Dear Lola,

I am having an issue with my sister-in-law and I’m hoping you can help me navigate this tricky situation. Every time she invites us to dinner, she dictates what condiments we can eat with the meal she has prepared. Obviously I’m an adult and accept that it’s her house, I simply eat my meal as it is presented. However, she refuses to bend her rule when my children request another condiment to go with the food.

The last dinner ended with my youngest child refusing to eat because she wasn’t allowed to have ketchup to dip her french fries (there was a fancy sauce that was homemade). This made my sister-in-law livid and she sent me a follow-up email calling my child spoiled and accusing her of not knowing how to act in public. Lola, I am angry! My child is four years old and I think we can all agree that they are sometimes (always) stubborn. We weren’t in public, we were among family at a casual dinner in a private home. My daughter didn’t throw a tantrum or even argue with the adult who said no, she merely didn’t eat the food she was offered and politely sat at the table while we ate.

I now find myself rather agitated and thinking how fun it would be to watch her next dinner go up in flames, along with her entire kitchen. How do I resolve this situation with my sister-in-law? 

Malevolent Dinner Guest

Advice for humans. They need all the help they can get.

Dear Malevolent Dinner Guest,

My go-to recommendation would be to crush your sister-in-law beneath your feet as you burn her world to the ground. However, I sense that may be a bit extreme for a case of condiment stinginess and would involve some very expensive lawyers.

Be honest though, you really wish you could do that!

You’ve said this is your sister-in-law so I’m assuming either you are married to her blood relative, or your blood relative married her. Note that while I may be using the word blood a lot, in no way am I sending a subliminal message for you to do anything dastardly. I think you should start by addressing this issue with whoever brought you into a familial relationship with your sister-in-law. If it’s your spouse, maybe you should rethink calling those very expensive lawyers.

Divorced people can still live together as a couple!

That option holds great potential. You could skip every future dinner engagement with your sister-in-law by claiming awkwardness around the table. Then you could order in a delicious dinner and pour a whole bottle of ketchup into a bowl for you and your Miniature Humans to dip whatever foods you please. I’m sensing your excitement at this thought.

Imagine a world where ketchup keepers don’t exist!

If the sister-in-law was not obtained through your own marriage, than the divorce option is obviously not going to work. Unless… well, I do have an idea but it doesn’t seem very nice. And it definitely moves you from a malevolent state to actual maleficence.

Did you know? The words malevolent and maleficent are very similar but have slightly different meanings. Malevolent people wish harm or ill will on someone, but don’t act on those feelings. Maleficent people act on those feelings. 

So, we obviously have to discard the option to break up a marriage that is not your own. Luckily for you, I do have another plan and it is exciting. Bring your own condiments to the next dinner. Fill small snack containers with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, gravy, peach juice, and whatever else you can find lying around the house – don’t forget the sour cream and beet juice in the back of your fridge!

Pack your condiment survival kit and head to your sister-in-law’s house.

Once you sit down to dinner, open the backpack and start handing out containers. Allow your Mini Humans to dollop, dip, and delight their palates with all the flavors their tiny hearts can handle.

Stop for a moment and enjoy the blossoming rage on your sister-in-law’s face.

Then calmly remark that you know how inconvenient it is when a guest dictates menu preferences to a hostess, so you’ve done the decent thing and accommodated your family’s needs without troubling her. If that doesn’t produce a ketchup bottle from her refrigerator in the future, nothing ever will. Then take comfort in the fact that each time she sees your backpack full of condiments arrive at her door for dinner, she’ll have to smile and greet you while she dies a little bit inside. Family is everything, after all.


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60 replies on “Dear Lola – Malevolent dinner guest…

  1. This is actually interesting – I get the sil went to a lot of effort with the sauce, and yes kids should try new things but as the host, isn’t your job to welcome and accomodate the guests? We eat vegetarian meals when we have vegetarians over – isn’t this sort of the kid version of that? #GlobalBlogging (oh, and no one should send an email saying your kid is spoiled – think it, say it to your partner but only a nut would write it in an email)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, I loved this – I was laughing out loud. What a hilarious website you have! Like most people, I have tricky in-laws and I’m currently brain-storming all the letters I could write/ issues I need help with #Globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, when will we humans learn that battles fought at the table have NO winners, and the only outcome is indigestion for all.
    Lola, perhaps if we keep reading your wise words here, there will be hope for our species.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sure it’s the child who acted spoiled! I love Lola’s advice – very calm and a great way to make the sil see she’s acting unreasonably. Personally, I would have sent a two word reply to the email. One of the words is off and I’ll let you guess the other one 😉
    P.S. Thanks for hosting #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’ve had me laughing out loud again Lola. I don’t mind when people eat ketchup with their meals – but as I often cook quite spicy foods, it usually doesn’t accompany it well. But omlettes, fry-ups, fish finger sandwiches etc – ketchup away! #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Geez! The sister-in-law sounds like a culinary snob! Or just a condiment nazi. Great answer though Lola! I would not have been so diplomatic in my reply but I love the idea of bringing your own condiments lol! Thanks Heather for hosting #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great advice Lola! It reminds me of the sort of thing my husband would say to me. I am one of those people who likes to react first, then think later. So I would be all for breathing fire all over her straight away. But whenever I feel like this he pulls me to one side, tells me to calm down and we the plot our revenge together! It is better to put some thought into it as much as you want to initially act on your impulses. Outsmarting them (your adoring family) is always the better option. Far more satisfying in the long run!!! #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do think this lady would have said something, but when it comes to family I feel like passive aggressive is just so much fun. And based on the email she received from the hostess, the other side of this family squabble could be back shit crazy. It’s never fun to get into a war with bat shit crazy.


    1. She does sound like a jackass. I grew up with brothers and was very fortunate that my brother’s wife and my husband’s wife are so amazing. I couldn’t imagine having to make nice with someone who gets so ugly over ketchup. The worst part of it is, she is criticizing her own baby niece! I love my nieces and would never think to criticize them.

      Liked by 1 person

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