The Disappearance of the Two-faced Chef

November 30, 2011 4 comments


Kristina and Micah prepare homemade pumkin pies, a recipe from the Blazar family

Kristina and Micah prepare homemade pumkin pies, a recipe shared by the Blazar family

By Kristina Eastham

This isn’t a culinary mystery story. I’m not talking about Chef Mustard in the kitchen with the butcher knife. This is a commentary on the evolution of the social custom of recipe-sharing.

It used to be that a great recipe was something to be proud of — so proud in fact that you’d be willing to lie to your friends about it or refuse to pass on the true ingredients to people who gorged themselves on your dish at a Potluck or dinner party. Back when cooking was an assumed skill for “any woman fit to be a wife” (circa Mad Men), women would pass along “altered” recipes to secure their culinary fame and ensure that their delicious dish would never be copied or shown up at the next dinner party.

Last week we had a Thanksgiving potluck at my company, Digitaria. Many full-time marketers brought in delicious home-cooked dishes, prepared with love after a 10- or 12-hour day at the office. (And yes, others brought in store-bought dishes including grocery store fried chicken.) While we ate, people shared stories about cooking and memories of preparing traditional holiday foods with family or sitting on the counter and watching their parents cook. Plenty of people passed along recipes when they received compliments.

A great recipe is still something to be proud of, but we show that pride in a different way. Today, we talk about our experiences cooking and when someone wants a recipe, almost everyone is willing to share. In a world where some people don’t eat a single home cooked meal each week, the biggest compliment of all is being willing to put in the hard work to recreate your dish at home.

Categories: Menus and Memories

4 Responses to “The Disappearance of the Two-faced Chef”

  1. Jef says:

    Surprisingly this sort of thing still happens in the pastry world. The now defunct Pastry Art and Design magazine was notorious for showing amazing pastries and leaving out whole portions of the recipes.

    I, for one, will give you any recipe you want. Cooking is a skill, a recipe is just a list of ingredients and basic directions. If you don’t already have the skill part down, the recipe won’t help you in the least bit.

  2. Kristina says:

    Jef – You’re so right! It’s funny how two people can cook the same recipe and the food tastes completely different depending on how it’s prepared. As I always say, the most important ingredient is love :)