Mar 29, 2011
My Shver Constantly Insults Me

COLlive Women - etiquette question: Every time I serve my father-in-law, he makes a big show of inspecting the food and sniffing it before he takes a bite.

N'shei Chabad Newsletter


I live near my in-laws and naturally they are guests at my table quite often. Every time I serve my father-in- law, he makes a big show of inspecting the food and sniffing it before he takes a bite. It embarrasses and hurts me.

I want my husband to say something to him but he refuses, saying it is disrespectful. He doesnt realize that his father is the one being disrespectful!

Should I press the issue with my husband, say something to my father-in-law myself or maybe write him a letter?

A Fed-Up Daughter-in-Law

* * *

Dear Fed Up,

That is tough to deal with!

Youre magnanimously hosting your in-laws, working so hard to cook up a delicious meal, and your father-in-laws only thanks is a wrinkled nose and sniff.

Although his fathers idiosyncrasy certainly appears rude, your husband is correct in not pointing it out to him, and neither should you. Disrespect (which is what admonishing your father-in-law would be) is never the way to go.

Instead of being frustrated with your husband for not sticking up for you, feel privileged that you are married to a man with good values. As for you, look at this as an exercise in character building.

Make a decision to ignore your Shvers uncouth behavior and do not allow it to upset you. Focus on the wrinkled nose (a pretty silly sight). Mind over matter!

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Opinions and Comments
What I would do:
You have to make sure you are not dreaming or are a conspiracy theorist. Privately ask you husband or another person who is seated when your father in law is there if his behavior is indeed what you suspect it to be.

If the answer confirms your suspicion, then do this:

Next time he sniffs around, ask him loudly: "Is there something wrong with the food?"

Don't be embarrassed to answer back if he mumbles something or looks at you like a nut.

"We can always order you take out or you can bring your own peanut butter sandwich next time"
(3/30/2011 12:36:50 AM)
Why would a person do that????!!! even a waiter in a restaurant should not be treated like that!!! Where are people's brains???
(3/30/2011 12:46:42 AM)
Sam der Troll
It's always sad when someone in a position of authority acts in a way that is totally inappropriate and degrading to another person. The father-in-law here is someone who claims the title of Chossid of the Rebbe and is the patriarch of the family. The fact that he routinely embarrasses his daughter-in-law in this manner creates a Chillul Lubavitch and a Chillul Hashem.

I disaggree with the advice given here. What if this woman's children grow older and ever notice that their supposedly Chassidishe Zaidi acts in such an awful way?

Or what if there are other guests at the table, perhaps not Lubavitchers or not even Frum - what will they think? This type of degradation of women is a real put off to people contemplating become more Chassidish or Frum.

Bottom line - someone needs to talk to that father-in-law to stop his disgusting behavior before someone gets turned off from Hashem or the Rebbe because of it ...
(3/30/2011 12:54:37 AM)
He should definitely stand up for his wife, or he may soon see that his parents are not welcomed anymore.
(3/30/2011 12:56:25 AM)
kibuv av or shalom bayis
shalom bayis comes first
(3/30/2011 1:02:55 AM)
to #2
what do you mean, as you do not know, please wake up and see around you, all your people are so good??.
my answer in this case is ONLY AND ONLY FOR GEZH, YICHUS OR BEAUTY WITH MONEY... if all those facts are not there forget it, sorry lost case...
(3/30/2011 1:34:23 AM)
This article is wrong
is a level for Tzadikim, normal healthy people should stay away from hurtful situations, as it will definitely have a negative impact on them. If they can't move away from the painful situation, they have to respectfully - but firmly - assert their intolerance of the offensive behavior, even if its just a simple notification "You make me feel very bad about myself when you do that. I don't appreciate it"
(3/30/2011 1:35:23 AM)
I don't agree
You don't have to be abused! Tell your husband that you won't have his parents over unless he tell his father to respect you. He can say it in a mature respectful way but still get the point across. Avoidance is never the answer especially if you live near them. You will just come to resent them and eventually your husband also.
(3/30/2011 1:49:19 AM)
to number one it is not respectfull
even if your father in law is a nut to ask if there is somthing wong with the food and stop there is a good hint while no other guests are there
(3/30/2011 1:51:04 AM)
Am I missing something?
"feel privileged that you are married to a man with good values" Is this Afghanistan or something, where women need to sit back, and take in this nasty behavior? The husband has a decision to make, its either wife or his father - hopefully his wife!
(3/30/2011 2:00:03 AM)
Who writes these silly responses?
Obviously there has to be kibud av, but there are creative ways to do this respectfully. The responder thinks this is a "yes" or "no" question. And why is the responder anonymous?
(3/30/2011 2:03:45 AM)
To #1
"We can always order you take out or you can bring your own peanut butter sandwich next time"

(3/30/2011 2:04:54 AM)
That's is a very danegrous and antiquated response. If we were living in Afghanistan, maybe for fear of getting my head chopped off, you're right. But your reply will only cause tensions to fester between husband and wife. She is offended by his father's rude behavior. He refuses to stick up for her. Where does that leave them? Where do you draw the line? What if it wasn't food? What if each time he came in he leered at her when no one was looking? Or maybe if he would tell her out of earshot, "you're fat!" Why do you get to make the distinction between what she finds offensive and what you decide she should not regard as offensive?

