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Autistic Redditor Called Out For Picking Peas Out Of Their Food During Dinner With Mom’s Boss

Woman picking peas out of her food.
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Food is a very personal issue.

As one person’s ambrosia makes other people want to vomit at the very mention of it.

And we’re not only talking about children, plenty of adults have aversions to certain foods which are so big, they can’t even bear the sight of them.

Redditor AITA-peaspicking had a substantial aversion to peas, something their mother was well aware of.

This somehow didn’t stop her from preparing a meal that included peas at a very important gathering, and telling the original poster (OP) that they would just have to suck it up and eat them.

Luckily, the OP had a plan for how to avoid eating the peas, and what to do with them afterward.

A plan which utterly horrified the OP’s mother when she learned of it.

Wondering if they had, in fact, done anything wrong, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for picking out the peas from my dinner in front of my mum’s boss?”

The OP explained why their mother found themselves utterly humiliated owing to her dislike for peas.


‘I’m 20, and I live with my mum (48) in the UK.”

I’m autistic and don’t like peas because of the texture that makes me feel bad. I’m dependent on my mum because I’m not able to live on my own yet, but I’m learning.”

‘Mum hosted a mini dinner for some colleagues.”

“Her husband has a big house and a garden where we sat.”

“I don’t like dinners and eating with strangers, but I had to sit with them which was a little bit stupid.”

“They made food I don’t like.”

“It had peas in it, and I don’t like peas.”

“My mum knows this, but I wasn’t allowed to eat other stuff because it would be making a fuss and there was no time to make other things.”

“I was not allowed to make something myself either.”

“I picked out the peas from my dinner to feed to ducks at the pond close to my stepdad’s house because I know ducks like peas.”

“They shouldn’t eat bread because that’s bad for them.”

“I put all the peas in a little cup with my spoon.”

“Mum’s boss was sitting opposite of me and asked what I was doing so I told him.”

“He was silent for a while and then said OK.”

“We didn’t talk a lot, but sometimes he asked me a question, and I answered.”

“At the end, he gave me some more peas that he had removed from his own food.”

“I asked if he also didn’t like peas and he said: ‘I do like peas, but I also like ducks, so they can have my peas’ which I think was nice of him.”

“He also gave me £5 to buy ice cream for myself when I feed the ducks which was also very nice of him.”

“We didn’t talk much, but I think he was a nice man and I liked him.”

“But when he left he talked to my mum, and she came to me and she was angry or upset.”

“She asked me if I spend all dinner picking out peas and I said no.”

“I also ate the pasta bits, but there were a lot of peas to pick out.”

“She asked why I did that in front of everyone because that’s very rude to do during dinner.”

“It shows you do not like the food and are not interested in the guest.”

“This is exactly what I thought so that’s true.”

“Mum said that she understands that it’s not nice.”

“But if she says it’s important, like she did before dinner, then it really is important and I should keep that in mind.”

“They were people who deserve respect and who feel ‘put off’ by others touching their food strangely or not engaging with them.”

“Mum’s boss told her before he left that maybe next time I should eat something else because I didn’t eat much.”

“I’m not a big eater, so it’s kind of normal for me, but he doesn’t know that of course.”

“But the point is that he said something negative to her that could have been avoided if I didn’t pick the peas out of my food.”

“I didn’t think about this.”

“I understand that that is not a good thing, but my mum was genuinely upset and I think that is a little bit much.”

“It’s just a dinner, and he was a nice man.”

“I don’t think he’s angry at her.”

“I was just wondering if I’m not seeing something important here that makes it an AH thing to do.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

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

The Reddit community all agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for removing the peas from their food.

Everyone agreed that if the OP couldn’t eat the peas, they were under no obligation to do so, with many agreeing that their mother should have been more sympathetic to their aversion.


‘I’m 33 and hate peas, they literally make me gag.’

“I pick them out of my food.”

“Hell, my dad is in his 50s and picks his out, too.’

“I think it’s sweet your mom’s boss saved his peas for the ducks.”

“If he felt like what you did was rude, he wouldn’t have done the exact same thing.”-TheMudbloodSlytherin

“NTA, and as a fellow autistic, I absolutely love this.”

“What’s so amusing about it is that as usual with neurotypical people, your mum was so busy worrying about social rules and ‘propriety’ that she missed the important details: she thinks her boss was put off, but the details of your story say the exact opposite, that he liked you very much!”

