Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Her Beef With Mom

From today's "Ask Amy" column in the Washington Post:

Dear Amy:

My mother cooked every meal to death while I was growing up. Meats were well done, overcooked and terribly dry, and I didn't understand what the big deal was about having steak for dinner, much less a "juicy" steak.

This changed after college, when I met and married a wonderful man who cooks. I was finally able to appreciate a succulent pork chop or tender filet mignon.

Now, when we visit my parents, Mom insists on preparing good cuts of steak to serve us. I don't want her to waste money on the food because no one will enjoy it, but she insists.

... We appreciate her wanting to cook for us, and she loves to cook, but the meals are just really bad.

Should I just sit down, shut up, and eat whatever is on my plate? Or should I insist on taking the family out for dinner?

The advice from Amy strikes me as lame. On the one hand, Amy offers the option of "offer[ing] to 'host' your parents for a meal during your stay — doing all of the shopping, cooking and cleaning for one dinner." Not bad. But, other than that, Amy advises this woman to "suck it up" and continue to eat her Mom's food, which borders on being inedible.

This is silly. Why would it be so wrong for this adult woman to simply (but politely) inform her mother than she and her husband prefer their steaks cooked rare or medium-rare? Everyone has preferences, and these preferences can change as we get older. There's no reason why her mother should view this request as insulting.

This approach wouldn't solve the problem of an overcooked roast, but it would address the issue of individual steaks. And even a beef or pork roast has portions that are less cooked (usually the middle) than the rest of the meat.