Is she a fake baker or is it the thought that counts?


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I have an in-law who claims to loooooooooooove baking. One time she brought "homemade" brownies to a family function. She obviously used a boxed mix and didn't even bother to take them out of the little foil pan that comes inside the package. They were so undercooked, they wouldn't hold their shape once cut. :( For another function, she offered to make an apple pie. She used one of those cheap frozen pie crusts (still in the foil pan) and filled it with some gloopy canned pie filling. :(:( My sister tried to feed some to her toddler and he kept spitting it out.

I admit my family and I may be dessert snobs, but seriously... it's bad when the baby won't eat it.

Should I continue to let her bring these awful creations that no one likes or should I ask her to bring ice and beverages instead? I don't want to hurt her feelings, but it's becoming more and more awkward to pretend to eat this stuff.

************************** UPDATE: May 29, 2013 *******************************
For our family's Memorial Day cook-out, we successfully avoided another In-Law dessert disaster. As a preemptive strike, my mother asked her to help plan a "build-your-own" Sundae Bar as a dessert option. She did a stellar job -- you can't go wrong with ice cream, assorted toppings, fruit, and whipped cream. The kids loved it and there was no danger of food poisoning or hurt feelings.

Thanks for all your helpful advice and comments! :)
 
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If you can get her to bring something else without being rude, I say do it. No need to cause trouble with someone who may be in your life for a while over a trifle lol, or in this case a brownie :)

As far a s snobbery. I have no problem with people using cake mixes or shells so long as they do it well :)
 
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Short cuts have their place, but I agree that if you can encourage her to bring other things then go for it!
 
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When it comes to baking I feel like it depends on how much time you have when deciding which route to take. When I do banana pudding, I do not take short cuts
But when I do like peach cobbler I may use a store bought crust, also the pineapple upside down cake I do not like to take short cuts.
 
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When it comes to baking I feel like it depends on how much time you have when deciding which route to take. When I do banana pudding, I do not take short cuts
But when I do like peach cobbler I may use a store bought crust, also the pineapple upside down cake I do not like to take short cuts.
I have to confess I have never made pudding from scratch. LOL, I am even shocked that you can. What a revelation heheh
 
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I think that politely asking her to bring something else is the way to go also. Short cuts do have their limits and I do agree that when the baby doesn't eat it, it's pretty bad. Good luck! :)
 
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I am looking at this from somewhere close to your relatives viewpoint, maybe. If I were in a family with some really experienced cooks, I would probably not want to just come out and tell you that I HATE cooking, so then I am stuck trying to bake something for the family celebration. What to do ? Brownie mix..... Of course ! (Yes, I can tell that it is only half cooked, but nothing I can do about it by then. Hiding in the bathroom all day is not allowed.)
So, I think, if she is anything like me, she would be thrilled to nicely be let off the hook from having to bake something. There is probably some food that she can make (mine is potato salad), and if you can praise that, and suggest she can bring it next time, she would be glad not to have to bake again. If she just can't cook, maybe, decorations, punch to drink, or something that comes in cans (cranberries ?) , or whip cream tubs.
 
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If you can encourage her to bring something else to family functions, I say that would be the way to go. I personally have no problem with people who use cheap mixes or box mixes. Maybe with her attempting to bake these easy things, she will eventually get better or start using more advanced baking ingredients. Whatever you choose to do, just try to go easy on her.
 
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Yeah, she just may be trying to fit in. Maybe you should be happy that she's even taking the time to try and make anything at all. Plus, not everyone has the time, skill, or desire to make everything from scratch. I say let her continue to contribute in the way that she wants, and as best she can.

If you want her contributions to be better, why not have baking parties where she can learn from you all in a natural way and not feel left out, or put out.
 
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I think the easy thing to do is to ask her to bring something else, but then again that does not teach her anything. Perhaps you could buy her a cookbook or suggest some recipies to her. I have a sister-in-law that won't cook... at least yours is trying ;)

I have an in-law who claims to loooooooooooove baking. One time she brought "homemade" brownies to a family function. She obviously used a boxed mix and didn't even bother to take them out of the little foil pan that comes inside the package. They were so undercooked, they wouldn't hold their shape once cut. :( For another function, she offered to make an apple pie. She used one of those cheap frozen pie crusts (still in the foil pan) and filled it with some gloopy canned pie filling. :(:( My sister tried to feed some to her toddler and he kept spitting it out.

I admit my family and I may be dessert snobs, but seriously... it's bad when the baby won't eat it.

Should I continue to let her bring these awful creations that no one likes or should I ask her to bring ice and beverages instead? I don't want to hurt her feelings, but it's becoming more and more awkward to pretend to eat this stuff.
 
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I think its funny that we live in a world that like this. We have been trained to think that food comes out of a box. There are a lot of people out there that consider a boxed cake a homemade cake. Technically they did bake the cake but its never as good.
 
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Maybe when your relative says that she loves to bake, she means that she loves the act of putting cake mix in the over and watching it turn into a cake.
It is fun to see cake mix turn into cake and that's why the Easy Bake Oven is such a popular toy.

Although I can bake from scratch and make my own breads, I often use cake mixes too, but there are so many things that you can add to cake mix to make it good and make it your own creation.

Print out this cake mix trick article and share it with your relative, maybe she'll take the hint.

http://fabulesslyfrugal.com/2012/05/boston-cream-pie-recipe-get-better-cakes-from-a-mix.html
 
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It can be very intimidating to fit into a family of phenomenal bakers. I don't know your in-law but it sounds like she is trying to impress you and the others.

When everyone is together discussing recipes, it would be nice to subtly offer her some helpful tips. One can hope that she will eventually catch on and improve her baking skills so everyone can enjoy her desserts.
 
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There are a ton of amazing desserts on Pinterest that can be made with ready made ingredients from the supermarket.
These cookie bars are just Pillsbury slice and bake dough, Oreos and brownie mix. Maybe you can teach you in-law some of these "recipes" for non bakers so that she can bring a dessert that's not gross but doesn't take any baking expertise. Even if these cookie bars are made with cheats and store bought products, they look delicious.

 
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I have a friend who is terrible at cooking and recently has begun using mixes. It could be that she really does love cooking, but is just so terrible at it that she uses mixes in an attempt to make it work out. I know more than a few people who insist on baking, because they love it, even though they're terrible at it.
 
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I would say be nice about it most definitely if you do ask her to bring something. Can she make something besides dessert? I have no probem with boxed brownies myself. I have learned the art of homemade baking in some categories, but not all. Maybe she does like to bake, but she is better at other items. You could also ask her to bring the basics, and tell her your family has the desserts covered.
 
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Maybe you can ask her to bring Rice Krispie treats. Those are pretty hard to mess up. Even my kid knows how to make them.
Or how about an icebox cake ,or no bake cookies?
 
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I love that idea. Those look really delicious. That picture just made me really hungry for sweets. I will be visiting that site really quick. It looks so perfect! Even stuff that isn't always baked homemade can be really good!
 
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What an awkward situation. Why would she lie about baking? Unless that simply is her idea of baking. Maybe she was never really taught how to make things herself and as long as she puts it in the oven she considers it to be her own handiwork. I could definitely see it as being a nature vs. nurture thing and you just lucked out.
 
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As long as she isn't going around spouting off about her wonderful homemade baked books, I would let her do her thing. Baking can be different things to different people, and if the extent of their baking is just using some pre-made brownie mix then that is fine too. No one is being harmed here, you're just forced to have one plate of crappy baked good on the dinner table. I think you should be willing to suck up some crappy food to keep your relationship with a family member in tack.
 

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