When cooking for guests, it’s always imperative to make yourself aware of any and all allergies and never to make assumptions.
Even if you think you’re making a dish with no known allergens, some people do indeed have rare and very severe allergies.
Even if you are aware that someone you’re hosting has allergies, it’s still wise to double check all ingredients you’re using, as some allergens have a way of sneaking in.
Redditor No-Letter6330 loved nothing more than cooking big, holiday meals for her family.
Knowing that her son-in-law had a serious allergy, the original poster (OP) took great care to ensure she could cook a meal her son-in-law could eat.
Even so, the OP’s son-in-law still ended up in the hospital, with the blame placed entirely on her, along with some fairly severe consequences.
Wondering if she was worthy of such a punishment, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for having dairy-free and dairy food options at Thanksgiving, so now I am not allowed to cook for Christmas dinner?”
The OP explained how she ended up being banned from cooking Christmas dinner for her family:
“I hosted Thanksgiving at my home this year.”
“We have several lactose intolerant family members, one of them being my son’s husband, so I made some recipes using oil or olive oil ‘butter’ over real butter, or using lactaid milk so it would be safe.”
“I made sure to put the dairy free items apart from anything with regular milk and butter by having a separate small table for those dishes.”
“My son-in-law ended up feeling very ill and my son brought him to the ER that night.”
“Even though I used safe ingredients he still had a reaction to something unknown in the food.”
“My son rang me up from the hospital asking what was in the dishes at the dairy safe table.”
“I told him I used oil, vegan butter, and Lactaid.”
“He was upset with me because I put milk into the mashed potatoes.”
“I told him again I put Lactaid milk so it would be safe.”
“My son-in-law is recovered and doing well.”
“My son, however, is quite upset with me and claims he cannot trust me to cook food for them again because I ‘mislabeled’ the food.”
“He is claiming he has told me many times about his husband’s dairy allergy, and I agree he has which is why I made separate food.”
“It is now to the point where the family doesn’t want me to make any diary free dishes for Christmas because I am ‘failing to understand’.”
“Instead they have all agreed my sister-in-law will make some of those dishes while my son and son-in-law will make the rest.”
“I am beside myself because I love to cook for and feed my family.”
“I feel I am being displaced when what happened on Thanksgiving could have been caused by a reaction to anything.”
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 generally agreed that the OP was at fault in this situation, even though not everyone was willing to necessarily call her the a**hole.
What everyone pointed out was that the OP had a serious oversight in not realizing that Lactaid milk was lactose-free, not dairy-free, and thus her son-in-law was still allergic to it. Some were hesitant to make a firm judgment, however, as they were unsure of this important distinction or not.
“DO you understand the difference between a milk allergy and lactose intolerance?”- StAlvis
“Your son-in-law is not lactose intolerant, he is allergic to dairy.”
“Lactose intolerance is a completely different medical condition compared to dairy allergy.”
“People who are allergic to dairy cannot have Lactaid milk or any dairy in any form.”
“I can see that you tried your best to make something safe for your son-in-law, but, it sounds like, without knowing, you made a mistake that could have resulted in your son-in-law’s death.”
“Also, it seems like you still don’t understand the reason why the food that you made was not safe for your son-in-law so it’s really for the best, for his safety, if you don’t cook for him again.”
“I’m sure you would not want your son-in-law to become very ill or die from eating food you cooked, so, I really hope you can come to terms with this and not feel like anyone is trying to displace you.”-Reasonable-Sale8611
“Did your son explain to you that lactose allergy is different from a milk allergy?”
“Dairy allergy is not the same thing as lactose allergy.”
“Lactaid is safe for people who have lactose intolerance, but if you’re allergic to milk, Lactaid is still going to make you sick because it is milk with the lactose removed.”
“If he’s explained this to you explicitly and you still put milk in the mashed potatoes, YTA.”
“If he just said lactose allergy and did not explain, then NTA.”- pirrouette9
“Does he have a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance?”
“Those are not the same things.”
‘It sounds like you made food for lactose intolerance, but he’s allergic to milk.”
“Please educate yourself on the difference.”
“It sounds like this is not the first time they’ve tried to explain this to you.”- Known_Initial_7917
“From the sound of your post, this is not the first time this has happened, and you have seemingly chosen to willfully ignore the information your son has provided for you about his husband’s dietary needs, both verbally and as a written list.”
“You may have seen another comment of mine on here referencing a MIL willfully and repeatedly ignoring that dairy allergy means being allergic to any and all milk products regardless of lactose content.”
“She made a point of adding things like cheese into the food of her DIL because she was convinced she knew best and how her DIL was just being dramatic/overly sensitive.”
“You’re willfully neglect in repeatedly refusing to educate yourself or follow basic instructions from someone who knows better than you on the topic got someone sent to the ER as a direct result.”
“Let me correct your title: ‘Am I the a**hole for putting dairy in a dish and claiming it was dairy-free, again, and it was the final straw for my son, so now he won’t let me cook anything for family functions because I’m liable to poison his husband again?'”
“You even claim, ‘He had an allergic reaction to something unknown in the food’ and then go ‘Actually my son told me exactly what part I’d used that his husband reacted to, but I decided that milk isn’t actually dairy so why would it trigger a dairy allergy?'”- NiccoSomeChill
Upon reading the many comments and replies, a contrite OP later returned, acknowledging her mistake but making it clear that this was, indeed, a mistake:
“I understand my mistake now.”
“It was an honest confusion.”
“Of course, I have apologized, and will again, to my son-in-law.”
“I’m not sure why anyone doubts that.”
“They do not want me to pay for his EpiPen or hospital visit.”
“All they want is for me not to prepare food for my son-in-law any longer, which I understand now.”
“I feel horrible. I didn’t look up the Lactaid, but I honestly thought it was safe.”
“No, I didn’t try to murder my son-in-law.”
This does appear to be an honest mistake on the OP’s part.
However, it’s a mistake that could have been avoided with a little due diligence, either by reading the labels a bit more carefully or simply asking her son-in-law whether or not Lactaid was safe.
Perhaps by showing that she is making an effort to be more careful, the OP will one day be able to cook a holiday meal for her family once more.