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Home Cook Furious To Learn Mother-In-Law’s Food ‘Allergies’ Are Actually Just Preferences

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Most of us can agree that food allergies and food intolerances are matters that can be dangerous and should be taken seriously.

But some people still abuse the word “allergic” as a way to get what they want, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor cupcakebetty was furious when they hosted a dinner at their home and discovered that their mother-in-law (MIL) had been lying for years about having food allergies.

When their MIL insisted it wasn’t a big deal, the Original Poster (OP) called her out.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for calling my mother-in-law (MIL) out on her allergies?”

The OP respected their mother-in-law’s dietary restrictions.

“For as long as I’ve been with my husband, my MIL has been claiming she is deathly allergic to eggs, and ginger, and she can’t have a lot of salt in her meals.”

“So I’ve been actively avoiding these ingredients in meals I cook. She has even had ‘allergic reactions to the food she suspects has those ingredients,’ according to her.”

But the reality of their MIL’s allergies came out at their sister-in-law’s (SIL) birthday dinner.

“About a week ago, I hosted a dinner for SIL’s birthday and made SIL her favorite salted caramel mousse.”

“It’s easily one of the best things I make, and this recipe has taken me years to perfect, and I keep it a huge secret.”

“But it has a lot of egg and a lot of salt in it. So keeping in line with MIL’s dietary requirements, I make her a simple chocolate caramel mousse with no eggs or salt in it.”

The MIL did something surprising at the birthday dinner.

“Dessert came around, and I brought out a tray of the salted caramel mousse, put it on the table, and told my MIL, ‘I’ll be back with your mousse in a second. Don’t eat this one, it’s salted caramel.'”

“I went to the kitchen, came back, and MIL had already taken a salted caramel mousse (which was meant for me).”

“She was shoveling it into her face as quickly as possible.”

“I yelled, ‘NO, MIL!!! It has egg and salt in it!!'”

“She kept eating and said, ‘I know… but everyone always says it’s so nice and I wanted to try it. A little bit won’t hurt.'”

“She devoured the entire mousse (which wasn’t a small portion) and asked if there was any more because it was so yummy.”

“I told her no, there isn’t any more, but what’s going on? I thought she was allergic to those ingredients.”

“She told me well, she’s technically not allergic, but she doesn’t like the taste of egg, it makes her sick, so she just tells people she is allergic. That way, people don’t make her food with those ingredients.”

“She still eats cakes, pies, etc… where she can’t taste the ingredients. She just doesn’t like to eat them if she can taste them.”

The OP called their mother-in-law out on this distinction.

“I told her she shouldn’t say she is allergic if she isn’t. There is a big difference between not liking something and being allergic to something.”

“I’ve always gone out of my way to avoid those ingredients in her food and even purchased separate bowls and spoons to cook her food to avoid cross-contamination. I’ve been substituting ingredients for years to ensure that I’m not feeding her something she is allergic to.”

“She LAUGHED and said it’s not a big deal. Lots of people do it. She also told me I’m being a drama queen.”

“I told her it IS a big deal. She could have just TOLD me she didn’t like it. It would have saved me a fortune in substituting ingredients or making separate meals.”

“Everyone at the table agreed that claiming to have an allergy when you’re not allergic is a s**tty thing to do.”

Their mother-in-law was not happy with them.

“She sent me a message yesterday, saying that I shouldn’t have called her out in front of everyone. Now no one will take her seriously when she says she is allergic.”

“I replied, ‘Well, you’re not allergic to them.,. so it doesn’t really matter, does it?'”

“She texted my husband that she’s not coming over unless I apologize to her for calling her out in front of everyone because I made her feel bad.”

“AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

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

Some picky eaters chimed in and said they would never declare a fake allergy.

“As someone who is a picky eater, but DOESN’T have food allergies, I hate the idea of calling preferences an ‘allergy.'”

“If I get something that I don’t want to eat, such as a tomato, I can either choke it down, and be unhappy, or take it off whatever it is on (depending on what the tomato is in) and eat the rest.”

“Someone with an allergy, on the other hand, could literally die if they eat something with a tomato in it and they are that severely allergic.”

“My calling my dislike of tomatoes an ‘allergy’ could harm someone with a true allergy.” – DiegoIntrepid

“Picky eater with food allergy here, I have a slight allergy to shrimp, bananas, and fresh watermelon.”

