My Mama told me years ago, "If you want to preserve your reputation as a good cook, never give out the recipe to your best dishes. And, if forced to do so, just leave out a small key ingredient." I learned this the hard way when I found myself at a pot luck dinner having to listen to the rave reviews a (now former) friend of mine was receiving for a dish she made from one of my recipes. In all the adulation, as she gushed about how she made the pie, she never once happened to mention that I was the one who gave her the recipe. As I smoldered over my glass of wine, Scarlett's angry pledge, "As God as my witness . . ." went through my mind as my Mama's words came back to me.
So years later when a good friend asked me for one of my treasured recipes, I thought of that unpleasant incident, realized that her friendship was more dear to me than being petty over claiming bragging rights for an apple pie. Besides, she lived two states away. So, not only did I send her the recipe, word for word, I also included all the tweaks, my daughter and I had made to the dish over the years. As a true friend, I revealed all.
As it turned out, I had nothing to fear about my recipe being duplicated. I got a call Monday morning, "Well I made the pies last night." "Great, how were they?" "You didn't tell me the recipe was for two pies?" "The recipe says that." "Well I figured that out after I got to the end of the recipe and was about finished. I had planned on making two pies, so I had doubled the ingredients." I thought that would not be an issue, she could just make four pies, but I was wrong. "So my pie pans were full, very full," she continued. "You put it all in just two pans?" "Yep."
Then she went on to tell about putting the cinnamon sugar topping (a key ingredient that is added half way through the baking process) on top of the lattice crust. "I told you that I added the top crust after the topping." "Oh, that would have made sense." In my mind I am picturing these pie pans, overflowing with pie filling with the sugary topping piled atop the lattice crust. Then she added, "They are in the toaster oven now. They were not quite done when I brought them in the office this morning." I guess not. "But they smell so good."
I can't wait to hear the final verdict. "Oh, one more thing, do you peel your apples before you add them to the mix?" "Of course." "Oh. The recipe didn't say anything about that." "So you left the peel on?" "Uh, yeah. But, it's colorful."