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Teen Calls Dad Who Can’t Cook ‘Incompetent’ After He Constantly Criticizes Meals They Make Him

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When young children have to take care of parents early in life a lot of resentment can build.

The most simple things can stir a lot of feelings and drama.

Like cooking. Cooking should be fun, until someone has a critique that feels negative.

Case in point…

Redditor MYSTIC_SALAD wanted to discuss their experience and get some feedback. So naturally, they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for telling my dad that if he didn’t like the way I made dinner then he should just make it himself?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (14 N[on] B[inary]) make dinner every night.”

“The only times I don’t cook is if I am with friends or if I’m ill.”

“My dad (54 M[ale]) is incapable of making dinner.

“I don’t know why but he cannot cook anything.”

“The only things he can make are microwave meals and burgers.”

“I had to eat the same microwave meals for 11 years of my life (when I was with him as my parents are separated) until I learned to cook proper meals.”

“Everytime I cook for him, he will find something to complain about.”

“Either that it doesn’t have enough salt or the potatoes aren’t cooked enough or why did it take so long?”

“It’s always rude and never in a constructive way.” 

“I have tried to teach him how to cook but with no success.”

“Today I made salmon with potatoes, green beans and a mustard sauce.”

“He said that I should have taken more of the green bean stems and that the sauce wasn’t thick enough.”

“I kind of just snapped.”

“I told him that if he did like the way I cooked, then he should act like an adult and make it himself.”

“He started yelling that I was rude and I was making him feel incompetent.”

“I told him that he was incompetent and he stormed off.”

“This all happened about 30 minutes ago and I think I should have just kept my mouth shut.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

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

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA. I hereby give you permission to use the sayings that moms have used since the beginning of time…”

“You have two choices for dinner: Take it or leave it. I’m not running a restaurant.”

“I’m not a short-order cook.”

“You can make yourself a sandwich if you don’t like it.”  ~ MaIngallsisaracist

“You are not his mother or his servant.”

“I think you are doing a fine job of cooking for the two of you, and you are to be commended for your maturity and cooking skills.”

“He can eat what you make or go hungry if he is that helpless. NTA.”  ~ Not-Vanilla5678

“NTA. Don’t criticize people for doing better than you can.”

“Unless you’re a trainer and it’s your job to make them better than you.”  ~ Irish_beast

“I just want to say, since obviously your dad isn’t, that you are doing an incredible job.”

“You’re obviously talented if you’re out here cooking salmon at 14.”

“You shouldn’t have to be responsible for all that, but I hope you can make the best of a bad situation.”

“It sounds like you are already by honing your skills.”

“Anyways, 14 yo me would have wanted an adult to say this so even though I’m a stranger on the internet: I’m so impressed by you.”

“You are absolutely NTA and your dad should be grateful that you’re helping out in such a big way.”

“If he didn’t want to feel incompetent, he should work on being a competent adult.”

“I hope it gets better soon.”

“Maybe this was a wake up call for him.”  ~ whatintheblueblazes

“Also OP, you realise he’s projecting right?”

“You’re a great cook, and you don’t need internet strangers to tell you that.”

“You already know that yourself.”

“But your father feels showed up by your prowess, which is an immature response to your burgeoning kitchen skills.”

“So he’s finding stupid things to complain about – imaginary insults.”

“I don’t know how safe it is for you to be clear with him.”

“But if you can, tell him straight up; how he feels about his own skill level with food isn’t going to stop you from experimenting in the kitchen.”

“Don’t let his shortcomings, shame and reliance on Chef Mike drag you back into the crab bucket.” ~ addisonavenue

“I completely agree not only are you NTA! You are AWESOME!”

“You are doing a fantastic job!”

“I applaud your survival instinct and your initiative to learn to cook, and cook complex tricky meals at such a young age.”

“At 56, I don’t like trying to get a perfect mustard sauce.”

“Half of the time I will bungle it.”

“Yay for your dad for not leaving you behind when your parents split up. Boo! “

“For your dad for being so judgmental instead of being supportive in your efforts to cook healthy wonderful meals!” ~ Betrayed_Orphan

“It’s great that you can cook but you shouldn’t have to and that’s the point here.”

“You’re not the parent. Your father is.”

“You’re still at an age where he should be providing for you and if you can learn to cook then so can he.”

“You weren’t wrong to speak up and he owes you an apology. NTA.”  ~ NatZaJu

“It seems pretty clear that he’s criticizing OP’s dinner to mask his embarrassment at being shown up by his 14 year old child.”

“And about not being able to cook for them (providing sustenance being the among the basic requirements as a parent).”

“This is absolutely the worst and most immature way to express it.”

“Especially since he’s the ‘adult’ in this situation, but I want OP to know what this really is and that it’s NOT a crticism against them.”

“In fact, he’s he’s criticizing your meals BECAUSE they’re so good, which makes him look so very, very bad.”

“I’m sorry that OP doesn’t have a parent that can be there for them and praise their accomplishments.”

“Congratulations on being such a good cook at such a young age!”  ~ Objective-Bite8379


“I was making him feel incompetent.”

“I mean, if the oven mitt fits.”

“He’s a fiftysomething man who can’t cook anything that doesn’t come straight out of a box, but he feels entitled to nitpick your efforts?”

“I think it’s time to just make your own dinners and let him fend for himself, if he’s so convinced it’s that simple to do better.”

“Or seriously consider staying with your mom, ‘cause I feel like I might have an idea why she’s had enough of this marriage.”  ~ mm172

“NTA. He’s weaponizing his incompetence.”

“I suggest you stop cooking for him, so that he has to learn how to cook for himself.”

“If he’s being extra stubborn, you can start weaponizing some incompetence of your own and starting cooking things slightly off for him… i.e., burn it, undercook it, etc.”

“And if he’s critical, ask him to fix it.”  ~ Individual_Wonder602

“NTA. You’re right, your dad should not be criticizing your cooking.”

“It’s one thing if you say how was it? And he says it was good.”

“A touch more salt may enhance it a little next time or I might try trimming a bit more of the stems on the green beans.”

That isn’t what is happening though, your dad is trying to tear down really impressive efforts by a 14 year old who is self taught.”

“And it isn’t that your dad can’t cook.”

“It’s that your dad is lazy and refuses to put any effort into cooking.”

“He is fine on subsiding on bad frozen meals because they take no effort.”

“He is fine blasting someone else’s food (that is world above the half nuclear half still frozen freezer meals) because that takes no effort.”

“Boiling a pot of water. Phew.”

“Might have to lift a pot a whole five times.”

“Add five more lofts of a bowl for some pasta sauce.”

“And then having to open a jar and a box of pasta.”

“I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Oh God!”

“I totally forget he would need a strainer too. And are there sides?”

“For the love of God please tell me he doesn’t need to put a loaf of garlic bread in the over or open up a bag of premade salad!”

“Can we get a Kickstarter opened for this man immediately?”

“I’m putting him up for Sainthood.”

“Does anyone know the link to nominate someone for being a saint?”

“Wait, where was I?”

“Oh yeah. NTA. You weren’t rude.”

“You said what needed to be said.”

“If your dad feels incompetent then he needs to do something to work on himself.”

“That is a him problem not a you problem.”

“Stop cooking for your dad.”

“He needs to be appreciative and put in some effort before he earns the right to have you cook for him again.”

“And yes, that is a right he has to earn.”

“You are his child. It is not your responsibility to take care of him.”  ~ Letters_from_summer

OP… Reddit is with you.

Your dad needs to eat or go hungry.

Or learn to cook.

It maybe time for a sit down with a therapist… and a chef, for him.