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gfron1

When friends won't share their recipes

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You are talking about pastilla de natas.  Portugese custard tarts. There are many recipes on the web.

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57 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

See, that's why I DO share recipes - complete ones, with all the notes and hints and changes I've made over the years.  It's why I have an online cookbook of all the recipes I've tried over the years (over 1500 and counting).  I am so honored when someone likes my cooking enough to want the recipe.  I think food evokes so many important memories and feelings.  I mourn the lost recipes of my family.  Things that people remember eating, but somehow never got the recipe for.  

Absolutely.  I share as you do, Kim, complete with notes.  And I have made a few of your recipes.  But then I've only been at this for ten years now.  

 

Oddly enough, I joined eGullet ten years ago this August.  What a wonderful bunch of people you all are!   And good sharers. :wub:

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Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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6 hours ago, gfron1 said:

" I've finally decided it must be from Betty Crocker or a packaged mix, and she's just embarrassed to admit that it isn't her abuela's recipe or some other silly reason like that. Her flan is 3" tall, delicate but sturdy, never a crack, absolutely not overcooked, curdled, or cakey. She always makes it in a 9" pan so its a monster. But that's not the point...I wondering what elusive recipes have you all been fighting for years to get?

 

Or then again, maybe there isn't a recipe. One of those "take enough flour and add liquid but not too  much. You'll know it's right when it feels right....." recipes. 

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"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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I can't imagine not sharing a technique or recipe.  I'd be extremely flattered if someone asked me and wanted to learn how I made something because they enjoyed it.

 

So, I'll take this moment to thank all of my EG friends for teaching me so very much.  I read here for probably 2 years until I finally got up the courage in June of 2007 to join as a member.  One of the best decisions I ever made.  

 

Mine is a lost recipe for vinegar chicken.  I made it years ago and Ronnie loved it.  I had the recipe saved in my faves on my computer and, of course, my computer died without me backing up or saving anything.  I cannot remember what site it was on.  I've tried many recipes since then and none are the same.  It had a lot of garlic and, unlike all of the other recipes I've since tried, the vinegar flavor was pronounced but not like swallowing a spoon of it.

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17 minutes ago, Shelby said:

Mine is a lost recipe for vinegar chicken.  I made it years ago and Ronnie loved it.  I had the recipe saved in my faves on my computer and, of course, my computer died without me backing up or saving anything.  I cannot remember what site it was on.  I've tried many recipes since then and none are the same.  It had a lot of garlic and, unlike all of the other recipes I've since tried, the vinegar flavor was pronounced but not like swallowing a spoon of it.

 

Similar to a Filipino Chicken Adobo, perhaps? Some variations don't include the soy sauce, but I think all use vinegar and garlic.

 

https://www.yummy.ph/news-trends/different-kinds-of-adobo-in-the-philippines-a1101-20160510

 

 

 

 


Edited by FauxPas (log)
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4 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

I have been searching for the perfect Portuguese tart (not the custard tart) similar to the one made by a bakery in Hamilton that has long since closed. I asked them way back when but didn't expect them to share (which was the case), and I ask every portuguese avó I meet if they have a recipe. The search continues.

 

 

 

I'm guessing that you have already checked David Leite's Portuguese cookbook and his Web site? You could try contacting him through the web site and see if he might be able to point you in the right direction. He seems to reply quite promptly in the cookbook questions section of his site and welcomes questions about Portuguese cuisine:

https://leitesculinaria.com/the-new-portuguese-table/ask-david-leite

 

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6 hours ago, Auspicious said:

 

It's hers and you have no right to it. You should apologize.

 

Try this:

 

"I'm sorry I keep pushing your for your flan recipe. I think it's really great and I hope that you'll pass it on to someone so it isn't lost. I hope I haven't made you uncomfortable."

 

You aren't entitled. Think about her not yourself.


Man, that's some serious hair-trigger there. You read a whole lot more into what Rob posted than I managed to. I bothered my mom about a recipe from a restaurant she worked at for years. She wouldn't give it to me even after she stopped working there because the restaurant didn't want it given out and she respected that. But I still asked every so often just in case. I felt 0% guilt over asking. I didn't twist her arm or guilt-trip her or badger her, just asked. And she would laugh and say "maybe someday". As it turned out, when I was going through her things after she passed away, I found a little notebook and it turned out to be her notes from when she worked there. The recipe was in those notes. And to this day, I've never given that recipe to anyone else. And there are people who have asked and continue to ask. I don't feel uncomfortable because they ask and I don't feel they owe me an apology for asking. I'm so far removed from the time and place that recipe originated now that I may even give it up at some point so it's probably in their best interest to keep asking.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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8 hours ago, Anna N said:

Why would you not share a recipe?   I don’t understand this kind of thinking.

