This is such an interesting thread for me, because I’m usually the houseguest cooking in someone else’s kitchen But it’s almost always while visiting different family members.
I’ve gotten better about not stepping on toes, but sometimes when you’re related to one person, the partner’s toes inevitably get stepped on.
Culturally it’s completely normal for me to be cooking in a family member’s kitchen, though. Even expected.
My aunt, who is not Indian, didn’t know quite what to make of it early on. It’s less that she minds than that she feels they’re imposing on my “good nature” when I cook while visiting them. (My uncle not no much… it’s expected / looked forward to ).
It got ironed out completely last year when my uncle took ill and I made a few visits in a row. He had not been eating much or at all interested in food, and the dramatic change in his response to simple and familiar home food was such a relief to my aunt, we are far past any formality now. It also helps that she loves indian food, and I tend to leave their freezer stocked with portioned meals .
With (not indian) family friends whom I consider family, it’s similar. Everyone gathers together in the kitchen for holidays; if the matriarch is cooking, the rest of us (mainly me, because I stay with her) do the prep work. Last thanksgiving I actually ended up making all the sides because she took ill the evening before…
That said, my friends and I are less imposing on each other’s kitchens, mostly because everyone is into food and has a specific sense of the meal they want to put out. So we’ll throw each other a bone (bring apps, make that vegetable side you do so well, etc). but generally stay out of the way on the big stuff and the plan.
Oh, my mom hates people in her kitchen, especially her daughters . I have been chipping away at that for years…