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Drama as OP refuses to share late MIL's secret recipe. 'This is food gatekeeping.'

Drama as OP refuses to share late MIL's secret recipe. 'This is food gatekeeping.'


On Reddit's Am I the A**hole, a family drama has turned into a feast of a debate. Is it wrong to 'gatekeep' food? Is it ever justified to hold onto a 'secret' recipe, even if it's causing a rift in the family? OP triggers an epic food fight:

AITA for refusing to share a recipe with my SIL?

My beloved MIL passed away recently. She had a few signature recipes that she always brought to family gatherings. One of them is a very unique dessert. I asked for the recipe for years and she would never share it.

She finally passed the recipes down to me not long before she passed away, and I made all of them to share with friends and family at the repast meal after her funeral. I also made the dessert one other time to bring to a family gathering SIL was hosting.

My SIL loves the dessert. She keeps calling it “her dessert” and demanding I share the recipe with her every time we see each other. I feel like if MIL wanted her to have it she would have shared it with her, and the fact that she’s already claiming the dessert as her own instead of calling it the name MIL assigned to it is disrespectful to her memory.

MIL did not specifically mention whether or not she was ok with me sharing said recipes. She did also share the recipes with my stepdaughter (15) and one other grandchild (19).

Both agree that I should not share the recipes with SIL. My husband thinks I’m being a little petty and it’s not something I should start a family feud over. This is his brother’s wife and his mother’s recipes so I do feel his opinion also matters. So AITA?

Edit: I do feel the need to add a little context here. 1)This is NOT my MIL’s daughter. It’s her daughter in law.

2) I wasn’t bringing my stepdaughter and niece into it as support for my argument, but as proof the recipes has already been handed down to the next generation by MIL herself and I am not the only person who has it.

3) My sister in law was not at all close with my MIL because she treated her horribly, which is most likely the reason she didn’t give her the recipes.

4) I did get one reply here that was actually constructive and I may change my mind about sharing the recipe eventually. I do realize it’s not MY recipe. I feel it does belong to my husband’s family. Typically I’m not a recipe gatekeeper.

I have shared my own late mother’s recipes far and wide, including with the SIL in question. I just didn’t like the way she demanded to have it and claimed it as her own instead of putting due respect on my late MIL’s name.

The comments turned into a debate about 'food gatekeeping.' Here are the two points:

Commenter WolfGoddess77 explains propriety:

NTA. You made the argument: if MIL wanted your SIL to have the recipe, she would have given it to her. That alone is reason enough to keep it to yourself.

Caffeinated-Princess sees it as a 'power trip:'

YTA Gatekeeping family recipes is petty and childish. Does it make you feel important somehow? I don't get this, people post this topic frequently.

I think you're being rude and on some kind of power trip. It's not very nice.

Here's how the rest explained it:

From squirrelsareevil2479:

YTA. What changes in your life if SIL knows the recipe? No recipe is a total secret, it's already out there somewhere. Having 2 teenagers agree with you is not the flex you think it is. There is no one pettier than those who insist on hoarding recipes. Recipes are to share food, sharing food is sharing love, you cook for those you love.

Get over having one up on SIL and just share the recipe. It will not change your life.

From Midnightlemon:

I mean it was the MILs wishes to share these recipes with three ppl. As simple as that. Call it petty but that was MILs choice and OP is respecting that.

From RealbadtheBandit:

NTA. SIL is being pushy; don't reward her aggression.

If MIL wanted her to have the recipe, she would have bestowed it on her. She gave it to three people and no others, so that's how she wanted it to go down.

Your husband is really wrong; he should back you up. And you aren't starting a family feud. SIL is.

It's interesting, though, to see a MIL called 'beloved.' That happens very rarely hereabouts.

OP adds a little more context:

There was absolutely nothing I wouldn’t have done for that woman. She was there for me after my own mother passed away.

When her health declined to the point where she was unable to care for herself she asked to stay with the brother and sister in law in question and they refused to take her in, so we moved 2 of our children into our own bedroom so that she could live with us.

I don’t regret it at all, and honestly feel blessed that my children got to spend so much time with their grandma before she passed away.

Right or wrong, we can all agree, secret recipes lead to beef.

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