag on as I croak. love you sweetness. mean it.

                                                                                                                1. I like how this has also turned into a guacamole and chicken taco meat discussion