After I gushed over her cinnamon quick bread, a friend's mother handed me the recipe — just a page copied from a newspaper — and told me, "I am giving you the secret recipe. Use half the amount of cinnamon." This made me realize that I don't have any secret recipes, nothing I actively withhold to keep a dish mine alone. Is it the Internet's fault? A generational divide?In the age of food blogs, it sometimes feels like half the time people are cooking in order to take pictures of their finished dishes and share the recipes online. Cooks in generations past, by contrast, often held back key ingredients or whole recipes for their most popular dishes. My stepmother, who is from Thailand, has dozens of secret family recipes she has promised to teach me someday, so they won't be lost. In the meantime, she refuses to write them down for anyone who asks.
I can't imagine saying, "Sorry, it's a secret" to someone who loved a dish I made and wanted the recipe. "Oh, I'll send you the link" is the more likely response. Do you feel the same way? Or are there special recipes you don't want to share with anyone?
Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.
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