Cheatsgiving: 10 Things Not To Say To Your Daughter Hosting Her First Thanksgiving

74951845 copyOkay Moms and Mother-in-laws, listen up. Your daughter is hosting her first Thanksgiving this year and I know you are nervous. Just between us, I am nervous for you. I think we can all agree her meal won’t be nearly as lovely or wonderful as the meal you usually prepare. Actually, just between us again, it will be like comparing a François Simon top rated dining experience to getting a fourth meal at Taco Bell, and not a clean Taco Bell, the really scary one by the airport. But for some dumb reason, Thanksgiving will be held at your daughter’s or daughter-in-law’s place this year and because you badly want to see the grandchildren you have agreed to go and be subjected to her lumpy gravy. I feel you.

I know it will be tempting to critique her cooking. Who can blame you? But in the spirit of familial harmony and because we all know how your daughter can be when she is stressed out, I am giving you ten things not to say to her when she hosts her first Thanksgiving dinner.

1: Aren’t You Going To Serve Appetizers? 

I get it. Everyone is staving. Your daughter really should have put out cheese and crackers. Hopefully she will learn in time.

2: That’s Not The Way I Make Stuffing. 

Oh Lord, is she seriously opening boxes of Stove Top? Just back out of the room slowly and find out where the liquor cabinet is.

3: Did You Remember To Take The Package Of Gizzards And Turkey Neck Out of The Cavity?

Spolier alert! Of course she didn’t. I’m sure you can remember making this same mistake, many years ago.

 4: Is That Cranberry Sauce.. From A Can? 

I know this is not the way you raised her. Between this and the paper tablecloth you better go pour another drink.

5: Why Is This Gravy So Lumpy?

You should probably map-quest the directions to Panera for the drive home.

6: I’m Just Going To Fix The Kids A Snack 

When was the last time she fed those babies? Can’t a grandma get a box of animal crackers around here?

7: Where Do You Keep Your Potato Ricer? 

Remember? She doesn’t have one. Because last year you offered to buy her one and a garlic press for Christmas and all she wanted was a stupid gift card to Bath And Body Works. 

8: Don’t You Want To At Least Brush Your Hair? 

I can’t believe she is sitting down to dinner looking like this either, what with the messy hair and her shirt covered in – what is that? Pumpkin meat? Back in your day women could make a meal and they wore heels and pearls doing it. Listen, I’m not even sure she is wearing actual pants right now. I think those are leggings.

9: Is This Pie Homemade? 

Of course it isn’t, and she knows that you know she bought it at the checkout line of her grocery last night because she also forgot the cream of mushroom soup for the green bean casserole.

10: Can I Help Clean Up?

Actually, scratch that one. That one you can say. Happy Thanksgiving!


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  • Tinyfaeri

    They sell pies at the checkout line? I need to shop where you shop, my bakery department is over by the veggies and the meat counter.

    • JLH1986

      pies, buckeyes, muffins, cookies…you name it.

  • AP

    I’m hosting my first Thanksgiving this year…but my brother-in-law is a chef, who, for the low fee of 1 glass of wine, will happily volunteer to take over in the kitchen.

    All I have to do is buy the groceries and put out a cute tablecloth!

  • NicknamesAreDull

    On my first Thanksgiving, my mom called me to tell me how proud she was of me, and that she couldn’t wait to hear about the new traditions I’ve started with my family. It really made me feel a lot more confident about doing everything by myself.

    • Julia Sonenshein

      Wait that’s so sweet!

    • NicknamesAreDull

      It was! It’s like she knew I was freaking out. I love to cook, and I love to entertain, but something about making a huge meal, without my mom, in Germany was too much for me. I swear she has a sixth sense.

  • TngldBlue

    I actually had to goggle potato ricer. And now you know why my mom still handles Thanksgiving dinner.

    • Tinyfaeri

      There’s always a blender in a pinch… :)

    • Jessie

      You’re not alone, my first thought was “What in Sam Hill is potato ricer?!”
      Me? I use a damned hand mixer like you would use for mixing cake batter, as does my mother. Works just fine for us, and our potatoes are never lumpy. Of course, making the potatoes is about the extent of my Thanksgiving expertise, I would fail miserably at the turkey cooking.

  • That_Darn_Kat

    I made a giant Thanksgiving dinner for Christmas one year (with a ham, too). I essentially had 2 mothers, and 2 mother-in-laws over at the time. They all were really sweet, just asking if there was anything they could do to help (which was a good thing, because I don’t eat gravy, and forgot that most people do, so someone had to make it and I didn’t have the first clue). I would host more, but I don’t have the space for all those people right now.

    • laurenlinn

      I spent many a Thanksgiving day with my MIL making the gravy. Like you, I always seemed to forget that just because I don’t eat gravy doesn’t mean no one else does. In fact, the whole rest of the family did, but I didn’t even know how to make it! Still haven’t learned – what do I care? I don’t eat it!

