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Am I a big failure if I don't produce the perfect xmas dinner?

(140 Posts)
Lilifer Tue 20-Dec-16 12:17:18

My in laws are coming to dinner this year. They live very nearby and I get on pretty well with them. FIL is quite old fashioned and stuffy in his views at time, product of his upbringing etc would think all domestic stuff is the woman's work and men don't get involved in the kitchen.
I've no issue with that but the thing is I am not very domesticated, I don't really enjoy cooking as I do enough of it every day as a SAHM of 5 kids so for me xmas day is just another day of cooking except with much more pressure and expectations attached.
The last time PIL came to us i had decided to change things up a bit a do a roast beef instead as we are not that fussed about turkey but FIL expressed such horror at this departure from tradition that I backed down and decided to cook turkey.
This year I will cook turkey as it's just easier than upsetting anyone but I'm a bit worried that my dinner won't be up to scratch cos
A. I don't bother cooking a ham (too much extra work and kids not that in to it)
B. I don't do sprouts cos most of us loathe them
C. I don't bother with a starter cos there is so much food in the main course and dessert that a starter is not really needed esp when kids have been snacking all day on quality street (and me too if I'm honest!)

Does that sound totally pathetic to you? The table will look lovely and the food I do serve will be tasty and hot, it's just a scaled down version of the norm, but it means that I get to enjoy the day too without having to spend all day either prepping food or washing up.
I fear the PILs will feel a bit short changed though blush

Bobochic Tue 20-Dec-16 12:20:14

A starter is neither traditional nor necessary at Christmas dinner. In fact, it is totally surplus to requirements. If you are worried about fussy visitors, serve foie gras on brioche with some champagne as an aperitif.

Lilifer Tue 20-Dec-16 12:20:22

Also I was chatting to friends recently and one of them was outright horrified that I wasn't doing a ham, like really really shocked.

I mean it's just food isn't it? Why do we all feel so bound by traditions? In my mind the important thing is sharing the day with folk you love with a nice meal, but not necessarily having to outdo Nigella!

YelloDraw Tue 20-Dec-16 12:20:38

Are you doing loads of pigs in blankets?

If so, no one cares about sprouts and ham!

AddToBasket Tue 20-Dec-16 12:21:19

Why is this on you? What is your DH doing?

Lilifer Tue 20-Dec-16 12:21:25

Thanks Bobochic that's good to hear! smile

Purplehonesty Tue 20-Dec-16 12:22:21

I'm cooking for 12 so...
We are having beef
No starter
Frozen roast potatoes
Aunt Bessie yorkshires
Lemon meringue pie and cheesecake
I will do spouts as mum likes them
It will be lovely and hot and if you don't like it well....

AddToBasket Tue 20-Dec-16 12:22:52

And as for the friends you were chatting to - that kind of housewifey competitiveness is very outdated...

amispartacus Tue 20-Dec-16 12:22:59

Am I a big failure if I don't produce the perfect xmas dinner


Lilifer Tue 20-Dec-16 12:23:22

Well I hadn't planned on pigs in blankets cos I did a load of them last year and they weren't really eaten so it was a bit of a waste.

Why my dh is internalising his fathers views of course and tends to leave all food responsibility to me cos I am the SAHP in the house hmm

TheSparrowhawk Tue 20-Dec-16 12:23:55

So, to get this straight, instead of enjoying Christmas you're running around trying to please your DH's fussy father, who, instead of being grateful that someone is cooking his dinner, judges and considers what you cook not to be good enough? And your DH is ok with that? He doesn't mind that you have such a stressful day ahead of you?

amispartacus Tue 20-Dec-16 12:25:02

Also I was chatting to friends recently and one of them was outright horrified that I wasn't doing a ham

Really? Never had a Christmas meal with ham as well. Starter, turkey with trimmings, pudding plus lots of alcohol.

lastqueenofscotland Tue 20-Dec-16 12:25:21

Fuck that. I'd make a list of what you are doing and what he can do and leave it at that.

I love my PIL but FIL can be unintentionally difficult re food- very fussy. I don't cook for him, he's mr Queens dad not mine and I can't bare fussy adults.

Put your foot down and get DH to help.

haveacupoftea Tue 20-Dec-16 12:25:53

I wouldn't bother with a starter but ham is dead easy, just chuck it in the slow cooker the night before on low.

If they dont like it they can go somewhere else next year.

Bobochic Tue 20-Dec-16 12:26:25

I think turkey (or, better still, a capon) with stuffing, bread sauce, gravy, roast potatoes, sausages, bacon rolls and some vegetables (not plain boiled) are the essentials. I pretty much leave it at that - they are all really good smile

amispartacus Tue 20-Dec-16 12:27:02

Sometimes I read threads on here, watch Everybody Loves Raymond and don't see any difference.

Lilifer Tue 20-Dec-16 12:27:29

gringrinloving these replies! Thank you for cheering me up! Too true about housewife competitiveness. When my friend said "but WHY are you not doing a ham??" I answered "Cos I can't be bloody arsed can I??!!"
There is so much pressure around getting it all perfect but it's always on the woman, (at least in my life anyway)
Truth is I couldn't give a flying shite what I ate on xmas day and if it wasn't for the kids and dh I'd happily go for a curry or pizza or even bloody cheese toastie and sip champagne and eat quality street all day long!

wifework Tue 20-Dec-16 12:27:54

Can you imagine being outright horrified that somebody else wasn't cooking a ham for Christmas lunch? I feel a bit sorry for that person. Don't they get out much?

amispartacus Tue 20-Dec-16 12:29:22

There is so much pressure around getting it all perfect but it's always on the woman

Learning not to give a toss about what people think is a good strategy. What's the worst that could happen?

xStefx Tue 20-Dec-16 12:29:35

I would put on an awful dinner and then next year you can go to theirs and avoid any cooking only joking don't really do that but its tempting :-)

Your dinner sounds fine, people are usually stuffed from the main so no starter required.

Grumpyoldblonde Tue 20-Dec-16 12:29:39

I never do a starter, I sometimes put a few blinis out to have with the first glass of fizz. I never do a ham either.
Cook what you feel comfortable and capable of doing. They may be family but they are still guests for this meal.

MadisonAvenue Tue 20-Dec-16 12:29:42

We have my parents come to dinner every year and I always feel like it's a massive failure. There's always something that seems too cold and I go into a blind panic when it's almost time to serve it up.
This year my sister is coming too and I'm so nervous, I've never cooked for her in my life before and she's such an amazing cook herself.

Bobochic Tue 20-Dec-16 12:30:07

Ultimate womanhood doesn't rest on your ability to cook Christmas dinner. The important thing is to please yourself. What Christmas dinner production will make you feel that you have put on a show that the majority have enjoyed?

OohMavis Tue 20-Dec-16 12:30:49

Why do people cook a ham? confused

Yanbu. At ALL. In fact your dinner sounds a lot like mine except for the sprouts, cos they're gorgeous parboiled and sauteed in butter and bacon.

Meemolly Tue 20-Dec-16 12:31:13

It's a meal. That's all it is. If your friends are prone to making comments that you take personally then don't talk to them about it. You're cooking it, everyone else can eat it and say whatever they like about it, but you are wonderful for feeding them all. Don't engage with your FIL about that rubbish, because it is rubbish. The meal isn't about win or fail. We don't get points scored.

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