Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sharing Recipes

Do you keep your prized recipes and kitchen tricks a secret? Or are you a sharer?

I read this post last week on the Kitchn and it made me think about this question. I hadn't considered it much before but after reading the piece, realized I am definitely a recipe sharer. (After all, I co-wrote a cookbook with my family and it divulges many a secret!)

It honestly has never occurred to me to do it any other way. It makes me happy to describe how I made a particular dish or to hear that a recipe I passed on was a hit with a family member or a friend who tried it. Usually, the first few minutes of dinner with my husband consist of me telling him in great detail how I prepared it. And one of my favorite elements of Thanksgiving is swapping tips and tricks with family members as we mash potatoes together and combine two gravy-making methods.

Part of the reason I am this way is because I'm curious myself. I always want to know how a spectacularly browned pork chop got to be that way, or why the pie crust is so flaky, or what makes the potato salad so perfectly tangy. When it comes to my own cooking, I think I love to share because I'm proud of the food I make and like describing the process from raw ingredients to finished dish. It's a fun thing to do while you enjoy a yummy homemade meal.

But also because I still marvel that the simplest ingredients can produce the most heavenly flavors. I'm a fairly simple cook and my favorite ingredients to work with in the kitchen are things like onions, lemons, garlic, salted butter, basil, sharp cheddar, buttermilk, white wine, balsamic vinegar. I marvel that these basics can produce the most scrumptious results. Cooking well doesn't take much skill, in my opinion, and I've long believed that anyone can be a good cook. It takes good, fresh ingredients, heat, patience.

So I think that part of the reason I like to share is because cooking is amazing! It's amazing what a little shallot sautéed in olive oil tastes like (not to mention how it smells!). It's amazing what a squeeze of lemon on top of roasted kale can do to brighten the flavor. I share because I believe in the beauty of cooking, the magic and mystery of it, and because I believe that the power lies not in the cook but in the process. Keeping a recipe a secret gives the illusion that it's all about me whereas it's really about flour, sugar, butter, the right amount of heat, a careful eye, a steady touch, trial and error, willingness and lots of patience.


  1. I agree with you. I love to cook. I enjoy the smell, the taste and even the therapy when standing over a hot stove sauteing my favorite dish. I have been wanting to share my recipes with people but I haven't done so yet. I love creating my own spin to a recipe also. Fascinating that you and your family created a cook book. I will definitely look into it :)

  2. Totally agree I love learning different cooking ideas from other people, ortherwise I end up sticking with my same old flavors. Now I want to add more lemon to some of my dishes to brighten up the flavor!

  3. I bet you love Cooks Illustrated - they always go into great scientific detail!

  4. Love Cook's Illustrated! It's fascinating to read about their process to the perfect recipe.


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