22 Apr

I debated whether to post this one or not as I am not one for washing my dirty linen in public at all. But this is my blog and a reflection of my life at the moment. This is important to me right now, so I am posting it.Might make it private later.


So much for my last post and all the effort spent in planning and cooking meals for the first week of my FIL’s visit. Remember I mentioned he was a quiet person in general and that his silence didn’t necessarily mean dislike. Well this is what the hsubadoo told me anyway. This last weekend, my FIL bluntly told me he disliked my cooking. “Everything is tasteless , bland and tasted funny and the same” , he said! Some brutal honesty or what! The only solace was the husbadoo standing up for me and saying he loved the way I cooked and that it was perfect in every way.(God bless this guy I married)

Anyway,when this conversation happened,  I was in the back seat of a car during a road trip and the FIL was in the front passenger seat besides the husbadoo who was driving. I was extremely quiet after he made this comment and just listened to the rest of his food thoughts in silence. Anyway my FIL thought I had slept off with all the silence and I just replied I was awake. The husbadoo after standing up for me,  gave me some sweet comforting smiles through the rear view mirror and was nothing but an amazing husband the rest of the weekend.

The thing is this was all was very unexpected as in the six years I have known the FIL, he has been the most  almost “zen person” I know.We have got along fantastically and I know he genuinely likes me and I do the same and respect him too in turn.Oh and that respect and mutual like has not changed in anyway because of this incident at all. Anyway maybe just this commentary in the light of the intense cooking I had dished out day after day for a week was hard for me to digest (see what I did there!).

I sulked a little bit this weekend , internalized and  re-internalized this message so much as is my nature to do so. And then I tried to closely oberve what kind of food my FIL enjoyed this weekend as we were travelling and visited some friends and family. Definitely spicier food with more masala and more oil. The thing is my food is healthier than these but from a  taste perspective it is not bad at all. The husbadoo and I find it pretty delicious and over the years we have started to prefer less spicier , greasier food.Another surprising tit bit is that the  the husbadoo, grew up in house with very little garlic , onion and masala was used and their food is even slightly sweetish with the addition of jaggery. This has rubbed off in my cooking recently and maybe in all this my cooking lost its flavor and spice and the FIL’s palate didn’t like it. Who knows!

My parents who I tell everything to ( maybe I should stop doing this) comforted me and urged me to not go overboard on the oil and grease but just to add some spice to the food , They also are urging me to work harder to impress him! WTF! That of course, pissed me off some more as I feel I am already tasked to the max in the kitchen and though there maybe some scope for changes in the cooking methods and spicing, there is definitely no scope for “doing more”. My parents are also very worried that i can’t take criticism in any form. This is so minor they say. Its just feedback, be happy he told you. Just learn from it and move on. Don’t take criticism to heart. How will you survive in the real world ? Don’t you take criticism at work?Deal with this same way.

The thing is you guys, I don’t take criticism well at all. period! Most of the fights the husbadoo and I have in our marital life are because of criticism. Or things that I take to be criticism that maybe aren’t at all. For  a few months after delivery, call it post partum depression or any other name, I was extremely sensitive about the husbadoo saying a single thing about anything related to Bandar’s care and picked fights with him saying he was accusing me of being a bad mother, In short I wanted him to have no opinion in the raising of his child.It was what I had read, what I knew, what I thought. Now thinking back, this was all terribly silly and we could have avoided a ton of fights, as the husbadoo too wasn’t one to particularly back down in those days. Another incident is a few months ago, I got hugely depressed because one of the husbadoo’s distant  family members said something else about me, this time it was genuine criticism. Though the husbdaoo stood up for me till he was blue in the face, just thinking about this person who criticized me and the topic depresses me. Regarding my professional life, any minor criticism I have received in the 8 odd years of working, I internalize and dwell on and am upset about for days. I have even blogged about bad work days sometimes and they were mainly because of criticism in any form. My tiffs with my parents too are generally about criticism too. So in short, I basically cannot take it any form,  I am overly sensitive. Sometimes I wonder if living in  a joint family system in India somewhere with criticism strewn at me all day long would have toughened me up. Or maybe it would have made me a bundle of nerves . Thankfully I am not in the situation, hope to never be and I am also hugely lucky to have a supportive husband who will back me up anyway he can. So I need to just toughen up in life in general.

