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Friday, January 07, 2005
Friday Beef
not to be confused with "no beef friday" - something my brother in law does - not eat meat on fridays...ha!

Today's topic is sharing recipes. When i was a kid, i remember my friend Danyelle's mom would never give out her recipes. I thought that was so rude. i mean, it was a recipe, for heaven's sake. But, as i got older, i realized she might not have been as far off the mark as i had first thought.

Now, for the record, I give out my recipes. Even my favourites. But, i'm thinking i may have made a colossal mistake in doing so.

It all started when i moved to Toronto. I had a few recipes that were "new" to the city. for example, i make this noodle kugel (it's a jewish thing...) that was not salt and pepper-y and not sweet fruity (like some of them are with apricots and what have you inside...yuck) - it was the perfect mix - something no one in Toronto had ever made. So....i began to make it. and everyone loved it. So, of course, naturally, people began asking me for the recipe. and semi-reluctantly, i gave it out. Then, over the course of the next few months, my recipe traveled like wildfire. And every time i would go to someone's house, i'd be served my kugel. my kugel. it was making my blood boil. because i would think to myself, "i didn't give x my recipe" - no, not x, but i gave it to y and she gave it to x and a and q etc.

then there was the "super salad" incident. i starting making this AMAZING salad. a huge hit. so, one of my friends asked for the recipe. of course, i gave it to her. and then all of sudden, it became "her" salad. sure, in the beginning she gave me the proper credit, but once she started making it on a weekly basis, she figured she needn't give me the credit every single time. i'm not saying that i need the credit, it's just frustrating because i no longer want to make the things that everyone's making.

there's something to be said about having something new and different. there's also something to be said about having people know there are certain things that you make and other people don't. they take comfort in knowing they can come to my house and have my taco salad. or my challah. or my brisket. or my sweet potato pie. you get the point.

now, there's another issue i have with giving out my recipes. there are a few people who i give recipes to and then they change them. They will continue to tell people that it's my recipe, even though they've completely mangled the recipe and it no longer tastes good. at this point, i'd rather they didn't tell people that this was a recipe they got from me. you change it, it's yours.

it irks me when i sit at someone's table, eating several of my dishes, and hearing someone say, "Wow, G, you make the best carrot kugel (another jewish thing)!" and she sits and smiles and says thanks, even though she knows it's the right time to say, "well, thanks, but i got the recipe from Ali." but, alas, nada.

I'll probably still continue to give out my recipes. I can't see how i can't. But occassionally, when that episode of Everybody Loves Raymond comes on where Marie teaches Debra how to make her meatballs and mislabels one of her spices so Debra's comes out horrible, I get this sort of twinge running through me...hey, that's not a bad idea. just kidding. i would never do that.

i guess i should consider it a compliment. people think that i'm a good cook, so they want to make the same things i make. but, it tough work trying to come up with new and exciting things, because all my friends have worn out all my tried and true recipes.

I'm a displaced American writer, mom, and wife living in Canada who muses about my life, my kids, my tv watching and my slight obsession with celebrities.
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