Not to have a competition for whose mother-in-law is the meanest, strangest, or craziest, but let me know if this could make me the clear winner nevertheless. (I’ve never won anything–so I’m hoping this might change all that.)
My mother-in-law is from a different country. That country is very mountainous and therefore quite closed off from surrounding countries (and the surrounding world in many respects, which explains many stories on this blog.) In that country, the people are highly educated, but only the richest have enough money to travel abroad. This means, the people there do see foreign countries in the media, magazines, and tourists, but they trust their own customs and regard many foreign ways as “strange” or “incorrect” (rather than “different” or “interesting”).
SO, when my mother-in-law visited for the first time, I knew she’d never eaten fried shrimp. As a nice gesture, I fixed a grand dinner consisting of 2 pounds of fried and breaded shrimp for her, along with many other foods. It was great, not to toot my own horn.
Well, these shrimp had tails. My mom-in-law was popping the whole thing into her mouth, tail and all. For the sake of her stomach lining, I delicately tried to say, “Um…We don’t really…usually…eat the tails.” Trying to soften the comment, I added, “I think they might upset your stomach, probably that’s the reason.” (And not, for example, because it makes you look like a freak.)
At the time, I was just learning that my mother-in-law is extremely defensive and hated me as my husband’s non-native wife. So, I wasn’t aware that I would be attacked for trying to be helpful.
But I quickly learned. She gave me a VERY agitated look and replied: “My dear, I eat what I want how I want.” Then she very deliberately opened her mouth and dropped another entire shrimp into it tail and all. And proceeded to chomp on it and fake smile at me.
In her book, she really told me off. As you can imagine, I SURE FELT FOOLISH. (tee hee ha ha.)