Anyway, I came back home after our weekend road trip in a very fragile state of mind. I was upset that the last week’s food was a flop. I was confused about what to cook this week. I had to abandon lengthy made plans, Oh and all of us at home were sick too. I almost dreaded entering the kitchen. i feared it, I had lost a ton of self confidence about my cooking abilities with that one statement .The fact remains that the husbadoo and I love the taste of the food I cook and we really can’t see anything wrong with it. So now I am cooking for a palate that I am not familiar with and one that I have no idea how to please.

Since the weekend , I have dished out two days of extremely spicy(atleast to me) food  with amounts of oil and ghee that almost killed me to put in.  The FIL seems to enjoy this food though and now I need to maintain this spice standard for another three weeks. Oh well, such is life and we cook and grow.

45 Responses to “Criticism”

  1. Bhavani April 22, 2015 at 1:58 am #

    Oh oh sorry to hear..I would be upset too…especially if I am putting genuine effort and it is not appreciated..I would be very pissed…

    Take it easy Pop..

  2. More than words April 22, 2015 at 2:15 am #

    Hugs dear !! I can understand how hard it is to gulp it down especially after putting in so much effort….. Take it easy and try telling him that ur food habits have changed and eating too greasy stuff isn’t good for anyone…. But above all just relax… Hugs !!

  3. srividhya April 22, 2015 at 3:18 am #

    Hugs P. Its not easy to take criticism. I cannot take my hubby’s criticism whereas when others criticizeI just take it easy. But believe me it took time. At the end of the day its you, your husband and the kid. No one else comes into picture.
    And food I have the same problem. If I cook in India always I get this comment. Uppu ella and kara saramave ella. all ella ella ella only.Even in my blog if you notice I wont use more 1.5 tsps of salt and same with spice. We got used to that taste. But its the other way around in India. After all that effort when get negative comments its hard to take it but dont worry you are not alone. Getting back to lighter topic.. do you watch game of thrones? New season started naa.??

    • princessbutter April 22, 2015 at 3:27 am #

      Loveeeeee Game of Thrones!!!! Tyrion is My bae.

      • srividhya April 22, 2015 at 3:35 am #

        Hey.. I just started seaon 1. I know I am veryyyyy late but better late than never. 😉 😉

      • princessbutter April 22, 2015 at 3:39 am #

        Catch up catch up! You ARE going to fall in this hole further. 🙂

      • popgoesthebiscuit April 22, 2015 at 6:50 am #

        I will catch up to you soon then:)

      • srividhya April 22, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

        Oh cool. I am not alone then 😉 Seems like we have nice Game of Thrones group here.

    • popgoesthebiscuit April 22, 2015 at 6:48 am #

      My husband said the exact same thing -only the three of us matter. The exact same sentence. Don’t know how and when our food tastes changed so much with living in the US. I cannot tolerate the food I have been cooking the last two days so been eating Chobani yogurt and caramel custard and M&Ms..hehe…Regarding the more interesting topic, I don’t watch game of thrones only because I wanted to read the books first. But now have given up, have no time for the reading bit. The husband is up to date on the seasons, but ready to watch with me from the beginning again. So I will do it soon. Maybe next month:)

      • srividhya April 22, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

        yeah me too will start from next month. Game of thrones is available in Netflix DVD option. We have online only. So wondering what to do.. Hulu also doesn’t have. I need to sign up for dvd option..

      • popgoesthebiscuit April 23, 2015 at 9:16 am #

        Oh is it? we will have the same prob too then. Hardly watch DVDs man..will have to get the dvd option for just this yoo.

      • princessbutter April 24, 2015 at 4:22 am #

        Whaaaat? I watch everything online. Go to
        All episodes links are in the comments section. Click on ‘not spam?’ And you will see all links. Enjoy!
        I used to use my cousin’s Netflix. But he moved back to India. 😦

      • popgoesthebiscuit April 24, 2015 at 9:18 am #

        thanks for this link….:)

  4. princessbutter April 22, 2015 at 3:26 am #

    Awww big hugs to you!!! Xoxoxo
    Now, I sort of am similar about criticism. I force people to tell the truth or snoop around to find out what they think of me and then I get upset if it’s bad. Ugh. That’s why I don’t have many friends. I can have a flair for dramatics.
    Don’t worry about cooking. Do one thing. Cook like you usually do with the amount of oil you normally put, with a lil extra chilli and garammasala. And on top add a tadka with a spoon of ghee, rai, hing. I think if he sees that on top he will get the impression that it’s Greasy and spicy. And also use Everest Kashmiri Mirch. It’s not hot but the damn thing is so beautifully red. Love it.
    Don’t worry about it honey. My dad asks for poli after eating pizza/Chinese/pasta. His palate is set. My mausi Mausaji too behaved similarly in Chicago and San Diego when they visited here. My mom is more open to new food.