 

Yeah! That!

 

Well, I do think there are reasons that may make sense. If it's something that's a cornerstone of a business. I wouldn't expect the recipe to be easily shared.

Or, if it's a favorite at a family or or a community gathering, and it's a real stand-out. I suppose the holder of the recipe wants to maintain their celebrity.

 

Such is the case with a unique cheesecake recipe that I'd love to get my hands on. But the holder refuses to share.

Said person does like booze at times and I'm waiting for a moment of weakness! :laugh:


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
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~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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I am not a recipe user but the few I use per instructions I am more than happy to pass along.  However there are 3 "recipes" that cause me grief:

 

Salsa:  I first made a really great blenderized salsa after wandering into a little Mexican market and snagging my first green garlic - pre-bulb formation at all. I had an abundance of really ripe tomatoes from Dad. It was extremely well received. I riffed on it for years. Sometimes with fresh tomatoes, sometimes with canned, usually with chipotles en adobo added or a mix of hot chiles from the garden. Sometimes a bit of sugar was involved. Green garlic was rarely found at that youthful stage again so green onion or onion entered. Occasionally garlic snuck in. One neighborhood boy offered to pay for jars and was dismayed that it only kept for a few days so he could not hoard it. So basically it is a "to taste". "add enough" recipe". I will tell people about the chipotles but I honestly do not have a "recipe".  It is hurtful when they think I am hidng something.

 

Baklava and Linzer bars:  These were 2 of my mom's signature sweets that I made at her memorial after-gathering following her death in 1983. Since I only bake these once a year for Christmas I'll admit to feeling selfish about them and also hating the idea that someone will mess them up and attribute "recipe" to me. One is baklava - a super basic recipe available all over the internet/ Fillo sheets, ground walnuts/sugar/cinnamon, and a simple tacky syrup with a hint of lemon juice. How fine the nuts and how muc cinnamon are "well enough".  I've modified my method since reader eGer Chefcrash's method. I point people to it but I feel like it is not replicable unless you do it with me and even then it varies. I see Kerry Beal's post saying just that about cooking along. I'm sort of ok with that but unless you are a real friend I'm not gonna invite you over on the only day I do this (once a year holiday bake).

 

Pretty similar and even more vague scenario with my Linzer bars. Grind of nuts, even nut types , cinnamon and sometimes a hint of other warm spices. The type and amount of marmalade is a toss-up as is the need or not for an egg. So pretty much same hesitations as baklava.

 

Anywho that is my scenario.

 

 


Edited by heidih (log)
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I share any recipe anyone asks for. Two get requested fairly often: my mother's cranberry salad, and my "jail slaw." I think my mother would be thrilled at people elsewhere in the wider world making her cranberry salad (never has it missed being on every Thanksgiving and Christmas table since I've been in the world). I just enjoy the jail slaw so much, and appreciated the gentleman whom I got it from giving it to me, that I'm happy to share with anyone who asks, and I think they've both been posted here, as well. If not, or if you want either, just message me!

 

I don't think I've ever had anyone I asked fail to share a recipe with me. There have been some restaurant recipes I've wanted to ask for, but didn't; @gfron1 is right, differences in ingredient quality, ability to source them, and chef ability and personal techniques can cause a wide variation. But there have been restaurant recipes I've been absolutely thrilled to find in a regional cookbook somewhere, like the Peabody Hotel's vanilla muffin recipe, which is now my go-to breakfast muffin recipe (well, one of them; the other is the old standby bran muffin one that used to be on the AllBran box). There's one recipe I'd love to have, and one of these days when I can run the owner's widow down, I'll ask her -- it's the spaghetti gravy recipe from Uncle John's restaurant in Crawfordsville, AR (one of the three retail establishments in town until its lamented demise this summer due to a fire). Best ragu I ever ate, anywhere. 

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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One extreme response aside, part of the whole thing is the fun of the game. I ask for the recipe. You say no.

I've got customers who do it all the time with me. And like I said I always share, but sometimes I guess I'm entitled and feel like playing the game.

 


Edited by gfron1 (log)
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@heidih you raise an interesting point about your recipe made poorly by someone else thus reflecting badly on your cooking.  I suppose that’s always a possibility but if people know your cooking quality then they may be able guess what happened.  But, definitely an issue.

 

One has to weigh that against the pleasure felt when someone says “ made your recipe last night and we enjoyed it so much, thanks for sharing”.

