Getting Back at the In-Laws – a Thanksgiving Tradition

happythanksgiving 2Let’s face it, sometimes in-laws can drive us crazy.  Mine love to whisper in front of me in a rather loud rendition of a whisper… (among other things).

But on Thanksgiving I get them back, or should I say, “I give it back” and isn’t that the point of Thanksgiving … the giving? Yes, it’s a Thanksgiving tradition.

You see, I’m a poultry-phobe.  I fear fowl, and when cooking it, I’m usually convinced that poultry is simply a bunch of salmonella clumped together in the shape of wings, breasts, turkeys etc.  You know, like the way meat was shaped for the McRib? In fact, whenever I see a picture on Facebook where someone has stupidly stuck an entire raw turkey on their head (and I’ve seen a few), I assume they are going to die.

Anyhoo, as T-Day is always at my house, I get to hover over my Mother-in-law and watch her cook the turkey while following her around with disinfecting wipes (which everyone loves).  To be frank, after following her for years, I’m surprised my hubby survived Thanksgivings growing up, as my MIL puts her salmonella-y finger prints on my faucet, soap dispenser, fridge handle, salt and pepper shakers, dog, and so on.

Since this isn’t our first rodeo, my in-laws have learned that I will make this day incredibly difficult if they do not become uber-anal chefs. They’ve told me that they wake up in fear of how the day will go — and that’s how I like it.

This is how it went last Thanksgiving:

Upon their arrival I questioned their motives: “What’s the plan? I need you to lay it out for me.”

MIL: First, I’ll wash my hands and I’ll be doing all my seasoning in the roasting pan, so that NO turkey touches the countertops.”

Me: How will you be turning on the faucet to wash your hands or holding the shakers to season the meat?

She looked around, worried, assessing her options and paused a bit too long for my liking.

Me: See, you can’t just jump right in here without a plan or an outline, a pie chart … a diorama. I feel like you haven’t thought this out very well.

MIL: OK, let’s take a step back.

Me: I will turn on the faucet for you …

And I have fashioned these handy seasoning holders…


I will tell the rest of the story through pictures:

Here my in-laws looking happy even though they are playing with food poisoning! I fear they are not very bright.


My FIL’s “fowl” fingerprints are imbedded in my paper towels, which must now be trashed! He feels horrible as he hates nothing more than wasting. Watching me throw them away was punishment enough.

My FIL agreeing to hold his hands like a Doctor until the prep is done.

Here is my MIL NOT USING the brilliant spice covers I have provided. Points will be docked.

Ahhh, turkey is in the oven and … Success!

I say she looks pretty good considering I hosed her down Silkwood style after she was done. Also, we both survived Thanksgiving, I only wish I had one of those we survived t-shirts to commemorate it.

Happy Thanksgiving (From us to you)!

Jenny from the Blog

Go ahead – share this with your in-laws if they truly love you, they’ll take it as a compliment and if they actually despise you, eh, you got nothin’ to lose…


34 thoughts on “Getting Back at the In-Laws – a Thanksgiving Tradition

  1. Loren

    I am a poultry phone too, so for turkey day I get the Jennie-O Oven Ready turkey. It goes from freezer to oven, from a bag, and it cooks in a bag. It’s also delicious. Then I can kick back and relax.

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Ohhhh I’ll have to look for those. At the end of the meal my mil said she was so happy my kids were finally eating turkey she would like to make one for us every time they come in. I said I don’t think our relationship could handle the stress.

  2. Debbie

    This could not be any more hilarious, and that photo of your mil with the knife put me over the edge! I’m thankful for you making me laugh constantly! I’m thankful that my 83 year old mother in law does dishes after the meal~ Who has whom trained? ;o)

  3. Amy levine

    They r good sports with great sense of humors! You r very lucky. Mine thought your mother in law article was offensive! And they even posed for pics! I too use paper towels to touch everything when cooking poultry. I guess in their day not as many people died from Samenilla as they do now- lol

  4. Denee King

    Your story is a hoot! But your table is Martha Stewart fabulous and your MIL’s arms are buff! She’s all smiles for the camera but she seems pretty comfortable with a butcher knife.

    1. Jenny from the blog

      Thx Denee. I’m always going for Martha Stewart chic, so I’m glad you noticed. My mil is going for Madonna arms so mission accomplished for both!

  5. Emily

    Ok, I know I’m supposed to comment on the whole salmonella fear, but I can’t get over your MIL’s toned arms!! I have no idea how old she is, but whatever her age, she looks GREAT! I won’t even say I hope to have arms like that at her age, b/c I hope to have arms like that NOW! I’m going to the gym tomorrow and lifting weights for an hour straight — tell your MIL she has motivated me to pump some iron!! Oh and looks like your Thanksgiving was a success…(frankly I’m also jealous your in-laws did the cooking).

    1. Jenny from the blog

      Emily. I’ll tell her, nothing will make her happier! Btw I’m renting them out price is negotiable…

  6. Bari

    Dinner was delish! The table was beautiful. Both you and Mil looked stunning but
    that knife in your pics was a bit scary. Care to come to “Baits Motel” for a respit?

  7. cherie

    Finally got a chance to read. Loved it and you and I know all your phobias. Tell Paula she does have great arms…but she knows that.

  8. [email protected]

    we are cut from the same cloth on this one. I hate hate hate raw meat in general but something about poultry sends me over the edge. I strategically place my cutting boards, roasting pans, etc near the sick so not to drip anywhere that may be missed.

  9. Kim

    Thankagiving dinner is at our place this year which means the in-laws will be coming over and seating themselves comfortably on our couches until the bird is served. My husband will be the one handling all the fowl cooking nonsense going on. I’ll likely be in the home office avoiding our tiny apartment kitchen and mumbling something about blogs or books or both. I just can’t be bothered. Haha.

  10. Mom off meth

    Oh my god we should have our own kitchen show. It is awesome to know I’m not alone. Cross-contamination is serious fucking business.

    It’s easy to see why a meth addict would worry about germs and people peering into the window at three o’clock in the morn. But I’m sober now. And I will never get salmonella. Because I’m THAT careful. Thanks.

  11. AwesomelyOZ

    LOL this is hilarious I can’t believe you harass them the entire time they’re cooking the turkey. Why don’t they season it at home and bring it over ready to pop in the oven (with perfectly sanitized hands of course)? That way all the contamination occurs in THEIR home versus YOURS; besides the turkey needs time to soak in the seasonings 🙂 Just an idea, probably better than the prepackaged stuff! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Have a great one -Iva

  12. sparkling74

    I too have poultry germ issues, but in my own house, I have some great strategies. Like, before I even get it out of the refrigerator, I mix all of the spices in a bowl, before the goop is on my hands. I get out all pans and knives and cutting boards. I have a faucet that I can lift with the back of my hand. And, if worst comes to worst, I will use a dish towel to touch whatever needs touching and then I put it in the laundry immediately. I love your fashionable spice holders that she didn’t feel the need to use. And that roll of paper towels would go right in the trash in my house too, with those nasty finger prints. How is it that our generation got so spooked about poultry yet none of us died with the way our mothers got chicken slime from one end of the kitchen to the other?

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  14. jaclyn schoknecht

    That’s exactly how I used to be with chicken or turkey! I finally decided that I’d rather not eat anything I won’t touch raw and that’s how I became a vegetarian. The end.

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