“I’ve always had the banana allergy, but the other two developed when I was about 11-13, none are severe, but the banana and shrimp are the worst, and just the smell of banana makes me sick so I avoid them.”

“But lying about an allergy you don’t have is such an AH move. MIL is also a grown adult, she should know it’s not cool. OP stand your ground, NTA.” – DepressedShadow_

“I am both a picky eater, AND I have food allergies. I only tell people about the things I CAN’T eat. If someone serves something that I don’t like, I either eat around it or I choke it down, depending on the situation.”

“The two things are NOT the same.” – Spiralle7

“I am a picky eater too! I absolutely hate the taste of anything with beef in it. I don’t know why. But I have never once said I was allergic to it.”

“I will eat hamburgers and hot dogs to be polite to people because I feel bad for being so picky, but never once have I ever felt the urge to go into the opposite direction and say I am allergic to it!” – Ceejay4444

“Seriously, I can’t eat egg the way MIL describes because it does make me sick, but I DON’T tell a restaurant I’m allergic. I only mention it if we need to change a dish (take a poached egg off a salad) and I say it as I have a food sensitivity and can’t eat it, but that it’s not allergy cross-contamination concerns.”

“I would never consider claiming an allergy because real allergies already get treated so poorly. OP is NTA, but MIL for sure is.” – astareaster

Others said instances like this were why people with allergies were never taken seriously.

“People like MIL are the reason people with real allergies aren’t taken seriously.”

“I had a friend with celiac disease, lactose intolerance, soy allergy, and allergy to nightshade. Another friend claimed to be the same so they always shared food at parties. Until the friend claiming to be the same brought something that was ‘gluten-free’ but had wheat.”

“She had assumed our friend was ‘lying’ about allergies for a diet like herself. He was in fact skinny because so many foods are off the menu for him. He ended up so sick after sharing food with her. And no one took it seriously. It’s not a mild inconvenience.”

“Also, types of nightshade plants include potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, red pepper flakes, eggplant, and paprika.” – PolyPolyam

“NTA. She has been lying to people for years, and she ate your dessert in public.”

“You have every right to call her out in the same public.”

“People who claim allergies are a threat to people with real allergies because people are less likely to believe them.” – gastropodia42

“NTA. It’s people like her that make people with actual allergies not get taken seriously. If I were in your shoes, all she’d ever eat at my house from now on would be omelets and pretzels.” – jermicdubya

“NTA. Your MIL on the other hand is a huge AH. This undermines everyone who has a deathly food allergy.”

“It’s expensive and time-consuming to accommodate and for some people food safety is critical. Here she just claims allergy to have her preferences met wherever she goes, and she will pick and choose when the allergy excuse suits the occasion? Not ok.”

“For anyone who has an actual life-threatening allergy, She deserved to be called out.” – Gold-Somewhere1770

“As a former waiter, when someone says they have an allergy to X ingredient and order something, the entire kitchen has to be cleaned to make their food. We couldn’t chance cross-contamination. It put a five min hold on all orders, to say the least.”

“And I’ve had plenty of times where after the fact, someone would admit they’re not allergic to onions, they just don’t like them, and ‘it’s easier to say I’m allergic.’ So infuriating. Just say no onions. What the f**k.” – BlackStarCorona

A few said the MIL’s threat to not come over was a blessing in disguise.

“‘You won’t come over until I apologize? So I will not be subject to your perpetual attitude until I apologize for you lying?'”

“Word. See you in 2049, when I’ve finally come up with a proper apology.” – andrewtater

“MIL not only owes you an apology but PAY you for everything you bought to accommodate her fake allergy. Until she apologizes and pays, she should not be welcome in your home.” – Scary_Combination671

“NTA.” 

“That conniving piece of…how rude! She is a piece of work. Not only did she lie for years SHE STOLE YOUR PORTION. She straight-up stole your portion of dessert and had the audacity to ask for more.”

“I’d stop cooking for her altogether. She made you spend additional time and money on ingredients to substitute when a simple ‘oh, I dislike the taste’ statement would have sufficed.”

“Never apologize. This is your hill to die upon.” – firenoodles

The subReddit applauded the OP for calling their mother-in-law out on her behavior and urged them to absolutely not apologize to her.

If anyone needed to apologize, it would be the mother-in-law who lied and cost the OP years of time and effort, as well as extra funds.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.