“I’ve been mentoring other autistic people and parents of autistic kids for a long time.”

“Part of what makes me good at what I do is that I can recognize when people empathize with us and when they don’t.”

“Your mum’s boss clearly found you interesting and relatable.”

“This was indicated by the fact that he not only took an interest and asked you questions, but that after pondering your responses, he chose to engage with you further, by sharing his own peas, explaining that he, too, liked ducks, and wanting to treat you to an ice cream.”

“Perhaps he has autistic family members of his own and recognized your neurodivergence, or perhaps he just found you pleasant to be around.”

“Either way, he was not put off by you at all.”

“Further, I suspect that his comment to your mum was not meant as a put-down at all (not even to her) but as a gentle suggestion that it was not necessary to force you to eat something you didn’t enjoy, and that he would have been okay with you eating whatever you needed to.”

“This, too, suggests that he may have someone in his life who is autistic, and sensitive to food aversions.”

“Her boss sounds like a lovely man; you are absolutely NTA and actually sound like you were very discreet and behaved perfectly reasonably at this dinner party (you should not be expected to behave like a neurotypical person, only not to disrupt others or engage really rudely with them, which you totally didn’t); and out of everyone it seems only your mother was fussed by any of this, and for no good reason at all since you really didn’t bother anyone.”-Dangerous_Beans74


“Gosh, your Mom’s boss sounds like a very sweet man.”

“He understood what you were doing and even supported you by giving you his own peas.”

“And I think he was hinting to your Mom that she doesn’t need to try to impress him by making food that she knows you won’t eat, especially if you have to join them at dinner.”

“But I understand how your Mom can be stressed out by having her colleagues over for dinner.”

“People can be judgmental over the make and placement of napkins (which sounds silly, I know), let alone a dinner guest picking out and setting aside food for later use.”

“Which really is not the thing to do in polite company.”

“Best thing would have just set them aside on your plate for disposal and not in a separate container.”

“No, you couldn’t have fed the ducks later then, but polite isn’t logical.”

“Your Mom could be looking to increase her status at work, promotion, a raise, exclusive secretary, whatever, and this dinner was a means of getting the attention she needs to make this happen.”

“Of course, she’s going to feel pressure to make it perfect.”

“You both tried your best.”

“It didn’t quite work out as your Mom hoped, but it showed her boss to be a decent man, and it sounds like she has a better than average chance of getting what she wants out of it.”-DameofDames


“Your Mom knows you don’t like peas, made something with peas, said you couldn’t make something for yourself, and then got mad when you picked the peas out but still ate the rest?”

“The boss OBVIOUSLY didn’t care that you were ‘playing’ with your food.”

“He just seemed concerned you didn’t eat a lot.”

“The fact that he gave you his peas means he definitely had 0 issues with you picking them out.”-PartyySnacks

There were others, however, who did sympathize with the OP’s mother, who felt that she was probably stressed out over impressing her boss, even if they still agreed the OP didn’t do anything wrong.


“Your post genuinely made me smile today, so thank you for that.”

“My brother is autistic, and this very much reminded me of him in a lovely way.”

“I think it makes perfect sense to save your peas for the local ducks, you are right that bread is not nutritious for them, and I also appreciate you saving food instead of wasting it.”

“What a kind and thoughtful thing to do.”

“The reason I do not think there are any a**holes in this situation (also from the UK and can’t quite bring myself to put the American spelling!) is that this event was probably quite stressful for your mum.”

“I would imagine she was probably quite worried and in some way also didn’t want people to register your behavior as strange for your sake, it can be hard when your personal and professional lives cross over.”

“However, I wouldn’t worry.”

“Your mum’s boss sounds like he was not in any way offended, and I am very sure this will not have affected your mum in a negative way at work!”

“I think if you feel comfortable discussing this with your mum once things are calmed down, there is a good conversation to be had about ‘work’ meals and ‘normal’ meals, having a routine and some rules in place beforehand will make it much easier on the both of you!”

“Good luck OP :)”- Nerdy-mcnerdyson

Everyone gets anxious when they have their boss over for dinner, making the behavior of the OP’s mother somewhat understandable.

That being said, one can’t help but wonder why she didn’t take her child’s aversion to peas into account, which could have avoided this whole episode.

Then too, it hardly sounds like the dinner was a disaster.

If anything, the OP seems to have a new friend who might help them feed the ducks in the near future.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.