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MIL being a bad guest?

(81 Posts)
JadeFeather Fri 09-Sep-16 13:43:03

Have invited my MIL over for a late afternoon tea tomorrow to my new house with her sister who is visiting for abroad. Told her today what we were planning to serve (as she told me she has been invited to a dinner after) in case we needed to change it because of the dinner plans. Was planning a nice big tea as they were going for a long walk after brunch and hadn't had any dinner plans before. She started complaining that it's too rich (in general not in light of the dinner) and said "none of us would ever eat that stuff" etc. Feel really bad. If I hadn't told her I'm sure she would have come here and complained about it. I've never had guests who tell the host what they should serve. Isn't that really rude? We have always been told to be grateful for what we get and if it's too much then surely they could just eat smaller portions. I think it upsets me a lot because I lived with her for a few months and whenever I would cook she would complain about how it didn't meet one of her and her husbands thousands of dietary requirements (which she makes up herself and are not based on anything other than personal preferences and myths she has heard eg she doesn't eat tomatoes because someone told her she shouldn't for some reason or the other). I've had guests who are vegeatrians, have allergies etc and they let me know beforehand and that's not an issue. With my MIL its impossible to ever please her. Luckily I lived abroad for about a year. Now I'm back I feel so stressed thinking about how I will deal with having her over.

HereIAm20 Fri 09-Sep-16 14:05:00

Just give her a cup of tea and some biscuits instead (or slice of cake) and say I didn't do the full tea I'd originally planned as you are going out to dinner now and I wouldn't want to ruin your appetite.

She can then chose to eat them or not.

Don't stress yourself over her. If she is going to be picky let her be picky over something that you haven't spent too much time troubling yourself with rather than something you've put thought and effort into.

Silly woman (her not you!)

alfagirl73 Fri 09-Sep-16 14:51:11

If she is going to be that fussy and complain about everything (sounds to me like complaining just for the sake of it and to be dramatic!), then I'd say you need to approach it with a different mindset. Her behaviour, actually, is nothing to do with you - it's HER issue, in which case I'd say don't waste energy on stressing yourself out when it sounds to me like she'll find something to complain about whatever you do. Some people are just like that with food - not happy unless they're complaining and having dramatics.

Keep it simple. Do some nice tea/coffee with a lovely but simple selection of biscuits and cake. It's her CHOICE whether to be pleasant and enjoy it, or whether to be dramatic and rude. It reflects on HER, not you. And for the record, I agree with you; I was raised to be gracious and thankful to a host, to eat and show gratitude for what is served, and if you really don't like something, then simply leave it aside or don't select it (if it's a choice and not already served on your plate). I wouldn't dream of turning up at someone's for afternoon tea (or dinner etc) and sit there complaining about what someone had put a lot of thought and care into preparing.

At the end of the day, no one is going to starve. They're going for dinner after - so a few hours after you, she'll be complaining to someone else about their food! Treat it as a win-win - either she will participate and eat something (win), or she won't, in which case you have some yummy biscuits and cake to enjoy yourself (win)!

I know it's hard, but try not to take it personally. She has the choice of whether to enjoy your lovely afternoon tea or not. Equally, you have the choice whether to let her behaviour get to you or not. Take back your power and decide that if she behaves badly, you will not allow her negativity to spoil your day.

Out of interest - what were you planning to serve? (What is she missing out on by being silly?!). I bet it would be delicious!

Whereismumhiding2 Fri 09-Sep-16 14:53:24

I agree with HereIAm20

If she wants a light snack, give her a light snack. Little effort ... biccies... one ham & cucumber sandwich cut up into quarters ( or whatever is the most basic thing they will eat!)... Don't go to any trouble. Say what Here IAm20 suggested... smile sweetly... and don't stress it.
If you've already bought the other food, save it for your family the next day or do a brunch for friends or take it into work, to people that will appreciate your kind catering flowers

YANBU to find MIL slightly rude and ungrateful, but she won't understand that and probably won't change.

If it comes up in the future (I.e. if she later moans to you or via anyone else) you can innocently & proudly announce how far it goes against the grain for you to only provide such plain simple foods ... but you have to respect all the restrictions she gives you about what to serve her and FIL. halo ... (People will smile knowingly...)

Planty18 Fri 09-Sep-16 14:56:52

My mil is like this, "don't make any for me as we won't eat or we will never eat dinner" - then proceeds to eat shedloads confused
anyway, totally agree with other pp - get a cake and some nice biscuits, that'll do, just say you thought you'd just do tea and cake as you don't want to ruin their dinner. How annoying!

NoFuchsGiven Fri 09-Sep-16 14:59:45

ooh, she is rude but what were you going to serve? nosey

strawberrybootlace Fri 09-Sep-16 15:02:10

Very rude of your MIL! Stay calm and don't let her silliness get to you (easier said than done, I know).

