Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Recipe etiquette


nessa
 Share

Recommended Posts

But are you going to be angry longer at someone who was upfront and honest, or someone who made you feel like a chump by being evasive or lying? I might be annoyed at someone who was being honest, but at least I wouldn't feel like an idiot for asking them multiple times thinking that they just forgot, and I would get over the initial disappointment.  But if they lie to me or avoid me, I'll be less likely to go back for seconds of that kind of treatment.

i didn't suggest lying.

I don't think Denise suggested that you had.

shew!

so i think we most of us agree that lying isn't a good idea. people will waste their time, and money. and, if they find out you lied to them, well, you'll be a liar, which isn't a good thing in any circles.

putting myself in the position, if someone asked me and didn't accept that i didn't want to share the recipe because it was one that my great grandmother brought over on the boat from italy 100 years ago, well, i think it would be time to find another friend. i'm not even sure what i was doing cooking for them in the first place. :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have had some amusing experiences regarding giving out recipes.

One of them happened many years ago, when I was a brand new bride of 24. I found this "quicky" recipe for "Veal Parmesan." You could take veal steaks and tenderize them or (the recipe said), just take "minute steaks" (not veal), and dip them into an egg beaten with S&P, and then into a mixture of half crushed saltines and half grated parmesan, and then fry them in olive oil, lay them into a casserole, cover with a can of pizza sauce, then top with a mixture of grated parmesan & mozarella.

This sounds pretty dreadful to me now, but it actually turned out quite tasty. I always served it with a side dish of plain pasta dressed with a little butter and salt and pepper. I got rave reviews among my fellow newlywed couples.

I really didn't want to give out the recipe because even then I knew that minute steaks and a can of pizza sauce wouldn't win me any accolades in the culinary world. And also, this was so quick and easy and popular that I didn't want everyone else making it.

But finally this one friend told me she was having her inlaws for dinner on Saturday night, the absolute first time she had ever entertained anyone in her home, and she was a nervous wreck and she wanted to make that and serve it with the plain pasta alongside, just like I did.

So I gave it to her.

The following week, all of us little housewives had gotten together for coffee and I overheard her telling another neighbor about her big dinner party with the inlaws. "So how was it?" this third friend asked.

"Well, I made Jaymsie's 'Veal Pargmigana' but it wasn't that good."

I immediately jumped into their conversation. She had mentioned me by name, blaming me. My fledgling reputation was at stake. "What do you mean, 'it wasn't that good'? How on earth could that have not turned out?"

"Well," she replied, genuinely puzzled. "I just don't know. It was pretty bad. I can't imagine where I went wrong, although I did make a couple of substitutions."

"What substitutions?"

"Well, for one thing, I didn't have any olive oil, so I just browned them in Crisco. And I didn't have any parmesan cheese, so I just left that out. Oh, and I didn't have any pizza sauce, so I just substituted a can of cream of mushroom soup."

:laugh:

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think I've ever asked for a recipe, but have asked, "What's in this?"

I respect those who don't wish to share family recipes or professional recipes, and have a bit of a hard time with non-sharers who fall into neither category because it does seem a bit selfish.

That said, once I've gone to the trouble to type up (and format into HTML) a recipe, I'll share it. I won't go to the trouble of doing that for everything I make, though, and bow out with a "there isn't really a recipe but I'll tell you what's in it" on those occasions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

putting myself in the position, if someone asked me and didn't accept that i didn't want to share the recipe because it was one that my great grandmother brought over on the boat from italy 100 years ago, well, i think it would be time to find another friend. i'm not even sure what i was doing cooking for them in the first place. :biggrin:

Exactly! If I loved it, I'd be disappointed I couldn't have the recipe. But I certainly would want them to make for me again! And hopefully, my friends feel the same way!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you mention that while it was an easy recipe, it was not idiot proof?  :biggrin:

:laugh: No kidding. And it was a long time before I ever gave HER another recipe, I'll tell you that.

Here are two more "sharing recipe" stories, and then I'll quit. I promise.

I had guests and for the appetizer, I made "Beer Cheese Dip." It was wonderful, extra sharp cheddar cheese, strong beer, garlic, horseradish (among several other things, I'd better add in the interest of full disclosure -- the exact list escapes me right now). I had experimented with it until I had gotten my proportions exactly right. I wrote them out on a small recipe card that I had stuck into my card holder on the kitchen counter.

Everyone raved about that dip. As the guests were leaving, one woman said that she was having guests the very next day and that she just "had to have it," but she was in a hurry, so she grabbed up my recipe card, promising to copy it down and return the card to me that afternoon.

