We all know that special thing that keeps us coming home time and time again: our parents’ incredible collection of condiments. It might hurt your parents’ feelings to learn you’re just using them for that seedy grain mustard, those squeezable mayonnaise bottles and that deliciously tangy Worcestershire sauce, so just trick them into thinking you’re visiting for the quality time. Here’s how:
Make them dinner.
Convince your parents you enjoy their company by offering to make them dinner. Do your best to use every single condiment in your recipe—but even if you can’t quite swing that, at least you’ll be in immediate proximity to the pickled vegetables these two empty nesters have wasting away in their fridge. What a trickster you are!
Take them out to the movies.
Feeling worried your parents suspect you’re just home for those sweet, sweet condies? Get mom and dad off your scent by taking them out to a movie. Once they see you pumping movie theater butter all over your popcorn, they’ll be convinced you enjoy condiments from places other than their pantry. And, yes, you’ll have to spend approximately two hours away from that vat of cumin—but the reunion will be so, so worth it.
Share your news.
A visit home is a great opportunity to tell your parents about a new relationship or a promotion you’re up for. Do your best to refrain from shoveling pickle spears into your mouth while giving them major life updates, but don’t worry, you’ll have private time with that pickle jar once your parents head to bed.
Come prepared with a list of conversation topics.
Talking about things like “Dad’s knee surgery” and “The family trip to Kennebunkport in July” shows your parents that you’re engaged in their lives. Saying, “I’ve noticed you’re running low on red wine vinegar” isn’t quite as intimate. Your impulse to bring an exhaustive checklist of all Heinz products to your childhood home is totally normal, just don’t bring that list in lieu of prepared conversation topics!
Use these tips to help you at least pretend like you’re visiting home for some family bonding. Sure, all you really want is three glorious days with a respectable spice cabinet, but tread lightly. After all, if they discover your true intentions, they just might cut off their Dijon supply.