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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]

So. Bleah.

1. We just renegotiated our lease with my landlady. It's gone up $80, approximately 5.1%. We will see what happens in later years. We do like living here.

2. I was about to leave the house tonight to say Psalms with a bunch of women (description to come later) when my mother called.

And what we ended up talking about is one of the hard parts of becoming a ba'alat tshuva, of becoming Orthodox after a non-religious background.

My mother is upset she couldn't spend Rosh HaShanah with us (she would *not* enjoy being Shomer Shabbat/Yom Tov, and I would get very shrewish. I get that way.) She had the dinners with a friend and her daughter. I also should point out that my brother, who lives very close to her, spent the holiday with his *own* friends, and I don't want to feel guilty about that.

And she wants us to go to her for Thanksgiving. She doesn't keep kosher. She could try, but. Her mother stopped keeping kosher after *her* mother died, and so my mother grew up in a non-kosher home. She never kept kosher in her own home, either. There are people who keep their homes kosher for religious relatives, but those are generally people who grew up that way. They've internalized the rules. And they can count on those relatives coming over on a regular basis, so they have incentive to do it.

My mom doesn't. I come to visit her only a few times a year - my lack of a car and the fact that Sunday is my only real day off (and so, my own selfishness, I suppose) keep me at home. If she doesn't believe in doing it for herself, it's an imposition for her to keep a kosher house for *me*. A big one. And, since she won't ask questions and doesn't really believe, she'll get nonkosher food - she won't check for hecksher. It didn't really exist during that brief time her family did keep kosher, and she never shopped for food then anyway. She'll make mistakes and decide it won't matter because "Debbie won't know." Which is true.

She won't do it maliciously. But it will happen. Because it doesn't matter to her if she uses her meat knife to cut cheese. This is not evil. This just *is*. This happened when she tried before, even before my brother and his wife moved in and destroyed whatever kashrut she had left. And, honestly, she had no real reason to maintain it.

So. I can't eat food cooked in my mother's house. So I can't spend Thanksgiving in her house, and that hurts both of us. And she is hurting a lot. And I hate that I'm the cause of that hurt.

Except, I've been this kosher for years. I haven't spent a Thanksgiving in her house for a decade, and we haven't had a Rosh HaShanah together for longer than that. So something had to have changed, and I think it was due to her friend. I can just see it - "Oh, Bunny, it's too bad you can't be with your own kids for R"H. It's so sad your daughter is so religious. Well, at least you can spend it with us if your kids won't be with you." And my mom would think, "Well, we could do Thanksgiving."

There is a solution. I could come to her house and cook, using my own equipment and food I've purchased. Her oven is self-cleaning, so that would be possible. And maybe I'll do that in a future year. This year we have an additional problem - my mother-in-law and her broken arm. God willing, it will be healed by November and it won't be a problem, but. It might be one. In which case, I'm going to *her* house and making Thanksgiving there according to *her* direction and recipes. No matter how much curry she wants to use.

Or, maybe I'll just do it in my own home. Last time was a minor disaster because the mothers assumed I'd be incompetent or something, but maybe it'll work this time. We'll see how mother-in-law's arm is.

Current Mood: annoyedannoyed

That sucks. It's difficult to be the one living with more stringent rules.

The only option I can think of is what we wound up doing one Thanksgiving when no one could deal with the cooking.

Go out.

There has to be a kosher resturant doing a buffet or something for thanksgiving. A good one. Turkey and gravy and stuffing are traditional and kosher after all.

See if you can't get the whole family to agree to it? The problem of course is that it costs more. But it may well be worth the money, if it avoids arguements. Then you can retire to someone's home, and only have to deal with making sure you have a clean glass or munchies.

Personally, I'm freaking out because I'm hosting Christmas at my house this year. Because I'm most geographically convenient, with my family scattered from Florida to New Jersey. I plan to clean, and get take out. No turkey attempts from me.

It's not that. It's that my mom wants to make a Thanksgiving dinner in her own home and have her kids (my brother, me, Jonathan) come there. Like a "normal" family. She's been included in my inlaw's Thanksgiving since my father passed away, and she's come to my house for Thanksgiving, too. It just hurts her that she can't do it herself, that she can't feed her daughter.

