My Recipe Box, A Closely Guarded Secret...(Long)

Baking By Jayde Updated 18 Sep 2008 , 11:49pm by Valli_War

Jayde Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 9:54pm
post #1 of 7

I need some help with this one. I have been offered a chance to write a recipe book, by a publishing company. I do a LOT of baking the unconventional way. I take a recipe, and use it as a guideline. I then deconstruct the recipe and break it down into separate components, and use every bit of cooking knowledge and food science (I am an Alton Brown lover) that I have and use it to create a new and fresh recipe. I use some of the old ingredients, I add some new ingredients, and then I exchange amounts a lot. I assume that is how most recipes are created right??

Here is my question, I have old, old, old recipes from my grandmother, and from my grandfather's family back in Poland (my grandfather's dad was a baker in Poland). These recipes I have tweaked, and updated to suit today, and use them all the time. I also pair them with new and fresh things to just update them a bit. The problem I am having is that I dont know if I want to do this!!

I know it sounds weird as heck, I mean normally I would jump and the chance, but I guess its the thought of publishing my great-grandfather's pound cake recipe kinda makes me sick to my stomach. How do you take someone's livelyhood and just slap it in a book with a fancy cover, and then everyone knows Opa's pound cake recipe.

You guys are so awesome, and full of good advice, what should I do??

6 replies
julitre1 Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 10:05pm
post #2 of 7

I don't know, this is a toughy. I agree that it would be hard to let go of such a family treasure. I treasure my grandmother's recipes and don't even like giving them out to fellow church members. It's a part of me that says "No, this is the only real connection I have left. I would listen to your gut, there must be a reason you don't feel good about it. HTH

Valli_War Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 10:08pm
post #3 of 7

How about not sharing your family recipies, but publish the others that you have tweaked by reading in a book, or online or on a tv show. These don't have any history related to your emotions. Just my thought.

Cherie206 Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 10:14pm
post #4 of 7

I would "jump" at the chance to publish a cookbook, however I wouldn't want to share family recipes either. I have a Gingerbread cookie recipe that my Grandmother always made. I refuse to give it to anyone that asks. I'll make them the cookies, but won't give out the recipe. I like Valli_War's idea of doing the cookbook, but not putting your family recipes in it. Good luck!

dragonflydreams Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 10:25pm
post #5 of 7

. . . the Colonel never shared his secret recipe . . . and I'm pretty sure if I had such a "winner" I wouldn't share it either . . . that being said, I'm sure you know alot of bakers share their recipes and are told that when the non- baker tries to do it they are unsuccessful (it NEVER turns out quite as good) . . . IMHO the missing ingredient is always the "passion" (read love) that the "baker" incorporates in the recipe that the "non-baker" always neglects to include . . . tough decision for you . . . but I'm pretty sure I would follow in the Colonel's footsteps with your "prized" recipes . . . good luck whatever you decide . . . how did the publishing company find you . . . (p.s. I sure would be interested in your prized recipes - do you share with your Cake Buddies icon_biggrin.gificon_lol.gif ) . . .

Jayde Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 11:07pm
post #6 of 7

Well, the bad part is I am not the cake scratch snob. I use mixes alot with extenders, and lots of add ins. That is what most of my customers like, they arent crazy about the scratch cakes, go figure. I try lots of different things and am always experimenting.

I dont mind sharing combos to anyone. I have the longest specialty cakes list, you all would just yawn reading all the flavor combos that I have put together. And I patrol the Recipes Request Section all the time, I just usually PM the person the recipe instead of just posting it. icon_wink.gif

*sigh* my problem is that most of my recipe collection is in my head, and I dont measure ANYTHING, so its going to be hard enough to compile everything. And I am so hesitant about doing this, because there is always someone who may come back and say hey thats my recipe, you just changed this and this and this. Which in my eyes doesnt make it their recipe anymore, but people are weird.

I was approached by my husband's boss's wife, who is totally sweet, and has actually done a pilot show along with 6 episodes of a cooking show for Food Network. She makes cakes too, and is an awesome cook. She wants us to do the book together as a compilation (did I spell that right?) of our two styles of cooking, which actually are pretty similar.

Valli_War Posted 18 Sep 2008 , 11:49pm
post #7 of 7

Jayde,
If you make a search of cake mix recipe books, you'll find hundreds of them. Like cake mix doctor, cupcake mix doctor, cakes using cake mixes etc. Their recipes are similar in many ways. I think if you made atleast a variation, it is yours. There is darn good cake recipe in cake mix doctor. I have made it with lots of varieties of pudding mix and changing the chocolate and it always turns out to be a new flavor. So, they are mine if you have figured that out too, then I agree it is not original, but that is yours too. That is what I believe in. I am a programmer, there are tons of code online which you can download, tailor it as per your requirement and make it yours. No one will say that is stolen or copied code, because it is not what was published online.

Hope this helps. You should think twice about letting it go, who knows it might get you an episode on food network. That'll be cool right, whatever it is good luck.

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