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AIBU to think that there are NO vegetables in London or the whole of the UK

(81 Posts)
DontEattheCakeGrandma Tue 17-Jan-17 06:57:16

Ok so I am English and I think that that there are vegetables in London, England, UK and Europe in general. But IL’s, mainly MIL have been bleating on for the last 13 years that there aren’t any. At all. It normally just irritates but this time it's become part of a larger issue.

Background - IL’s and DH are Australian, we met in UK, when IL’s came to visit they would travel and eat out a lot, mainly opting for steak and chips in restaurants, when they came to ours I would cook a normal meal involving plenty of veg - so they know and have eaten vegetables in the UK (even if that was not their choice).

When DH and I were still living there they would come out with this line that there are no vegetables. We moved to Australia 8+years ago. Now at least four times a year, when sitting down to dinner with other people (never when it’s just the four of us, she needs an audience for this to work) she will bang on about their travels and that there are no veggies in England/Europe, this last time it was just London. They know this is not true, they know I find it really rude to keep going on about it. It is sure to get a rise out of me. As MIL was an English/Communications teacher she knows how offensive her phrasing is. Compare ‘There are no vegetables in your home country ('tis a miracle you didn’t die of scurvy)’ to ‘we struggled to get our five a day because we chose to stuff our faces with meat and chips’. So I think it’s deliberately done to get a known reaction.

The last time comes with a further background of birthdays and christmases being manipulated to ensure problems and upset, these are whole threads in themselves. Including organising the secret santa for all 10 grandchildren (presents bought between aunts uncles etc) but then telling my DS(6)’s secret santa not to bother getting him anything! On Christmas Day I find him crying as he watches his brother and cousins opening their presents and he has none, MIL pipes up with ‘oh I thought this might happen’.

So now they are upset at me because I am offended a lot, I got shouted at that they are ‘on tenterhooks all the time because they don’t know when they might offend me’ (try not eating my DS(5)’s birthday cake before I’ve even got to ice it grandma!)

1 So really Am I Being Unreasonable to think that they are deliberately trying to offend me/upset my children so can’t be too surprised when we're offended/hurt by them. I quite possibly Am Unreasonable, and way too sensitive, I will accept that.

2 If IANBU please give me witty responses (I don’t think they’d get the nuance of ‘did you mean to be so rude’) to cheer me up.

Blu Tue 17-Jan-17 07:32:41

She sounds toxic.
But why would anyone 'not bother ' to get a secret santa present for a 6 year old? Even if they were told by her?
What does your DH make of all this?

Ignore the veg thing. You are creating the drama by rising to it. People would have to be dim to believe it anyway.

Do you shout at them, offended? She is once again managing to turn you into the baddie.

Stay very calm, ask questions such as 'can you explain why you told xxx not to buy a secret santa present for DS?'

msrisotto Tue 17-Jan-17 07:37:41

I get how they wind you up, after the secret Santa thing I'd be bristling too. But the veg thing is too ridiculous top make a fuss of so you're going to have to laugh it off as such

Deathraystare Tue 17-Jan-17 07:44:21

Just laugh at her "Oh don't say that, people will believe it is really true!!"

Geraldthegiraffe Tue 17-Jan-17 07:45:52

I have similar in laws and know what you mean actually. I'm not sure it's uncommon in some parts of Australia. It's like there's a real chip on their shoulder about the English. We certainly had the "no vegetables in England" and "they all eat canned food." (Context, just had baby and had tinned tomatoes and tinned kidney beans in a chilli type thing - they actually ate very similarly to us.) However it's like with our in laws there's a story/myth regarding England and whatever the facts are has to fit with it.

Also had "this isn't a bad cup of coffee considering its England." Every. Single. Time. You think after they've been "pleasantly surprised" often they'd change the record....

And when we were there, " let's introduce them to a beach, have they seen a beach. " England is an island, we happened to live close to a beach....

Holding carrots with their green tufts on, "boys bet you've never seen carrots like this before." Er?!?!?

So yes. Completely get what you're up against. I think unless yonce experienced it it sounds so petty but the constant put downs is tiring. Of course not all Australians etc but I think it's a cultural myth, a but like going to America and people thinking British are polite/cute accent/know the Queen....

longdiling Tue 17-Jan-17 07:52:52

Yes you have bigger issues than the vegetables! What does your dh say about all this?

When it comes to her bizarre veg comments I would agree enthusiasticly with her and then ramp it up even more 'no there's not so much as a carrot or a pea in the whole of the UK! Everyone suffers from scurvy, people are dropping like flies etc etc' so it's really obvious that you're ripping the piss out of her. It'll highlight how ridiculous she's being.

shovetheholly Tue 17-Jan-17 07:57:35

I would go all Countess Dowager on her and say, with raised eyebrow "My dear, I can understand how you got that impression but it's because you just don't go to the right kind of places".

Geraldthegiraffe Tue 17-Jan-17 07:58:46

Yes the thing with the 6 year old is strange sad (although we've had presents for one set of grandchildren and not the other. Are we related.. )

However ot might not be so much that they do know better but more of a cultural blindness (for want of a better word). They will hold to their core beliefs about English people (vegetables/schooling/outdoors/swimming/coffee...) in the

Geraldthegiraffe Tue 17-Jan-17 07:59:21

Face of all evidence.

user1477282676 Tue 17-Jan-17 07:59:30

An Italian student once asked me "Why do English people not eat vegetables?"

I probed and it turned out that on an exchange trip, the family she stayed with only served frozen peas with meals.