Quite the contrary: Once the husband has established facts that this is true and regularly ongoing, then in a most respectful manner he could say somethin to his father, or at least his mother. If that doesn't help then invitations over should dry up. Unless of course it can be shown to the wife that it is nothing personal and it is something the father in law does wherever he goes.

Of course if it is indeed the case that she puts her husband's smelly socks into the chollent, well then that's a different story altogether.
(3/30/2011 3:10:17 AM)
another idea
.if i was the wife & my father in law did that to me i would probably just quickly serve my shver the food & then just leave the room & quickly go upstairs to my bedroom or to some other area of the house & let my shver just eat the food there without me around.that,s probably what i would do if i was in that situation.
(3/30/2011 4:26:21 AM)
Poor mother-in-law
If that is what he does to his daughter-in-law can you image what he does to his wife? You rescued your husband from his household!
(3/30/2011 6:59:44 AM)
In laws
My shviger constantly put me down, both in front of myself and in conversations with my wife. Constant bickering, pressuring, harassment and deeply hurtful words. And this was already in full swing within the first few months of marriage when we barely knew each other.
The marriage failed. G-d bless the meddlesome in laws !
(3/30/2011 7:00:48 AM)
feel sorry
you should feel sorry for your motherinlaw if he smell you food i hope he does not verbally abuse his wife its hard but ignore it it last 2 second smell its not worth the argument life to short
(3/30/2011 7:05:27 AM)
I agree with the response
I am not disagreeing that it must be frustrating for your FIL to be smelling the food, but what it it was your father who was doing something to annoy your husband and your husband wanted you to say something to your father. Would you? Or would you let it slide?
Your FIL obviously has OCD tendencies and you will not change him at this stage of your life. Do not be insulted, he probably does it everywhere, it is a habit of his.

Your husband is between a rock and a hard place, cut him some slack. And yes, being that he respects his parents so much, he is likely to respect you too in things that are most important.

How do I know all this.... I am in the same situation as you. I will not go into details as to what kind of bad habits that my father in law has and what he does at my table, but I used to be angry and frustrated beyond words. It took me years to get to the place I am at, believe me, if you ignore it and realize it is nothing you are doing wrong, you will feel much more at ease. Hatzlocah!
(3/30/2011 7:30:44 AM)
Why are you insulted?
Does he eat the food? Does he clean his plate or refuse whatever you make? Maybe it's his way of saying "Oooh! YUMMY!!"

My father heavily salted everything (except desserts) that my mother cooked for 40+ years till the excessive salt killed him. He never even tasted it first. My mother, B"H, had enough seichel to laugh it off & wasn't insulted, it became a family joke (although now we know about the dangers of salt.) There are people who smother everything with ketchup without taking a bite. And so?

I think you're very wrong to take this so seriously. So your shver is a bit odd...many of them (& the shvigers) are! My guess is you don't particularly like the guy & this is something you can fixate on as you resent feeding him.

Grow up & get over it. Ignore his mishegass. And please, COLlive, get some responders who aren't so pathetically passive & who will stand up to these silly women with nothing real to complain about. You want family dynamics to discuss? There are plenty of really bad ones out there, like abusive, controlling, manipulative, interfering in-laws - and PARENTS.
(3/30/2011 8:09:43 AM)
Oh please
So what? Is this the worst thing he does? Just think of it as idiosyncratic, old people behavior. You know he's going to do it, just walk away. He keeps coming back and keeps eating there, so just drop it. Don't pin your husband against his father. You might ask your mother-in-law if he did that to her and how she managed. Work on yourself, and your reactions, not on other people. The test is given to you.
(3/30/2011 8:15:28 AM)
wife vs. father
I agree with number 10
(3/30/2011 8:24:13 AM)
To #3
Nowhere in the letter does the writer suggest her father-in-law is a chassidishe yid, or a Lubavitcher for that matter.
(3/30/2011 8:32:22 AM)
Who knows?
Does your father in law do that only with your food, or does he do it whenever he eats? Or only when he eats outside his own home? Maybe he has sensory issues. Maybe he once got food poisoning when eating out and is very cautious since then. Maybe it's not about you at all. If he is not saying any nasty comments, give him the benefit of the doubt. This is his mishugas. However, if he is saying disrespectful comments about you it is very important that your husband find a gentle and respectful way of telling him that he is hurting your feelings. He may be totally oblivious to your hurt feelings. The father in law-daughter in law relationship is often somewhat distant, and he may not understand you enough to know that you are upset.
(3/30/2011 8:47:25 AM)
Is the husband afraid of his father, G-d forbid? Because if that is the case, he will never stick up for his wife in ANY situation. What message are they sending to their own children? You can't be a bully and not raise only know what they learn at home.
(3/30/2011 8:54:25 AM)
stand up
1. you should 100% stand up for your self and have your husband do the same.
2. stop inviting your in laws maybe the will get the message.
3. the next time, put in some more salt in his soup!
(3/30/2011 9:00:42 AM)
respect has to be earned it dose not matter the age it has to be a two way street i would never let my father talk to my wife that way and he doing it at her table and how dose that look for the kids
(3/30/2011 9:09:39 AM)
does he do the same when his wife gives him food?
next time ur in ur inlws house see if he does the same to his wife;s food don't take it personally from everyone we learn what to do or what not to do!
(3/30/2011 9:18:24 AM)
Wife vs. Father
It clearly states in the Torah that a man should leave his parents and cling to his wife !
Of course all this should be done with the utmost Derech Eretz .
(3/30/2011 9:26:48 AM)
Perhaps this big "Chosid" of a shver reacts to his OWN wife's cooking in the same rude way ! ! Maybe the husband grew up seeing this behavior at his own table and knows from experience that speaking to his Father ( even respectfully ) would just bring out his Father's irrational fury. His Mother then would be the LAST person who could have an influence, This is how abusers work - they create an atmosphere of FEAR in everyone around them so that no one dares to confront them ( it's called "walking on eggshells" ). In such a case, the son isn't chosing the Father OVER his wife - he just correctly knows that tragically his Father is not a candidate for ANY "criticism." If this is the case, then the wife was very blessed that her husband did not "inherit" this destructive behavior and she'll have to work on coming to the correct decision for them. But if the shver's rude behavior is reserved for just for this daughter-in-law, then i agree 100% with the comments that the son MUST stand up for his wife.
(3/30/2011 9:32:40 AM)
Why can't the husband...
just speak with his father in a respectful way and say something like, "Tatty, my wife really doesn't like it when you do ____. As a favor to me, would you please not do it any more?"

