Dilemma: Is my daughter too nervous to cook for us?

Jo Brand / 10 April 2018

A reader is worried that her daughter is intimidated by cooking, and writes to Saga Magazine's agony aunt Jo Brand for advice.

Dilemma: I worry my daughter is too intimidated by cooking to invite us over

My daughter is always saying she’s going to have me and my husband for lunch, but never does.

I think it’s the cooking that intimidates her. She can’t afford a takeaway and I don’t want to cook for her and hurt her feelings.

Any ideas?

Jo Brand's advice

Well, firstly, as her mum, you will know whether she can cook or not.

Can she cook? If the answer is ‘No’, then you are probably right.

Maybe she feels embarrassed that she cannot produce something good enough for you.

Is your husband her dad or a new partner? Maybe she is worried about what he will think.

I’m not sure substituting a takeaway is the answer anyway.

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If the answer is, ‘Yes, she can cook’, then I’m afraid there is some other reason she doesn’t want you to come and Lord only knows what that is.

I do find it hard to understand why family members cannot just talk to each other and be honest.

If my mum called me and said, ‘You’re always saying you are going to ask me to lunch but never do. Why?’ I would just answer, ‘Because of the restraining order, Mother.’

Sorry to be facetious, but is your relationship so strained you can’t ask a relatively innocuous question like this?

If it is difficult, perhaps you could ask a family member to ask on your behalf and report back to you. Or you could write your daughter a letter; this is often easier because you have time to ponder how to word it, without sounding critical or hurtful.

Another approach might be to suggest she comes to you for lunch, then cook together or ask her to bring pudding (she then has the option of buying a ready-made one) and you can ask her gently if she has a problem.

Hope you both get some lunch soon, one way or another.

Read more of Jo Brand's down-to-earth advice

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