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Mom Asks If She Should Have Scolded Stepdaughter For Rude Comment About Host’s Food

Woman holding a plate of baked goods.
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It’s important to keep our children in line.

As a result, when they misbehave, it’s important to let them know immediately that their behavior isn’t appropriate, so they’ll know better than to behave in such a way in the future.

When it’s not our own children that are misbehaving, however, things become a little more complicated.

As it’s a matter of debate as to whether or not we are the ones who should be doing the disciplining.

Redditor Turbulent_True and her boyfriend’s daughter recently attended a dinner party.

During which, the young girl didn’t hold back on correcting their hostess over the pièce de resistance she went to a lot of trouble to make.

Hearing about his daughter’s behavior after the fact, the original poster (OP)’s boyfriend was horrified and shocked that the OP didn’t scold or make an example of her at the dinner party.

Wondering if she was in the wrong for not saying anything, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not putting a stop to my stepdaughter ‘correcting’ the food the host made?”

The OP explained why her boyfriend was so upset about his daughter’s behavior and that she didn’t do anything at the time:

“I (32 F[emale]) have been dating a widower with a daughter, Nara (12 F), for a year.”

“We currently moved to a new city because of my boyfriend’s job promotion (I freelance) and are in the middle of settling down.”

“Nara and I get along very well.”

“Nara plays tennis.”

“Since the move, she’s been in the school team and competed a bit.”

“The parents of her teammates often organize some kind of get together and her father and I tried our best to have her attend most of them.”

“I would say Nara got along well with all her teammates and I thought the parents were friendly.”

“Last week the team captain’s parents hosted a potluck party at their place.”

“Nara and I brought over some brownies.”

“There really was a lot of all kinds of food.”

“The team captain’s father did most of the greeting telling us his wife was preparing something special for us all.”

“Once everyone was at the party, the wife came out of the kitchen with a special dish, a recipe of a specific country.”

“Now, Nara looks white but her late mother actually came from that very country.”

“The wife host began to serve everyone and share her recipe and ingredients and how it was ‘not that difficult to make once you substitute the local ingredients’ and feel free to ask her for tips.”

“At this point Nara spoke up, saying that the authentic recipes included such and such and how their particular scent and taste added to the whole experience of eating the dish.”

“She said if so many substitutes were used, they may as well call the dish a different name.”

“The wife host looked a little unsettled and told Nara that she and her husband traveled a lot in their youth and she had the dish many times and knew what it was supposed to taste like and the substituted ingredients work just fine.”

“Nara then said her mom was from the dish’s country of origin and she understood that some ingredients were hard to come by but substituting so much turned the dish into something else altogether.”

“During all this I mostly kept silent.”

“Nara was not being rude, just matter of fact, and as this was a matter of her heritage I thought she could speak up.”

“The host wife spluttered a bit before saying everyone should just go ahead and enjoy her dish, no matter the name.”

“Everyone tried though nobody asked for seconds (I personally thought it was a little bland) and there was a lot of leftovers.”

“Nara’s team captain later called her, thanking her for putting her ‘annoying stepmom in her place’.”

“When my boyfriend came back from his business trip and learned of this, however, he thought I should have reprimanded Nara for being rude to the host.”

“He also had a talk with Nara and she seemed to be sulking a bit though she was not grounded or 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
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

The Reddit community was somewhat divided on whether or not the OP was the a**hole for not scolding Nara.

Some felt that the OP didn’t do anything wrong, nor was Nara out of line for speaking up and correcting her hostess, even if they understood why her boyfriend was so upset.

“I am reminded of a British TV show host who commented ‘If it had <different ingredient> it would be <different dish>’.”

“And the horrified & insulted chef replied ‘If my grandmother had wheels she’d be a bicycle!'”

“I’m honestly split on this one.”

“There’s no doubt that Nara’s behavior would be considered breathtakingly rude by most people’s standards.”

“Social etiquette dictates that if someone is hosting you and cooking for you, you need to be polite and gracious, even if you don’t like the food.”

“You don’t have to lie, but show that you are grateful for their efforts (and for goodness sake don’t publicly embarrass them).”

“On the other hand, it sounds like Nara, despite her age, DOES have greater expertise about this dish, and the adults should respect her cultural and familial connection with it.”

“IMO I don’t think Nara should be punished, but some advice & tips on how to graciously handle similar situations in the future would be to her benefit.”

“NAH.”- kiwigeekmum

Others felt that the OP should have known better than to let Nara behave that way, and was, indeed, the a**hole for not saying anything:


“Not a huge AH but still.”

“Being a gracious guest is a skill everyone should learn.”

“Was your stepdaughter technically right?”


“But she made the host uncomfortable unnecessarily.”

“I get that it may be a pain point for her, given her mother passed away, but she was actually being rude.”

“The host wanted to share something with her guests that she obviously was proud of, and your stepdaughter called her out in front of everyone.”- SirDaemos


“Nara was extremely rude.”

“This woman opened up her home and spent time and money to prepare this meal.”

“Nara trashed it before she was ate it.”

“Maybe you and Nara don’t realize this but there are different ways to prepare a cultural dish.”

“Not everyone in a particular culture prepares their food the exact same way.”

“Maybe the dish tastes similarly to the way it was prepared when the hostess ate it during her travels.”

“Your stepdaughter needs to learn graciousness and respect.”

“If I pulled something like this when I was her age, my mom would make me write an apology letter to the mom.”

“Then she would volunteer our family to host the next team get together and make me do all of the cooking by myself so I would learn to have respect for people who invite me into their home and prepare a meal for me.”

“The team captain is also an ungrateful brat.”

“If her stepmom is so annoying, she needs to handle the hosting duties for these gatherings herself.”- Mother_Tradition_774

While a few had trouble seeing how either the OP or Nara did anything wrong:

Hey sometimes truth hurts.”

“NTA.”- HufflepuffPrincess96

“If Nara wanted to speak up and defend a dish from her family’s heritage.”

“She’s welcome to.”

“It might be uncomfortable for the person appropriating the culture.”

“But it’s not rude to point out that if you take all the ingredients and change them, it’s no longer that dish.”

“12yo’s also have zero chill, have you met one?”

“They’ll tell you exactly what they think from their fresh eyes.”

“And as for OP.”

“Not her job to police what her boyfriend’s daughter does when she isn’t being rude or dangerous.”

“NTA.”- Sistine25


“If I was making a dish from another heritage, and I swapped out ingredients, sure I’d be a bit embarrassed, but who would I be to tell a young girl that she’s wrong about her own heritage, weather her mum was alive or not, I’m not from that heritage, I picked it up from ‘travels’, that’s like going into an Italian restaurant, and thinking you can make their recipes but change it up and then tell them you know their food because you’ve travelled to Italy.”

“Like you said she wasn’t being rude she was trying to educate, kids are allowed to educate but most adults can’t handle it and just say their ‘rude’.”- sharn98

Whether or not Nara was being rude is debatable.

However, seeing as their hostess did seem to go to great trouble, and even if the dish she was serving was less than authentic, perhaps she shouldn’t have made such a public point of correcting her.

However, seeing as Nara isn’t technically, or legally, the OP’s child yet, who’s to say whether or not the OP has any say in punishing her yet?

Perhaps a needed discussion between the OP and her boyfriend.

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'.