There is nothing wrong with being direct in a respectful way.
(3/30/2011 9:35:27 AM)
A husband must stand up for his wife when his parents are acting disrespectfully, though it can be done in a respectful way too.
(3/30/2011 9:51:27 AM)
nurse tzippy.
The father-in-law sounds very set in his ways, as most older people are later in life. He is probably very fussy of outside foods which in other words are made out side his familiar kitchen by his wife. I do not think he is demeaning your food, but he is just insecure about eating outside his comfort zone.

I feel you should not take this as an insult, but just understand that at an older age, people do have lots of hang-ups that they will not give up any time soon! He has
many years of eating his wife's cooking and I think it is an honor that he even eats by his daughter-in-law altogether.

There are many older in-laws that will not eat by their childrens homes, or they will have their wives bring their
favorite dishes with them when they must.

Yes it is bad etiquette to sniff and smell food in public,
but that is not your problem, you did not raise your father-in law, but you can make sure to teach your children not to do
this in your home or outside the home.
(3/30/2011 10:05:36 AM)
yunger man
I'm a yungerman recently married, and my parents come over sometimes and i consider it the greatest honor and have great reverence toward them.
That being said the most important person in my life is my wife and i respect her over all else.

Should my mother or father ever do something like that my wife wouldnt have to say anything to me.

I would go over to my parent on my own accord and very respectfully let them know that if they cant respect my wife in my house, then we can eat by them instead.
Never would i ask or expect my wife to put up with such abuse.
(3/30/2011 10:09:26 AM)
Respect is important
1. Like #1 says,It may be that the daughter in law is overly sensitive and insecure and interprets things in a way that is not the reality. However, the retort #1 tells the daughter in law to say is not nice.
2. It may be that the daughter in law is right. This is actually how her father in law is behaving. But it may be an idiosycratic behavior that has nothing to do with her. He may be doing this with his wife and everyone else. It could be he is sensitive to food and doesn't like to eat, or doesn't like the texture or smell of food. I would think older people would become very sensitive to food. By fiddling around with his food, he gets himself to eat and in his mind actually makes his daughter in law happy that he is eating his food. Today, sensory integration is big., and maybe that is his problem.

I would suggest two things. Perhaps the daughter in law could respectfully ask her mother in law what is the reason her father in law acts this way. Does he do that to her? To his daughters and others? Is it something to do with the food she is serving? What can be done about it?

If that doesn't help or if she cannot approach her mother in law, maybe she can use humor or put the blame on herselfand say something to the effect that, yes today I see my food didn't turn out so great. Sorry. Next time it will be better. Then, perhaps, the father in law will become aware of his behavior and won't act this way next time.
(3/30/2011 10:11:25 AM)
to #18
I agreed with all the first comments until I read yours. Perhaps you are right or at least have some very valid points. If he does have something like OCD there is nothing that can be done, being that he is old, it is highly unlikely that he ever got help or will at this stage.
(3/30/2011 10:18:28 AM)
Sorry, i've tried that , it doesn't work.
After 20 years of taking abuse from my inlaws-outlaws- and my children watching their father say nothing its spilled over to outside people insulting me to my face and my husband saying nothing.
No, you don't take it quietly.
Abuse is abuse -if its verbal or whatever.
It only gets worse.
So, take care of it- responsibly and respectfully.
With a sense of humour is usually the best way. I like the response- we can order out for you or you can bring your own food .
Even my kids were taught at a young age to repond to food they dont like with- Its not to my taste - instead of yech or making faces.!
You've got to stand up for yourself if your husband is busy sitting on his fence. Your inlaws will respect even if they dont like you.
(3/30/2011 10:21:37 AM)
Maybe be even kinder too him, ask him how he likes his soup? try to accommodate his taste, and he will see what a Kiddush H' you bring to your home :)
(3/30/2011 10:31:39 AM)
This is crazy
Of course a woman should be allowed to stick up for themselves and the hudband is a worse man for not sticking up for his wife.
(3/30/2011 10:34:08 AM)
come on
husband should talk privately to his father and ask not to do this anymore or he is affraid just ask him what is the reason he does this an explain to him that is hurting feelings and promoting the opposite of shalom bais
i know some ppl has this attitude of smelling food everywhere not for something gainst cookers, but bc they had a bad experience of having eating spoiled food
(3/30/2011 10:48:40 AM)
I can't believe all these comments saying that she shouldn't be expected to take abuse.

