The turkey was thawed enough in the morning. I got it seasoned and on the rack and in the oven at pretty much the right time, and then proceeded to spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon turning and basting it, anticipating really good gravy out of it. *sigh*
My in-laws arrived early, just as I was putting the rice up to cook. Not really their fault - Jonathan didn't go shopping until I practically pushed him out the door. Anyway, my family wasn't there, so it wasn't so bad.
But the fun did begin then. I'm very territorial and it's a nice sized but not huge kitchen and suddenly everyone was there and telling me to do this and do that. Okay, everyone was my mother-in-law - a brilliant, remarkable lady whom I actually do love - who is a crowd unto herself. But her pie and cranberry sauce - sugar free, made with splenda and which everyone but me loves - had to be treated right. I don't like splenda because to me it doesn't taste like sugar at all. See, I'm a bitter taster. It's a genetic thing. My dad was the same way. I don't *mind* bitterness in things supposed to be that way, like coffee or grapefruit - I can even enjoy it there - but it's nasty in supposedly sweet things. Splenda is bitter to me.
And it just quickly became overwhelming. I was exhausted because I hadn't slept the night before just out of sheer nervousness. Not nervousness about the entertaining - I've done that before. I've had seders before, I've had family Thanksgivings and Chanukah parties and fannish parties and I've even run con suites and a staff den at conventions. I'm practically an amateur caterer. Nervousness over my mother-in-law.
She has very definite ideas about cooking. She likes a flavorful turkey. I made a flavorful turkey - and it was, scented with rosemary and lemon and red onion, juicy and burnished. But I wouldn't use curry. She doesn't approve of stuffing the bird and my brother-in-law doesn't like stuffing, so I made rice pilaf. I
So now, I don't have stuffing. I *miss* stuffing. And there's no point in making it since I have so much pilaf. Yeah, I know. That's why this is called "whining".
And my worst fears did come true. Not about the food - they seemed to enjoy that. But she treated *my* house, and I'm very territorial, as if it were *hers*. And it's just not. I'm not a scared little newlywed bride. I'm married ten years. I know how to serve food. I know how to prepare food. I know how to improvise if necessary. She'd resent it if I did the things in her house that she did in mine - even little things like wash up the salad forks because we'd have to reuse them for dessert - although *maybe* I'd rather use plastic for that. At least, she could *ask*, instead of demand to know where the dish detergent was. *My* mom, at least, asked and took "no" for an answer, and understood I was frazzled and tired.
I'd asked my father-in-law to carve the turkey. He's good at it and he enjoys it. Jonathan doesn't carve at all, and I had other things to worry about. He had to carve in the kitchen because the table isn't sturdy enough, which was also fine. But mil had to come in and take over, bragging about how much she gets off the bird. That part was slightly annoying, but not, you know, wrong.
Later on, though, when the first platter was empty, she took it upon her self to walk into my kitchen and start carving, and taking the piece I was looking forward to for herself. There are only two wings to the turkey. My brother-in-law took one on the first pass, and that was fine because the other was waiting. She has her *own* turkey at home she's cooking as I write, so she wouldn't be deprived. It seems petty, I know, but it just galled enough that I had to leave the table. I wasn't going to say anything in public - I don't like answering rudeness for rudeness, but my husband got upset and said it, and that was just. Bad.
"I didn't take all the wing, " she said. No. Just the best part. Granted, she didn't know I liked it. She didn't know because when we eat at her house, I let her have it. But this isn't her house. It's *mine*.
Although I did get the wing because she got angry and dumped the wing on my plate. I didn't eat it then. I didn't want it then. I just wanted to know I could. But it was just embarrassing - both my reaction and hers and...I know it sounds childish. I was being treated like a child. I felt that way. I was being reassured like I'd never done this before. Even when we invited them it was, "Are you sure Debbie can handle it?" Like I hadn't done *both* seders this past spring. Nice, relaxing seders where everyone had a good time and no one got yelled at for forgetting things and that were not rushed but still ended at a reasonable time. They weren't perfect, but they were *good*. She walked in thinking I'd be in over my head, and it happened. She has that much force of will.
Then her "helpful" suggestions. "Use paper plates for the dessert." We only have three dessert plates left from our original plates. So, of course. But we had to announce that fact to make it clear to her that we'd *already* decided. I mean, we used paper plates for the salad, too, for the same reason. "Get a table for this empty space in the kitchen." Well, yeah. We just moved here seven weeks ago. We have yet to get the washer and dryer I want. Extras can wait. And we are aware of what furniture we need, since we *live* here.
I ended up throwing a quiet tantrum, and spending much of the evening away from everyone, which I know was wrong. I knew it then, which made it all worse, but I couldn't face the people. I hate acting like a child and the more I hated it, the worse I acted. She's not completely at fault, you see. And I know she was only trying to help.
But is it too much to ask to be treated like an adult in my own home? To have my kitchen respected? My husband thinks it's because we're not parents ourselves, which puts us permanently in the "kid" category. I don't know. I think maybe once a kid, always a kid.
Okay, enough of this. I have Sabbath to prepare for.