Recipes: To Share or Not to Share?
For a while, I used to scoff at people who kept their recipes to themselves. Whenever someone asks me what ingredients I used in the dishes I cook up, I promptly scribble down the recipe or simply email or text message it over. A friend of mine once asked me, “How do you make that great chicken dish you served the other night?” I smiled, happy that I can make someone else happy with my culinary concoction. My friend was happy too when I shrugged and told her that life is too short, so why not share the love? I typed up the recipe and emailed her the next morning. A while later, the same friend threw a wonderful dinner with friends. When I asked her about the ingredients of one of the dishes on the dinner table, she smiled coyly and replied, “I can’t tell you.” I frowned and smiled awkwardly, as if I exposed a dark secret. I felt used and taken advantage of. “I gave her my mother’s recipe and she wouldn’t even hint at any ingredient that was in her dish!” I told my husband when I returned home in exasperation. I was so upset that I could not sit down. I knew that it was not personal, but I was hurt! “You know what?” I huffed, standing with my hands on my hips, “I vow never to give anyone any family recipe!” The moment I said that, I felt slightly more calm and at ease. That is, until a very good friend of mine called me up a week ago. “Erzulie! I gave my in-laws what remained of that fabulous salad you brought yesterday night. Do you mind giving me the recipe to your salad dressing?” I cringed, sensing that same feeling of dread in my stomach. Since she is a close friend, I felt that I could afford to be honest to the point of being blunt. “Look honey, I would love to, but I know that recipe will soon make its way to your in-laws’ handful of restaurants. So I'm sorry, I can’t.” It was close to dusk prayer, so I was already tired and grumpy (read: I did not feel like sugarcoating my little speech). Once I said that, my friend grew quiet, “Oh, really?” I sighed, “Yes, really. I had a really bad experience with sharing a recipe and not getting anything in return. I do not want to go down that road again.” Now I am no Martha Stewart but I do have some fantastic family recipes up my sleeve. A part of me feels crappy about being greedy and not dishing them out to anyone who asks especially close friends, but another part of me feels that it is my right (dammit!) to choose what to share and what to keep to myself. I mean if anyone asks me to make my amazing apple pie, it will be my honor to bake the thing. But to share the secrets of how many pinches and sprinkles of what I add to my dishes? That just feels too close for comfort. I guess some people are the same way with where they shop for clothes or jewelry, where they dye their hair or which dermatologist in LA has the best Botox. For me, it starts and ends at the kitchen. Is that such a bad, bad thing?
Chris Isaak - Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing
Three Dog Night - Joy to the World
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Give it a Away
at 9:00 AM