  • Lee

    These are thing I need to not say to my mother in law at Thanksgiving. The dog wouldn’t even eat the leftovers we were sent home with last time. I haven’t told her yet that last year was the last year we are spending Thanksgiving at her house. Sitting in silence with sports on and then eating a bad meal is not my idea of a good Thanksgiving. I’d much rather be with my rowdy family. If by some chance I ever do have to do Thanksgiving with the in-laws again, it will be at my house.

  • Alicia Kiner

    I feel the need to prove I’m not that bad at cooking Thanksgiving dinner now. :P so here goes.

    1 &6- Appetizers and snacks usually aren’t necessary because we eat at noon, and then pick for the rest of the day.

    2- I have never in my life stuffed any bird with Stove Top. Stove top is for
    lunch, or for the occasional week day side dish with chicken. It is not for stuffing inside a turkey on Thanksgiving.

    3- Maybe it’s all the years I helped cook before actually cooking alone, but I’ve never done this.

    4- If we have Thanksgiving with my family, you can bet it’s from a can, and it’s the jellied stuff, because that’s what everyone wants. If we’re with my in-laws, there isn’t any, because I’m the only one that eats it. One of these days, I’m going to find a recipe and make it for real, because I’m one of those people that thinks nothing good comes from a can.

    5- I do have trouble with gravy when I roast birds, but not with it being lumpy. I
    have trouble with it thickening up. I think that’s because my mom and grandma
    taught me to make gravy with flour, and I keep saying I’m going to try
    cornstarch and never do. My in-laws buy canned gravy and instant potatoes so
    they can’t complain if my gravy is runny ;)

    7- So I don’t have a potato ricer, don’t know what it is or does, but I DO have a
    Kitchen AId mixer, which does a wonderful job mashing potatoes with my husband
    at the helm

    8- while I don’t wear pearls or heels, I wear real pants and brush my hair. I even wear
    an apron so my clothes don’t get all messy.

    9- I bake some mean pies. Blueberry, apple, and pumpkin every year for sure. Usually one or two others.

    I’m not perfect, but the only person that ever complains about my food on Thanksgiving is my father-in-law saying my stuffing is too bland. My mother-in-law is Korean, and she puts hot peppers in her stuffing. So yes, in comparison, my stuffing is bland. But it’s still good. But those pies I was talking about? The blueberry is at his request. I also make homemade macaroni and cheese just for him. And I’ve been the one doing the majority of Thanksgiving dinner for the past 5 years, so if they keep coming back, I must be doing something right. ;) Not all of us daughters in law are bad cooks!!

    • Kate

      Um, congrats?

    • Alicia Kiner

      Lol. Yeah. That was a lot. I didn’t think it would be that much when I was typing it. Oops :/

    • Becca

      The secret to homemade cranberry sauce is that it’s wicked easy: one bag of cranberries + 1 cup sugar +’¼ water (OJ if you feel fancy). Put everything in a saucepan, on medium heat. Stir occasionally until it looks like cranberry sauce, about 15 minutes. The end!

    • Alicia Kiner

      Oh thanks!! I’m going to try this!

  • CW

    Don’t send her a 3 page shopping list including something called “Cold Duck” that has to be ordered from (is that even around anymore, LOL?) because none of the local beverage shops carry it. As a 22 y.o. new bride I was too chicken to tell my mother-in-law what she can do with that shopping list as I would now.

    • Eve Vawter

      Um, your mom is obviously AWESOME because Cold Duck is the shiz. You tell her I would like to share some with her, if we do not puke the next day

  • Muggle

    My mother would be so critical of everything I did it makes me very glad I’m not hosting Thanksgiving dinner.

    I am hosting Christmas, though. FFFUUUUUUU~

  • kate

    Our first time hosting thanksgiving, I pulled out the turkey, It was golden brown and crispy. My husband and I literally high-fived in the kitchen. My mother snorted into her drink and informed us that we cooked it upside down. Whatever. It was moist and yummy.

  • Katie L.

    I am in my mid-30s and have yet to host a Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner. Depending on the year, we have anywhere from 2-4 family dinners to attend (yay for divorces) and those are usually done potluck style, with everyone bringing a side. I suppose I will have to take over some year, but I am terrified at the idea of trying to cook a big dinner in my impossibly small kitchen.

  • keanesian

    Can you add to this list: Don’t force your daughter to cook ONLY your recipes and not let her see them until Thanksgiving Day when you make her cook for 30 people in your kitchen while she’s pregnant? Because that’s what happened to me last year.

  • KatDuck

    I’ve made thanksgiving dinner once – a decade ago my roommate and I found we’d both be there for thanksgiving so invited everyone else we knew who was equally marooned and cooked it up. It was a blast but, wow, lots of work for food I don’t actually find all that good. We did have a stuffing cook-off and mine won by a landslide. My completely-unmodified stovetop stuffing, that is. Power to the box.

    Now that I’ve done it once I’m sticking firmly to my own family’s tradition – find someone else who enjoys all the hoopla and bring the wine and appetizers. I’ll even bring a couple pies, just keep me from having to wrestle the stupid turkey. And, when that fails, order Chinese or grill salmon. I love my family’s tradition.

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