Every culture has a different excuse for not sharing recipes: some want to keep the secret and tradition within their families, others like to be known for having something very unique about themselves (like Aunt Mary’s banana cake) , some put so much effort on nailing a dish that others will have to suffer until they deserve that knowledge. There are even the ones that never write recipes…
When comes to sharing recipes, it is ridiculous the countless stories that you hear and I know that this is even topic of some books out there:
Mum tells me that my grand-grandmother used to trick her recipes and leave out some key ingredients so people would never be able to recreate her dishes. When they would come to her to check on what went wrong, she would say something like: “weird…never happened to me. Maybe try something else next time”. Surprisingly they would never come back again.
My friend’s Nonna is getting old and apparently no one in the family can replicate her delicious dishes. She is now at an age where she forgets things and she never liked teaching others how to cook…What a shame!
I know a Middle Eastern / European guy that put together a website where both sides of the family could share their traditional recipes. Half of the women refuses to use the site and felt offended by the idea.
What about home cooks who make friends sign contracts so they don’t pass recipe forward? This is insane!
I have no doubts that information is power but let’s be honest: unless you have any business intention with your recipes, then what is the matter with you people?
Reality is, if you don’t share your recipe, sooner or later Google will do it on your behalf!
My childhood best friend Maria comes from a second generation of an Italian family in Brazil.
I grew up trying a lot of her mum’s fantastic food and now 20+ years later I started craving for some sort of “Italian bread” that I had numerous time while playing in her house.
This post is dedicated to Maria Helena’s mum, Elena Maria, who after years of no contact, didn’t hesitated to give me a copy of her hand written recipe.
And yes, it did turn out as beautiful as the ones that she used to make for me.
500 g all-purpose white flour (or Tipo ’00′ flour)
25 g melted butter
1/2 Kg potatoes, boiled and mashed
30 g active (fresh) yeast
2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cup milk, warmed
a handful of all-purpose white flour (or Tipo ’00′ flour)
1 Kg tomatoes, chopped and seeds removed
4-6 garlic cloves finely chopped
grated Parmesan cheese
Mix active yeast, sugar, warmed milk and a handful of Tipo 00 flour in a large bowl.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Place the flour on a board or in a bowl.
Make a well in the center and add the egg, melted butter, some salt and the yeast into it.
Add the mashed potato and knead it using your hands until obtain a smooth and elastic dough.
Sprinkle some flour on the dough, cover it with a tea towel and leave it rise for approx 1 hour.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and gently cook the garlic until softened.
Add the tomatoes, sprinkle some dried oregano and simmer it for a few minutes.
Divide dough into 3 pieces.
Grease your hands with olive oil.
In a lightly greased baking tray, pat the dough into 1 inch thick circle.
Cover the dough with the tomato topping, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, dried oregano e a drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle it with more chopped garlic if you wish.
Bake in preheated oven at 180°C for approx 1 hour, or until the bottom is golden brown.
Repeat the process with the other 2 pieces of the dough.
Serve it warm.