My Father-in-Law, bless his soul, is the fun combo of health conscience and cheap, as well as a good sprinkling of a love of 1950's cuisine, and all things italian-american. As a good old fashioned 2nd generation Italian American, its all gravy and noodles to him. He actually thinks every single restaurant he's been to in Italy is bad. Here's a couple examples... 1. Homemade chicken noodle soup. Go to the discount grocery store and pick up the cheapest whole chicken they have, bring home, put the whole chicken in the biggest pot you own and fill it all the way to the top with water. No carrots, onions, celery, herbs or seasonings necesssary. Boil, not simmer. Boil for about 8 hours, so you make sure you get every last yummy drop of chickenness out of that poor bird. Take out chicken. Remove meat and return to pot with the celery, onions, carrots and noodles. No salt, we're concerned with high blood pressure. As soon as the noodles are cooked, serve. So the veg is still nice and al dente. 2. He went to Costco and bought a whole beef tenderloin, this is going to be good I thought. I watched him pull out the handy dandy probe themometer I bought him for Christmas the year before (safety first! Don't want a chance of getting triginosis) He sticks the sucker on the grill, turns it every so often until the themometer went off. He then waited the obligitory 10 minutes, maybe he's learning I thought. He then cut it into portions, determined it was too rare (really it wasn't, it was perfect) and then put it in a pan and stuck it under the broiler in the oven for 20 minutes, until it was all........very, very well done. 3. My first holiday away from my family. No mom's stuffing. No Uncle Bruce's oyster stuffing. No perfectly cooked juicy turkey. No Grandma's cranberry salads. None of the things that make it a holiday. I'll survive. So down to Florida we go. Oh, you want to go play a couple holes of golf while the turkey's in the oven? Sounds great. They do live on a golf course, and the course was closed for the holiday and all the neighbors were sneaking out for a couple holes..... 18 holes later. The turkey was very, very well done. Oh, how juicy and wonderful this turkey is, my mother-in-law commented. Husband and I quietly ate the dark meat that wasn't complete charcoal. This is only coupled with this past thanksgiving, where they came to visit us in Chicago as I had recently given birth. My brother is in Culinary School. He and I consulted on the menu well before I went into labor. The fresh turkey was ordered. We were going to have everything that made it a holiday (see above). The turkey was divine. The sides were fabulous. Grandma's cranberry salads went over great. Then it was time to put away the left overs. Father-in-law took charge of carving up the remains of the bird. Now the in-laws are big white meat people, its healthier you know. So Father-in-law is carving up the bird. Gets all the white meat in the tupper ware, and we've already discussed how my culinary student brother was coming over on saturday to make the stock, goes to put the rest of the carcass in the big ol' freezer bag. With all the remaining dark meat on it.... Husband, bless his soul, had stoffers frozen lasagna in his freezer when I met him, says "dad, we want that meat" He now assists in Lasagna Sundays where we make a mess of lasagnas with homemade bolognese, homemade spinach noodles, and a nice bechemel. With a freezer full of lasagnas, somehow they never get pulled out when the in-laws are visiting. Husband decided he was going to perfect his minestrone recipe this winter. The first experiement he called his wonderful ol' Nonna. Nonna? Whats in your minestrone? "well you start with a can of Cambell's Tomato Soup...." He stopped writing.