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Graciousness abroad [Dec. 23rd, 2011|01:44 pm]

We are spending the holidays with my mother-in-law, who is probably the most awesome mother-in-law anyone ever had. We got here on Wednesday evening, and yesterday went shopping for the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day feasts that we will be cooking here.

I've offered to bake bread and rolls, and to help with the cooking, so I brought recipes with me, and between her grocery list and my additions, our list was three pages long. And of course as you walk through the store you find all those things you forgot to include on the list. By the time we made the final turn toward the checkout stands, our cart looked like the Grinch's sleigh just before he took it up Mt. Crumpet to dump it.

And we still had to go out to dinner last night.

Cooking in someone else's kitchen is always a bit of a challenge. It helps that my mother-in-law has a wonderful kitchen, and that she is very flexible and laid back about others taking it over. I don't know that I could manage to be that casual about sharing my kitchen.

But there are definitely those moments when getting ready to cook in someone else's kitchen makes one feel like a bit of a douche. Including making the grocery list and determining if there are compatible items in the kitchen. Like flour. She has flour. It's not the right flour. She doesn't really need more flour, but we are buying flour anyway because I will insist on using King Arthur Flour.

Or the sugar cookies. She wanted to buy premade dough. Premade dough is nasty. I don't want to make sugar cookies with premade dough.

Hey, there's going to be lots of extra flour. I can volunteer to make the sugar cookie dough!

Triumphant in that, I let the purchase of premade frosting, and Ferrett's glee over some terrifying-looking decorating gel, go. And the purchase of some Uncle Ben's microwaveable rice mix as a side for Christmas Eve dinner as well.

Roasted fresh brussel sprouts and carrots will be side-buy-side with canned sweet corn. I won the "no frozen broccoli" battle, so letting the corn go seemed the right thing to do.

Gracious living isn't impossible when visiting others, but it does require flexibility and a sense of humor. I will keep my wincing at the jello creation to a minimum, and focus on the sharing of love of family and friends.

Crossposting from Dreamwidth now. Sigh. If LJ won't let you comment, you can comment here: http://zoethe.dreamwidth.org/788448.html?mode=reply:

[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2011-12-23 08:26 pm (UTC)
when i first moved in with preston and his parents in 1995, i was scared to death. but his parents are the best parents in the universe. his mom even let me take over most of the cooking - including christmas and thanksgiving - it gave me something to do other than sitting moping around the house. when we moved out, jan said she was so lost for the longest time. me too - i'd just kinda meander around our kitchen and had to learn how to cook for two people instead of four. holidays are hard. after we get the meal on the table, preston and i just sit here and stare at each other and try not to cry.

i hope all y'all have a great holiday!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-12-23 09:36 pm (UTC)
I'm definitely glad that we get to spend the holiday with family.
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2011-12-23 10:05 pm (UTC)
we enjoy the peace of being with just ourselves and kitty, but we miss art and jan.
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[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2011-12-23 11:36 pm (UTC)
When it comes to holiday cooking and eating, I have to nearly drop all my standards. I relaxed a lot of them when R moved in 3 years ago, because he wanted to cook on days when his kids are here. I still miss the years of cooking with organic, whole foods, most every thing from scratch. I hope to gradually move that direction again, as time goes on and teenagers move out.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2011-12-24 01:34 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's hard. Hiding veggies was one of my favorite things to do - lots of creamed soups!
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From: simulated_knave
2011-12-24 12:18 am (UTC)
While canned corn doesn't taste quite like fresh, I've found a lot of frozen corn is pretty much indistinguishable.

Uncle Ben's microwavable rice also works better than you might expect. Depending heavily on the flavor.

Definitely with you on that frosting and pre-made cookie dough, though. That ain't right.
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