NEWSFLASH: A person smelling food and inspecting it is NOT abuse. It is downright rude and ill mannered but NOBODY is being abused here.

How did this article spiral out of control like this?
(3/30/2011 10:52:06 AM)
Some Shvers have BIG issues
If you would see my shver you would say that this womans shver isn't that bad.
My shver always feels the need to disagree and mock everything I say or do.
He always has a smarter way of doing things everyone in the world is wrong and doing it wrong and he has the right way to do things.
Never a compliment always criticism
If I say right he says left and so on and my wife never stands up for me even if she agrees with me.
She always say after that I was right but she will stand up and say to my husband is right.
His ego sickens me. That is why I stay away from him as much as I can.
And if your shver disrespects you dont have him over and if you do dont give him food.
(3/30/2011 11:21:28 AM)
I don't think the advice here is on the mark.

While your husband is obligated in Kibud Av, you do not have the identical measure of obligation. Yes, there is an obligation to honor one's in laws, but it pales in comparison to that of your husband towards his parents.

You cannot sit back and accept abusive behavior. If it is indeed true, a carefully formulated message would be the way to go. Keep the emotions out and address the issue based on principles that he, as a frum Jew, ascribes to. Respect, being grateful, accepting one's lot, etc.
(3/30/2011 11:50:14 AM)
What ever happened
to good oldfashioned kibbud ov vo'eim??

having said that, maybe someone should look at the broader picture.

1. does he insult her cooking after he is through with his inspection, or does he just look it over and then eat it?

2. is he rude or insulting to her in other circumstances, say when she brings the kids for a visit or at family events?

if he's generally insulting and abraisive toward her (or others) then maybe there's something to be done about it.

but if he just has a strange habit of going over his food with a fine-toothed comb before eating then just suck it up.

i've worked in the food-service industry for years and i've seen ALL KINDS of habits that ppl have.
(3/30/2011 11:55:46 AM)
a tactful response....
Maybe you should talk to your mother-in-law, and ask her - what she would do if her father-in-law would do the same thing....?
then, very politely ask her what YOU should do....
I guarantee - 100% end of problems!
(3/30/2011 12:42:56 PM)
Just wondering... Does this behavior constitute as abuse?
Not trying to minimize the situation here, but sometimes you need to ignore certain things. I have B"H been married for many years and came to the conclusion that you can't obsess over every small thing. Yes, I would certainly be insulted with this behavior, but I wouldn't let it destroy my life.
(3/30/2011 1:11:00 PM)
I agree with 18, 19, 20 etc.
Och un vei to the attitude of so many!!!!!!!
(3/30/2011 1:11:14 PM)
Huh N'shei Chabad
The comment "feel privileged that you are married to a man with good values" is totally off base. The husband is scared of his father and can't stand up for his wife. He might have good character but hes a chicken. If he wont stand up to his father she needs to stand up for herself.
My response is one of them should approach this individual in a private setting and explain that the wife feels insulted and to please not do it. If he still is disrespectful; Let him know that you would love to maintain a strong relationship but if the behavior continues he wont be welcome in your home. Bottom line the father is a bully and the son is a chicken who was probably on the receiving end of the abuse growing up.
(3/30/2011 1:18:18 PM)
No Kibbud av va'em for an abusive mother!
Wow, I read these comments with interest. For 15 years, I took verbal abuse from my mother-in-law. My husband and I both have very strong values for kibbud av va'em, so we both swallowed the abuse and never answered back. Recently I felt like I just was getting to the point that I felt I just can't go on. I was resentful, stressed and nervous every time my mother-in-law walked into my home. We finally asked a respected Lubavitcher Rov what to do. His answer to my husband was very clear. "If your mother is causing tension in your home/marraige, then you must keep her out". Kibbud Av Va'em does not mean that a mother can verbally abuse her children/children-in-law and then expect respect in return.
(3/30/2011 1:22:30 PM)
dont push it under the rug!
If this is your ONLY complaint you have with your Father in law, your husband should ask his mother if this is his fathers normal behavior whenever he eats out and if it is not and this behavior is only to you, find every excuse to not have then over and when you MUST have them over order take out.
(3/30/2011 1:31:55 PM)
I'm in a similar situation except my father in law then refuses to eat if its not exactly what he likes. I stopped inviting him over, my husband and I have been happy since.
(3/30/2011 1:36:16 PM)
To the person who answered her question:

You are wrongly leaving her hanging. Granted, sometimes issues aren't worth fighting for, but this one should not be left to linger, simply because her husbands' a wimp.

Being respectful does not mean to be pushed around. Don't make it her fault, or her problem that father in-law is discourteous or lacks social norms. In a respectful manner, her husband should tell his father--privately--how he should be more sensitive. Don't be stupid by saying it's from her (your wife) because then she'll feel uncomfortable when the in-laws come over. Simply say you don't like. Don't make it your wife's problem. If it was in the reverse, she (the wife) would do the same. Generally, even when the child in-law has a good relationship with his or her in-laws, the child's words will still ring stronger, and less attaching. Be smart about your approach. Use smart words. Obviously this husband isn't a very strong person, and his priorities aren't in order. How can he rationalize disrespecting his wife (by not attending to her feelings), and attempting to be respectful to his father.

