June 24, 2012 at 5:39 am #31324
My bf and I have been together for almost 2 years, and we live about an hour away from his parents. It’s taken time but I’ve gotten to be pretty close with his family, especially his mom. We generally spend a weekend at their house about once a month, and sometimes they come see us at our apartment too (we recently moved to an apartment that’s actually big enough to have guests – yay!)
Anyway, I like my bf’s mom a lot and enjoy spending time with her. The problem is that I cannot stand the food she makes, and this of course makes our visits to her house very awkward. I fully admit to being a picky eater, but her food is spectacularly bad! Everything is terribly overcooked (even the pasta is like mush), and she combines foods that should never be put together (I can’t think of an example right now, but try to think of three foods that should never ever be in the same dish, and that’s probably what they’re having for lunch right now!)
The only good news is that I’m generally not a big eater, and since I never eat a lot I can at least get away with just taking a few nibbles and then saying I’m full. Only I’m not full — after our weekends at his parents, I am starving starving starving!
But the weekends aren’t even the real problem anymore. After dealing with it for 2 years, I can stand the occasional weekend of going hungry if it’s going to keep me from offending my bf or his mom. The real trouble is that now that we have a better apartment with a real kitchen (our last apartment didn’t even have an oven!), my bf is getting recipes from his mom and starting to cook her food at our house!
It’s the food he grew up with so he thinks it’s good — when we make pasta, I take my portion out of the pot after the usual 5-8 minutes and then he keeps cooking his until it’s super mushy and over-cooked like his mom makes!
I know I cannot tell my bf that I don’t like his mom’s cooking, and I absolutely do not want to jeopardize our relationship by her finding out! But I also don’t want to suffer rubbery chicken and beef tongue/carrot/potato/pistachio pies every night of the week. Does anyone have advice as to how I might broach the subject gently? I’ve gotten some recipes from my own mom and I’m thinking about suggesting my bf and I take a cooking class together, but any other ideas would be greatly appreciated!June 24, 2012 at 9:58 am #31329
Is this really a problem? Well, when you’re at your BF’s parents’ house, I think you’ve solved that problem by just not eating much. At your own home, I don’t understand why you can’t tell your boyfriend that you do not like ground beef in your brownies and then you take control of the kitchen and make the food you like? And if he insists on mushy pasta for example, then either make your own pasta or ask, when he’s making the pasta, whether he would mind taking a portion of noodles out for you after, say 5 minutes, while he cooks his longer the way he likes it? I mean, this really isn’t a matter of who is right and who is wrong. It’s really irrelevant if your tastes are better or worse than his mom’s. In her house, be polite. In your house, tell your boyfriend how you like it or do it yourself. Am I missing something? Or am I just a pig who eats everything and so doesn’t get the seriousness of this?
I also really need to clean because I have friends coming over later but I’m procrastinating. So, someone, quick, ask another question because I don’t want to clean.June 24, 2012 at 10:39 am #31334
I think that this in theory this is a big deal because it’s the classic mother in law/daughter in law problem. I think that you should be able to tell your boyfriend of two years that his mother’s cooking isn’t your cup of tea and expect that to not make it back to her and not be a big problem for the two of you. I also think the cooking class is a great ideaJune 24, 2012 at 10:44 am #31335
It will take time.
My BF is not a great cook, although he can do a few dishes when he tries. The problem with him is he is a fussy eater. I grew up with an adventurous cook of a mother, and my family eat lots of varied dishes, as well as a focus on meat-free one (My brother and I are both vegetarians/vegans and were growing up). My BF grew up eating very practical, meat and potatoes type food, and therefore doesnt like many vegetables that I consider a staple (capsicums, spring onion, zucchini….)
But its been years now, and with him visiting and enjoying my mothers cooking, and with me doing the bulk of the cooking, we have slowly grown more similar in tastes, and I can only hope we will continue to!June 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm #31360
Her cooking sounds a lot like my mom’s. I’m so sorry for you. How’s this for an idea? Next time you go for the weekend, tell her she gets the day off and you’ll cook dinner for the family. When they taste what food could be, maybe it will open their eyes. Maybe she will even ask for a few tips on what you did.
