Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Secret Recipes

I am always delighted when a diner at Bloodroot tries a new dish which is not in our cookbooks, and would like to make it at home. Sometimes it is printed in one of our calendars, and I fetch that copy from the kitchen for them to photograph.

 I consider it an honor for someone to want to reproduce what we are doing.  Of course I want them to!  Perhaps they will figure out some new seasoning or procedure and come back and tell me. Sometimes they bring one of their own treasured recipes---it is a win-win situation.  At Bloodroot, our purpose is to serve the very best vegetarian food, but that's impossible.  I can update a recipe and make it better, but surely someone else, or one of us can make it better again. There is never best! There can always be improvement, and isn't that wonderful?

So you can imagine how I feel about restaurants, particularly vegetarian or health restaurants, refusing to share their secrets. What a poverty of spirit, to think that once a recipe is known, it will be a disaster.  Like what? The customer will open her own place and take away all this restaurant's diners? Or will she no longer patronize the stingy restaurant since she can reproduce her favorite dish at home? How ridiculous!  And how sad.

It has always seemed to me that the essence of what we do is to further the making of life (and dining) better for us all. Sharing information is how to do it. This is particularly true for new vegans, or even for folks like me, who have made vegan desserts and entrees for 37 years and am now vastly broadening my horizons with recipes for vegan cheese and creams, that one of my customers, Florrie, introduced to me. I want everyone else to know how to do this, if they want to.

Usually I can figure out what is in most dishes, but sometimes I can't and I ask. 
The better restaurant chefs tell me. Sometimes I troll the internet, and sometimes I think, why bother.  Keep your secrets, I prefer to share mine.


  1. I am so grateful for your generous recipe sharing, having first found you through your Political Palate cookbooks, which I bought in Chicago years before moving to Connecticut. And now with the calendars, there are wonderful recipes galore! But of course, I'll still come to see you because the restaurant atmosphere makes the food even better!

  2. What a lovely attitude. I would love to get your cookbooks. Another wonderful vegetarian restaurant with this same attitude is called The Green Door and is in Ottawa Canada - they too have a cookbook and I assure you they have not lost a customer due to the cookbook- they are expanding and always packed with people like me who will drive 1 hour just to eat a their humble, peaceful and enriching establishment (it's just so much more than a restaurant).

  3. Thank you, Selma, I love your attitude. I try to have the same one when people ask me how I make the things I do (I recycle sweaters and other things into new wearables). The more people who recycle, the better! But I've been wary about sharing my actual patterns, and this is making me rethink that. Thank you! I don't want to live in poverty of spirit.

  4. I will thank you forever for your generosity in sharing not only your recipes but also opening up your whole repetoire and kitchen by inviting me to come and cook with you and become part of the legacy of inspired and passionate culinary enthusiasts who have come from far and wide to learn what you do. Thank you !

  5. Thank you for sharing Selma! I have tried several of your recipes and need to visit bloodroot soon! I miss your food! Much love