Perspective | Ask Amy: How do I tell my mother-in-law that her food makes us sick without offending her? – The Washington Post | Directory Mayhem


dear amy: I learned to cook from my mother, grandmother and aunts – who all lived under one roof. In a Latin American family like mine, it was natural for women to learn to cook. I loved being among these wise ladies.

Fast forward to now. I am married to a wonderful man. While not Latino, he has fully embraced my family and culture. My husband comes from a small family and his mother likes to invite everyone to dinner.

The problem is that this woman can’t cook and has no interest in studying.

There are family members (my husband included) who get physically nauseous after eating one of their meals! I tried to bring a side dish but she is offended. A cookbook given to her is gathering dust. She refuses help in the kitchen.

The poultry and all other meat she serves is burned on the outside and raw on the inside. Nothing she serves has any flavor and she doesn’t understand why people eat small portions and why nobody wants to eat leftovers.

Going to restaurants is an ordeal because she complains about everything she orders and sends it back. She sees nothing wrong with her lack of cooking skills!

I will not invite her to dinner because she claims she has food allergies and other illnesses that have never been medically diagnosed.

Amy, how do we tell this woman that her cooking makes us sick without offending her?

Hungry: Whatever message is being conveyed, I suggest that you should not be the person doing it. You’re rightly proud of your culinary tradition, but you’re dealing with someone who wasn’t raised in the same tradition and clearly won’t embrace it.

Her mother-in-law doesn’t see anything wrong with her lack of cooking skills – because she doesn’t have any cooking skills and doesn’t seem to want to acquire them either.

Food seems to be an extremely important sticking point for both of you.

No one should eat food that is obviously unsafe to eat, and if meat is undercooked you should avoid it. Your husband (not you) should ask his mom, “Mom, could you cook this longer? I’m not sure if that’s cooked through.”

One could work on becoming more tolerant overall.

The idea is that you show that you can create in your own home the generous, loving, hospitable and vibrant culinary tradition you grew up with.

Invite your mother-in-law over for dinner at your house and tell her that she can bring her own food if she’s nervous, but you’ll always make a seat for her, because as you know – love and kinship are all around the table are the most important ingredients of all.

dear amy: I have 40 years of AA sobriety and meeting experience. I recently asked a church in my hometown for permission to hold meetings there. I was sent a letter saying there were no rooms available.

I know that’s a lie because you only joined the Church two years ago.

I feel discriminated against and like a bad person sitting in the parking lot. I know I can’t change their decision, but why would a church say no to people who make up 15 percent of its congregation?

Other churches in my city hold AA meetings, so why not this one?

Seek: You seem to be making a lot of assumptions about the availability of this particular space as well as people’s motivations, which you rejected.

Church committees generally review room requests, and their refusal may be due to a booking conflict with another organization or because they cannot afford the utilities and staff costs needed to keep the building open and heated after hours.

Accusing you of lying is unwise and unkind. Fortunately, there are options for meetings in other local rooms, as well as online (

dear amy: Your last letter from “desperate father‘ really got my blood pumping. His 20-year-old daughter lied that she had been vaccinated against the coronavirus when she hadn’t.

I don’t always agree with you, but I really appreciated your response here asking this father to put his daughter’s risk taking into perspective.

As I thought about it, I realized that my own children had often behaved similarly at that age.

survivor: I’ve been there as a parent – ​​several times.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson, distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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