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Well baked goods shared by many - I'm not going to respond anymore because it is a gut thing and logical teasing out of it won't make a difference in how I feel. So I'm just a bit of an a$$ and I'm ok with that :)

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I actually have one favorite recipe that I have always been asked to share.  The treat is so unusual and delicious.  It's called Tostitos Kakimochi and it's a westernized version of a Japanese sweet snack.  We first tasted when Ed and I gave our first gourd workshop at the farm to a group of Japanese Canadians.   One of the ladies brought the treat and gave me the recipe when of course I asked for it.

 

I've taken it to a slew of pot lucks and workshops and gourd festivals and I always simply print out a few dozen copies of the recipe and leave them with the bowl.  They are all always taken, both the Tostitos Kakimochi and the recipes.  

 

...hmmmm....I think I'll make them for the Annual Dog Weekend which is coming up on the 16th....

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Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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I think I have mixed feelings about this.  I would give any of the recipes in my personal file to someone who asked; but the recipes I use at the shop (for things that I sell, like flourless chocolate cake, cheesecake) not so much.  We feed people to make them happy, and sharing recipes, teaching someone a technique; that's all part of being a wonderful and generous cook. And the more good cooks in the world, the better.

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2 hours ago, DiggingDogFarm said:

 

Yeah! That!

 

Such is the case with a unique cheesecake recipe that I'd love to get my hands on. But the holder refuses to share.

Said person does like booze at times and I'm waiting for a moment of weakness! :laugh:

 

 

ok, tell us about this cheesecake recipe - I bet we can figure it out.  In 30 years I have made SO MUCH cheesecake (and it's evolved over the years from the dense NY style in the early Maida Heatter books, to the lusciously creamy one in RLB's The Cake Bible; to the ones in Mary Crownover's cheesecake book, to the custard-y one in one of the Maida Heatter's book where you bake it at 250 for 8 hours - I kid you not, it is sublime- so describe away!

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20 minutes ago, JeanneCake said:

 

ok, tell us about this cheesecake recipe - I bet we can figure it out.  In 30 years I have made SO MUCH cheesecake (and it's evolved over the years from the dense NY style in the early Maida Heatter books, to the lusciously creamy one in RLB's The Cake Bible; to the ones in Mary Crownover's cheesecake book, to the custard-y one in one of the Maida Heatter's book where you bake it at 250 for 8 hours - I kid you not, it is sublime- so describe away!

 

I've had them all, NY style, custard style, dense, light, Japanese. This is truly unique.

I really don't know how to describe it. It's sort of NY style but with an amazing texture.


~Martin :)

"Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse, curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!"

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it! 

 

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My grandfather died without providing weights for the ingredients to our caramel for apples....  Rather it was “a scoop of sugar” “a tin of milk” “a spade of seasoning”......my nightmare....what size scoop?  What size tin, and what kind of milk?  A spade full of seasoning??  Come on.....

i lucked into a caramels, toffee and fudge class and the instructors sat down with me and we calculated the weights.  I was heartened by comments such as “this is a very premium caramel....”

when we finished, they looked at me and said “keep this and share it with your family, so they don’t have to go through this in the future”


Edited by RobertM (log)
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1 hour ago, Darienne said:

I actually have one favorite recipe that I have always been asked to share.  The treat is so unusual and delicious.  It's called Tostitos Kakimochi and it's a westernized version of a Japanese sweet snack.  We first tasted when Ed and I gave our first gourd workshop at the farm to a group of Japanese Canadians.   One of the ladies brought the treat and gave me the recipe when of course I asked for it.

 

I've taken it to a slew of pot lucks and workshops and gourd festivals and I always simply print out a few dozen copies of the recipe and leave them with the bowl.  They are all always taken, both the Tostitos Kakimochi and the recipes.  

 

...hmmmm....I think I'll make them for the Annual Dog Weekend which is coming up on the 16th....

Ok. I'll bite. Sounds like something I have to have!

1 hour ago, JeanneCake said:

I think I have mixed feelings about this.  I would give any of the recipes in my personal file to someone who asked; but the recipes I use at the shop (for things that I sell, like flourless chocolate cake, cheesecake) not so much.  We feed people to make them happy, and sharing recipes, teaching someone a technique; that's all part of being a wonderful and generous cook. And the more good cooks in the world, the better.

Its eminently reasonable not to share a "trade secret," but I wholeheartedly agree with your closing stayement.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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On vinegar chicken,  @Shelby I just read THIS this week, what a coincidence! (I think sherry vinegar may be the secret.)