To clarify, the father-on-law is wrong, and someone needs to voice that to him. It's harder for her, since she isn't their child. The husband should also be bothered that his wife is pained by this. What kind of a man would ignore his wife's plea. Sorry, but dear sir, if you are reading this, be a man and take care of your wife and stop being such baby. If you need help with what to say, practice your lines before hand. Speak with a friend who can help. But don't tell you wife to "Mind over matter" or "exercise in character building."

If he was a total stranger, and this was a one time deal, than you right, it isn't worth fighting for. But this on-going, and with someone who you do care about. All of life's experiences will hopefully enhance our growth, but being weak is not how it's done.
(3/30/2011 2:16:24 PM)
You call this abuse - Please! You all insult and detract from those out there that truly suffer from abuse.
I cant agree more with #19 & #20
(3/30/2011 2:20:05 PM)
ignore ignorant people is best..........
although your first instinct is to be angered and want to push his face in the soup the best way to deal with it is to just ignore him and have enough esteem and confidence that your food is great and he has the problem.........when i go to my daughter in law i also see many things that i could comment on but i am a mench and i accept her good intentions and i enjoy my meal.........the goal is sholom bais so just don't even pay attention to him ...........
(3/30/2011 2:52:12 PM)
maybe his smelling the food is his way of showing that he loves the smell and is actually complimenting you!
(3/30/2011 3:13:18 PM)
Did it ever occur to anybody that this father in law may not be the old geezer you imagine him to be? I became a shver at age 43. He may just not realize that his behavior is rude or that his daughter in law is disturbed by it.
(3/30/2011 3:18:16 PM)
From A Shver
Don't invite the rude boor. But first, tell your husband not to be a doormat. There are ways of pointing out bad behavior in a respectful way. BTW, you don't mention if there are kids watching, but if there are, what a terrible example he is setting.
(3/30/2011 3:20:24 PM)
A thought
A well known concept is that of making sacrifices for family. You married a wonderful husband- from the article it is clear he has shining middos, and you have to acccept the csituations that come along, such as an inspective father in law. Deal with it.
(3/30/2011 3:39:24 PM)
Say humorous things, like use an accent and say "I'm the whiff around here" or "in the olden days, they used to sniff tobacco, nowadays, I guess people sniff food." or "did you have a dog when you were younger?"
(3/30/2011 3:57:36 PM)
Do you think it's rude to smell food before eating it?
Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

People who appreciate food consider smelling it an important part of the eating experience. (Just like wine tasters smell wine.) People might think you're doing that because you suspect it might be bad or contaminated. You might not care what people at work think, but if someone makes you a dish, make sure they know you're smelling it because you enjoy it.
(3/30/2011 4:48:14 PM)
He feels comfortable in your home..
He's one of those MANY people who need to smell food to eat it. It INCREASES his appetite.

Take it as a compliment.

Mere smell of food spikes levels of brain pleasure chemical

UPTON, NY Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energys Brookhaven National Laboratory have found that the mere display of food where food-deprived subjects are allowed to smell and taste their favorite foods without actually eating them causes a significant elevation in brain dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. This activation of the brains dopamine motivation circuits is distinct from the role the brain chemical plays when people actually eat, and may be similar to craving mechanisms.
(3/30/2011 4:53:43 PM)
Cleave unto your wife
The Torah says that a man is supposed to "Cleave unto his wife". He may not disrespect his father, but if having his father at his table makes his wife uncomfortable, the proper thing is to stop inviting them. He will eventually get the message.
My father was 100x worse than this father-in-law. He would eat by me very often and make comments about me, personally, and about my food. Finally, after years of this, I just stopped inviting him. It took a year or so, but he finally got the message and now we have a wonderful time when he comes.
The advice to just ignore is ridiculous since we are human with emotions and feelings!!!!
(3/30/2011 5:00:44 PM)
simple respect and decency towards your wife
Just out of simple respect and decency, a husband should never tolerate his father's disrespect towards his wife. My shver was as nasty,as nasty can be to me, not only my husband never defended me, and asked him to stop, he would fight with me when I would be hurt and complain. We always walked out of his company fighting!!! My inlaws, both of them, would talk nasty to my husband about me. End of story: miserably unhappy wife, miserable marriage
(3/30/2011 5:06:53 PM)
go #15
nice point!
(3/30/2011 5:43:59 PM)
My son-in-law does it to me!!!
I'm a mother-in-law whose son-in-law does just that. Closely examines every bit of food, smells etc, pushes it around the plate and does a favor to eat a few morsels. How do I feel? My other guests are always full of praise for my cooking, so I dont take it personally. HE has the problem, I want to keep good relationships with my children and grandchildren - so I just ignore it and make no comments. Perhaps that's the best thing to do - dont take it personally - it's not your problem. Kibud Av v'Em and keeping the family together are priority
(3/30/2011 6:42:19 PM)
Why excuse rude behavior?
Option 1: Say "Shver I find your actions offensive"
Option 2: Stop cooking for him
Option 3: Mimic his behavior so he sees what he looks like
Option 4:Passive agression, ie "Shver it's so cute when you sniff your food like a cutie patutie puppy, bow wow"
(3/30/2011 10:23:01 PM)
I say walk it off...
there is nothing you can do to change your shver just come to terms with it. ultimately you are better off showing your children the kavod you have and imy"h when you are a shvigger you will get the same.
ps. its never a good idea to try to get in the way of your husbands relationship with his father.
(3/30/2011 11:05:49 PM)
I agree
Fathers-in-law have NO right to abuse their daughters-in-law
(3/31/2011 6:42:25 AM)
You Must Be Young To Get So Bent Out of Shape
My Shver ain't the easiest either. But I learned to keep my mouth shut - and accept him as he came.