Several days went by. Then weeks. She didn't return it. I called her several times. Sure, she said, she'd drop it off the next day. But nothing.

Well over a month later, I got a call from someone I didn't know that was hosting a bridge luncheon in her home clear at the other end of town from where I lived. She had gotten my name, she said, from a list of "bridge substitutes" at the downtown bridge club. She'd had a last-minute cancellation. Could I come?

Imagine my surprise when my beer cheese dip was the featured appetizer! "My," I said to the hostess cagily, "This is sure good. Can I have the recipe?"

"Oh yes, it is good isn't it? You can copy it down from this," and she handed me MY RECIPE CARD. My EXACT SAME recipe card. Written in my hand, with my food spots on it.

And so I said to her, "I don't think I'll be needing to copy it. Since this one is mine, I'm just taking it, thank you very much."

:hmmm:

While living in Southern Arizona, I discovered this wonderful Mexican cheese soup called Caldo de Queso. Very few 'gringos' had ever heard of it. It took me two years to develop my version. I got asked for the recipe often, but had managed to avoid giving it out. I did a LOT of entertaining (like several times a week) and just wanted to hang on to this recipe for a while -- at least until I moved away from Tucson.

But I had this one friend, Gwen, who was not to be denied. She, like most gringos had never even heard of it until I served it to her, and she absolutely loved it. She constantly badgered me for the recipe. Finally, after at least a year of her whining (and upon eliciting her heartfelt and sincere promise that she would neither share the recipe with anyone else nor serve it to guests until after either she or I left Tucson), I gave it to her.

NOT ONE WEEK LATER, I had dinner guests. I made Caldo de Queso. And one woman, a mutual friend of both Gwen's and mine, said to me, "Oh, you made Gwen's soup!" It turned out that the NEXT DAY after I had given Gwen the recipe, she had made up a huge pot of it and hauled it all over her neighborhood so that everyone could taste it.

:wacko:

And that's it. I'll stop boring you now.

:biggrin:

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My Italian-American mother-in-law worked in a supermarket years ago. A customer in the produce section asked an elderly woman how to prepare dandelion greens. She pretended to be hard of hearing, then turned to my mother-in-law and whispered,"They used to make fun of us for eating these! I'm not going to help them now!" :shock:

My husband's family loaded me down with recipes and cooking advice when I first joined the family. I guess they wanted to make sure my husband was well taken care of. :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jaymes, it sounds like the problem is that not all of your friends and acquaintances were of the same quality as your recipes.

:laugh:

Well, that's right. At least I don't have THAT problem here on eGullet!

:rolleyes:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While living in Southern Arizona, I discovered this wonderful Mexican cheese soup called Caldo de Queso. Very few 'gringos' had ever heard of it. It took me two years to develop my version.

But you'll happily post it on Recipe Gullet - right?

It sounds interesting and we promise we won't F*@K it up. :rolleyes:

Bill Russell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While living in Southern Arizona, I discovered this wonderful Mexican cheese soup called Caldo de Queso. Very few 'gringos' had ever heard of it.  It took me two years to develop my version.

But you'll happily post it on Recipe Gullet - right?

It sounds interesting and we promise we won't F*@K it up. :rolleyes:

Uh, yeah, right... just call me sometime after the new year... uh, you know... say January... or maybe February... um, after the holidays... like Valentine's and President's Day. Oh, and St. Patrick's Day... and then there's Easter... yeah, just call me then... after the holidays when...you know...when things settle down...

Okay?

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it is published, it is fair game. If it is published, then the creator obviously has no problmes with it being shared. What I am saying is, if it is a published recipe, I obviously did not create it, so it is not *my* recipe and not *mine* to keep to myself as though it were my labor of love. so if it is published, it is not mine NOT to share if someone asks for it. If it was given to me in confidence, then naturally I would honor the wishes of the creator.

Intellectual property can be shared, that is the right of the creator. It is also the right of the creator to keep any and all rights to said creation.

So no, I dont *only* share other peoples work. Goodness.

And when I do share other people's recipes, I give credit where credit is due.

You like my truffles? I tried to recreate Torres's. Its in this book, on page yadda yadda. Or more likely, this website, under yadda yadda heading.

If it is out for public consumption, then who am I to horde it, that was the point.

Published recipes are still the property of the creator and the publisher. Sharing the recipe deprives those people of whatever gain they may get, for example the sale of a book or a visit to the website. Publishing does not negate copyright. Which is why the RIAA is suing children over unauthorized "sharing" of music. Legally, the only things you have the right to share are things you've created yourself or things that have entered the public domain.