    • popgoesthebiscuit April 22, 2015 at 6:50 am #

      Totally get you on digging into finding out the truth..haha..ignorance should be bliss in such matters na. Dude other irritating thing is I am far from Indian stores – using biryani masala as my garam masala(the Everest one) and surviving somehow. Someone told me Kitchen King is good, wish I had ordered that from Jersey.My dad told me about the tadka trick too haha

  5. Zarine Mohideen April 22, 2015 at 5:10 am #

    Hugs P! My in laws are visiting in a few months and I am in the same dilemma. At home we make do with quick fix dinners with lists of veggies, quinoa, etc and I make proper Indian food only once or twice a week. I wonder how that will go down with my in laws since they are accustomed to eating proper Indian non vegetarian food throughout the week.

    I guess if your FIL is staying for only a few more weeks then you can make the type of food he likes! But i totally feel you on the adding extra grease part. In my parts of the woods extra ghee/oil translates to “I love you so much look at the amount of ghee I’ve added in your food”!! It drives me crazy! And I don’t know whether to appreciate your FIL on his honesty or wish he hadn’t said anything! Don’t stress yourself by internalizing these comments. I know about that all too well when it eats up your insides and its all you can think about! Its three more weeks so hang tight!

    • popgoesthebiscuit April 22, 2015 at 6:55 am #

      Hey if they are coming together wont MIL cook?? You can maybe stand on the side and pretend to help?Or pull long days at grad school.Seriously, come home far too late to cook. I can’t wait to move to a place with decent/affordable Indian cooks. Not kidding. Plus me working from home makes it seem like I am idle and available to cook and clean.

  6. magic April 22, 2015 at 5:51 am #

    Hugs Pop… my FIL does not like my food, he likes the typical brahmin food and i cant cook that type of food, i try but but not able to match up to his expectations sigh… so i have made peace with that.. but he tells that i cook spicy food and make G also eat that, but the problem is G likes my food, i love spicy food its only spicy not greasy I hardly use butter and gee, so my FIL has a problem in that too, he says, that i dont give gee to G en all, its never ending, before i would sulk, but now i just dont care…. whenever he vists us, even in India , he cooks for himself sigh … good for me

    • popgoesthebiscuit April 22, 2015 at 6:56 am #

      I should get to don’t care. I don’t want him to cook here at all..the story will spread like wildfire if he does.

  7. perspectivesandprejudices April 22, 2015 at 6:46 am #

    Ouch! That isn’t an easy situation to handle and I’m not sure what I would do in that case. Hugs! Good thing is it’ll be over soon 🙂 I understand where you’re coming from – I tend to think, even over think and internalize stuff just like you said 🙂

  8. Maya April 22, 2015 at 9:36 am #

    Hugs P! I know how you must be counting days till you FIL leaves. Been there, faced the situation. The first time my inlaws visited me, I thought I’ll give them a break and cook for them. But when my FIL started comparing everything that I made to how my MIL made it, I just stepped aside and let MIL cook. From then to now, I don’t cook when they are around. And, I don’t think I am such a bad cook even if I say so myself! 🙂

    Also, totally get you on the criticism from the husband with regard to first few months of parenting. I was the same and have since changed but when I think about those days, I feel silly too!

    • popgoesthebiscuit April 23, 2015 at 10:19 am #

      Cooking for themselves is seriously the best solution, if they are willing and able. I don’t even mind hovering, pretending to learn. Would have been the situation here if MIL came along too. Glad to hear you relate on the parenting commentary bit from the spouse or anyone else for that matter. Blame it on post partum, like everything else.