You have to show respect and be civil, but who says they have to come over often?

ABUSE has become the new catch phrase. This is not abuse. This is bad manners. There is a difference.

(3/31/2011 7:41:45 AM)
You and your family are blessed to have grandparents coming
over and joining you for a meal. I think it shows a lot of positive that they feel comfortable coming over to your home.
Many people have this meshugos of smelling food before
eating. Its a meshugo like any other meshugos. I wouldn't
take it personally. Being respectful to your shver is the best
chinuch you can give your children. Try not to focus on the
negative. I'm just wondering, if your father did this, would it
bother you too?
(3/31/2011 9:48:08 AM)
You are not a pretty face when...
I am enjoying this very much- the dialogue. For a change there are some decent comments on col. I go through this alot. Sometimes I put up a big shtink about something ridiculous that my shver said or does and Hubby is ready to pick up the phone and let him know and I'm the one that just doesn't even want to confront him with it. Just leave it. I don't want him to use it on me now that he knows I tattled on him.
And sometimes it's the opposite- I'm mad abt something he said and Hubby sees it as really no big deal (more rare).
The truth is- at the end of the day... As long as Hubby understands my frustration I really don't give a hoot about confronting him. Like someone said. I'm not there to raise him! And I really can't be bothered raising him either! He cares more about raising him than I do- so that's the only reason we would end up confronting. I would never bother- but he wants him to know that. etc.

But always always important: THINK if you are overreacting before putting up a fuss to your husband about his family. YOU are not a pretty face when you whine about his flesh and blood.
(3/31/2011 12:13:02 PM)
He loves your food
You said: He makes a big show of inspecting the food and sniffing it! you know why? because he enjoys the smell of your food, fact is: Then he takes a bite!
He probably he enjoys eating your food more than his wife's cooking.
Did you even try to ask him, what does he think about your cooking? just between the two of you, and why he sniffs the food? I bet you didn't! You are too busy being hurt to get to the bottom of the matter. You've got work to do my dear.
Don't be over sensitive, look at the glass half full, Your in Law he is not going to live forever, enjoy those moments with them whenever you can, and please do not involve your hunsband into this matter, it will make things worse for you. The fact is besides you everyone seems happy, join them and be giving, life is too short! Have a Kosher Pessah!
(3/31/2011 1:34:11 PM)
important distinction
First find out if he does the same thing when he is a guest at other peoples houses. If yes, dont take it personaly he is just a jerk. If it is only at your house you have the right to say something.
(3/31/2011 2:11:19 PM)
n'shei chabad newsletter/col reader
I am really enjoying reading all the comments! Go Esther Etiquette! Go N'shei Chabad Newsletter! Go Collive women's page! and a special honorable mention to Nurse Tzippy, who signed her comment, and whose articles in the NCN are fantastic!!!
(3/31/2011 2:36:56 PM)
Maybe your father in law takke hates your food. Quite simply: ask him "Is there anything wrong with the food?" That way you can then decide if you would like to cater to his tastes. He might very well say "Of course not, your food is delicious!" I wrinkle my nose because.....
(3/31/2011 3:04:40 PM)
a little humor will fix all
and i am not kidding
underlying here are some serious issues
even though, obviously we dont have the whole story.
1. husband needs to stand up for his wife and her feelings.
If he doesn't...
humor is installed
i personally think this is brilliant
i am not kidding
i would put husbands dirty sox in the soup next time,
and ask husband to serve
this will fix all
and you simply smile and say...nothing but perhaps a little smile
worst case scenario is that there is no soup that night

this gets message across to husband that wife is serious
(she took situation into her own hands)
it is NOT malicious by any means and should not be dealt with in this manner by any stretch of the imagination,

yes i took this idea from some other comment
Yesher Koach for inspiring me
(3/31/2011 4:02:26 PM)
Open Relationship with father
Sounds like the husband is scared of his father. If he had a good, open relationship with his farther he would be able to bring up the issue respectfully and discuss it.
(3/31/2011 10:14:01 PM)
next time he sniffs, go over to his seat, and take away the plate.Say, I'm so sorry you didn't like the food. Why all these "holier then thou" speeches. This is pure, outright Chutzpedike behavior. I'm sure his behavior is like this in other areas too. And ,you know what? In the very near future, your husband will be acting EXACTLY like his father. So show him that these kind of behaviors are intolerable to you.
(4/1/2011 10:38:03 AM)