"I created it so it's mine to keep to myself" is an "interesting position" to take on a message board the success of which depends on free exchange of information. I don't think anyone questioned your right to do what you wish with your recipes, but what we have the right to do and what we ought to do are often different things. Ayn Rand aside, selfishness is not generally seen as a virtue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So like I was saying, anyone that wants any of my recipes can just PM me. :unsure:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

oh grant, why so nasty?

Oh Tommy, since when did you get so sensitive?

Why did you have to link to the recipe rather than just post it here? People can get it, it's not a secret anymore. Why make us click? Copryright law. And copyright law does not only apply to public dissemination. So if you don't see the incongruity between not sharing something you have the legal right to share while sharing something you don't, that's your problem no matter how many links to recipes you provide.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And copyright law does not only apply to public dissemination. So if you don't see the incongruity between not sharing something you have the legal right to share while sharing something you don't, that's your problem no matter how many links to recipes you provide.

so i can't write down a recipe for a friend if i got it from the foodtv website? legality aside, that's not the way it works in real life, and i honestly don't think mario or foodtv is upset about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In college, a group that I was involved with would have pot-luck dinners for almost every holiday. I always brought the same dish, and everyone knew that I would bring that dish to each event. I suppose you could say that I became "famous" for bringing that dish... "Kristi's famous potatoes."

One of the girls in the group asked me for the recipe. I gave it to her gladly. It wasn't even my recipe in the first place, so why should I mind?

At the next pot-luck, she brought my dish... :angry:

I stopped sharing recipes within that circle of people. And I had to go find something else to bring.

Of course, most people have better manners than she did...

Otherwise, I always share.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Besides being realists and knowing there is little they can do about people passing their published recipes around, celebrity chefs and cookbook writers may have some small expectation that their reputations may be enhanced in the process.

I'll bet a lot of people get a bit of a charge out of preparing, say, Mario's pasta whatever, and are going to tell other people that it is Mario's.

It may even encourage people to lay out real money for a cook book so they can prepare more of Mario's stuff.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In college, a group that I was involved with would have pot-luck dinners for almost every holiday. I always brought the same dish, and everyone knew that I would bring that dish to each event. I suppose you could say that I became "famous" for bringing that dish... "Kristi's famous potatoes."

One of the girls in the group asked me for the recipe. I gave it to her gladly. It wasn't even my recipe in the first place, so why should I mind?

At the next pot-luck, she brought my dish... :angry:

I stopped sharing recipes within that circle of people. And I had to go find something else to bring.

Of course, most people have better manners than she did...

Huuummm... :hmmm:

Was her name...by any chance... GWEN!!??!!

:laugh:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the next pot-luck, she brought my dish...    :angry:

I stopped sharing recipes within that circle of people.  And I had to go find something else to bring.

Of course, most people have better manners than she did...

Huuummm... :hmmm:

Was her name...by any chance... GWEN!!??!!

:laugh:

I am not alone! :biggrin:

It was mostly an uncomfortable situation for that particular dinner. And I really liked that recipe because it was easy and good, and a full time student with a full time job needs all the "easy" she can get.

Ah well... Now I bring biscuits. And there really is no recipe for those. We're back to "a little of this, a little of that." Measures completely by the eyeball method...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm late to the party. Personally, I'm willing to share anything I can remember. I've always cooked like someone's grandmother. A little this, a little that, taste, and a bit more. Oh, it needs some salt, some sugar, a bit of zip or a calming down. I often have no idea how much of this or that is in the final dish. Often bits and pieces of former meals go into the pot. How account for that? And so much of cooking for me is how it smells, tastes, or looks, not how many minutes it's been cooking.

Lastly, when exactitude does count, I find that people's eyes glaze over when I go into the details that I think really make the difference, when, say, making pastry or some other food that depends more on technique than ingredients. (I've actually demonstrated making pate brisee for my DIL who's never actually tried to do it after she saw how persnickity I am about it.)

I can understand, though, that some people might be reluctant to share particular recipes or - more to the point - to share them with particular people who will use them either competitively or ineptly.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I remember being shocked as a teenager when I discovered that ratatouille was in a Julia Child cookbook. I thought I had made it up (Is there no such thing as an original idea?). Since then I have always shared recipes. I even give tips to insure good results. A very high percentage of people that ask for recipes or even that take cooking classes, very rarely actually use the recipes. I taught at a cooking school for several years, the owner (who has published lots of cookbooks) used some of my recipes in her books and did not give credit. That's not cool.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm late to this thread, but I find it interesting.