 

As for sharing, I will do it, but, I give my formulas out with weight-based measurements for dry ingredients. I think most home users are not prepared to use commercial formulas at least for baking, where we're talking gallons of water at a precise temperature, sugared yolks, diastatic malt, etc. I am also nervous about my modernist experiments, wondering if the recipient will properly hydrate xanthan gum before use, etc. Let's just say I get weird looks many times when I share.

 

For the hot side foods, I am always up front with people about recipes from cookbooks and websites.

 

 

I usually also tell a story as I give out recipes because it's the root of my fears about passing recipes on.  I shared a recipe long ago with a woman who attended a workshop I had catered. It was for oatmeal cookies. It was pretty much right off the box of that famous brand of oats, except that I used butter and I added a little nutmeg. (the recipe on the box has changed, you have to get the one I am talking about on their website) I got a phone call a few days later, the woman was furious. She just kept shrieking that I owed her money because the recipe was wrong and her ingredients were ruined. I asked if she had followed the recipe and she said, "yes." Really? I pressed her about each step, so I started by asking if she thoroughly creamed the butter and sugar. Well, she then admitted that she had subbed olive oil for the butter and an equal amount of rice syrup instead. I then asked about flour and she told me she used rice flour instead of wheat. I asked about the rest of the ingredients (salt, baking powder, oats) and discovered she left out the baking powder and salt and used steel cut oats instead of old-fashioned. *facepalm* The nutmeg was the one thing she did correctly.  So of course, she had a pan of hot sweet soup instead of cookies. I patiently explained that cookies rely on fats which are firm at room temperatures like butter, lard, shortening, and margarine. And how liquid sugars usually cannot be substituted in equal measure for the white stuff. And how wheat gluten binds a cookie, while rice flour can't. And then the oats. Anyway, my biggest fear is recipe tolerance: the fact that people will always tweak the recipe, and I don't want to bear the brunt of experiments gone wrong.

 

I don't usually worry much about recipes getting out and making someone else famous. In my experience, people tweak things so much, it would be a miracle if someone managed to make money off an exact recipe of mine. Every place I have worked, one of the toughest parts is getting people to follow procedures and formulas. I developed a series of recipes for a cafe once, and the owner just let people riff on the recipes so they can be 'creative.' So, one day the tomato soup would be spicy, on another day it would be sweet, and another day it would taste like canned spaghetti sauce. I don't really care that I gave her a bunch of recipes, her employees aren't following them anyway.

 

I also suspect that some people who ask for a recipe may not be emotionally equipped to actually make it anyway. I tend to fuss and add extras and make it all from scratch. Over time, some of my recipes have grown to be large projects. I make a version of Italian Easter Pie with three layers inside, which takes time to make and involves breaking down several raw artichokes, making a red sauce, making a white sauce, making ricotta cheese, making a crust, and more. The last time I typed it out with a complete procedural, like in culinary school, it was eleven pages long. Some of you guys would make it, but, the sweet but not so bright woman who tailors my clothes probably would be stymied by it.

 

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6 hours ago, Lisa Shock said:

On vinegar chicken,  @Shelby I just read THIS this week, what a coincidence! (I think sherry vinegar may be the secret.)

Hmmmmm......that could be!  I had it in my head that I used either cider or just regular, but maybe it was sherry.  Thank you I will be trying this!

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1 hour ago, Shelby said:

Hmmmmm......that could be!  I had it in my head that I used either cider or just regular, but maybe it was sherry.  Thank you I will be trying this!

 

You remind me. A few months back my dear friend J invited me to lunch at her place and her husband cooked what I was told was chicken in aged vinegar. That is what the Chinese call  matured Zhenjiang vinegar (镇江香醋 zhèn jiāng xiāng cù) and what America calls  Chinkiang, or some such nonsense.

 

Anyway, what ever you call it, the dish was delicious. I must ask them for the recipe. It will not be withheld.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Do you remember that the old Gourmet magazine had a feature where people would request a recipe from a restaurant? There was usually a preamble saying that the person had requested (sometimes begged) the restaurant for the recipe but was refused--correctly, I thought at the time. Somehow Gourmet managed to get the recipe and published it. It was one thing if the request came from someone who didn't live in the area of the restaurant and was just passing through--I could be more sympathetic in that case--but sometimes it was from someone who frequented the restaurant on a regular basis. I recall thinking at the time that the restaurant succumbed to the allure of having their recipe, and their restaurant, published in such a prestigious magazine. I also suspect that most restaurants refused.

 

Nancy in Pátzcuaro

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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