My husband ruined the Christmas dinner I made for my mother-in-law

M. Brown
Photo byAndrea Piacquadio via Pexels

**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.

Since the moment I started dating my now-husband, I've had to deal with the reality that cooking just isn't my thing. I don't look forward to it, I don't fantasize about creating recipes, etc. It's just not my thing.

This wouldn't be such a big deal if my husband's family wasn't so into food and cooking. Especially his mother. My now-mother-in-law is all about cooking. She's always the one who cooks huge meals for family events like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.

This dynamic has always worked out well for me because we go to my mother-in-law's house for the holiday food and I don't have to worry about cooking a thing. Generally, I'll clean up and do the dishes since I don't contribute much in the food department. It works out.

However, this last year, things were a lot different. My mother-in-law ended up in the hospital right before Christmas and once she was discharged, she was much too weak to be able to cook for everyone. Therefore, in a moment of inspired generosity, I volunteered to be the one cooking Christmas dinner.

Yup. The time had finally come. I was going to cook Christmas dinner at our house. For the first time, I was actually really excited about cooking. I had several recipes in my head that I felt ready to try and a lot of them were on the healthier side, which I thought would be perfect as both my in-laws are extremely overweight.

I went out to the grocery store and bought all the ingredients for the dishes I wanted to make, and come Christmas morning, I was ready to cook.

I have failed to mention my husband's role in all of this. He loves to cook, just like his mom. Unfortunately, he only likes to make food that's on the less-healthy side, just like his mom. Let's just say vegetables rarely make an appearance. It's usually fried foods and bread rolls. My husband also loves to be helpful, sometimes without asking if you need that help before he dives right in and does things.

Most of the dishes I was preparing for Christmas dinner included vegetables. That said, my husband took it upon himself to cook the majority of my vegetables in the new pressure cooker that I had just gotten for Christmas that morning.

Did he read the instructions beforehand?

Nope. He didn't. In fact, he just went ahead and threw all my precious vegetables into the pressure cooker without correctly adjusting the settings. Then he turned it on.

As I hurriedly prepared my other side dishes, I passed by him in the kitchen and asked, "Do you have the vegetables handled? Do you know how to use the pressure cooker?"

"Yup got it!" He replied confidently.

I should have known. He sounded way too sure. That's usually a red flag.

At the end of a long day, I almost had everything in order, or so I thought.

I heard my husband say, "Oh." And not in a good way.

He had neglected to use the steamer setting properly and it had absolutely massacred all my vegetables. They were mush. Done. Practically soup.

I was beyond flustered and circling around downright angry. Yet, I couldn't show it because it was Christmas dinner. My mother-in-law came up beside me and said, "Oh, honey, it's okay, it happens."

I was mortified. The one time I felt inspired to impress my in-laws with my rare display of cooking and it was a total disaster! I was sure they already assumed I was a lousy cook anyways but now it was most certainly confirmed.

My mother-in-law didn't seem particularly disappointed and I wondered if she was secretly relieved that she didn't have to eat the vegetables. We still had the meat, mashed potatoes, and bread my husband had made so Christmas dinner wasn't a total bust. Just most of the food I had made. My low-carb green bean casserole was a hit, so I took solace in that.

Perhaps I had been a bit overzealous with wanting to make the perfect Christmas dinner. Maybe I wanted to impress my mother-in-law a lot more than I realized.

In the end, I definitely should have cooked my own vegetables without assuming my husband had foods he doesn't even like eating completely handled.

Lesson learned.

The kids missed grandma's cooking. And, quite frankly, so did I.


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Host of The Pondering Stepmom Podcast. Writing about relationships, lifestyle, family & self-improvement.

California State

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