The missing ingredient

Recently I asked an older relative for her famous cake recipe that she’s been making for over 30 years.

I have since attempted it three times but it never looks or tastes like her delicious original. It’s been incredibly frustrating, but as I’ve had my fair share of kitchen failures (see my previous post on macarons) I chalked it up to my inability to follow a recipe and lack of patience for anything requiring skill or delicacy.

That is, until I told my mum about the failures and she said “oh, that’s not your fault. She’s notorious for giving out fake recipes.”

Um…WHAT?!??!

Apparently it’s common knowledge amongst our friends and family that this woman willingly gives out her recipes if asked but always leaves out a vital ingredient or dramatically changes the measurements to affect the outcome.

But why, I hear you ask? Mum thinks it’s because she wants to remain ‘famous’ for that particular dish and doesn’t want to share the glory with any young upstarts – that’s me, by the way. Then she dropped the next bombshell – she’s not the only one who does this. Lots of my relatives, including my grandmother, do the very same thing .

Although I find this mind-boggling, I’ve decided that it is a generational quirk and to just accept it and move on. Now that I know how far these women will go to protect their culinary secrets, I have a feeling they’ll only share the real recipes with their dying breath – if at all.

Which brings me to my last point. I’d like to send a huge thank you to the people of the internet for so generously sharing their own recipes. I’ve spent countless hours searching for everything from basic dinner recipes to inspiration for extravagant feasts. I’m grateful to the people online who I’ll probably never meet but who have helped to make me a better cook.

Where my own family and friends have failed me; food bloggers, Thermomix lovers and recipe websites have stepped up. Thank you again!

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6 thoughts on “The missing ingredient

  1. Whoa, so funny. It never occurred to me that anyone would ever give out a fake recipe! (I mean I’ve heard of people saying “no, I won’t share my secret recipe with you,” but at least that’s more honest than giving out a fake one!)

    You said it really well– I’m also grateful to so many wonderful food blogs out there for sharing their successful recipes. 🙂

    • I know, it’s completely insane but actually quite common amongst the older generation of Italians…well, those in my life anyway!
      Thanks to you too – yours is one of the many wonderful food blogs I was referring to 🙂

      • Aw, that’s so nice of you to say! Anyway, thanks for this entertaining post, and I’m happy to have discovered your blog! 🙂

  2. Anita says:

    I have heard this on many, many occasions apparently they don’t give their complete recipes out as it means when they go to make the cake or whatever the recipe was, it will never work out for them again!

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