    • Bhavani April 23, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

      I think in this respect I was lucky..since I cooked only during the weekend when they visited us, I used to dish out some thing different avoiding the daily sambar, rasam types. And FIL always used to compare MIL with me and used to ask MIL to learn from me :-))) He always always made it a point to praise my dish. Infact MIL used to get bugged…ha ha

  9. sw April 22, 2015 at 9:57 am #

    Long time silent reader here.
    I feel the examples you have given in your post are totally different from main topic. At work, you are responsible for your share of work and also you are answerable to your team, your company , your boss etc. So in such scenario, you need to be open to constructive criticism and also should be able to give some. Same with child care, which is a collaborative effort. However, eating homemade food is a privilege. IMO criticizing food made by someone is like discounting the thought, efforts and kindness behind the gesture. It’s uncalled for and insulting.
    That being said, I don’t think your FIL thought thru it before passing those remarks. I know my Dad genuinely likes my SIL (brother’s wife). They have very friendly and relaxed relationship. But I can see him saying something like that. The reason being he seriously lacks tact sometimes. How an intelligent and accomplished person like him can be so tactless is beyond me.
    In my opinion, you should not change your food so much that its unappetizing to you. May be offer variety of achaar or supplement with take outs


    • popgoesthebiscuit April 23, 2015 at 10:16 am #

      Thanks so much for commenting sw. Yes,agree about tact. My fil and I, touchwood, get along great, so this was a bit of a shock to me. Thought it would all be easy going ….not much access to achaar..we don’t normally buy far from desi stores. Will be ordering it from NJ but will be the end of his trip by the time I get it. Just need to plan better next time.

  10. greenboochi April 22, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    I can so totally relate to this post. Though my in-laws have not stayed with us for more than 2-3days at the max, its always the other way for me. We visit our in-laws atleast once in two months (during the initial years of marriage, it was bi-weekly.. sigh) my MIL hands over the kitchen to me and I was expected to whip out meals for 10 people. I had all the while only cooked for a maximum of 4 people. Though it took me a couple of trips to understand how the proportions work, I was not bad. S loves everything I make here and loves it all the same I prepare there. But then, I dont think my MIL fully trusts me with the cooking even now. She tries her best not to interfere but urges me to use more oil ( sometimes, pours it herself in my absence) or to check if its enough spicy. I really get bugged at this, but dont make a big deal as S loves what I make. Also, all of them at my in-laws are silent when it comes to food commentary. No good no bad. They eat in silence which bugs me further.

    Hugs to you. Many people do think only spiciness and greasiness add to the taste of the dish. I am so with you on healthy but tasty dishes.

    • popgoesthebiscuit April 23, 2015 at 9:18 am #

      Wow…know what you mean by eating in silence. In my case have discovered, unless food is amazing it won’t be a good. Silence can mean bad, terrible or just average and normal here. Hats off to you for doing the cooking on a bi weekly basis so early in the marriage.

  11. Kavs April 22, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

    Dear P, hope you are feeling better now. I don’t have any advice really – I will be too shocked if someone tells me bluntly that something I slaved over is not good. I would never do such a thing, if I don’t like something I will politely make do with something else. So shouldn’t my elder relatives too do be polite about it? Anyways.
    The funny thing is my FIL comes across as a bit gruff and he doesnt eat anything which is not homemade. Not even ketchup. Can you believe it? So to keep him happy in the food department is a task and I am only to happy to leave that to my MIL. 😉

    • popgoesthebiscuit April 23, 2015 at 9:15 am #

      Thought about you this weekend as we were in Boston for less than 48 hours:) More power to women like your MIL who can support non ketchup eating FIL and here’s hoping they always travel together

      • Kavs April 24, 2015 at 10:07 am #

        Seriously hoping they always travel together! I think they both know their ways are unsustainable outside.
        Hope your Boston stay was good – the weather here has still not been spring-warm enough 😦

  12. Dil On The Rocks April 22, 2015 at 11:04 pm #

    Hugs P. I mean no disrespect, but I wouldn’t go on to impress anymore. I say that because I did the things to impress as well and it all ended up terribly anyway. I then realized ppl just want to find the wrong things with me, because they want to. And the amount of effort I put in to make whatever is right for me gets completely unnoticed.

    • popgoesthebiscuit April 23, 2015 at 9:14 am #

      Dil, thing is my nature is such that I find it hard to give up impressing. Maybe time I learnt that and stopped feeling hurt and stayed happy with my life.

  13. Little Fingers April 23, 2015 at 8:59 am #

    Hugs dear! We all handle criticism differently. I am not a good cook, but I would never accept anyone one telling me on my face. I would have reacted the same way as you did.

    Is it am option you can take food before you add extra oil and spice for your FiL, that way at least you all can satisfy your taste buds.

