Thursday, 15 Nov 2018

Carolyn Hax: Book smart vs. smart cookbook? Hmm, let's talk about it over pie.

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: My husband's family is really academic, at least 20s at least. My husband has a bachelor's degree, and I have some college but never finished. His family is always welcome – with the exception of Thanksgiving. My in-laws host and make a great meal. My husband's siblings are never asked to contribute because they are in the end and "do not have the time or money" to bring anything. We are always asked to bring a dessert or something.

My husband thinks I'm not sure, but for some reason this really bugs me. How do I let it go? Is it worth it to bring it up?

– Really Bugged

Really Bugged: Oh goodness no. Please do not.

There are only two possibilities here. One is that the face-value is correct: The sibs are all broke and slammed, and you are not broke and not slammed, so you are in a position to help.

(Nick Galifianakis / for The Washington Post)

You will find out if this is true, by the way, if and when the now-students finish their programs. Or not.

The second is that your gut instinct is correct – that you're being treated as an academically second-class citizen.

If the latter is true, then in theory it is not defensible, but in practice it is not only a bit of a stretch, but it's also playing out as enjoying 364 days, arguably 365, of welcoming and unsnobby people for the cost of one pie.

It's normal, even if it's going to be difficult. We all just need to make sure we do not slip and speak them out loud.

Re: Pie ?: Make the pie. Make it with a loving heart, freely and voluntarily. For all you know the academics in the family can not cook.

– Anonymous

Anonymous: This answer is the answer to so many things: Make the pie.

Re: Academic snobbery: I do not think it's really important to think about "Bugged" as inferior, it would be the only way or time it manifests. Maybe they just think she makes good pie.

– Skeptical

Skeptical: True, the brims calendar with holiday-dessert opportunities through which to express contempt.

Re: Bring the pie: An acquaintance always thought it was being snubbed because it was not asked for anything except frozen dinner rolls. Turns out her mother-in-law figured she was really busy and was trying to keep on imposing extra stuff on her. Do not take offense if there's no need.

– Pro-Pie

Pro-Pie: And sometimes even if there is a need.

Leave the offense, take the pie.

Re: Pie: One option is to make a terrible pie, so you do not get asked to do so anymore.

– A Crime Against Pie

A Crime Against Pie: Terrible pie is not an option.

I am now in existential crisis.

Re: Pie: My main takeaway is that pie is always the answer.

– Takeaway Pie

Takeaway Pie: All better now, thanks.

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