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Woman Called Out For Lying About Losing Grandma’s Recipe Book So ‘Terrible’ Aunt Couldn’t Have It

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In some families generational recipes are held close to sacred. When an elderly loved one passes those same recipes can be a way to reconnect with that person, spark happy memories and grieve.

Others however, may fight over who gets to keep the special cooking secrets. After a heated message from her aunt over her grandmother’s recipes, Redditor infinityjawntlet turned to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for judgement.

She asked: 

“AITA for lying about losing my grandmother’s recipe book so I wouldn’t have to give it to my aunt?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained the rage over recipes.

“I apologize in advance for my rambles or if I word things wrong. I (30sF) was basically raised by my dad’s parents. I was always very close with my grandmother.”

She was a tiny little east coast Italian with a love of all things Halloween and taught me how to cook. She would take me to her mother’s (my great grandmother) house once a week so I could help make Sunday dinner.”

My great grandmother did not speak a lot of english, and her recipe books were in italian. She left all the books to my grandma when she died.”

“My grandmother had a tradition where before my birthday she would let me pick one of the recipes, teach it to me while I took notes, and we made a book that was half the original writing of the recipes and half my notes and in english. It was one of my favorite things.”

“It is one of the only things I have kept all my life, and I now live on the other side of the country and my grandmother passed away a few years ago.”

“My grandmother knew (since I was very vocal about it as long as I can remember) that I did not want children and she never once said ‘when you pass my recipes down to your children’ or anything, she would always say ‘when you share this with someone you love’. So, I did just that.”

“I taught one of my best friends one of the sauce recipes. My grandmother was still alive at the time and was so excited that I had taught him and the thought of her recipe being eaten ‘all the way out in the midwest’ was amazing.”

When she died, my aunt reached out to me (after years of not speaking) saying she needs the book because she wants to make my grandmother’s favorite meal because she misses her and is sad. Which I understand because it was her mother, but my aunt was TERRIBLE to my grandmother and I didn’t want to give up a part of my memory and share it with someone who has caused so much hurt.”

“I offered to copy that specific recipe for her, she refused and demanded the book or nothing. She was relentless, so I told her I lost it. I thought that would be it.”

“Flash to last year and my best friend is teaching his son (my godson) the recipe. He posts about it on fb and tags me, but I don’t use fb so I dont see it at first.”

“I have a long angry message from my aunt saying that I was disgusting for saying I no longer had the books and lying to her and teaching some (racist word) instead.”

“I told her to f**k off and not contact me again. My mom thinks I should have just given her a recipe or two and I’m TA for lying about it.”

Redditors were asked to pass judgement by declaring:

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

They decided OP was not the a** hole here especially since she first offered her aunt a compromise with copies which were refused.

​“NTA Do not give her the book. You will never get it back You had a special loving relationship with your grandmother. The book is a symbol of that live and a part of your life. Your aunt has no claim on it. Send her a copy of the recipe(s) if you feel like making a nice gesture.” ConfidentSandwhich782

“NTA, they are your books. You offered to send her a copy of the recipe she wanted and she refused. If she was as horrible to your grandma as you say, and she wasn’t left the books, then she has no right to anything.” BasketFeeling3821

“NTA – I am though. I’d be providing her with really bad recipes and tell her they were Grandma’s.” Zykium

“Absolutely NTA. I have been trying to recreate a recipe of my grandmother’s for decades and when I found out one of my cousins had it I was super grateful he snapped a pic of it and sent it to me.”

“Now I have the recipe and he didn’t lose any treasured possession. That’s how your aunt would have acted if she’d only wanted the recipe.” Old_Sheepherder_630

“NTA. She said ‘the book or nothing.’ But that book is 50% your effort at learning and translating the recipes, and 50% your grandmother’s effort at creating/saving the recipes.”

The clear answer to that ultimatum is ‘okay, nothing it will be, then.’ If she lays hands on the book, you’ll never see it again.”

“Copying the recipes for her would have been nice, and you offered that, but she refused. I’m not sure why your mother is saying you should have given her the recipes – you offered to copy, she refused copies, so what is there to give if she won’t take them?”

Although it might be an interesting project, for you, to create a website our youtube channel or the like where you share/teach the recipes, with stories! It’s the kind of cultural thing that people might enjoy.”

“And your aunt can always get the recipes there, if she wants them. It sounds as if this book was a labor of love by your grandmother and you, and deserves a larger audience.” Jazzlike_Humor3340

After receiving so many encouraging comments, OP posted an update to add a little more information and give commenters a surprise.

“Thank you all for your messages, I appreciate all the input! Apparently my mom thought I was a major a** for not telling HER the truth, not my aunt. My mom had been upset for a while thinking I had actually lost the book.”

“I offered my aunt once again to take copies, but was refused. I went lurking on her FB and saw that she had been posting a LOT about missing my grandma, fake memories that never included her, and a bunch of just nonsenseIt was like she wanted to take over, I dont know.”

OP ended with a gift for commenters by sharing the treasured family sauce recipe with everyone. 

“Either way, I mentioned earlier that on my bday my grandmother would always let me pick which recipe I wanted to learn, and since today is my bday I am going to just post the very first sauce recipe she and my Nonna ever taught me without real tomatoes- with measurements.”

“Ingredients: 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil * one large white onion- minced * 7 cloves of crushed fresh garlic* 2 (28oz) cans of crushed tomatoes* half a jar of tomato sauce ( about 7 ounces) * tablespoon of tomato paste*”

“1 tablespoon of oregano* one tablespoon of parsley* teaspoon of pepper* 1.5 teaspoon of garlic salt* half cup of basil* tablespoon of minced jar garlic* half teaspoon of white sugar* 1/4 beef broth (can leave out for vegetarian sauce) * as much parmesan as you want.”

”Add the olive oil to a large pot on medium heat and saute the onion for about 5-6 minutes. Add the fresh garlic and saute another 2 minutes or so just making sure not to burn. Add everything minus the tablespoon of minced jar garlic and bring to a simmer.”

“Take down to a low heat and simmer for at least 3 hours stirring occasionally. Add the tablespoon of minced garlic about halfway through your cooking time.”

“I have been using our magic bullet to make it a lot more smooth, but I’m just weird about textures. Thanks again!”


What a lovely and unexpected addition the recipe was to the post.

We can’t wait to try this prized family recipe and wish OP the best in navigating these complicated family issues.

Written by Heidi Dockery

Heidi Dockery is a Maine artist & nature enthusiast with an affinity for libraries. She studies Criminal Justice with a special focus on psychology & sociology at the University of Maine. When not studying, painting, or re-reading the works of Terry Pratchett, she volunteers & enjoys various activities most would label nerdy.