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Redditor Sparks Drama After Serving Coworker’s Kid Red Wine Pasta Sauce While Babysitting

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Every parent has different ideas of how to keep their children safe and happy.

Some may go a little overboard, but so long as it isn’t mentally damaging, it’s usually better to listen to the parent about what their children should be allowed to do, right?

Redditor wine_aita asked if they did something wrong by cooking dinner for a co-worker’s child. The mother believed the original poster (OP) was irresponsible for what was made.

So, the OP decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) board if the dinner was out of line.

They asked:

“AITA for serving an 8 year old red wine pasta sauce?”

They explained their situation.

“As a special favor, I babysat my coworker’s 8 year old son the other evening. The kid asked for pasta and red sauce for dinner, so I made a really great tomato/red wine/sausage sauce recipe I know. He absolutely loved it.”

“A couple days later, my coworker told me that her son hasn’t stopped raving about the pasta dish I served him, and asked for the recipe, which I gladly gave her.”

“Upon reading it, she got really angry, and said that it was totally inappropriate for me to serve a child wine sauce.”

“I told her that the alcohol almost entirely boils off when the sauce simmers, but she said that she does not want her kid consuming any amount of alcohol, and that I was really irresponsible for not asking her permission first.”

“Before babysitting, I asked if her son had any food allergies/dietary restrictions, and she said no. When I mentioned this to her after she got upset at me, she said that it’s common sense to not feed someone else’s kid something with alcohol in it without asking permission.”

“When I was little (I’m in my early 30s, so I’m not that old), all of us kids grew up eating red wine tomato sauce, penne alla vodka, meats with wine sauce, tiramisu, fruitcake, etc., and nobody would have ever thought to ask parents’ permission before serving such dishes to someone else’s kid. I don’t think this is a generational thing, none of my friends with kids would have a problem with it either.”

“Is my coworker being weird, or was I the a-hole?”

“(BTW, the coworker isn’t of a religion that prohibits alcohol — I have had drinks with her on several occasions.)”

On the AITA subReddit, people’s stories are judged in one of the following ways:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

While not all of the alcohol boils out of a pasta sauce, a nice long simmer gets rid of most of it and adds delicious flavor to the dish.

Because of this, the board judged OP as NTA.

“NTA.I think your coworker needs to do some research on how alcohol is used in cooking for flavor. There’s literally no alcohol in the food anymore whatsoever and is not harmful. It’s basically grape juice at that point.” – MercyXXVII

“NTA. Your coworker is totally overreacting. I’m sure her kid has also eaten stuff with vanilla extract in it, which is like 35% ABV. It’s not like you served her kid a glass of Merlot with dinner lmao.” – lepetitbutch

“Ok, at first I thought you accidentally served a sauce that was 8 years old. Then I thought you might have accidentally used an 8 year old bottle of wine for your pasta recipe (presumably being saved for something more special).”

“The thought of a kid eating a sauce with wine in it being bad was so far off my radar I did brain gymnastics to figure out what else the problem could have been 😂. NTA.” – YankeeDoodleDoggie

“NTA – the only thing I can think of to explain her reaction is that she’s quite ignorant about cooking and doesn’t realize that many (if not most) sauces and stews typically use wine (and why her child raved about your cooking for days after, because it actually had flavor).”

“Maybe you could explain to her again that wine is such a common ingredient in dishes that you didn’t realize it would be a problem, and that it merely provides flavor before being cooked off so there’s not actual alcohol in the dish.”

“But, only if maintaining a friendship with the coworker is important, otherwise I think it would be fine to write her off. If she complains about it to someone else I imagine they will tell her the same, that it’s not unusual and her child was at no risk of becoming inebriated.” – soundlikebutactually

However, while most agreed that OP didn’t really do anything wrong, they understand the mom’s point of view. Parents want to ensure their children are safe, and depending on preparation method, the sauce may still have a significant amount of alcohol in it.

They trusted OP, but felt there were NAH.

“I’d go NAH. I completely see both sides.”

“I make things with wine vinegar, which “technically” has some alcohol, and which cooks off. I wouldn’t think twice about serving that to a kid. That said, I see where she is coming from as well, even if I don’t agree with it.” – simba1998

“NAH, her reaction is a bit extreme but it’s her choice to be weirdly protective. People also don’t realize how many things contain trace amounts of alcohol, soda by law can have up to 0.5%” – green_eyed_cat

“NAH. Not your kid, you should have checked. I know how sauce works, so I get your reasoning, but she was fundamentally right.”

“I think you’d be an AH if you kept arguing with her and didn’t apologize, but you were a bit inconsiderate. No one would assume your feeding a kid alcohol foods.” – voiceofajeneration


“It seems like she doesn’t understand the way alcohol works, the fact that there is actually alcohol in nearly every food, etc., which doesn’t make her the asshole. This may be a weird cultural issue she’s grown up with, where she finds drinking alcohol taboo in a way that food alcohol and vanilla extract aren’t.”

“I grew up eating all kinds of food with alcohol—shrimp in butter/white wine sauce, beef stew with a splash of red, tequila with fish, etc. That’s just the way we cooked. It’s normal.” – Veauros

Whether or not OP decides to remain friends with their co-worker will depend on a few things, including how understanding the co-worker is after they cool off. While OP might not have done anything wrong before, they know that going forward they’ll need to talk with their friend about what she finds appropriate for her child.

But that’s assuming the co-worker even wants to remain friends at all.

Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.