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Dear Uncle Dom,
I am an Italian born woman married to an Italian American man. For the last 2 years, my mother in law has stopped cooking. I think it’s because I am too much of a purist when it comes to food, especially Italian food. When we first got married, she would cook wonderful Sunday meals for the whole family. And I always enjoyed eating whatever she made. Unfortunately, as time went on, and I would question her use of clams out of a can or blended olive oils, she may have gotten insulted. Obviously our two cooking styles are different. How can I convince her that I still really enjoy her cooking?
Anna from Bay Ridge


 You think she may have gotten insulted? Anna, let me tell you something: dealing with in laws is always delicate. No matter how close you think you are with them, there is always an unspoken tension. A tension that in some families just waits for the right occasion (wedding, funeral or kids birthday party) to explode, or anyplace where there is an audience so they can show what gavones they actually are. Sorry Anna, back to your question: in this case you may be reading too much into it. Maybe it’s just her way of letting go of her son by letting you run the kitchen your way. That’s no easy task for most mothers to do. At least now you recognize what’s going on with her. Respect her for what she likes to cook and keep your mouth shut. Maybe, just maybe, she will leave you alone to run your family. Trust me, that is a small price to pay. So next time you’re going to make Sunday dinner for the family, invite Mamma to go food shopping with you. You might be surprised what the old lady knows about not only cooking, but life.

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