(4/1/2011 3:54:35 PM)
Why is it insulting to you??
He's just sniffing and inspecting! And then he eats it! So maybe he's making a little fool of himself, but why do you care?? How do you know he doesn't like it? He's still eating it, so who are you to declare this degrading towards you?
Disappointed and upset with peoples' major overreactions these days over pointless 'issues',
(4/4/2011 7:10:22 PM)
Food Sniffer Myself
I personally smell my food because I enjoy sensation and I also guess waht is in it....maybe he's not insulting you at all...
I do apologize though bc it is rude to sniff food- but everyone knows I smell the foods I find most intriguing
(4/28/2011 6:57:35 PM)
Don't ignore it - the hurt will fester
A few suggestions to try:
As some have commented, maybe he's doing it to show how good it smells, which was my first imperssion. In which case, take it as a compliment.
However, since it bothers you, either don't serve him soup anymore - as some have commented, or sniff too and ask if the soup's okay.
But having your husband go over afterward will blow everything out of proportion. He SHOULD want to stand up for you, and should humourously say, "Ta, stop..."
Whatever you do, don't let it become an issue between you and your husband. Shalom Bayis is fundimental to your household.
Hatzlocha Raba
(5/26/2011 2:58:28 AM)
The Jewish Emily Post?
Why is she anonymous?

Penina Metal
(5/27/2011 6:02:41 PM)
With all due respect...
With all due respect to N'shei Chabad, I feel that you should take your husband out to dinner and explain to him that even though you respect the fact that he honors his parents you are his wife and the way you are being treated is completely inappropriate. Perhaps after you do this, he should take his parents out and explain your concerns in a gentle yet firm and respectful way.
(7/1/2011 6:09:19 AM)
Same problem
I recently finally had enough with my in laws. We live away from them and they enjoy visiting and spending time with the children. I have been married for 10 years. I have a supportive husband but his father is another story. Constant negative comments about everything- how I raise the kids, cook, dress and look, etc. I cannot speak with my mother in law, because I do not think he treats her well either. Recently I put my foot down and said I cannot take it anymore. My husband finally confronted both his parents but there has been no resolution. If you discover a solution, please fill me in. My husband wrote his parents an email explaining their hurtfull behavior. The children see it, hear it etc and have made comments that they dont like him at times. At first my mother in law claimed he felt bad and would change, but then he yelled at my husband that he thinks he's a good grandfather etc. The answer of dont invite them anymore- they always visit during the chagim and we asked them not to this year. Still nothing. HELP!
(9/15/2011 1:17:19 AM)
Once l made a terrible tasting meal and served it to my inlaws, who were consistently critical of me. l prearranged with my immediate family to pretend everything tasted great and to compliment me. It didn't stop their critical attitude but we got a good laugh after they left. My point is, Sometimes it's ok to laugh a bit when you are being bullied, and not take the bully so seriously.
(9/20/2011 4:38:03 PM)
shver with 6 daughter in laws
many times i serve to give the ladies a break , don't be uncomfortable, just have your husband serve ....tell him it means alot to you if he helps.. have him serve the other males as well while u serve the ladies... good Luck
(10/23/2011 9:06:58 PM)
(10/25/2011 4:27:40 PM)
age old advice.....
the advise that was given, appearantly so distasteful to others reflects the age old tried and true torah. its so unfortunate that so many feel that being in america and 'equality' makes it ok to mouth off when offended by a parent. move on. the husband can apologize to his wife and express regret, but does not have to make a comment to his father.
(10/25/2011 6:40:18 PM)
i disagree with the author
stand up for yourself speak to a thid person with your husband like a marriage counsler and get guidance of how to deal with your fatherinlaw from a professional. No one should ever degrade and humiliate you like that. U need strength and support fromoutside your marriage. And its sad that your husband cant be there for you in an apropriate way. Dont suck it up. You deserve to be respected you work hard to make this food let a third person put your husband in his place he should be there for you and he could go out of his comfort zone for you. Theres nothing wrong with that. I would tell them I cant have you over if u treat me like this i feel used. a chutzpah u spend hrs making the food and they eat often over - ur fatherinlaw is missing a few screws in his brain. Dont be a shmate if it bothers you enough to write about it then get proper professional guidance u need it and u deserve it. and to just say something one time will not stop this issue from happening again and im sure once you stand up for urself u will be tested again in another way so get professional help with a good therapist and talk it out. doesnt matter who the person is for your own safety emotional and physical and integrity dont let this crap go on by ur shabbos table! I would feel very used and unsafe if i were you! This is not acceptable behaviour. Learn how to be assertive! If you accept the unacceptable thats your problem you are allowing yourself to be trampled on.Dont deny your reality or it will come back to haunt you!
(2/3/2012 1:05:51 AM)
Why is he eating at your house?
I wonder why he eats by you. Do you ask him to come over? If yeah you can't complain. He most probably likes his style of food he eats at his home. Do yourself a favor and cook him what he likes, and you'll all be happy:))
(12/27/2012 5:33:46 PM)
Be Bold and Speak Up
The situation leaves many questions as the preamble does not provide sufficient details. The writer needs to take the situation in her own hands and assertively respond to her father-in-law. Leaving the room and letting him alone or ordering take-out food and asking your husband to speak on your behalf is still not taking the situation under your control.

Take the situation in hand, speak to your mother-in-law and find out more details. However, I would recommend not to turn your in-laws away as their presence and their involvement in your family life is so important for your children.

Take the courage and have a conversation with your father-in-law. I know it may seem awkward for you to speak up, but doing so will establish your boundaries and respect for now and the future. Practice in front of a mirror and deal with it head-on. Don`t try to involve your husband if it is your issue.

