Thursday, August 16, 2012

Secret Ingredients are a Secret

     Ingredients are well guarded secrets. Take for instance a Portuguese Recipe my grandfather has been hiding from me since my birth.  It is a recipe that has only been handed down to the men of the family.  I had to get married to my chef to get this recipe, and even then, it was given to my husband.
     Recipes are usually shared freely, it's the ingredients that are guarded by the secret service.  Why did Aunty Nancy's chicken not turn out the same? She didn't tell you that she put in a special smoked paprika that came from Uncle Manny's brother when he brought it over from Portugal.  Here you are feeling like an idiot using the store brand paprika.  Chefs know this secret and they flaunt it! They will give their recipes to each other but they won't specify certain brands of ingredients. Go ahead and wander through your kitchen. I will bet you your chef has atleast 10 different unlabeled baggies, jars or old sauce containers with the labels peeled off that hold's ingredients that only they may know. 
     I expect that if I allowed him, my husband would build a shrine to his smoked paprika, jarred red peppers and other valued ingredients. I can't share too much as I value my marriage and good food.  Be careful of being present to a secret ingredient hand off. You can see one a mile away.  They resemble the drug deal you saw in the movie, Bad Boys. Someone opens a small bag that is unlabeled and sniffs its contents. If it's good the said chefs huddling around each other smelling it will roll their eyeballs into the back of their head in sheer delight.
     Don't even think about using it without their permission either!  They must be the ones to first open the jar and used the last of what's in the jar. Don't be surprised if they even dole out the ration to you.
     The biggest warning I must offer is. If they are trying an experimental recipe with the said sacred ingredients, DON'T tell them it doesn't taste good. I don't care if it tastes like wood chips with charcoal paste on it. Make sure you say it's good and then every so slyly ask, "What would you do different next time." This might cause them to confess it tastes like crud.  Good Luck!

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