Cookies with scary faces are laid out on a black background.
(Daisy Anderson via

To the Woman Who Makes Daughter-in-Law Send ‘Cookie Samples’ For ‘Testing’ Ahead of Holiday Dinner: Stop.

Hahaha, what!?

You know what makes a holiday fun? Asking all the women in your extended family to submit samples of their baking ahead of time, to see if they’re good enough to be included on your menu! You know, pretending your house is actually an expensive restaurant that’ll lose its Michelin star if it serves second-rate sugar cookies! There’s definitely no way a system like that could turn a holiday into a churning abyss of stress and resentment.

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At least, that’s what one mother-in-law out there thinks!

Like all Am I The Asshole threads, there’s a chance the following story could be completely made up. However, I’ve personally had enough run-ins with tyrannical relatives over the course of my life that I’m willing to give this one the benefit of the doubt.

According to the original Reddit post, this guy’s mother-in-law hosts Christmas every year and maintains tight control over the menu.

For every holiday, My mother would ask the women in the family (my sisters, sister in-law, my wife, my female cousins) to send “samples” of the desserts they plan to bring to the celebration for testing and to see if these desserts could make it to the “food menu”. My wife has been complaining about my mother deliberately rejecting every dessert sample she sent. So many times my mother has told her that she’s being honest and keeping the guests best interest at heart. Yet my wife still thought that my mother is deliberately excluding her since 2 of her dessert samples were rejected before.

Hahaha, what? Where to begin? I guess I’ll start with the idea that only the very best desserts are worthy of being eaten at Christmas dinner. In all the families I’ve ever celebrated Christmas with, including my own, the point of dessert is to devour as much of it as possible. Dietary restrictions aside, I can’t imagine a Christmas dinner at which there could have been ten varieties of cookies, but someone made an executive decision, out of pure snobbery, to limit it to three. Or whatever this person’s cut-off is, I don’t know. Can you imagine? Can you imagine someone deciding to serve less dessert at a family Christmas?

Then there’s the pettiness of it! Not just making all the women in your extended family compete for the honor of sharing their baked goods, but then rejecting some of them over and over again, year after year? Insulting them and then telling them you’re just protecting your guests from their shitty baking? What a power trip! What a vindictive, joyless little dessert dictator this person is!

And only subjecting the women in the family to this indignity? I hope I don’t need to explain how messed up that is.

Luckily, the poster’s wife is standing up for herself. After she was asked to submit a “cookie sample” for “testing” (what???) and the sample was rejected, she’s bailing on Christmas entirely.

I didn’t know what to say but she then told me she was backing out of the invitation to attend christmas with my family. I was stunned when I heard her make this statement. I tried to talk to her but she said “it was done” I called her unreasonable to decide to bail on the whole family over some cookie sample…that’s just freaking crazy and quite unreasonable. 

No, my love. Your family is the unreasonable party here. Your wife is 100% right to remove herself from this situation, because who knows what other abusive shenanigans your parents get up to. You’re the asshole for not taking a step back and asking yourself who the real villain here is.

The best part of the story? Now the poster’s sister-in-law is following his wife’s lead and not putting up with this situation anymore.

Update: Great!, so I just got off the phone with my brother and he told me that his wife is doing the same thing as my wife and that she has decided to back out of the invitation to spend christmas with family as well. Turns out my wife must’ve told her about her decision and she decided to follow her lead.

Vive la résistance!

Unfortunately, part of the reason I find this story believable is that it fits into a long tradition of men throwing their wives under the bus in order to avoid ruffling feathers in their families. Mothers-in-law are usually the ones whose villainy makes it to AITA because people love hating on women, but I’ve seen fathers-in-law behave just as badly.

If there are any such men reading this, let me give you some advice: If you’re bringing someone new into your family, and they say to you, “Wow, this thing your family does that you think is totally normal is actually really bizarre and not okay!” then please listen to them. Please. Don’t be the asshole.

(featured image: Daisy Anderson via

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href=""></a>