Autumn tea times are the best for me. They can be spoiled, though, with a mother-in-law watching over your shoulder to make sure things are done just so. In fact, such behavior can make you quite jittery and downright irritable. Not good for any tea time, but especially bad for those autumn tea times!
One thing I never had to deal with as a new bride: a mother-in-law watching everything I did and correcting what she saw as errors in my homemaking skills. Which are legion, I’m sure. My attention in cooking and sewing classes in high school was less than focused (I would rather have been in wood shop class). So this article should probably be titled “Autumn Tea Time and the Lack of a Mother-in-Law.” However, read on and you will see that the title is actually accurate.
Autumn is a time of year when a mother-in-law can be a total blessing to any new spouse who hasn’t made a pumpkin pie from scratch or cleaned out a turkey to prepare it for stuffing and then roasting for several hours. It can also be a curse for those who don’t want to bake a pumpkin pie from scratch nor jam their hand inside that turkey. Not having a mother-in-law is no guarantee of a peaceful time, though, especially if your spouse tends to say things like “My mother used to do it this way.” Yes, that phrase can be just as unnerving as having the real live mother-in-law present. Thus the title of this article.
Both hubby and I have done this, that is, substituted for the actual mother-in-law. We both seemed to have had rather fastidious mothers who were great cooks and perfect housekeepers (or at least had a very definite way of doing things that we picked up on and carry with us to this very day). While preparing some homemade pumpkin pies, hubby definitely endured statements like “Gee, my mom never used so many mixing bowls and measuring cups to make a pie” and with such good grace that I am still alive to tell about it. Hee!
The pies were meant for a special Autumn tea time and one that seems to have become an annual tradition. My inner “mother-in-law tape” kept turning on and streaming out my mouth until I had to walk out of the kitchen or risk there being no pies at all. Thank goodness for computers and my blog writing. It was a great excuse to put some space in there and let the “mother-in-law tape” wind down. Once the pies were in the oven, the kitchen once again seemed like a safe place for me to be and help with the tea steeping and other preparations.
I am happy to report that the rest of our Autumn tea time went smoothly and with no mother-in-law interference on either side.
For those of you who have angelic mothers-in-law, this tale will seem quite foreign, but for many, I hope it will help you refrain from spoiling a perfect Autumn tea time!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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