JadeFeather Fri 09-Sep-16 15:11:55

When I said I was serving cake she said no one will have it (she doesn't eat anything sweet and stops her husband from having it because she's scared of diabetes). Told me that if I must get a cake it should be without icing. Um if you don't like icing just take it off?

Rockpebblestone Fri 09-Sep-16 15:19:10

Put out ham, chicken, cheese, pickle, mayonnaise, green salad & rolls. Enough for lunch, they can choose what they want.

pudcat Fri 09-Sep-16 15:27:53

Just make a cup of tea. Have a cheap fruit cake from a supermarket cut into slices and a plate of mixed biscuits.

BorpBorpBorp Fri 09-Sep-16 15:32:45

Is her sister going out to dinner too? If all your guests are going out to dinner, I'd say they were coming round for a cup of tea and a chat, not a meal, and I'd serve them tea/coffee/optional biscuits. Then after they've gone, you have a proper meal. If sister isn't going out to dinner, serve the afternoon tea you were intending to serve, and MIL can excuse herself politely from eating. It doesn't matter if she thinks the food is too rich, she's not eating a meal at your house any way.

MerryMarigold Fri 09-Sep-16 15:35:16

Put out some cheese-y biscuits. It depends where you are from and where the MIL is from. Sounds like she'd find fault so I would put 3-4 things out, 2 of them sweet and bobs-your-uncle, she can take what she likes. (Bet the sis and dh will have some cake!).

sandragreen Fri 09-Sep-16 15:35:19

I agree with PP. Give them tea and give MIL a couple of rich tea biscuits. Then offer her sister lovely cake piled high with icing and whatever else is appealing but easy.

Then just say "I did what you said MIL, no rich food for you."

MerryMarigold Fri 09-Sep-16 15:36:56

Intrigued with what original menu was. If you tell us, perhaps we could adapt it.

fuzzywuzzy Fri 09-Sep-16 15:43:58

Would a Victoria sponge cake be OK, they don't normally have icing.

Must say I'd be very tempted to put on a big spread and then smile sweetly and tell her you understand if she doesn't eat it. Then thoroughly enjoy myself and make a fuss of the guest. so MIL feels like an idiot for moaning at your generosity.

blitheringbuzzards1234 Fri 09-Sep-16 15:53:30

I get this with MIL. Food is too rich/ heavy, in too large a quantity, cups of tea/any other fluid offered too often/can't manage it. If she's that ruddy fragile how come the old girl has made it to 92? And the entire family have to dance around her. Ah, that's why.

blitheringbuzzards1234 Fri 09-Sep-16 15:53:36

I get this with MIL. Food is too rich/ heavy, in too large a quantity, cups of tea/any other fluid offered too often/can't manage it. If she's that ruddy fragile how come the old girl has made it to 92? And the entire family have to dance around her. Ah, that's why.

OrlandaFuriosa Fri 09-Sep-16 15:54:15


Option for Scones, jam also optional

Cucumber sandwiches
Rich tea fingers or iced gems, those tiny ones one had as a child,

Madeira cake.

Generous and plain.

JadeFeather Fri 09-Sep-16 15:56:01

Thanks everyone. My point is it doesn't matter what I do there will always be some complaint about it not suiting them for one reason or another. At first when she said it to me I thought it was just a matter of getting to know her. Two years down the line the list is never ending always expanding and frankly ridiculous! The first time I cooked I made chilli con carne and she told me there's too much red meat so they won't eat it (she cooks red meat herself!) I made a pasta and she told me she isn't allowed to have tomatoes because of some condition or the other . I made some pie and she told me puff pastry is too rich for her. I made a curry and she told me she doesn't eat Chillis because they upset her stomach. I made fish and she told me lemon gives her a cough! I could go on!!

JadeFeather Fri 09-Sep-16 15:58:27

Entire family dancing around her is exactly how it feels!

hellsbellsmelons Fri 09-Sep-16 15:59:32

With my MIL its impossible to ever please her
So stop trying.
Just do what you want to do.
If she doesn't want it or like it then she can leave it.
Stop pandering to her.
The sooner she realises you won't, the sooner will she stop expecting it!

Rockpebblestone Fri 09-Sep-16 16:00:25

Just put everything out to eat 'buffet style' and she can pick what she wants.

expatinscotland Fri 09-Sep-16 16:06:42

I wouldn't bother telling her in advance next time. Practise saying, 'It's a pity nothing I prepare ever seems to strike the right note with you.'

I'd serve what you were going to serve in the first place. It's 'too rich' she can have tea and toast.

Jessbow Fri 09-Sep-16 16:08:39

Give her beans on toast- if she's half the woman she portray herself to be she wouldn't dare voice what they do her her.....................!!

Proper ladies just don't , do they? maybe that's her problem................!!!!

MintyChops Fri 09-Sep-16 16:08:54

She sounds like my MIL and her husband and kids dance around trying to please her. They never please her. I have stopped dancing. I make what everybody likes to eat and manage not to batter her ungrateful, whinging head with my heaviest frying pan as she nit picks over EVERYTHING (then shovels it all in anyway)

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