Her comment about sharing recipes made me think of my husband Meakin’s late step-mother Wanda. She was probably the best cook I have ever known and was never afraid to tackle even the most complicated of foods. Her daughter Marilynn ran a successful catering business in Buffalo, NY for years. Anyway, years ago Wanda served a fabulous Clam Zucchini soup as a first course and I asked for the recipe. I was out of luck because she didn’t share recipes. That was a shame because, as a new cook at the time, I certainly could have learned a lot from her. I vowed to myself that day that I would always share and so I have.
Nancy and I belong to the North Carolina Writers Network and Netwest. Glenda Beall, Netwest Coordinator, wrote a post about sharing recipes and included fellow writer Peg Russell’s yummy Rum Cake. Click on the above link for Peg’s recipe.
A friend of ours, David Dabney, owns a beautiful antebellum tour home, The Martha Vick House, in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He tells a wonderful southern story of recipe sharing in the Vicksburg cookbook, Ambrosia, which is out of print now but can be purchased from used booksellers on the internet.
Ambrosia is a coffee table cookbook filled with rich food, gorgeous pictures, amusing stories about the south, and is an excellent tour guide of the city of Vicksburg. Vicksburg’s finest cooks share their recipes for entertaining for special occasions throughout the seasons.
David’s mother had a wonderful cook named Esterine for forty years. In those days ladies entertained with bridge clubs at home and served lunch. Esterine made a scalloped oyster dish that the ladies loved but she had no recipe. Everything was just pinches or dashes of this and that. All of the ladies wanted the recipe. One day they caught her in a good mood and she gave them the recipe. They were very proud of themselves for finally getting her to share her secrets.
About a week or so later, Esterine was at the Piggly Wiggly doing David’s mother’s marketing and one of the ladies was in line with her. The lady said, “Esterine, Honey, I did those scalloped oysters just like you told me to, but, you know, they didn’t taste like yours.”
Esterine drew herself up and said, “I didn’t ‘tend for ‘em to be.”