This may sound a little unusual but I don't ask people for recipes because I feel like it makes me lazy. I also think I'm asking them for something too personal. I like to associate a person with the great dish(es) they produce and I'm not about to ask them to give it to me. I have plenty of cook books at home and if I want to recreate some grand fantastic dish that someone has made then I will experiment and research on my own to make it for myself. I find I learn so much more going this route. I also find that I concentrate on the flavors of the original dish (while eating it the first time) so much more intensely because I'm trying to decode them. My dad and I used to do this a lot when I was little, swoon while eating some crazy delicious dish then try guessing what ingredients went into it, those elusive overtones of flavors whose names just seemed to escape our minds. But I'm someone who loves mysteries and taking the long road to get anywhere.

I do give out my recipes generally but I usually don't give the one's I've decoded for use in my business. When someone asks for these, I can't help feeling how lazy an approach it is to ask for it. I also don't know why people have a problem with those that don't feel like giving their recipes away. I don't remember growing up thinking that I should get anything just by asking for it or that the person that didn't give it to me was a mean or selfish person. I'm sure there are reasons there that we'll never know. Besides, If I did ask for a certain recipe and someone were to say no to me, they would probably be teaching me how to make the dish even better since I would be intent on finding how to do it on my own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
I'm late to this thread, but I find it interesting.

This may sound a little unusual but I don't ask people for recipes because I feel like it makes me lazy.  I also think I'm asking them for something too personal.  I like to associate a person with the great dish(es) they produce and I'm not about to ask them to give it to me.  I have plenty of cook books at home and if I want to recreate some grand fantastic dish that someone has made then I will experiment and research on my own to make it for myself.  I find I learn so much more going this route.  I also find that I concentrate on the flavors of the original dish (while eating it the first time) so much more intensely because I'm trying to decode them.  My dad and I used to do this a lot when I was little, swoon while eating some crazy delicious dish then try guessing what ingredients went into it,  those elusive overtones of flavors whose names just seemed to escape our minds.  But I'm someone who loves mysteries and taking the long road to get anywhere. 

I do give out my recipes generally but I usually don't give the one's I've decoded for use in my business.  When someone asks for these, I can't help feeling how lazy an approach it is to ask for it.  I also don't know why people have a problem with those that don't feel like giving their recipes away.  I don't remember growing up thinking that I should get anything just by asking for it or that the person that didn't give it to me was a mean or selfish person.  I'm sure there are reasons there that we'll never know.  Besides, If I did ask for a certain recipe and someone were to say no to me, they would probably be teaching me how to make the dish even better since I would be intent on finding how to do it on my own.

An interestiong point of view and an admirable one. I agree with you that it's fun to find your own way, but it's also interesting to see how different people approach the same dish. I've noticed that many of us at eG (even the professionals, prehaps especially the professionals?) have a kind of academic, or perhaps collector's, interest in how to prepare food, checking out various ways of doing a dish and how small variations in technique or ingredients or even the equipment used can change the results. Some of this may be a desire to tweak our own cooking, but I suspect much of it may be pure curiosity. It's much like a painter going to a gallery to see what other painters do even though we may have no desire to paint that way ourselves.

Personally, as someone without any professional training, I look to recipes (and their variations) as learning tools. Sometimes I will follow a recipe rather closely - particularly if working with a new (to me) ingredient or technique, or a relatively unfamiliar cuisine. Often, when I want to make a new dish or twist a familiar one, I will look at as many recipe versions as I can find to see what people have done to make it and then perhaps work out my own rather than actually follow someone else's. But when working with familiar ingredients and cuisines, I mostly just wing it.

When I do make a dish from a recipe someone has given me, it enriches the experience as it always makes me think of that person. One of my favorite soups is a zucchini soup from a friend I seldom see. It's always "Donna's Zucchini Soup." Her little twist of adding some wine and vinegar to this otherwise basic soup has morphed into my sometimes using a similar amount of just sherry vinegar. And I have taken to using this with other sorts of soups, too. But each time I add a soupcon of wine vinegar to soup I think of this friend.

So I'm happy to give out any recipes I may have developed or those by others I've altered. My only reservation is that the recipient may not follow it exactly and blame me for the result, thinking I've "purposely" left out some critical ingredient (as many have discussed above) even though I'm usually boringly, pedantically overspecific -- unless it's something I've just thrown together and cannot remember details.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...