Husband Refuses To Share Dead Mother’s Recipes With Wife

In case you didn’t realize it, the holidays are basically cancelled this year. As people scramble to put together some semblance of socially distant or responsible gatherings, we lose a lot of what makes the holidays fun. Many families love cooking together, sharing recipes that have been passed down over generations. It’s a way to still have our loved ones who have passed present with us.

However, according to one Redditor, his deceased mother did not want her recipes shared with his wife—and now there’s drama about whether or not to honor the dead’s wishes or allow others to carry on their traditions. 

“My mom always cooked for our family a lot while she was alive and able. She developed a number of her own recipes but she also accumulated some from her mother and grandmothers as well as her mother in law (my grandma). Most were “family” recipes so she did not share them with anyone, but when she passed, she gave them to me but asked me not to share them with anyone,” the OP writes. 

“Since the holidays are coming up and my mother won’t be here to cook for the family this year, my wife has asked me to share my mom’s recipes with her so she can make them. She loves to cook and would like to carry on my mom’s traditions. I cook as well and had planned to take over the responsibilities myself, so I told her that there was no need for her to take over. She still wanted to help, but I told her that I could manage by myself. This led to an argument and eventually I had to admit that part of my reason for not sharing the recipes with her is to honor my mom’s request.” 

The OP’s wife thinks he is being ridiculous by keeping the recipes secret, but he is steadfast about the promise he made to his mother: “If she wanted to share them, she would have. I also don’t trust that my wife would keep them only to herself. I can see her sharing them with her friends or others, which my mom definitely did not want.”

Is the OP wrong for keeping the recipes a secret? 

“‘Sorry babe, family ONLY.’ ‘I am literally family though.’ ‘Naw, wives don’t count.’ YTA,” said Highclassbadass

“Can you imagine spending holidays with him and his mother? I bet it was awful. I’m sure mother couldn’t do anything wrong and wife couldn’t do anything right,” imagined juniperberry52

“I think the concept of ‘secret’ recipes for home cooks is truly idiotic and selfish (I get secret recipes being proprietary for restaurants or food brands). This is how recipes die. Your mom dies and leaves them to you. You die and don’t pass them on to anyone… and there goes those secret recipes. Dead and gone forever. Rotting recipe cards in a box that gets chucked into a dumpster after your funeral. Since you promised you would never give them to ANYONE and that seems to include your own family, then these recipes absolutely will die with you. Food is love to me. I love sharing food and recipes. I love sharing a little bit of happiness when someone loves a recipe. I’ll share with anyone in my circle (but I’m not selfish). You wife wants so badly to make these recipes that mean so much to you, that are ‘family’ recipes. Is she not family?” asked rose_glass

“As a chef, can I just say how much of TA I think you are? What kind of bullshit am I hearing here? Out of spite, I wish your wife would figure them out on her own, improve them 200%, divorce your ass and open a restaurant with a husband that actually likes her,” said Sirnando138

“She probably didn’t like your wife. But food is meant to be shared. When people come together around a table to share a meal, you share each other, your perspectives and ideas. Your wife wants to continue a tradition from your family. This is a lovely thing to do and she must care for you greatly. It takes a lot to want to continue traditions from a family that isn’t really your own and shows that she cares to introduce your kids to your traditions. I think you can give her access to the recipe box on the condition that the recipes aren’t shared with her friends or online. Emphasize that you’re trusting her with your mother’s wishes and breaking that trust would be terrible (and a recipe for a ghost…),” said DerivableDyer

Patricia Grisafi

Patricia Grisafi, PhD, is a freelance writer and educator. Her work has appeared in Salon, Vice, Bitch, Bustle, Broadly, The Establishment, and elsewhere. She is passionate about pit bull rescue, cursed objects, and designer sunglasses.