I was able to assure her that English people LOVE vegetables and she had unfortunately stayed with a weird family.

When your MIL next complains about the lack of veg in the UK say "Oh yes..just like there are no electrical outlets in houses in Australia."

longdiling Tue 17-Jan-17 08:02:01

Is she/you on Facebook? Could you get all your British friends to tag you in on pictures of any veg they eat or find in the UK? Could be quite amusing.

Cosmicglitterpug Tue 17-Jan-17 08:02:02

Tell her you're moving back to the UK

Soubriquet Tue 17-Jan-17 08:02:29

Do they walk around shops with their eyes shut or something?

Ignorant arseholes

And your poor Ds not getting a secret Santa

ChuckSnowballs Tue 17-Jan-17 08:07:28

No, yet again you are not overreacting, you are underreacting. Bullying your son by ensuring he doesn't get a SS present is despicable.

BarbaraofSeville Tue 17-Jan-17 08:08:13

The only Australian person I know is like that Gerald. We finally stumped him with.........

Yorkshire Puddings grin

Took him to Toby Carvery and the server asked him if he wanted a Yorkshire Pudding and he gave DP a panicked look because he didn't know what it was and DP reassured him that yes, he did want a Yorkshire Pudding with his roast dinner.

And do you know what, he liked the YP, and the Toby Carvery roast dinner so much that we went twice while he was with us and he went home with instructions on how to make Yorkshire Puddings.

ClaryIsTheBest Tue 17-Jan-17 08:09:23

Oh gosh!!

Your poor son!

She isn't just offensive towards you (my MIL also makes snide comments about me and my home country) but she did this to your son? What an awful awful witch.

I wouldn't let my MIL be around DD if she did something like this.

She sounds toxic. You and your family deserve better.

DontEattheCakeGrandma Tue 17-Jan-17 08:10:56

shovetheholly and user thanks those made me laugh

Absolutely the vegetables are a minor issue, and I have always laughed it off and ignored, but it is tiring, they do similar to another sister in law, it feels like low level bullying, exerting their power and toxic, and totally destroys my sense of self worth, especially as I don't have friends here to talk to.

The other stuff, is much the same, about showing how they can change things, divert them away from what I ahead hoped and planned, it's been going on since we moved here, they are toxic, and we are going to be stepping away from them, and long term coming back fingers crossed which is a shame as I came here so that my children would be able to grow up with grandparents and cousins etc

lottiegarbanzo Tue 17-Jan-17 08:11:58

I think you just have to take the piss with more and more ridiculous examples, 'oh and have you shown them your pictures of the Loch Ness monster yet? DH said you took some great ones!'.

Does sound like a cultural myth, based on a historic truth - in the 50s - 70s and later in some families, tinned vegetables were very normal.

The rest though... I agree with pp, the bizarre thing is that present buyer took notice of her. Ask them why! Did THEY really think a 6yo wouldn't want a present and be upset at it's lack?

ClaryIsTheBest Tue 17-Jan-17 08:12:11

I don't know that many Australians. But the ones I know are lovely.

Ever heard bad things about the UK,

And anyhow, she should be able to seperate this from you and your family. And not tell DS that he was the only one Santa didn't bring anything. sad

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Tue 17-Jan-17 08:12:53

God, how annoying. But I like Long's pisstake reply - probably the best!

Reminds me of a dd in the US, admittedly some time ago, when some Yank thought she and her friends would never have seen a microwave, among other things, and one of her friends did a similar pisstake - what's that? How amazing, yes, we all live in mud huts, etc.

Rather different, but Aussies in London working with dd and ENDLESSLY moaning about the weather. Er, you do realise this is winter, in Northern Europe? Exactly what were you expecting? The Med? Did you not do geography at school?
They were eventually shut up at least for a while by a Swede saying, 'You call this cold? Back home its minus 20, so stop whingeing!

DontEattheCakeGrandma Tue 17-Jan-17 08:13:21

longdiling she has friend requested me and I denied, but I think that is a stroke of genius, be prepared to share your veggies, rude looking and not

Which reminds me I have a friend who grows her own in central London

ComputerUserNumptyTwit Tue 17-Jan-17 08:14:43

I bloody LOVE long 's Facebook tagging idea. Do it!

MiddleClassProblem Tue 17-Jan-17 08:15:52

Come home!

Next time she does the g routine I'd laugh it off and throw in some sarcasm. "Yeah, it's true. I hadn't seen a courgette until I moved here. Nigella has hers flown in from LA just for her show" etc.

The rest of it is nasty. Maybe if possible cover your bases. If it she says DS might not get secret satana, get a little back up present. Next birthday have a one I prepared earlier cake etc although you may not be able to plan all these things. The other option is to just laugh it all off and keep it in. If it's not bothering you she might get bored of it.

What the hell doesDH think of it all? Particularly the present?

Tonkinese Tue 17-Jan-17 08:16:04

Okay, so the game with people like this is to agree and up the stakes, and see how far you can go before they realise you're taking the piss.
E.g. MiL - there are no vegetables in England
You - yes, we couldn't believe our eyes when we came to Oz and everyone had these tiny little round green things on their plates at meals! I honestly thought they were just decorative for weeks.

FittonTower Tue 17-Jan-17 08:18:00

Can you laugh about how weird stereo-types are? And the say how everyone in England is just the same but we all think Australians are racist idiots who spend all their time surfing and calling each other flaming gallars.... "hahahaha isn't funny how far from the truth these things can be" maybe throw in something about evil mother in laws for good measure

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