There is an ideal in medicine called ‘informed consent’.
Basically, this means you cannot grant your consent to something like an invasive procedure unless you know what the procedure entails and what the consequences of your consent are.
You can’t really agree to something if you don’t understand what that something is.
What happens though when the information you’re using to make your informed decision is tampered with? What if you’re the one who corrects that tampering?
This was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Ok-Sample-9313 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for outside opinions.
“AITA for ruining my friends favorite food for her?”
OP began with a quick background.
“So my friend Sarah absolutely loves cows.”
“She refuses to eat beef because of her love for cows.”
“The two of us were at lunch and I ordered a chicken fried steak.”
Then got to the problem at hand.
“She said, ‘oh I LOVE chicken fried steak!’ I just kind of looked at her and said, ‘but Sarah…you don’t eat beef…’.”
“She said, ‘but that’s chicken! My mom told me that it was chicken!’ I corrected her and she immediately calls her mom to ask her.”
“Well, come to find out, her mom had been lying to her for her entire life about different foods that she gave her to get her to eat beef.”
“She would tell her something was chicken or pork or whatever.”
“My friend called me an asshole for ruining one of her favorite dishes.”
OP was left wondering.
Having laid out the problem, they turned to Reddit for outside opinions.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some responses got right to the point.
“You didn’t ‘ruin her favorite food’, her mom did, and you’re not responsible for keeping up someone else’s lies.” ~ Padloq
“NTA. The meal wasn’t ruined because of you stating a fact.”
“She’s displacing her anger into it when it should be at her mom for lying, but she probably feels dumb and foolish and doesn’t want to be mad at herself.”
“You can’t make other people feel things. She’s an adult in charge of her own emotions and anything ruined is her choice in this matter.”
“And really… this is like those vegans who get surprised when they learn cheese is made from milk.”
“Pretty daft friend there. It’s called STEAK. Chicken-fried STEAK!” ~ ThisIsNotMyGayAcc
Others wondered about the lack of culinary curiosity.
“I need to know how old these people are because does Sarah never cook for herself…?”
“Like has she never thought ‘a chicken fried steak (or whatever other beef inclusive dish her mom has been lying to her about) sounds good for dinner tonight, let’s look up a recipe and see what ingredients I need to make one for myself”???” ~ catcat712
“NTA. I’m sure blaming you seems easier than accepting that her mom has been deceiving her for years, but you did nothing wrong.”
“How would you have known to keep up that lie?”
“Her mom is the AH for tricking her into eating beef for years.”
“She’s also an AH for putting her voluntary ignorance on you, because come on, she’s never once looked up the recipe to her favorite meal or read the menu description when ordering?” ~ augustwindfire
There were comments about Sarah’s misplaced anger.
“NTA OP. How are you responsible for your friend’s mother’s lies?”
“If anything, you helped her realise that she was eating something she wouldn’t want to. How are you the AH here?”
“By revealing the truth that will force her to stop eating the food she enjoyed till she knew what was in it? It’s a misplaced anger/blame.” ~ Hatted_Hobo
“NTA—it’s not your fault that you educated her about what she was eating since her mom has apparently disillusioned her for years.” ~ Dazzling-State-165
“NTA her mum is for lying to her about her foods knowing it’s so important to her.”
“Why is she mad at you and not her mum?”
“My sister doesn’t eat pork or beef and I would never lie to her, I even point out some things that she doesn’t pick up on and she’s thankful.”
“I don’t eat fish or seafood and if someone lied to me about what it was I would be SO angry.”
“Though Sarah is dumb for not checking what the foods are if it’s really so important to her.”
“I’m not American so I don’t really know what chicken fried steak is but if it’s beef surely it would be red/brown like beef not chicken coloured?” ~ keepcalmandgetdrunk
“As a teenager I couldn’t always tell which raw piece of meat belong to which animal. Sometimes even cooked if it was a piece like tenderloin (between pork and chicken at least).”
“This is especially true if you don’t cook and have no reason to learn different cuts. I believe her friend just didn’t question it after being manipulated.”
“If you don’t eat beef, you don’t know it has a unique texture, and may think that’s a result of the way it’s cooked.”
“NTA. OP’s friend needs to invest some time into learning, and her mom needs to beg for forgiveness for being a shit parent.”
“She literally warped her kid’s perception of reality. It’s more than a white lie. This is permanent damage and trust issues.” ~ Lemalas
“NTA, you didn’t ruin her favorite food, her mom is a liar and this is on her.”
“You also did her a favor in my opinion, she was going to find out eventually and now she can stop eating her favorite animal by accident and also check her mom’s behavior in the future.”
“I like to think about when I was getting a sandwich with my vegan friend and asked why they’d be getting mayonnaise because it has eggs in it.”
“Is it my fault for shattering their worldview? No.”
“Did I still feel bad about it because they were my friend? Yes.”
