Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Not A Recipe To Share...

Sharing recipes is an act that has taken place for as long as people have been making food. It is a simple concept...you figure out how to make something really well, you write it down, and you pass it along to your friends. There are variations of this...you find a great recipe in a magazine, you copy it, you pass it along to your friends is a popular one. So here is something that might surprise you...

I hate to share my recipes.

I know, this goes against everything that I have said about loving to feed people and really makes no sense since I am writing a cookbook, but hopefully by the time you finish reading this post you will understand.

Whenever someone takes a look at my electronic recipe file the first question always seems to be, "Why do all of the recipes say 'NOT A RECIPE TO SHARE' in bold accross the top?" No one notices my maticulous organziation, my attention to detail, or my consistency in termonologoy. No, it is always the fact that I, being someone who otherwise is a giver and a sharer, have plainly written across 95 percent of my recipes a statement of selfishness.

Please understand...

My dislike of sharing recipes revolves around three distinct issues...

1. I worry that people will change my recipe or make it incorrectly and then the people that they are feeding will think that I am a horrible cook.

2. Sometimes, people will pass my creations off as their own.

3. Genetics. (Confusing, but you will understand...read on).

Issue One: It has happened to me more than once that I have passed along a tried and true recipe to a friend or family member and have had one of two things happen: 1. They tell me that it was great, they made eight substitutions and told everyone that it was my recipe (better yet, it was horrible, they made eight substitutions, and cannot understand why I thought it was good in the first place); 2. They make it for me, I taste it, and it tastes nothing like when I make it...being that I am a perfectionist I spend the rest of the night wondering if it is their cooking or my recipe that caused the problem and likely do not sleep for at least a few days.

Issues Two: It really drives me crazy when people do not give credit where credit is due. Here is a great example..."Wow, Suzy, this cake is amazing!" (I gave Suzy the recipe for the cake). "Thanks, Janet, it is just something that I whipped up from an idea I had this afternoon." Really? For those of you that know me you know that this is followed by me shoving a glass of water in my mouth and taking a long, slow sip to keep me from saying what I am thinking. Note to self: No more recipes for Suzy.

Issue Three: My grandmother's housekeeper, let's call her Kelly to avoid revealing her true identity, had worked for my grandmother for over a decade when she mistakenly gave my mother the infamous Veggie Casserole recipe without first consulting my grandmother. When I say World War III in describing what went down when my grandmother discovered this, it is not an exaggeration. Kelly nearly lost her job that day, I nearly lost my mother, and no one EVER gave away a recipe of my grandmother's again without consulting her first or at least making sure that all involved could be trusted to keep thier mouths shut.

This post came to mind because I was just making some amazing pretzel treats that my friend Nicole recently passed along the recipe for. I had been asking her for the recipe for over a year. Some people might have been annoyed that it took so long to get it to me, but I completely understood. I worked the angle that others have worked with me, slow and steady until I broke her. She finally gave me the recipe for Christmas on the condition that I do not share it, and I was probably one of the few people that COMPLETELY understood where she was coming from. I love her for not wanting to share...

So, please know that I write this cookbook with strong reservations...sometimes the thought of sharing all of these recipes nearly puts me over the edge. However, in the end I feel that it is worth it and I can just hope that people follow directions, give me credit if I deserve it, and that I can buck the genetic part of it along the way.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you were making the pretzels and smiling. I'm glad to share with a true foodie who gets it:-) Merry Christmas!