*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I drove to McDonald's instead of eating dinner with my in-laws.
When it comes to fast food versus home-cooking, I'll choose fast food every time. Shortly after my husband and I got married, we visited his mother on the weekend. I didn't want to go, but I felt obligated.
It was very kind of my mother-in-law to invite me to dinner. I cannot dispute that. However, while I certainly didn't expect my mother-in-law to cater to my taste in preparing the meal, I didn't expect her to make one of the few dishes I cannot eat without bile rising in my throat.
I simply cannot tolerate boiled dinner. The mish-mash of meat, vegetables, potatoes, and broth all boiled and bubbled together nauseates me.
To be fair, I won't eat boiled dinner when my own mother makes it, either. It's nothing personal. But I don't like boiled dinner. And I won't eat it.
I did my best to politely pass over the meal and keep conversation going with my mother-in-law about innocuous topics, such as her garden or the weather. But she eventually pushed me for an explanation on my pickiness, and why I wasn't eating her cooking. She seemed affronted that I would disrespect her by not eating what she had lovingly put together, hissing that if I didn't like it, then I shouldn't have come to dinner at all.
I tried to be patient with the woman. I explained that it's not a matter of whether I respect her cooking ability. It's just that I had no appetite for boiled dinner, and I would not push myself to eat what makes me feel sicker than even the most vindictive flu would.
She scoffed at me, saying that eating something you don't like "builds character."
"I refuse to eat your boiled dinner," I said flatly, and then I drove myself to McDonald's instead, leaving the rest of the family still sitting at the table, including my husband.
I don't know what she had expected me to do. Maybe she had thought I would close my eyes and grit my teeth, forcing down the meal because it was "dinner time."
Perhaps she expected me to eat her cooking without complaint or comment no matter how much it turned my stomach inside out.
Or maybe she just expected me to have a respectful attitude and be grateful for the food.
I can't do that, though. I don't know how people eat horrible things just because someone else made it with love. It's not that I'm particularly stubborn or rebellious in this regard—it's just my personal preference.
If I refused to eat McDonald's food, no one would say anything about it. But when you refuse home-cooked meals from your mother-in-law, everyone thinks there must be something wrong with you.
I disappointed her with how I handled things, but I can't help that. It's in the past, and I can't change it now. To be honest, I'm disappointed with the way I handled it myself. It was rude. I was rude.
Not long after that incident, I stopped visiting my in-laws at all. Like not eating boiled dinner, it was nothing personal. No disrespect intended toward readers who enjoy boiled dinner. There was just somewhere else I'd rather be.