“They told me in the long run it was better for me to tell them so they could stop eating it instead of watch them unknowingly do it.” ~ casscois
“You corrected the lie her mother told her, presumably her whole life or for several years.”
“Rather than allow them to believe you’re the AH, ask them about your friend’s mom. Why wouldn’t they assume the mom is the AH in this situation?”
“Lying to your kid to get them to eat a certain kind of meat or food? Would they lie to a kosher Jew or Muslim person to get them to eat something that isn’t kosher or halal?”
“I would hope not. To me it’s a similar (not quite the same but really similar) situation.”
“Having peas mixed in with potatoes is one thing, but telling your kid that steak is really chicken? What the Hell?” ~ nonbinary-atheist
“I don’t eat beef either and I would have wanted to know. If she’s serious about not eating beef she needs to understand that and accept it gracefully.”
“And your other friend needs to be okay with letting her know because just deluding her into thinking she’s eating chicken is way more disrespectful of her dietary restriction.” ~ ShareBitter8422
“I mean…. It’s chicken fried STEAK. There is a dish called chicken fried chicken that is a chicken breast.”
“But come on, you have to have noticed that the gray color on the inside cause it’s usually made with a cube steak doesn’t look like chicken or even taste like chicken.”
“NTA. Order the chicken version of the dish and problem solved.” ~ PandaHackers
People shared their own cooking conspiracies.
“My mom called veal cutlets ‘veal chicken’ for a long time.”
“I finally figured out what veal really was when, during a play date, my friend was interpreting for her Russian grandma when grandma served us lunch, and she said ‘this is baby cow meat’.”
“And then, in a double twist, it turned out my mom had been calling both chicken cutlets and veal cutlets by the name ‘veal chicken’, and I somehow never noticed they were two different types of meat…”
“It was an interesting day in my life, figuring that out.” ~ thefuzzybunny1
“When I was a kid, I loved animals so much I declared that I was going vegetarian and refused to eat any meat.”
“Problem was, I was severely anaemic and already very underweight, so I needed proteins.”
“My mum had to tell me every protein was ‘vegetarian chicken’ or ‘vegetarian steak’ or ‘vegetarian pork’ to get me to eat it.”
“I knew what tofu was, but apparently not well enough.”
“Funny enough, my brother believed it too and it led to a lot of fights because ‘he didn’t WANT vegetarian steak’.” ~ bakersd0z3n
“WTF?!? Why is SHE mad?? You told her a fact.”
“Damn, if I were a vegetarian for example, and something I didn’t know had meat in it, I’D WANT TO KNOW!”
“She was eating beef, whether she knew about it or not. She can still eat it, it’s her choice.”
“If she didn’t want to know about it, that means her principles aren’t real, they’re just a performance. NTA.” ~ Jazzisa
“NTA. Ugh I freaking hate people with fake diets.”
“Like I don’t eat lamb. If someone pointed out to me that the food I love has lamb I would be really grateful to them for letting me know and horrified that I’ve been eating lamb all this time.”
“Your friend doesn’t love cows. Your friend loves to pretend that she loves cows.” ~ Juicyfruit155
There was even a discussion of trust.
“You had no idea your friend had been lied to most of her life- by her own mother no less.”
“Some people might think her mother told a small lie, but it truly is not a small lie, or even simply about that single lie.”
“(How many times had her mother abused her daughter’s trust and gotten away with it?)”
“And it only served to make her mother’s life temporarily ‘easier’ (for lack of a better word), and now the three of you are paying for the breach of trust.”
“Your friend was mad at the situation, at her mother, about being lied to, having her childhood innocence and trust used against her and having never been told the truth until now.”
“She must be thinking of all the times she must have looked like an uneducated idiot and people laughing at her ignorance when she thought she was using what her mother taught her.”
“Talk to your friend, apologize for being the unfortunate party to have revealed the truth to you and ask if she can forgive you.”
“She may need a good shoulder to cry on considering she’s likely mentally rehashing everything her mother ever told her, searching for dishonesty.” ~ SilentCounter6750
“I f’king hate when people lie about food. Even to kids. Because kids will carry that lie.”
“My family got mad at me for telling my cousin one of our favorite family dishes had mushrooms. He hated mushrooms but he’d been eating this meal for years.”
“He still does because he knows he likes this meal. But they were pissed at me for being transparent about what is in his food.”
“Which is extra weird because of the assortment of allergies my family has—you’d think they’d get it.”
“Here mom was putting her daughter in an ethically compromising situation.”
“Can’t speak to the reason but it is absolutely wrong to lie to a person in a way they will inadvertently act against their ethics or spiritual beliefs. NTA.” ~ ialwaysplayhealer
Informed consent is about facts.
This is the truth and these are the consequences.
When those facts are tampered with the whole ‘informed’ part of consent becomes useless.
We cannot agree to what we do not understand.
Remember that lying to make a situation more palatable is never the answer—it only serves to damage trust.