This past Saturday, as I sat on my yoga mat beneath a Sycamore tree, two very dear friends and I began speaking of cooking. I always enjoy a fresh perspective on certain topics, and cooking is certainly one such topic, but what I find interesting is that we shifted into a discussion about recipe sharing. Now, I have written about this before (found here) but I find it worthy of another post.
Plainly asked, do you share your recipes? How exactly do you reply? Did you give the excuse that you’re honor-bound to never give it out? Were you sworn to secrecy and read-in at the highest level of clearance? Did Grandma threaten you with family expulsion if you uttered a syllable? Or, perhaps you handed it over lovingly, gratefully, and willingly? Regardless, there is a problem amongst us when it comes to recipe requests.
When I last wrote of this topic I had numerous comments, but after which I also had requests that I delete comments after the fact, for someone feared family retribution for her honest reply, having been refused a “family recipe” from a family she belonged to! I was stunned.
As we discussed various aspects of Give or Give Not, one realization was made by my dearest friend (you know who you are, do you appreciate anonymity?): Is it possible, that when you have just delighted someone with your cooking prowess, and the subsequent recipe request ensues, that you refuse the recipe for fear that the requester might not return again for more? That is, if you hand over the recipe your friend and/or family member will not return to your home and praise your cooking again? Or praise your recipe again? Or still be your friend? Shall I keep going? Is it possible that when someone asks for a recipe, we fear that the friend will never return to us, having no more need for us?
I have been refused recipes, and many times over, yet one in particular stands out and I have relived the memory as a result of Saturday’s discussion. This person was such a dear friend, and for my part still is, but it caused a shift. I was so thoroughly delighted with the food my friend had cooked for me that I wanted to learn to cook it myself, but needed a recipe and some guidance, so I asked. When I was refused, I sought out another recipe, and was given this recipe from an authentic source. I tried and failed, but I kept at it and eventually succeeded and was eager to share it with my friend, seeking his advice and input. He refused to eat it and was angry for my going elsewhere for help. These are just words on a blog, from a person you likely don’t know, but when I say I cook with love, I mean it. I love to share what I make, and I love and appreciate an honest opinion about what I feed others. I never seek to overpower or to belittle, only ever wanting to further my skills and feed my passion to cook. I miss you, my friend, and would love to cook with you again one day.
I offer my thoughts today with the hope to inspire you to study what causes you to refuse a recipe, or to think about the one who might deny you. After applying some thought, I believe there is a deeper reason, often just beneath the surface, that causes the recipe two-step. So when denied a recipe, offer a smile and perhaps a hug, same for when you're given the recipe; for love is truly the only ingredient ever needed, but often the one missing. And as always, let me know if there’s a recipe I have that you’d like and it’s yours.