For the past three years, I have cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner at my brother's house for him, his kids, his fiance, her kids, and her PARENTS and sometimes one or two of her brothers and their kids. Average is 16 to 18 people each time (the kids are 16 - 24 and as pleasant as can be). We usually have one or two barbecues over the summer, low country boil in the spring, a few other dinners throughout the year. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE to cook for my extended family. Recipe searching, planning, menu making, shopping list generating, shopping for ingredients, prepping process, it's my favorite thing besides cooking it, and it's all a huge treat for me (I live alone and these are some of the few times I get to put on my chef's hat).
Consistently, her parents have either turned up a few hours late, or a few hours early. Every time. They always have an 'excuse' which is usually pretty lame (we thought the weather was going to be bad, we were waiting for a phone call from the cable company, the dog wouldn't poop - I didn't make that one up!, etc.). I would forgive a time or two, but every time? I have tried to be patient and gently tell them that it's very inconvenient for me, since I usually have the timing down to a T, but they've laughed it off - Oh, you're such a good cook, we trust you! URGH! To add insult to injury, when they're early they always show up starving and expect to sit right down and eat dinner. No matter that I've planned appetizers and a special cocktail. When they're late, they complain that things are too cold, too dry, too burnt, too limp. I'm not such a rigid cook that 5 or even 30 minutes would make a difference, but an hour or more?
I can't tell them off and alienate them, that would be unfair to my beloved brother. I admit, I'm pretty high strung, and get irritated at a lot of things, but sheesh, am I out of line here?
I used to have so much fun planning/cooking/hosting but lately, since I know they're going to screw up my timing, I sorta just don't want to do it anymore! My extended family are so appreciative of my cooking, always begging me to cook, and I enjoy the HECK out of it, but I get so upset when this happens.
Grrrrr. I think this isn't a topic so much as my need to get this out of my system. This past Thanksgiving was great, except for the cold turkey (they were late this time) the dry dressing, the limp salad, etc.
No need to respond, I've just booked my trip to Bermuda for Labor Day.
Thanks for letting me vent!