All this is said, with the perspective that it is a `shtick`that your FIL has and it does not paint a negative overall behaviour that he has towards you, your children and yourself. If your in-laws are negative, I would diminish their involvement as it includes toxicity in your life and it is just not worth it.

Talking from experience.
(2/3/2013 10:28:30 PM)
Judge kindly & explain nicely
I'm so saddened when I see this. Your FIL probably does have some odd habits. I would keep some kleenex on hand. Next time he sniffs, I would offer him one (kindly) and ask whether he has allergies, as you have noticed he sniffs at his soup every week. If he has allergies, fine. If not, and it truly is just poor social upbringing, or another issue, the next week you can gently mention, "Oh, that's ginger in the soup. I just love ginger, don't you?" (or parsely, cilantro...whatever). Be kind, concerned not just outwardly, but from your heart. He will surely understand the message that you notice his behavior every time, are concerned for him, and happy to talk to him. However, you won't feel put down. You have given him an opening to speak. Maybe he doesn't like a particular spice or taste. I eat almost anything, but never munn or tarragon. I will forever be grateful to my mother-in-law who slaved for hours to make her famous poppy-seed cake, and saw me wrinkle my nose. She asked, "Is everything ok?" I was set to cry. I didn't want to insult her or her cooking, but I find munn revolting. I found the courage to tell her how greatly I appreciated her effort, it looked beautiful, but I really didn't like munn, but I would try, maybe I would like this time. Without losing a beat, she said, "Don't even think of it" and pulled out her almond/apricot cookies.
(3/8/2013 12:44:26 AM)
I have the same problem
Everything i do is somehow wrong in the eyes of my mother-in-law. I let my 12 year old babysit, and she says that i am being irresponsible letting her babysit.
I serve two courses at my shabbos meal, and she says at least three.
I don't send my children to school until they are three, and she says they are missing a crucial year of learning.
I eat any food that is kosher for pesach, and she says you can't eat processed food.
Sometimes i feel like just saying, i do things my way and you do things your way.
I never speak back to her because then i feel i am putting my husband in a hard, in between, spot.
If anyone has advice, i'd love to hear.
(3/19/2013 8:03:27 PM)
Could it be a joke?
Some people have a strange sense of humor.

But if it's not - I would out and out ask him if there's something wrong with the food. But that's me.

I feel your pain.
(4/8/2014 7:55:48 PM)
From a concerned yiddishe mame
To all the above.

Listen to what Esther says!
turning something so small into a shalom bayis issue?
i believe someone even mentioned the fact that theyre in laws may not be invited again. Obviously this women has a deeper issue with her in law/s and she is taking it out on a nonsense issue. Figure out thhe deeper issues!
(6/26/2014 12:01:39 AM)
If the father in law is not suffering from any sort of dementia, or the like, and is deliberately being hurtful, then I would tell him quietly but firmly that you don't appreciate his conveying veiled and rude criticism of your culinary skills. If he still persists, then I would not invite him, or not so often at least. I am surprised the husband does not show at least some regard to his wife's hurt feelings.
(7/17/2014 5:54:17 PM)
Some who went to Yesheiva do that all the time.
In Yeshieva I used to see bochurim snif the food all the time and it gets to be a habit.

It's like some snif the milk. Some lick the food. Some re wash the silverware.

I would ask if he always does that.

If he was a honerd gest would you care?
(9/7/2014 12:24:57 AM)
same story here
i have learned some adaptive moves. ie i serve father in law, then sit on a stool by the counter or do some task so i can be nearby but not have to look. the way he examines each dish and only eats some things is very disturbing. when i serve him a tea, i give him hot water and tea bag (and sugar, lemon) separately. otherwise he complains. it is a rachmonis on elderly. they have very little left of their former life. ie no spouse, no job and no real authority. most seniors suffer from depression.
they are visiting for a short time. may as well try to make it positive. also any kids you might have at home, even very young children will get a valuable chinuch.
(12/24/2014 10:08:02 AM)
Whose issue is this, really?
I can fully understand why this daughter-in-law feels hurt though I wouldn't quite label the father-in-law's sniffing of her food as "abuse." But think about it: this father-in-law apparently has issues, whether sensory issues that make him need to sniff his food in order to enjoy eating it, or whether he is plagued by ill manners or by lack of social awareness, or whatever, the issues are manifestly HIS. Why is the daughter-in-law making his issues hers? Instead of letting it get to her she might simply put his food in front of him and then turn in another direction to avoid watching his reaction. If, by some chance, he is actually sniffing her food to be deliberately hurtful, his uncouth behavior will backfire as he realizes he's sniffing to the walls. If, on the other hand, his behavior is more likely the result of personal issues such as those mentioned, then as much as his behavior is a turnoff, I could almost feel bad for him. Whatever the case, the daughter-in-law should not allow his issues to become hers. Keeping this perspective in mind would also be helpful in other situations where one is hurt by someone else's maladjustments and nastiness.
. Just remind yourself who really owns the issue.
(4/8/2015 12:59:40 AM)
Stand up for yourself
I would definitely say something to your shver in a nice way. I would ask him how he would feel if you were the one invited at his home and you would smell and put your nose into the food his wife cooks. As him if he wants his food more spicy next time and I would put lots of ground pepper.
(7/7/2015 7:33:49 PM)
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