Hosting family gatherings for the holidays is a stressful endeavor for several reasons, one of the most significant being cooking the meal for a large number of people. For one Reddit man, the stress of it all caused him to lay down the law with his sister, who has two kids who won’t eat anything other than pasta and chicken tenders … at ages 15 and 18.
Venting on the platform’s “Am I The A—hole” subreddit, the man explained that he and his sister trade hosting duties every other year, and this year was his year to host. He continued, “My sister has 2 daughters who are incredibly picky eaters at 18 and 15 years old. My sister would come to family parties with a box of pasta and a bag of frozen chicken tenders that she will make for her daughters.”
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When young kids are picky eaters, it’s not that surprising. But a teenager and a literal legal adult refusing to eat anything that isn’t noodles and chicken tendies? Yikes.
The man wrote, “I want to know if I’m an a**hole for what I did here. I knew that is her drill with them, but I’ve always found it to be very annoying especially when I’m trying to cook and she’s taking up space making the pasta and chicken tenders.”
He continued, “This year I told my wife we will not be letting my sister in the kitchen this year and the girls will have the choice of eating what I prepared or not eating. My sister accused me of being a cynic and getting joy from watching the girls be uncomfortable. I told her they are old enough to eat like adults.”
Is it just us, or is the sister being dramatic? It’s not unreasonable for her brother to want to have maximum kitchen space available in order to cook the family a large meal — it seems obvious that he isn’t going out of his way to get “joy from watching the girls be uncomfortable.” Anyone who has ever whipped up dinner for a crowd knows that the adage “too many cooks in the kitchen” is rooted in so much truth.
He explained, “The food I make is pretty standard. I do a fillet roast, bbq ribs, cheesy potatoes, stuffed artichoke, breaded cauliflower, ratatouille, and a salad. Certainly some of these must be foods that an 18 and 15-year-old should be able to eat.”
At the very least, cheesy potatoes usually appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. But according to OP, “the girls sat and ate bread and butter while telling me that my food looked gross. I looked to my sister to calm them down but they told me I deserved this and it’s not their fault for being picky eaters.”
It’s one thing to not participate in the family meal, another to be rude about the cooking someone else spent time and effort on, and another for it to be doubled down on the adult in the situation.
OP wrote, “I know I could have just let my sister do her thing but it was the principle of the situation. I’m not sure if I was being a petty asshole or if I had a legitimate reason to be upset.” He added, “There are no medical conditions or food allergies [and] I made it clear to my sister in advance that I would not be allowing this. She decided not to listen.”
Reddit’s jaw is drooping at the audacity of it all, with one user writing, “NTA. You told your sister ahead of time that you would not allow her to use your kitchen. If she was that concerned, she could have declined your invite or fed her kids before showing up. Her kids being rude was uncalled for.”
Another agreed, commenting, “NTA at 15 and 18 they should be able to eat more than just pasta and chicken tenders. Per OP’s comments there’s no allergy/intolerance, they’re just picky. And rude. Who sits at a table and talks about how gross the food looks??”
One Redditor empathized about the stress OP was under, writing, “Cooking for a family holiday can be so stressful, timing everything just right and making sure you have the space to cook everything. Adding in another meal just because they’re picky? Nope, OP does not have to do that”
Someone else agreed, commenting, “This is how people turn 30 and still refuse to eat anything but pizza and chicken nuggets. No one’s being forced to eat what you make. They can eat before or after the party if starvation is such a risk,” with another writing, “Agreed. The girls need to get used to going places where their mommy won’t make them a kiddie menu.”
Another Redditor roasted the mom, writing, “Not only that, you do not allow your children to sit at the host’s table and insult them for them for not kissing their entitled little a—ses.”
One user agreed that OP isn’t to blame, but offered an alternative option: “NTA but I do think you could have compromised a little bit by asking your sister to cook beforehand and warm up the plates in the microwave. I love to cook and I really hate people getting in my way so I understand why you’re annoyed. I’m a pretty picky eater too so I get her side of that as well. Before family functions when I know there is going to be very little I can eat, I eat before the dinner so I’m not starving. This seems like a pretty easy problem to solve for everyone involved.”
OP responded, “That would have been a fair compromise. It would have been annoying still but I could have tolerated it.”
‘Tis the season to be merry, right? If you too are facing familial woes during the holidays, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone!
Before you go, check out some of Reddit’s most jaw-dropping Thanksgiving stories.
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