Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Recipe Rage

A good heated squabble over a Secret Recipe rivals Road Rage.
(Did you catch the pun on heated? Just checkin'.)

In my short and simple life, I've witnessed many altercations over a Secret Recipe. The story usually unfolds like this: Sheeba brings her Grandma's Secret Meatloaf to a gathering. The lady folk at said gathering "ooh and aah" over the herbs and spices and meats and oatmeal (and prolly the neighbor's cat) that have been organized into this attractive dish.

Usually, Sheeba replies all phony like with, "I'm sorry. Granny's last dying wish stated rather emphatically that we keep the Ancestral Family Meatloaf Recipe a secret. We don't give it out. I'm sorry." Sheeba then turns on her heels and carries the carcass of that Secret Family Meatloaf out the door. I'm sure Sheeba feels special. Important. Like she's the queen of the crowd. (Or maybe just the Queen of all Sheebas.)

Incidentally, most of these Recipe Czars believe in the hereafter. Meaning they believe in a Heaven and Exaltation. Which is rather funny. Do you honestly believe Granny gives a Goat about the recipe? She's flying around space with Grandpa. And a harp.

Sometimes Sheeba can sense that the Lady Folk will roll their eyeballs right out of there sockets when she presents the Granny's Dying Wish story. In the which Sheeba will overhaul the standard I-don't-share-it reaction (listed above) and purposely botch the recipe. That's right, she'll type or hand write the Ancestral Recipe incorrectly. Oh how I love the Passive Aggressives in the world. Love 'em!

I will vouch, friends and readers, that both the above situations have occurred on my watch. I've honestly had someone admit to fudging a recipe for fudge. I know of another who floundered the directions for fish. And yet another who's misguidance caused a cake to fall down.

This recipe business is not made up. Exaggerated? Perhaps. But not made up.

First and foremost, let's define Secret Recipe. A Secret Recipe is a list of ingredients and specific directions, that when followed precisely, result in something distinctively delicious. So delicious is the result of these ingredients and directions that the process therein is privy only to those who are special. Especial.

I don't get it. Seriously. Help me out.

Second and subsequent, let's consider the great chefs of our time. Julia Childs, Martha Stewart (click over there to see the recipe for Martha Meth), Emeril the Bam-Bam Lagasse, Tina Fey (who cooks up comedy), Paula Dean, and who else...? The Rookie Cookie. All of these cooking colossals share their recipes. Every last one of them. Especially the recipes that these cultivated kitcheners devised themselves.

Third and tertiary, it all boils (pun again!) down to this: Every last one of us needs to feel special. Like we matter. We need something to set us apart from the masses. For some of us it's a recipe. Others of us have a blog and run and raise kids and try to be good wife and friend.

We all have our recipe.

Incidentally, I've yet to see a Recipe Skirmish that involved a man. Alternately, the nice policeman who taught me driver safety last month because I may or may not have gotten a speeding ticket, has yet to see Road Rage that involved a woman.

Seems like instinct, doesn't it?

Maybe... quite possibly... perhaps...
God gave Adam the Road Rage and Eve the Recipe Restraint.

Just a thought.


If you're in the mood for more Tales from the Recipe Crypt, check out the Winder's Recipe Shock. See! It really does happen!


Lars said...

Too funny and sadly too true! My cousin is like this with recipes and when mentioning it to other family members they just tell her how ridiculous she is. She once yelled at her sister for sharing their deceased grandmother's frozen tomato soup. One of those "Top Secret Only For Family" recipes and apparently only for family consumption. Probably was Campbell's just frozen with spices added.

Sparks said...

"I don't need a secret recipe [to be special]." You created a perfect mantra. But you're right, if it's not a recipe it's something else.

It's pride.

And what's pride, kidlets? Why Prophet Benson said that it's enmity. Never mind that you have no idea what enmity means. I'll explain it when you're older.

And men don't have to have recipes. They measure and compare their stems instead. They carry their recipes at the crotch.

Lars said...

Why Sparks I think I just might love you for those quips.

Now just imagine if women wanted to exchange "those recipes". Tripod trading? Mine is bigger and tastier than yours! Nah, good thing we stick to meatloaf, pies, and soups.

Ryan said...

scarcity mentality ÷ secret recipe = desperate attempt to control outside one's sphere of influence.

my gratitude, mses., for offering up the better example, eschewing any penchant for physical comparison one to another. thank hera for the secret recipe.

megan said...

whats hilarious is that none of them understand "google" and its wealth of can top in peanut butter rice krispie brownie and like 50 food blogs pop up with the recipe! HA! (I'm headed to a similar "school" tonight)

The petulant ninny said...

"stems" !!! "Stems" !!!!


That was OUR word.

And I thought I could trust you

rabidrunner said...

Dearest Beloved, Petulant Ninny,

We share everything, remember? Recipes, used dental floss, nomenclature for private parts... all of it!

Sparks said...

Dude, you should have told me that "stems" was your family secret recipe. I wouldn't have used that word. There are so many others to choose from. In any case I'm pretty sure that there us a post revealing said terminology somplace in your archives.

Ellvie said...

Did you see the cookie recipe I posted last week? It isn't secret but it might make you feel especial.

Winder said...

Great post...we were on the same wavelength

My favorite recipe encounter I experienced with you was when the lady told the entire group she gives out recipes with missing ingredients. Seriously, like you invented the thing.

Ryan said...

you're safe, megan

Sparks said...

Ryan, isn't it slightly creepy that you went hunting through the Rabid archives for this post?

Lars said...

Maybe he is a hybrid blurker or he has a stem fetish?!? I don't know, see I am justifying again, bad Lars, bad.

Ryan said...

sheesh, try to help a sister out!

at the risk of further alienation here in backwardsland, here's a favorite google search tip: keyword or phrase

rabidrunner said...

I'm thinking that it would be creepier if he didn't post anything? Eh? We should trademark "stem."

Up above, note that I so badly want to put that period OUTSIDE OF the parenthesis. The rules say I cannot. But the period belongs to the whole sentence, not just the word "stem." See had to do it again.

Oh how I heart English.

meg said...

Sweet tip, Ryan. I need that for my own stinkin' blog.

You have my deepest apologies.

Deep like roots kind of apologies.