    • popgoesthebiscuit April 23, 2015 at 9:13 am #

      Hi Lifi! I seperate some dal etc for Bandar anyways and have now started for us too. The hubby is very non fussy abt food and unless terrible, will eat it. So not used to any criticism at all. That’s the whole problem here!

  14. Uma April 29, 2015 at 10:07 pm #


    Long time reader. First time commenter. I feel that people from our parents’ generation( Indians especially) are quick to criticise but praise very rarely.

    These days v eat mostly salads and on my recent trip to India had to cook Indian food every day for in laws. They are in the late seventies and are not in their best of helath, so did not mind. But it gets tiring to come up with meal plans and whip up something every single day(even if it is a simple meal).

    I know it is very difficult to face criticism especially when you have put so much effort into creating all these meals. Just take it easy and maybe cook for a couple of days the way he likes his food and for a couple of days the way you guys like it and just order take out food a few days:)

    • popgoesthebiscuit April 30, 2015 at 12:17 am #

      Thanks for commenting ,Uma. Have significantly changed the way I cook this last week and have had some success in way of compliments. But not something I can sustain forever. Just bad at taking criticism in general and its something I have to work on.

  15. Deepa April 30, 2015 at 2:01 am #

    I also faced this when my in-laws were here, except both of them (MIL and FIL) would complain about my food to my husband. My FIL even said to my husband that “How can U of all people like this?”, I am a pretty decent cook, my husband and his friends have all appreciated my food. My husband silenced them saying that it is rude to say these comments to someone who is really trying to do her best and that the food was very good. He literally yelled at them. When I go to my in-laws, my MIL doesn’t let me enter the kitchen, I am only too pleased to oblige :).

    • popgoesthebiscuit April 30, 2015 at 11:00 am #

      Here’s to men who stand up for their wives. Oh and like you, I don’t enter the kitchen when I visit my in-laws.Not that I am complaining either:)

  16. My Era May 1, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    After having read your last post on the hard work you had been putting in to impress your FIL I wanted to leave a comment but somehow missed out on doing so.
    But after reading today’s post, I could actually feel your hurt in your words. Trust me, anyone irrespective of the fact of how we handle criticism in life would have been deeply hurt in your situation.

    This is a fact, that living out of India, always changes the amount of spices and fats (in any form) we use in Indian cooking. Or rather our cooking tends to get more westernised because of a continuous influence from our surroundings. Trust me it is natural and healthy in a way.

    As many people before me have suggested, please count my vote for adding the tadka in the food to add the color, aroma of ghee and bright coloration to food minutes before serving. I have been in your shoes & I can totally understand when you say that you love impressing people around you.

    Today, after facing many situations like you have written about, I follow one principle. I don’t go overboard, out of my comfort zone till I see a positive inclination that I am working in the right direction. This saves lot of hurt in the long run. I hope things go well for you soon 🙂

    • popgoesthebiscuit May 2, 2015 at 9:19 am #

      Thanks ME. Totally agree with your last bit there about not going overboard without seeing a positive reaction. Two thougjts that make me go overboard are 1) How I was raised….my mom always went overboard and seems like the norm now orthat I am doing too lessif I don’t. Example is every single day of my fil’s visit so far there is one wet subji and one dry one. Usually dals wet. If its like a gravy based subji, I make a dryish dal / lentil dish.My mom also has always been saying – Do your duty. Now I hate this sentence but its ingrained and I think maybe I should be cooking like this as its my duty.2) Part if me is so hungry for praise. I keep thinking…this one he will love, who cannot like this, let’s try this – he will have something to say. Etc etc. Need to accept that praise is not going to happen here. Funnily enough apart from cooking his trip has been easy and even fun. Just this cooking and my need for praise.

      • My Era May 4, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

        I can totally understand dear where you are coming from. Both your points are actually true in my case too, but, over the years, I have learnt to hold my horses. It causes me immense panic at times, but the hurt ( that no-matter how forgiving I want to be, when someone fails to see the effort I gave put in) lasts years after.

        So in my case, I had to choose between a temporary panic & strong desire to impress someone v/s the hurt that threatens to affect my relation with the person in long run.

        I know, it is easier said than done, but, our every smile is precious. Let’s choose to smile instead of toiling today & ending up hurt by the people who are important in our lives.

      • popgoesthebiscuit May 5, 2015 at 12:01 am #

        Loved this comment ME. Thanks!

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