“Chicken is for poor people.” Woman enraged when mother-in-law makes a nasty comment about dinner she cooked

Mary Duncan

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.*

I don’t know about you, but I have been horrified by the prices of eggs in the grocery stores lately. The last time I went food shopping, the cheapest pack of a dozen eggs I could find still cost $5.99, which, with tax, is over a dollar more than my boyfriend’s daughter charges her neighbors for her chicken’s free-range eggs. Suddenly having a morning scramble is a luxury much like avocado toast was a few years ago when it became a breakfast staple among those who wanted to fork over extra money for a status symbol.

I have been going out of my way to different stores to do my shopping where things are the least expensive and wondering whether all the extra driving I’m doing is negating the savings. It’s been hard for many people, the prices of things are going up, and I know I certainly have changed my ways.

One thing I have cut out of my life recently is inviting friends over for dinner. I used to love hosting Sunday brunch potlucks, but I could sense that it was starting to become a strain on some of my friends to provide enough food for everyone. That in turn had me overcompensating and spending even more for my friends as I was the hostess. Now, instead of doing the potluck every other week, we are planning, tentatively, on once a month.

My friend Gwen got married over the summer to a man who comes from a very wealthy family that made their money in stocks and good fortune over generations. She met her husband Greg in college and didn’t know anything about his family’s background for months, which proved to Greg that someone could love him regardless of his money, which was very important to him. Greg wanted independence from his family fortune and after college, he funneled his family money into stocks while living off a very reasonable salary as a bank manager.

Greg’s mother wasn’t happy with his choice to live as a regular citizen when he was afforded so much privilege, and she made Greg quite aware that she didn’t approve of his choice of Gwen to marry, as she considered her much lower in status.

Nevertheless, Gwen and Greg were genuinely in love, and despite her mother-in-law’s attitude toward her, Gwen went out of her way to facilitate a good relationship. One of the things she tried doing shortly after the marriage was inviting Greg’s mother, Helen, over for dinner.

Gwen went out of her way to impress Helen by making the most delicious dinner she could muster. Gwen made a stuffed baked chicken, whipped garlic mashed potatoes, and broccoli steamed to a perfect green.

The three of them sat around the table and Gwen watched as Helen stared at her plate and poked at her chicken with her fork.

“What is this?” Helen asked.

“It’s a stuffed chicken with cheese melted on top, garlic mashed -“

Then, apparently, Helen cut her off.

“This is chicken?” Helen asked.

“Yes,” Gwen confirmed, and Helen let her fork clatter down onto her plate and she sat back in her chair, leveling her eyes at Gwen’s.

“Chicken is for poor people,” she said.

Gwen’s blood boiled. She was too enraged to say anything back, she just sliced into her chicken and took a bite, and chewed as she fumed.

“Mom, that’s really rude, and this is really good,” Greg said to his mother, but that was all he said, which made Gwen even more angry. She hoped her husband would have called his mother out on her extremely rude comment.

Gwen and Greg ate in silence while Helen sat in her chair without touching her food, but that didn’t keep her from drinking three glasses of wine while she waited for her son and daughter-in-law to finish. When they were done, all Helen said was:

“The next time you want to have dinner together you can come to my house and Chef will serve us.”

I personally can’t wait to hear about if or when that dinner happens and how Gwen survives in Helen’s territory.

How would you have reacted to your mother-in-law’s rude behavior?

Hi, I hope you enjoyed this story! I am a freelance writing single mom trying to create a better life for me and my daughter through words. If you enjoyed this, please consider leaving a small donation: https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan

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I write about the weird complexities of relationships to make a better life for me and my daughter through words. https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan

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