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Author Topic: Secret family recipes  (Read 1068 times)
Mike Irwin
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« on: February 13, 2018, 04:33:46 AM »

The concept of "secret family recipes" has always eluded me. I've run across people who have recipes that they won't share no matter what, even taking the recipe to the grave.

I'm always more than willing to share a recipe if someone likes it.

So, do you have any secret family recipes, and if so, why? Why keep them secret?
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Ben
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2018, 06:21:43 AM »

I will only guess at the reason that I'm familiar with - I'm sure there are many. Getting recipes from my mom and aunt was like pulling teeth. It wasn't even, "No! It's a secret!". It was, "Sure honey, we'll make it tomorrow and I'll show you how." This happened with my mom all the time trying to find out EXACTLY how she made the German pancakes I loved. There was no recipe or even real measuring - it was all in her head. Pretty much every time I was visiting and interested in having her show me how to make them, it was, "We'll do it first thing in the morning". The next morning I'd wake up to the smell of freshly made pancakes.  cheesy

My guess is that much of it was a need to feel wanted and useful. Even when I wasn't trying to get a recipe out of her, she would always have her feelings hurt if I wasn't hungry or something and she couldn't make me breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Cooking was something she was really good at, and I guess she just wanted to feel useful and needed.

She got a bit better about it in the last few years of her life (though I still was never able to get the pancakes down!), and my dad is pretty good about it, but the way he explains things (also no measuring) is so aggravating that I've actually just shot video with my phone so I can try and duplicate the process.  laugh
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2018, 05:11:34 PM »

Both sides of my family don't have any secret recipes, everyone is very open about recipes if anyone asks.

One of my cousins even has a facebook page where she shares all sorts of recipes.
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French G.
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2018, 08:03:19 PM »

My former grandmother in law was terrible about this, I have recipes, but there are just amounts of ingredients, not now or in what order to combine them. With some kitchen common sense. So, a southern boy like me ends up making lefse and such to pass on to my kid her Norwegian heritage since the actual norsk involved could probably boil water if under duress.
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2018, 08:20:31 PM »

Nothing was secret and I'm pretty sure Grandma and Grandpa on the paternal side would have *adored* it if I had shown more interest. Hindsight 20/20 I really wish I had. I keep meaning to ask through the cousins if Lynn has grandma's old box of recipes and if she'll get me copies.

On the other side of the family, my Aunt actually took my great aunts recipe cards and had them all copied and handed them out one Christmas.

The one that bugs me is my real father. One of his few good sides was the man could really cook. I think that's about the only thing I wish he'd spent time to pass on to me.
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Brad Johnson
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2018, 07:13:26 AM »

No "secret" recipes but everyone sure got in a tiff over who got what recipe card from my Grandmother's recipe box after she passed (Mom's side).

Mom has a shoe box full of recipes collected from everyone she knew. I'd put good money on some of the cards being at least a century old.

Big thing in my tiny little home town was, if your recipe was good enough to bring to Sunday church dinners, it was good enough to go in the Church Ladies' Cook Book. More than once there were bent feelings when a recipe wasn't deemed worthy of inclusion. If you see one at a garage sale or thrift shop, get it. Some damn fine eats to be had in those.

Brad
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BobR
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2018, 09:34:39 AM »

Quote
Big thing in my tiny little home town was, if your recipe was good enough to bring to Sunday church dinners, it was good enough to go in the Church Ladies' Cook Book. More than once there were bent feelings when a recipe wasn't deemed worthy of inclusion. If you see one at a garage sale or thrift shop, get it. Some damn fine eats to be had in those.

I have one of those from the 60s. My grandmother belonged to this little Baptist Church in NW Alabama and everyone had a recipe or two to put in it. I need to drag it out and scan it, it is mimeographed pages so there has been some fading over the years. It has some long forgotten recipes in it. The same thing with my First Edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook, it is kind of neat to see how cooking and tastes have changed over the years and in many cases have come full circle.

bob
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Larry Ashcraft
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2018, 10:05:29 AM »

No secrets here.  Over 30 years ago, Sandy compiled all the family recipes in a loose leaf notebook and titled it "Mom's Recipes".  She adds to it all the time and now it's probably two inches thick.  Every few years, she takes her 'master' pages to Kinko's and has several copies of each made, and puts together a few books for gifts to friends and family.   If she adds recipes to her book, she updates the rest of them too.

One recipe in particular *was* a secret, until we got hold of it.  It's an Hors d'oeuvre called "Chile Relish" which is served on a Ritz cracker with a generous dollop of cream cheese on top.  My SIL in Albuquerque got it from a friend who told her "Never give this recipe to anybody".  Well, she gave it to Sandy, and now we share it with anybody who asks (and they all do).  I'll post it later.
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