My partner and I celebrate Thanksgiving with their family. Their aunt and uncle host and cook the meal, which they love to do. The issue is that their aunt and uncle are not clean. They pet their dog while cooking and don’t wash their hands. They drop food on the floor and put it back without telling anyone. They cough on the food. The dishes they use are “washed,” but still have food crusted on them. The list goes on.
It seems like they’ve gotten worse over the years. With COVID and the fact that guests have contracted norovirus multiple times in the past after the meal, I just can’t do it anymore. I’m totally grossed out at the idea of eating their food.
How do we deal with this? They won’t give up hosting—and it would still be a problem if they did anyway because they behave this way in other people’s homes. They do not handle criticism well and have a “whatever, it’s fine” attitude about cleaning, in general, so my casual attempts at mentioning food safety have gone nowhere. I don’t think they’ll change their habits no matter what we say, they’ve been like this forever! Thanksgiving is a big deal in my partner’s family and despite the lack of cleanliness, we love getting together with them. We love this aunt and uncle, we just don’t love eating with them. Is there any way to handle this without just saying goodbye to celebrating together?
—Dirty Little Secret