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Dad Blows Up At Picky Eater Adult Stepdaughter After She Constantly Criticizes Meals He Cooks

man chopping ingredients while cooking
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Cooking can bring great joy to a person who loves it. But it can also bring great annoyance when this labor of love is unappreciated or constantly criticized.

Setting a menu around dietary restrictions is standard when you’re cooking for the same eaters on a regular basis.

But what if one diner’s restrictions are voluntary choices—not allergies or sensitivities—and change constantly?

What if that one makes every meal a struggle that is then met with only criticism when it his the plate?

A father and husband dealing with one unappreciative diner turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Lanky_Order5094 asked:

“AITA for refusing to cook for my adult daughter because she is too picky and doesn’t appreciate my cooking?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“I (53, male) love to cook. There will be days where I slave away in the kitchen all day to make a big meal, and I will do it happily.”

“My wife (50, female) can cook when I’m not around, but honestly, I can’t think of any time when she has made anything because I always want to do it, and that’s fine by me as long as I feel appreciated for it.”

“I have a 24-year-old son, Eric, and my wife has a 19-year-old daughter, Liz, from previous marriages, and we have a 15-year-old son, David, together. Eric lives with us for now to save up money while he works but still pays rent.”

“He will eat literally anything with the exception of hating blue cheese. David likes pretty much everything but is allergic to eggs. I can work around these constraints pretty easily when I cook.”

“Liz is a different story. She has always been kind of picky with the foods she dislikes, but it has gotten way worse.”

“She went to college for a semester and then dropped out, so now she is living at home. While she was away, she developed some terrible pickiness.”

“She has had stints of being a vegan, being vegetarian, being grain-free, pasta-free, oil-free, etc… but she isn’t consistent about it. I try to help meet her needs, but on any given day, she has something new to complain about with a food I want to cook.”

“Sometimes she and I will debate for hours about what to make with me, basically saying tell me what you want for dinner that will work for you, and I will cook it, so long as it meets the other kids’ restrictions. But she is so unhelpful with this.”

“She has seemed OK mentally so far, like she hasn’t seemed depressed or anything. But there’s only so much I can read. She is a healthy weight. I can’t speak to what she reads online.”

“When it’s just been one dietary restriction at a time, I’ve tried to be good about it. She came home for fall break in October and declared she was trying to be vegetarian, so the meals I made met those needs.”

“The problem is just that it’s a rotating pickiness or it’s too restrictive. I want to help her, but I’m at the end of my rope with it.”

“Two nights ago, I cooked a dish that Liz told me looked good in a book. We all sat down for dinner and everybody loved it except Liz.”

“She complained that she didn’t realize there were peanuts in the recipe, and peanuts are so unhealthy for us, so she doesn’t think she can eat it, can I make her something else.”

“I was fed up and told her, ‘No, you can eat this or you will eat nothing. I am done having to deal with your pickiness and criticism of my cooking’.”

“‘I will no longer be taking any of your feedback on what you want for dinner and will be cooking what everybody else wants. You can either eat that or cook yourself something else’.”

“She started crying and said that I take the other kids’ restrictions on what to eat, so why can’t I do the same for her.”

“I reminded her that Eric only dislikes a single thing that I don’t care for either, so there’s no risk of it popping into a dish. And if David has eggs, he will probably die, so it’s not the same as her vetoing every single thing I want to make.”

“My wife took her side and said that I am being too sensitive and mean because Liz is not my real daughter, and I am showing favoritism (this is bullsh*t, by the way).”

“There is no other conflict happening with my wife. I’ve made it clear in the past two months that I’ve gotten annoyed with Liz’s eating habits.”

“I will tell my wife that Liz is getting on my nerves with her pickiness, or Liz and I spend two hours reading through cookbooks, and we still come up with nothing, and I tell her that she needs to stop shooting down all my suggestions.”

“This type of thing happens 3-5 times a week. Maybe my wife just doesn’t realize how frustrating it is for me and thinks I’m just picking on Liz.”

“I told my wife that she can cook Liz meals if she wants (as if), but I’m not going out of my way to meet her needs.”


The OP summed up their situation. 

“My stepdaughter is very picky and criticizes what I cook a lot of the time.”

“After she decided she didn’t want to eat something that she specifically requested, I told her I was not going to be adhering to her pickiness anymore and would cook what everybody else wanted, and she could either eat it or cook her own food.”

“Wife and stepdaughter think I am being too harsh and favoring my other kids’ dietary preferences over her.”

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 the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA, and maybe Liz is just a brat, but can I ask, is she having a hard time with dropping out/moving back home? Does she have an issue with disordered eating?”

“Is she too online, with health TikTok’s or whatever info? Does she struggle with her weight/health/appearance/self-esteem?”

“Have you heard of orthorexia? It’s an eating disorder where ppl get too obsessed ‘healthy’ eating, to the point of it being unhealthy. Maybe she’s just having some mild version of that due to whatever stresses in her life.”

“I can totally understand why anyone would have trouble figuring out what’s the best diet for them these days. There is so much conflicting information out there, and much of it is pretty extreme.”

“That’s not to say it’s your problem; what she’s doing is annoying af; I just wonder if something deeper is going on.” ~ iamokokokokokokok

“If the daughter is so picky, she can literally cook something for herself. I mean I would be delighted if someone cooks for me unless it’s fish/seafood, but other than that I am not picky.”

“And I’m sure she is capable of making herself a sandwich if the madame doesn’t feel like eating what OP cooked for everyone, including her. OP is NTA here.” ~ Nicole_Narr

“NTA. ‘She started crying and said that I take the other kids’ restrictions on what to eat, so why can’t I do the same for her’.”

“Because dietary restrictions are not the same as preferences. Eric couldn’t eat a certain food. Liz wouldn’t.”

“You cooked something of her choice, and her response was, ‘I change my mind, I don’t like it. Cook me something else’? Not even a thank you.”

“Liz is an a**hole for being entitled. Your wife is an a**hole for enabling this behavior and throwing the favoritism card.” ~ Frankensteins_Kid

“Once happened to me around that age. I was complaining and my mom looked me dead in the eye and said:”

“‘Miss, if you don’t like my cooking, then you’ll have to do it yourself as you’re grown up now. You are an adult that has two healthy hands and two healthy legs, you don’t need me to feed you. You have 3 options: eat what’s cooked, manage your own food, or stay hungry.”

“I realised she’s right, thus I’ve made my own meal if I didn’t like hers and only then started to appreciate her efforts more because I wasn’t aware that cooking can be a serious task.”

“I did apologize for my bratty behavior upon realizing how much effort has to be put in to prepare a meal for the whole family as she did for us.”

“I admire OP for his patience and willingness to accommodate her food preferences. NTA.” ~ JustBreathing5

“‘…she has had stints of being a vegan, being vegetarian, being grain-free, pasta-free, oil-free, etc…’.”

“This isn’t pickiness. This is just an obnoxiously mercurial attitude.”

“‘…peanuts are so unhealthy for us…’.”

“Who is she, the food police? And this was a recipe she picked out, too.”

“‘…She started crying and said that I take the other kids’ restrictions on what to eat…’.”

“Yeah. Because those are real restrictions. They don’t change based on whatever direction the wind is blowing at any given moment.”

“She’s 19. Why should you bust your butt just for her to move the goalposts and complain? NTA.” ~ ironchef8000

Having someone cook for you as an adult is a favor and a luxury, not a requirement.

This mother-daughter duo seems to feel entitled to dad’s labor.

But Reddit agrees with the OP: don’t like it, don’t eat it.

They’re old enough to feed themselves.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.