Some people just want your recipes.... What do you do?

Oooops. Went straight into my dude problem-solving mode…

No problem. It is just that in this case, it was a few years back.

I guess in a situation like yours, maybe you can save some time in giving an oral version. Meaning, ask the person to take a pen to note while you talk, it’s a quicker and during the process, that person will know that it needs time to put it in a written version.

Or just send a very brief version of your recipe. If there are feedback to clear up uncertainties, that you know it’s being used.

Many chef don’t give out their REAL version of the recipe. They keep them in their safe!

Personally, when people asked, I just give them without problem, usually it’s just 1 off.

I’m not sure how we jumped from recipes to scientific procedures but if it bothers you then don’t do it. Claim it’s proprietary information.

I learned to cook by taste, and literally still do to this day. I really have no recipes that I follow it would be next to impossible for me to give a recipe because I simply don’t follow them. Something like my grandmothers meatballs or certain dishes I learned to cook I guess I could, but 90% of my cooking is impromptu as I’m making it.


This is also why I give them verbally, as they usually are an approximation of things that I carry around in my head.

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I completely understand this if “sharing” means “doing it the old way” and hand writing out the recipe on a printed recipe card. That took a lot of work - writing it out, getting all to fit, making it legible, etc, etc, etc. I still save many of those recipe cards just for the nostalgia of them, even though i don’t make many of those recipes anymore (life moves on from all things).

However, in my world now - I have so many of these things digitally. So sending it in as an attachment in an email, or emailing a link, or I’ve even just taken a picture of the page with my iphone and send the pic. Those things all take no time, so I don’t mind doing that.

I remember getting into a semi-heated “exchange” with someone who later became banned at Chow and here, regarding this topic. I tried explaining I don’t use recipes, I have my basic cooking knowledge and the rest I kind of wing as I go. Yes I make chicken francaise often but I never measure ingredients, so I can’t tell you the flour to salt and pepper ratio to my seasoned flour. I don’t know if I use a cup of wine, half cup or bottle. I pour taste, pour taste, look, sniff, taste let simmer taste pour a little more until I like the product. Sometimes I’ll use finely chopped shallots with my garlic, sometimes I won’t.


I cook in this manner too. I can give someone ingredients, ratios and steps. That usually works for someone who cooks intuitively.

I try to use an online recipe as my basis when preparing a potluck dish for a cooking group I belong to. Then I can send a link and notations of changes I made to those who want the recipe. One woman in the group seems to think I’m withholding crucial ingredients since she feels her rendition never tastes the same…

Ten cooks using the same recipe will have different results - subtle to drastic. Much depends on your ingredients, your “interpretation” of techniques, if you taste as you cook, heck - even if you rinse cans to use the last dab of tomato sauce!

That said, I treasure many recipes that were given to me. 50 years since she passed but my nieces and nephews know who Aunt Ann was because they love her coffee cake recipe. Seeing these recipes and the individuals penmanship just makes me happy. All of which reminded me to post about a related idea:

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Well my problem is that I don’t have recipes digitally either, as @NotJrvedivici notes I carry them around in my noggin, and I also improvise.

In fact, I’m not a big fan of written recipes, I usually use them only to check ingredients, and then half the time I change them anyway because I know they won’t taste right.

I also reverse engineer things I have at restaurants if I like them. If I know what it’s supposed to taste like, and have a rough idea of the ingredients, I can pretty much make it at home without a recipe.


Too funny…I do the exact same thing. A prime local example is Jimmy’s in Asbury Park chicken scarp. I’ve been enjoying that dish for 20 years and trying to recreate it by taste at home. I’ve come up with what I consider my Frank Sinatra Jr rendition, it’s good but pales in comparison to the original.


Interesting side note: I grew up in the NY area and certainly remember chicken scarpariello on menus (or at my Aunt and Uncle’s) as a kid. Moved to CA 40+ years ago and don’t think I’ve seen it since. No idea why, but then I also grew up with Biscuit Tortoni for dessert and haven’t seen that here either. Strange.

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Since I rarely cook by recipe I usually have nothing to give except I can give them a run down of what I did.

Actually my mother in law cooks intuitively, when I ask her for recipes. She needs to cook that dish again, and I write down everything when cooking with her to get the recipe. Quite fun.

When I saw her cooking the same dish another time, it was never exactly the same.


Yep, same deal with my great aunt from Stuttgart, who was the most amazing cook.

I would sit in the kitchen and watch her make things, then make them with her until I got it right.

The relatives still give me grief for my Spaetzlesschaben…

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“Sorry, I don’t use recipes. I just cook. If you’re free you can come watch me and write things down. You’ll have to do the dishes at the end.”

End of problem.


Same here. I really have no recipes

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Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, Yuanyang County, Yunnan
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