Re: Thanksgiving. Been there done that.

Done it with my mother who, after I converted, suddenly decided that we had a tradition (started that very year) of eating Ham instead of turkey on various holidays and how dare I insist that she change our tradition.

Done it with Jo's Dad's wife who, one memorable Thanksgiving, took the kosher bird and cooked it in her non-kosher kitchen, but then smothered it in sour cream sauce and didn't understand why we couldn't eat it.


How do I handle this? Let your mother provide the vegetables and the dessert (much less stress on you and her) and you bring the turkey. Cook the turkey in your house, in a big foil pan, carve it at your house, then take it, in the foil pan, to your mother's house to warm in the oven. You can even roast some vegetables around the turkey if you want to make sure that there's something you can eat. Afterwards, toss the foil pan, or leave it and the leftovers with your mother.

As Jo reminds me, we have to make some allowances for Shalom Bayit, and this is the compromise that we've reached.

This is a good suggestion. You wouldn't be able to eat cooked veggies that she made, but you could nudge her in the direction of a salad. That way you'd be able to eat something that you didn't bring yourself, which might avoid the "my daughter won't eat my food" scene.

She's welcome to come to my house with nothing. Dessert - we're a family of blood sugar problems, and she doesn't bake anyway. My mother-in-law has mastered the sugarfree dessert. And vegetables cooked in nonkosher cookware are, unfortunately, nonkosher.

But she wants to have it in *her* house. That's the whole thing. It's not that she'll be alone for Thanksgiving. She has a permanent invite to my inlaws, plus she has friends where she is *and* my brother if he wants. It's that she can't do it for us.

Well, if it weren't for the "in her own home" part, I'd suggest the compromise that Faye Kellerman's heroine (1) hit on for her non-Jewish mother-in-law. Have her come over to your house, _you_ buy the food from a list she provides, and she cooks it in your kitchen, using your kosher utensils.

This would, of course, require you to make sure any milch dishes/pans/knives weren't used in the process of fixing the turkey or other dishes, but it might fill the need to feed ALL her family, which sounds like the real problem here, yes?

(1) The Rina Lazarus/Peter Decker stories-- Peter was born Jewish, adopted, raised Baptist, and "converted" back to Orthodox Judaism as an adult.

See, that really would work.

And all I have to do is quiet my little voice that says, "*MY* kitchen. *Mine*."

And stand over her every second to make sure she only uses the right equipment.

Or remove all the 'inappropriate' dishes from the kitchen in advance. Stuff them in the bedroom closet for the weekend, and you can pretty much let her loose, yes?

She's got you in a completely no-win situation. I'm so sorry. I always knew that I wasn't the only one whose mother did this, but I would never have wished it on anyone.

I was hoping that the idea of roasting some around the turkey would help you get around the no veggies to eat because they're not kosher. I suppose that she would just sit there, watching everything that you put on your plate, and complaining when you didn't choose enough of *her* food.

Even bringing your things to her kitchen for her to cook with wouldn't work, unless she'd be willing to let you kasher her kitchen, and I can imagine how well that would go over.


Why not invite your mom to wherever you end up celebrating Thanksgiving?

She *is*. She can always come to my mother-in-law's, and if I do the smart thing, of course she'll come to my house.

And drive me nuts, but that goes without saying.

When we started keeping kosher, my mother-in-law (she wasn't yet my mother-in-law) was really upset that we wouldn't eat at her seder (I never would because I'd always kept strict kosher l'pesach, but I guess it was the first time my husband had said no). What we did instead was let her host her own seder at Seth's house. I paid the difference in cost that her lamb was to be kosher (about double what she would have paid for non-kosher lamb...sigh). I made some side dishes. She came over the day of the seder and cooked.

And I nearly had a nervous breakdown because I kept watching her turn pareve things into fleishig things and so on.

If I had it all to do over again, I would have left the house that day.

But it was a good idea on paper. And would have worked out better if I weren't so uptight. :)