As for your boyfriend at home, I can’t imagine a guy who would turn down the offer to sit on the couch and watch TV while you cook dinner. But don’t turn his pasta into mush. Make the food the way it should be and serve it to him. I bet he’ll like it and he converted quickly. When he realizes the value of proper cooking techniques and flavor profiles, you can invite him back into the kitchen to learn how you do it.June 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm #31363
Yeah, I’m with Anna. I think you’re gonna just have to take over the reigns in the kitchen for a while.June 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm #31365
I think the cooking classes are a great idea.
Also,, maybe you can cook together? It might be a good idea to get a recipe book, choose something together, shop for the ingredients together and then cook it together (following the recipe of course). Of course you can always google recipes together instead of getting a book.
I personally think it´s great thay your bf has the initiative to cook, so I think it would be best to collaborate with him, rather than take over. You could always point out things, like ” I prefer my pasta al dente”, do they put the cooking times on the packet in Israel like they do here? Maybe if he says that it´s supposed to cook for x amount of time he will be more inclined to follow it.June 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm #31366
Daisy is in Israel? I’d like to go to Israel. But it requires getting off the couch.June 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm #31368
Israel must be awesome. I´d like to go anywhere in the Middle East really. My brother is so lucky.
Years ago when I was just graduated I go an offer to go volunteer in Gaza, but my parents freaked out and didn´t let me.June 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm #31374
Thank you all for the good ideas — and also for the realization that maybe I’m making a bigger deal out of this than I need to! I can also be very thankful that Mrs. B’s cooking hasn’t yet reached the point of “ground beef in your brownies!”
It’s definitely great that my bf is interested in cooking and learning more about food (we’re both trying to be healthier), so I think we’ll definitely look into finding a cooking class. The funny thing is that taking a cooking class together is one of the first things he and I ever talked about doing — so maybe for our 2 year anniversary we’ll actually get around to it!
In the meantime, I think I’ll just try to dazzle him with my mom’s amazing recipes (hopefully I can pull it off!) so that he’ll lose interest in his mushy pasta!June 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm #31375
Ooh and yes, Israel is amazing and Tel Aviv was actually just named one of the best party cities in the world. And that means we could have one helluva DW meetup if anyone wants to come visit!
Obviously we have very serious political issues here (I’m on the verge of joining the very leftist, peacenik political party, truth be told) but there’s much more to Israel than you see on TV. Of course the bad news is that all Jewish mothers aren’t good cooks!June 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm #31395
Am I the only one that doesn’t think it’s a horribly big deal to tell your bf you don’t like his mother’s cooking? My fiance knows I don’t like most of the dishes his mother makes, and he didn’t take a bit of offense to it. I would guess that at two years a good relationship has more of an “us against the world” attitude than a “my parents are perfect and you have to like everything our family does” attitude. It’s no big deal as long as you’re delicate, except for people who are strangely attached to their parents.June 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm #31397
Oh, I don’t think it would be awful to tell him she doesn’t like his mom’s cooking. The problem is though, that if he’s cooking the same things now, she’d also be telling him she doesn’t like HIS cooking, which is not as easy.June 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm #31399
I guess I just kind of feel like a mother’s cooking is one of those topics you just don’t criticize. But maybe (hopefully!) I’m being over-sensitive.June 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm #31400
I think when it comes to criticizing your guy’s mom’s cooking, I wouldn’t do it because it would be an affront to the guy as much as his mom. A guy’s mom is the first woman in his life that he loves, which leaves you as the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, etc…you don’t say anything bad about his mom. In my experience, he will defend mom every time. His first love. And you don’t want to cause a problem in your relationship by offending him in that way.
I’m not sure if that’s a typical way to look at it or if I came to think that way because my ex was so close to his childhood family. We broke up because he didn’t want to get married and start an adult family. He moved back in with them at age 29. I don’t understand the mindset but I’d be willing to bet my ex isn’t the only guy out there who is like that.
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